Firearm safety program in Tacoma

Lincoln/Eldridge Metro Park was the site of a Tuesday afternoon press conference announcing the statewide distribution of free gun locks and firearm safety education materials.

The National Shooting Sports Foundation has partnered with the governor’s office, the Western Washington division of the U.S. Attorney’s Office and local law enforcement to distribute over 332,500 free gun locks in Washington as part of the national Project ChildSafe initiative.

Project ChildSafe is designed to help make homes with firearms safer by raising awareness about responsible firearm ownership and storage.

“I am just thrilled that this program is taking place…in Tacoma and Pierce County,” said Lt. Gov. Brad Owen.

Gun violence is the No. 2 issue – behind terrorism – for the U.S. Attorney’s Office, according to President Bush, said Kate Greenquist, Law Enforcement Coordinating Committee manager.

While the issue of firearms has always been a controversial one, Greenquist said there are two things that are not controversial: Criminals who use guns should be prosecuted and children need to be kept safe from gun violence.

“Nobody wants their kids hurt through an act of violence or negligence,” she said.

“We’re glad to be back here,” said Dee Dee Dockins, a member of the National Shooting Sports Foundation, referring to Project ChildSafe’s Washington kickoff, which began in Tacoma. “We’ve visited over 200 communities in Washington.”

She then demonstrated for the assembled media and others how the 15-inch cable-style gun lock is installed on a handgun.

This style of gun lock was chosen, she explained, because it fits about 95 percent of all firearms and the firearm has to be unloaded in order for the device to be secured.

“This is a safety device, not a security device,” Dockins stressed.

It is recommended that firearms be stored in a location inaccessible to children and that ammunition be stored in a locked location separate from firearms, according to the group’s literature.

Project ChildSafe is a national program funded by a $50 million grant from the Department of Justice and will provide nearly 20 million free gun locks and firearm safety education materials to families in all 50 states, U.S. territories and the District of Columbia.

Project ChildSafe is a component of Project Safe Neighborhoods, a gun violence prevention initiative of the Bush administration.

Project ChildSafe, which began in late summer, utilizes 15 vehicles to visit thousands of communities throughout the nation.

Following the press conference, free gun locks and other material was handed out at two locations, the Safeway store at 1112 S. M St. and Bull’s Eye Shooter Supply at 414 Puyallup Ave. in Tacoma.

Pierce County residents 18 years and older can get two free gun locks at those locations, as well as at any police or sheriff’s department.
For more information, visit the organization’s Website at: