A PROGRAM OF THE NATIONAL SHOOTING SPORTS FOUNDATION

Blog Archive,

June 19, 2018

Name: Sheriff Carl J. Gotwald Sr.

Department: Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office, Brookville, Pennsylvania


How does your agency distribute Project ChildSafe gun locks and safety materials in your community?

The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office distributes the Project ChildSafe locks from our office to any individual in need. We also provide locks at off-site events such as The Night Out for Child Safety and the local fair. We also supply locks to our Adult and Juvenile Probation Department, as well as the Children and Youth Services.

Why does your department partner with Project ChildSafe?

Project ChildSafe is a program that hits close to home for me. At one particular birthday party when my grandchildren were younger, one of the children went into a bedroom and came out carrying a handgun. The door was shut but the kids were able to get in and find their parents’ weapon. If it had not been for a safety lock on the firearm, there was the possibility that someone would not be able to enjoy their next birthday. Any firearm that is not secured in a safe or safety container should have a safety lock of some kind attached.

How has access to free gun locks and safety materials impacted your community?

The Sheriff’s Office has distributed hundreds of locks over the years. I can happily say we have had no accidental shootings in Jefferson County – a statistic that we aim to keep going for many years to come. Hopefully by providing literature and locks to so many, we have averted an accidental shooting by a minor or adult.

How can residents in your community and communities across the country become more involved in spreading the message of safety?

There are many helpful courses and online resources, including Project ChildSafe, that provide information and materials on gun safety. This means that educational materials, quizzes and videos are readily available to anyone in the community. Further, the NRA has gun safety instructors who offer hands-on classes for novice or seasoned firearms owners.

Lastly, we welcome anyone in our community to contact our sheriff or police departments and ask for information on safe handling and storage of firearms.

April 27, 2018

Name: Rick Porrello, Chief of Police

Department: Lyndhurst Police Department, Lyndhurst, Ohio

How does your agency distribute Project ChildSafe gun locks and safety materials in your community?

Project ChildSafe locks are distributed directly to residents in several ways. We routinely promote their availability through our online presence, our city magazine and on our city hall marquee. They are also made available at special events – such as National Night Out and Lyndhurst Home Day. Finally, they’re also available 24/7 directly from our Emergency Communications Center.

Why does your department partner with Project ChildSafe?

Our mission statement memorializes our commitment to collaborate with the community. Partnering with Project ChildSafe gives us another way to work with residents to help prevent tragedies and share information about gun safety. Having the locks available, and promoting their availability, in and of itself helps to promote gun safety awareness for our residents.

How has access to free gun locks and safety materials impacted your community?

The safety kits provided by Project ChildSafe have helped us maintain an ongoing message of importance about the secure storage of firearms. Preventing access to guns by children and criminals and accidental discharge are critical goals for law enforcement, gun owners and, for that matter, all citizens.

How can residents in your community and communities across the country become more involved in spreading the message of safety?

Citizens must continue to make gun safety a priority and be part of the solution, not the problem. They should support programs such as Project ChildSafe, and can help make gun safety a priority in a variety of ways:

  • Gun owners should make secure firearm storage a topic of conversation with loved ones and friends.
  • Citizens can turn in unwanted firearms and ammunition to police.
  • Guns should be locked and stored in secure locations inaccessible to curious children or thieves.
  • Concealed carry license holders should not store guns in cars overnight.

Overall, our partnership with the Project ChildSafe program has been key to inspiring conversation and promoting better firearms safety and awareness.

March 5, 2018

Name: Chief John Gielink

Department: Mentor-on-the-Lake Police Department, Mentor-on-the-Lake, Ohio

How does your agency distribute Project ChildSafe gun locks and safety materials in your community?

We are proud to feature Project ChildSafe locks and materials in a display box, located in the lobby of city hall, which is accessible to the public 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Additionally, we hold several events throughout the year during which we engage with the public. We find that talking to families about gun safety is critical to community safety.

Why does your department partner with Project ChildSafe?

Unfortunately, due to funding cuts to local government, we are always looking to do more with less.  We always seek out opportunities to provide our residents with information and items to make their lives safer. We would not be able to provide free gun locks to our residents without this partnership with Project ChildSafe, and we have seen firsthand the impact it has on our residents.

How has access to free gun locks and safety materials impacted your community?

Some individuals in Mentor-on-the-Lake have at least one gun in their home. Many of those homes also have children. Some individuals can’t afford costly secure storage options to keep their weapons safe, and Project ChildSafe, in turn, provides a free solution through their locks and materials. This way, families can keep firearms safe from curious juveniles, at risk individuals and criminals, without a financial burden.

How can residents in your community and communities across the country become more involved in spreading the message of safety?

Help us raise awareness about gun safety both online and off. Children are naturally curious and smarter than some parents realize. Even storing a loaded gun on a high shelf or in a hidden drawer is an invitation to disaster. Talking to children and family members about gun safety and handling is key, and Project ChildSafe has great resources to help guide these conversations.

 

August 28, 2017

Nicolle Griffin is a leader and founder of the Yuma, Ariz., chapter of The Well Armed Woman (TWAW), which she started in 2013. Under her co-leadership, the Yuma chapter has become the largest chapter of TWAW in Arizona with more than 100 members. In addition to her work with TWAW, Griffin focuses her outreach and volunteer efforts toward educating women, such as military spouses, about the importance of firearms safety 

 

Project ChildSafe: Why are firearms safety and responsible storage of firearms when not in use important?

NG: As responsible gun owners, we need to keep our firearms accessible for protection while also ensuring they are safely secured, especially when children and guests are visiting our homes. We must also help ensure our firearms are not accessible to criminals and people who are not trained in safe firearm handling.

 

Project ChildSafe: Please tell us a little about the things you do to help promote firearms safety in your community.

NG: In 2013, I started The Well Armed Woman Chapter in Yuma. All three chapter co-leaders—Jan Ennenga, Joanne Schickle and myself—are NRA Certified Basic Pistol Instructors and Range Safety Officers. We offer free firearms safety training in our community with a focus on women, especially military spouses who frequently have firearms in their home. We also target local “mom’s clubs” to encourage responsible firearms safety in the home and around children. All of our courses cover the basic firearms safety rules, include proper handling and storage. To date, we have taught more than 400 members of our community.

 

Project ChildSafe: Please tell us why you support NSSF’s Project ChildSafe program.

NG: Project ChildSafe is an important program that provides educational resources for firearms owners, options for safe storage and overall important information for those who own guns. The program highlights the importance of responsible firearms ownership, including our obligation to help prevent guns from being accessible to children and other unauthorized individuals.

August 21, 2017

Mike Rainwater is a Lincoln Parish Sheriff’s Office deputy in Ruston, La., and served as the lead instructor for Louisiana’s Hunter Education Safety program for 20 years at the sheriff’s office. He has helped educate thousands of young kids for hunter education certification in Louisiana. Rainwater has also led and participated in more than 40 sportsman’s educational events over the years.  

Project ChildSafe: Why are firearms safety and responsible storage of firearms when not in use important?

MR: I vividly remember having an accidental discharge when I was young that scared me greatly. It was a tough lesson learned and taught me how important it is to be safe with firearms. When you are handling a firearm, it is of the utmost importance to understand how to use it and safely secure it when not in use. As a firearms owner, you have a responsibility to handle firearms safely. Firearms safety is essential to keeping your home, children and guests safe. As a law enforcement professional and firearms safety instructor, I have a responsibility to educate the public and that is what has driven my support of Project ChildSafe for so many years. Any accident is tragic; there are too many senseless fatalities that are related to firearms and a lack of safety measures taken. Education and safe storage of firearms is the most effective way to reduce firearms accidents.

Project ChildSafe: Please tell us a little about the things you do to help promote firearm safety in your community.

MR: I am the lead instructor for Louisiana’s Hunter Education Safety program. We try to hold 10 or more classes a year, where we teach special classes for 4-H and summer camp programs. The types of students can vary but usually the standard classes are full of younger kids. I am also involved in the Louisiana Hunting Heritage Program, a mentorship program that matches a seasoned hunter with a beginner, and focuses on safe hunting over the course of a season. The Sheriff’s Department has been extremely supportive of these efforts and allows me to sponsor these classes.

Project ChildSafe: Please tell us why you support NSSF’s Project ChildSafe program.

MR: I find Project ChildSafe to be an invaluable program because safety of firearms in the home is paramount. I believe in keeping firearms locked up when not in use and support any effort to facilitate that critical step in firearms safety. I have always been a supporter of NSSF and got involved in Project ChildSafe years ago after I started handing out gun locks to my community, mostly through the hunter education classes. 

August 14, 2017

Maj Toure founded Back Guns Matter in 2015, a program dedicated to educating urban communities about firearms responsibility through training. Black Guns Matter is currently on a 50-state tour to reach urban communities across the country and educate them about safe firearms use and safe gun storage. 

Project ChildSafe: Why are firearms safety and responsible storage of firearms when not in use important? 

MT: Firearms safety is important because you are responsible for what happens with your firearm. If you own a firearm for protection, your job is to find a balance between accessibility and safe storage of, and both are achievable. People want their firearms to be accessible should the need for them arise, but it is also our responsibility to safely secure our guns. We can find a solution for everyone, whether it’s is a biometric safe, a trigger lock or a cable-style gun lock, and we can assess the dynamics of each individual’s home and figure out the best option for him or her. We always find a good middle ground between safety and accessibility.

Project ChildSafe: Please tell us a little about the things you do to help promote firearms safety in your community.

MT: Black Guns Matter is a firearms safety and training organization. We go to urban, high-crime and high-gun control areas to inform that demographic about firearms safety. We promote safety by hosting firearms safety events across the country. They are free and open to all who want to learn.

Putting people on the path to responsible gun ownership is the forefront of our work at Black Guns Matter. Our job is to inform our demographic, put them on a reputable path and watch them blossom. The feedback we are getting is amazing, and most people are positive about our message. It is hard to disagree with education, training and safety.

 

Project ChildSafe: Please tell us why you support NSSF’s Project ChildSafe program.

MT: We support the program because negligence of firearms safety affects children and families entirely too much. The lack of training, ignorance and carelessness are all preventable, and NSSF is doing tremendous work to make that point to a wide audience.

Black Guns Matter engages millions of Americans that have been left out of the responsible firearms ownership conversation. Just last week, we incorporated the NSSF Project ChildSafe program and the cable-style gun locks into our class and passed them out to everyone who attended. We walked them through the process of how they can use that lock and emphasized that the responsibility to keep that firearm secured and stored is up to them. There are many young people in our classes, and these people were not raised in the shooting sports. But through our program, they are on the path at a young age to start at a place of safety. The education and training can appeal to the minds and the hearts of this demographic, and allows for safe and responsible firearms ownership. 

August 6, 2017

Rich Knight has dedicated much of his time and effort to educating the Carson City, Nev., area on firearms safety and storage. He volunteers with the local 4-H shooting sports club and the Maison T Ortiz Youth Outdoor Skills Camp, both dedicated to teaching youth outdoor and firearms safety skills. Knight also helps with the Wild Sheep Foundation’s Youth Wildlife Conservation Experience in Reno and the Nevada Outdoor Experience, two more programs which provide outdoors experiences for youth and their families.

Project ChildSafe: Why are firearms safety and responsible storage of firearms when not in use important?

RK: Proper gun handling and storage is not what you see on TV, and it is a part of my mission to inform gun owners of the proper practices to ensure safety. Firearms storage is important to preventing firearms accidents and fatalities. It is especially important to secure your firearms if you have children or when you have visitors in your home. You must keep guns secured by using a safe, applying a cable or trigger gun lock, making sure they are unloaded and storing ammunition separately.

Project ChildSafe: Please tell us a little about the things you do to help promote firearms safety in your community.

RK: After being certified by the National 4-H Shooting Sports club, a leading shooting education and youth development program, I became an instructor for the local 4-H program. As an instructor, I teach safety as the #1 priority, with family participation in shooting and safety. Parents come to the program so the whole family knows the rules of safe handling and storage. The program is primarily focused on the safety and responsibility involved with gun handling but also promotes sportsmanship and ethical behavior in shooting sports, hunting and wildlife conservation. 

My primary focus is safety. When I am teaching, my goal is for kids to understand that they need to leave firearms alone. If they see a gun at a friend’s house, leave it be and tell an adult.

Project ChildSafe: Please tell us why you support NSSF’s Project ChildSafe program.

RK: I support any firearms industry program that promotes safety and better understanding of firearms, especially Project ChildSafe. The program helps educate people about firearms safety and storage, enabling us to protect our children and communities. Firearms owners, instructors and programs like Project ChildSafe are the best resources to promote firearms safety and responsibility.

August 6, 2017

Bukhari Abdel-Alim is a founder of the non-profit TAASAR Group as well as the Blue Eagles Shotgun Team, a youth trapshooting team program. He organizes gun safety and awareness seminars for youth and parents in and around Richmond, Va., to educate his community about the importance of gun safety awareness at the range and at home. As a father of two, Abdel-Alim takes educating youth about gun safety personally and has shown a continued commitment toward making his community an environment that respects and safely stores firearms.

 

Project ChildSafe: Why are firearms safety and responsible storage of firearms when not in use important?

 

BA: Like a motor vehicle, firearms have varied purposes or intended uses. Firearms could be used for sport, leisure, to put food on the table, a tool in your line of work or even a special piece of a collection. Also, a firearm should be used only by someone legally authorized to use that firearm. We wouldn't give car keys to a 12 year old and say “Have at it!” Firearms safety means personal, family and community safety. By understanding and implementing firearms safety every time a firearm is present, we are ensuring that the people we love and care about are not put in harm’s way through actions that are unsafe and avoidable.

Project ChildSafe: Please tell us a little about the things you do to help promote firearms safety in your community.

 

BA: For the last four years, I have coached the Blue Eagles Shotgun Team based in Richmond. The team was initially formed to teach youth ages 12-17 proper firearms safety, with a mix of classroom learning and hands-on shooting experience in a safe environment. These efforts have helped children learn critical proper and safe firearm handling skills. This has also opened the door to educating parents on firearms safety and safe storage practices, if they already own or are considering purchasing a firearm.

 

This year, I have also started offering free-to-the-public "Firearm Safety, Awareness and Negligence Prevention" seminars conducted in the Richmond and Henrico County Libraries. This format is focused on reaching the local community and having these discussions to further educate people so they can encourage and increase safe firearm practices. Forums of this type do not always reach urban and suburban areas, and I hope to continue educating people with the right information that makes a difference.

 

Project ChildSafe: Please tell us why you support NSSF’s Project ChildSafe program.

 

BA: NSSF has always been a valuable resource of firearms safety information. With Project ChildSafe, I feel an even larger spotlight is shone on firearms safety and responsible storage. People like myself are always looking for a better way to share information with our audience, and Project ChildSafe delivers that on many levels. Being able to download data and materials, share videos and connect with others that support Project ChildSafe makes it easier for people all over the country to spread the message of firearms safety. Another great aspect of the program is that it makes free gun locks available, through law enforcement, to gun owners, helping them more easily practice firearms safety at home.

 

July 31, 2017

A freelance writer/editor, Barbara Baird publishes an e-zine, Women’s Outdoor News, and writes for several firearms, travel and outdoor publications. She is a contributing editor at SHOT Business and her bylines have appeared in National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) publications, National Rifle Association (NRA) publications, Show Me Missouri, Missouri Life, Rural Missouri, St. Louis Post-Dispatch and Field & Stream.

 

Along with editorial duties, Baird is the co-host of a national podcast, “The Women’s Gun Show,” with Carrie Lightfoot, of The Well Armed Woman. Sponsored by Ruger and NRA Women, the weekly podcast focuses on women and shooting, along with timely and trending firearms news topics, product reviews, guest interviews and an insight into the fast-growing world of women and gun ownership. It can be found on iTunes, Stitcher and iHeart Radio.

 

Baird is also the leader of The Well Armed Woman, Top of the Ozarks Chapter, a certified NRA pistol instructor and continuing student of personal defense shooting skills. She lives in the Missouri Ozarks, with her husband, Jason. They have 4 children and 6 grandchildren.

 

Project ChildSafe: Why are firearms safety and responsible storage of firearms when not in use important?

 

BB: Safe storage of firearms is an integral part of gun ownership. It is so important that guns never become easy targets for those who should not have them, such as criminals, individuals with certain mental health challenges and, of course, children.

 

 

Project ChildSafe: Please tell us a little about the things you do to help promote firearms safety in your community.

 

BB: At Women’s Outdoor News, we continually integrate the message of “Own It? Respect It. Secure It.” through our content – whether it’s a gun review or a story about a hunting trip. We are running a series of gun reviews sponsored by Liberty Safe, which always recommends using a safe for storage. We are also producing a video series this year on Project ChildSafe featuring some of the outdoor industry’s prominent women hunters and competition shooters, along with other notables, in which they talk about forms of safe storage. For example, Melissa Bachman discusses the gun vault beside her bed for home defense and Julie McQueen gives tips on how to travel safely with firearms. There are more videos to come and we’re excited to be partnering with NSSF in this venture.

 

Project ChildSafe: Please tell us why you support NSSF’s Project ChildSafe program.

 

BB: It just works. I recently interviewed Bill Romanelli, spokesperson for NSSF’s Project ChildSafe Program, for Episode #57 of “The Women’s Gun Show,” in which he mentioned the success stories associated with the program and the fact that more than 37 million locks have been distributed across the country. With the support of government agencies, including wildlife divisions, the program is getting grassroots support and boots on the ground in areas where we need it most.

 

July 31, 2017

Robert Hurst, of St. Louis, serves as the Delta Waterfowl Arch Chapter’s Veterans Activity Coordinator. Hurst plays a major role in organizing and executing the Aaron Hurst Memorial Youth Waterfowl Education Day each year, in memory of Hurst’s late son Aaron. At the education day, which hosts around 100 children, each attendee learns the basics of waterfowling and safe gun handling.

Project ChildSafe: Why are firearms safety and responsible storage of firearms when not in use important?

RH: Safe storage of firearms is a direct responsibility of the owner. If you have children, you need to secure your firearms so your kids and other unauthorized individuals, such as criminals, do not gain access to them. There are simple ways to secure your firearms, when not in use, by applying a trigger lock or cable-style lock on your firearms or by securing them in a gun safe or gun cabinet.

Project ChildSafe: Please tell us a little about the things you do to help promote firearms safety in your community.

RH: Over the past five years, the Arch Chapter of Delta Waterfowl puts on a Youth Waterfowl Education Day in my son’s name. The Aaron Hurst Youth Memorial Education Day teaches children how to safely handle firearms and what to do if they come across a firearm: “Stop, Don’t Touch, Leave the Area, Tell an Adult.”

This day is very special to me, and the kids learn a lot. For many of the children, it is their first real experience with the outdoors, hunting or shooting sports. The main purpose of this day is to get kids outside and enjoy the outdoors safely. Since this is the first time many of the kids are exposed to firearms, we teach the children and their parents the right way to handle them. Before each event, I inform the kids about gun safety, teaching them to keep the guns on safe, keep fingers out of the trigger well and have the muzzle pointed in a safe direction. 

Project ChildSafe: Please tell us why you support NSSF’s Project ChildSafe program.

RH: I support this program because I am a firm believer in our 2nd Amendment rights and the National Shooting Sports Foundation’s firearm safety efforts. Project ChildSafe is focused on promoting gun safety to ensure the safety of our children and the community while protecting our rights. If you “own it, protect it, and secure it,” you are showing the community that gun owners are responsible and committed to safety and keeping guns away from those who shouldn’t have them. This is so important when people too often see only negative attention around gun ownership.