About the Program
Project ChildSafe Communities is a community-led initiative designed to promote responsible gun ownership and the safe storage of firearms when not in use to help prevent accidents, theft and misuse, including suicide. The initiative initially launched as a Department of Justice Bureau of Justice Assistance grant program, which provided the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) with a $2.4 million grant to focus on three communities—Oklahoma City, Memphis and Cleveland. These pilot communities were selected because they have both a high number of gun owners and a diverse group of local stakeholders committed to keeping children and the community safe.
Through the program, Project ChildSafe partners with community organizations to provide free cable-style gun locks and gun safety education to firearm owners and non-gun owners alike. The program gives gun owners the tools they need to secure their firearms when not in use and underscores the importance of storing firearms responsibly.
Since the end of the grant program in 2019, the three pilot communities continue to sustain their momentum through a local coalition of supporters. NSSF and Project ChildSafe also continue to invest in communities in need, launching additional Project ChildSafe Community programs modeled after the successful pilot grant communities.
How It Works
Through a diverse group of local organizations and leaders, Project ChildSafe tailors the program to best fit the needs of the community and authentically communicate with local gun owners. The coalition often includes law enforcement agencies, community centers, faith groups, local governments, suicide prevention advocates, veterans’ organizations, retailers, conservation groups, hunting and shooting groups and other active community organizations.
Several local partners in each community are designated “distribution partners” and share free Project ChildSafe firearm safety kits, including gun locks, with local residents. They also host lock distribution events and amplify gun safety messages through digital and social media communications. These activities strengthen the culture of firearm safety within the community.
The Project ChildSafe team works closely with local partners to support the program. Project ChildSafe and its partners convene on a semi-regular basis to discuss ongoing and future activities in the community. The program is community-driven, and the commitment and involvement of local organizations is critical to the program’s success.
How to Launch a New Focus Community
Project ChildSafe aims to empower communities through firearm safety education to help prevent firearm accidents, theft and misuse, including suicide. If your community has been impacted by these tragedies, and you want to get more involved with Project ChildSafe, email our staff at firstname.lastname@example.org to see how we can work together to start an official Project ChildSafe Community in your area. Together, we can help prevent firearm accidents and help keep your community safe.
Implementing the Program
In each community, Project ChildSafe focuses on two main strategies to increase the practice and awareness of firearm safety. First, the program increases access to safe storage devices by distributing free firearm safety kits to residents that include a cable-style gun lock. Offering gun locks at no cost to gun owners lowers the barrier to safe storage, which is especially important for lower income families.
Second, Project ChildSafe helps spread the message of safe storage and responsible gun ownership to further increase visibility and understanding of proper gun storage. Practicing firearm safety is a daily routine and reinforcing best practices to gun owners increases the chances of proper storage and decreases the chances of an accident.
While these are the components that sit at the heart of the overarching initiative, it is critical that the actual implementation and execution are tailored to best fit the needs of each community. Below, we outline the approach and success in each of the Project ChildSafe Communities thus far.
Project ChildSafe Oklahoma City
Project ChildSafe Oklahoma City was the first pilot community and launched in January 2017 with a press conference hosted by former Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin. Since then, Project ChildSafe has worked with community partners to distribute nearly 11,000 gun locks and safety materials to local residents. The main lock distribution partners in the community are the Oklahoma City Police Department and the Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Office. This is modeled after Project ChildSafe’s national program, which primarily provides locks through law enforcement agencies.
Project ChildSafe and the community stakeholders also formed a partnership with local broadcast station KFOR Channel 4 to run the Safety Is a Habit PSA. In addition to paid media buys, the station donated more than 46 hours of total airtime to run the PSA and help amplify the safety message. The station also worked with Project ChildSafe to develop its own PSA featuring local stakeholders, which began airing in mid-2018. In addition to broadcast, Project ChildSafe and the core partners used social media to spread firearm safety messages within the community. The program in Oklahoma City is sustained by the local partners, and Project ChildSafe continues to supply free gun locks to the Oklahoma City community.
- Project ChildSafe: Gov. Mary Fallin, NSSF And Oklahoma City Leaders Come Together To Launch New Firearm Safety Initiative – “Project ChildSafe Communities”, April 26, 2017
- The Oklahoman: Oklahoma City officials to provide free gun locks to improve home safety, Jan. 25, 2017
- The Oklahoman: Oklahoma ScissorTales: OKC gun lock program an excellent opportunity, Jan. 28, 2017
- Project ChildSafe: NSSF, Local Leaders Renew Efforts to Promote Firearms Safety For 2018, April 26, 2018
Community Partners: Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin’s Office, Oklahoma City Police Department, Oklahoma County Sheriff, KFOR-TV, American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, Alzheimer’s Association - Oklahoma Chapter, Oklahoma City Gun Club, H&H Shooting Sports, Cabela’s, Pheasants/Quail Forever OKC, Honoring Americas Warriors, National Wild Turkey Federation, Delta Water Fowl, Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation, National 4H Shooting Sports, DIVA-WOW, Oklahoma Army National Guard, TWAW Shooting Chapters, Hall & Hall Consulting, US Attorneys Office, OKC Fire Department
Project ChildSafe Memphis
Project ChildSafe Memphis launched in October 2017 in coordination with Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland, U.S. Attorney Michael Dunavant and several local organizations. The announcement of the program included a city-wide lock distribution event at six locations across the metro area, supplying 2,500 locks to the community. Since launching the initiative, Project ChildSafe Memphis has supplied more than 19,700 free gun locks to the community.
In addition to law enforcement, local community centers volunteered as lock distribution centers to help reach more gun owners in the Memphis metro area. The faith community has also been a pivotal partner in reminding gun owners that responsible gun safety is vital to keeping your loved ones safe.
Additionally, Project ChildSafe forged a partnership with local broadcast station WATN Channel 29 to create a local Safety Is a Habit PSA, which aired on its channel throughout the campaign. Today, the program is sustained by the local coalition of supporters who are committed to a safer Memphis.
- Local Memphis: Volunteers hand out free safety locks on Oct. 17, Oct. 15, 2017
- FOX 13: Over 2,500 gun locks supplied to gun owners across Mid-South, Oct. 17, 2017
- Project ChildSafe: Mayor Jim Strickland, D. Michael Dunavant United States Attorney, NSSF And Memphis Leaders Join for New Firearms Safety Initiative – “Project ChildSafe Memphis”, Oct. 18, 2017
- Project ChildSafe: Project ChildSafe Memphis Enhances Local Efforts to Help Prevent Firearms Accidents, Thefts and Misuse, May 29, 2018
Community Partners: 4-H Shooting Sports, American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, Delta Waterfowl, Dru's Bar, Memphis Police Department, Memphis Sport Shooting Association, National African American Gun Owners Association, Office Of Mayor Jim Strickland, Range USA, Shelby County Sheriff's Office, Shelby County District Attorney General, Tennessee Wildlife Resources Foundation, The Well Armed Woman, University of Memphis, US Attorney’s Office
Project ChildSafe Cleveland
Project ChildSafe Cleveland launched in May 2018 with the Northern District of Ohio U.S. Attorney’s Office, former Cleveland Browns football player Bob Golic, local law enforcement agencies and several other active community organizations. One of the program’s biggest lock distribution partners is the Cleveland MetroHealth Police Department, helping supply 12,100 free gun locks to local gun owners.
Project ChildSafe also partnered with local broadcast television station WJW Fox 8 and Eye on the Target Radio to air the Safety Is a Habit PSA to help educate the community about the program. Through local stakeholders, Project ChildSafe continues to supply free gun locks and educational materials to local residents.
Community Partners: Boy Scouts - Lake Erie Council, Delta Water Fowl, 4-H Shooting Sports, American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, Cleveland Metroparks Rangers, Eye on the Target Radio, Goshinski Fin Feather Fur Outfitters, Shoot Point Blank, Sportsmen of Tomorrow, The Well Armed Woman, U.S. Attorney’s Office, MetroHealth Police Department, Cleveland Association of Rescue Employees, City of Parma, Bob Golic, Mt. Sinai Baptist Church
Project ChildSafe Baton Rogue
Project ChildSafe Baton Rouge launched in September 2019, kicking off a multi-year initiative to reduce gun accidents in the community. The project is led by a coalition of local stakeholders with support from Baton Rouge Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome, who adopted the program as Baton Rouge’s official gun safety program.
The announcement of the program included a press conference at the Baton Rouge Police Department (BRPD) headquarters and a city-wide gun lock giveaway for residents. Gun locks are continuously available to the community for free through distrbution centers at the local community centers and all BRPD precincts.
Community Partners: East Baton Rouge District Attorney, East Baton Rouge Sheriff's Office, Dr. Martin L. King Jr. Community Center, Family and Youth Service Center, Chaneyville Community Center, Charles R. Kelly Community Center, American Foundation for Suicide Prevention Louisiana, Beacon Light Baptist Church, Boy Scouts of America, Department of Veterans Affairs and A Girl and A Gun Women's Shooting League.