When an Arizona mother walked into her bedroom and saw her two year old playing with her husband’s gun, it was the Project ChildSafe lock she’d put on it the day before that she credited with preventing a tragedy.
As a program of the National Shooting Sports Foundation (the trade association of the firearms industry), Project ChildSafe was launched in 1999 as a nationwide program to promote education about safe firearm handling and storage. It has been developed to educate gun owners on what they can do to safely store their firearms when not in use, and provide them with tools to do so.
The cornerstone of the program is the Project ChildSafe firearm safety kit, which includes a cable-style gun lock and a brochure that discusses safe handling and storage. Since its launch, Project ChildSafe has distributed more than 37 million of these free safety kits to gun owners in all 50 states and five U.S. territories through partnerships with more than 15,000 law enforcement agencies.
Project ChildSafe is a real solution to making our communities safer, and something everyone committed to preserving the hunting and shooting sports can support. For the past several years, the number of fatal firearms accidents has been declining, even while firearm sales have been increasing. Today, these accidents make up only 0.5 percent of all accidental fatalities. That’s a trend that’s going in the right direction—and not because of new laws or regulations that do nothing to further public safety– but instead from gun owners themselves committing to make safety and responsibility a priority.
Earlier this year, Wilderness Today joined leading conservation organizations that support Project ChildSafe in promoting firearm safety and ensuring firearm owners have the tools and information they need to store their firearms responsibly. Proper storage is the number one way to help prevent firearm accidents, theft and misuse, and as an organization committed to preserving the hunting heritage, Wilderness Today understands how important safety education is to that mission.
In joining with Project ChildSafe, we stand alongside other leaders in the hunting and shooting sports fields, including the National Wild Turkey Federation, Ducks Unlimited, Pheasants/Quail Forever, the Wild Sheep Foundation, and 4-H Shooting Sports, along with more than a thousand individual retailers, gun ranges and hunter safety instructors. This collective outreach has reminded millions of gun owners to safely and securely store their firearms when not in use.
When it comes to our children and people in our homes, we want to prevent a loaded firearm from being found and played with, stolen, or misused. That’s a tragedy waiting to happen, and it’s so easily prevented. That’s something all responsible gun owners know, but it continually bears repeating. It’s only when we get complacent about firearm safety that accidents happen. As the Project ChildSafe slogan says, “Own it? Respect It. Secure It.”
Visit Project ChildSafe at www.projectchildsafe.org to access their free library of safety information, including tips for safe firearm storage at home, a hunting safety checklist, videos on how to talk to your kids about gun safety and other resources. And please show your support by liking Project ChildSafe on Facebook and signing the Project ChildSafe Pledge yourself. You can also find a local law enforcement partner in your area that provides free Project ChildSafe safety kits. (And if there’s not one in your area, call your local police or sheriff’s department and urge them to sign up – it’s free.)
You can donate to the program from the website as well. Every $2 helps put a gun lock in someone’s hands. PCS is also 501(c)(3) tax-exempt nonprofit charitable organization, so all donations are tax deductible.
The importance of firearm safety is something upon which everyone can agree. Better education and continued voluntary action by firearm owners is a pragmatic solution we can embrace now. The more often responsible gun owners take steps to secure their firearms when not in use, the more accidents we can help prevent, and the fewer rifles and handguns will end up in the wrong hands.