Officer Andrew Bates – Photo by Dante Fontana © Style Media Group
For more than a decade, the Folsom Police Department has provided free gun safety kits through its partnership with Project ChildSafe, a nationwide educational nonprofit that promotes the safe handling of firearms. In addition to endorsements from law enforcement agencies like the El Dorado County Sherriff’s Department, Project ChildSafe receives support from more than a dozen organizations, including the National Association of Sporting Goods Wholesalers, the California Rifle and Pistol Association, and the Nevada Firearms Coalition.
“I’ve been unfortunate enough to have witnessed the impact of improperly stored or secured firearms,” Browning explains. “Weapon ownership comes with a great responsibility, and even the most innocent of mistakes can have tragic and permanent consequences.”
According to the National Safety Council, fatal accidents involving firearms decreased 22 percent between 2000 and 2010 and now constitute less than one percent of all fatal accidents in the U.S. “That’s a trend we really want to see continue,” says Folsom resident and local spokesperson for Project ChildSafe Bill Romanelli. “By providing education and putting the tools for responsible storage directly into people’s hands, we can do that.”
Since 2003, the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) has distributed 36 million gun safety kits (each of which includes a cable-style gunlock, installment instructions and gun safety information) through Project ChildSafe in 50 states and five U.S. territories. Last year alone, the NSSF pledged to make half a million kits available to its community partners, and Romanelli says the demand for kits is outpacing supply nearly four to one.
“I’ve seen letters from parents who’ve put Project ChildSafe locks on their firearms and have stories about how it prevented a horrible accident,” Romanelli shares. “I’ve also talked to people who’ve lost children and family members because a firearm wasn’t stored responsibly. The pain and heartbreak they’ve endured is unimaginable.” Browning adds: “There’s nothing more tragic than the senseless loss of a child...Project ChildSafe makes it so no one has any excuse for not rendering firearms they keep in their home safe and their children out of harm’s way.”
Although Project ChildSafe received $90 million dollars in federal funding over the course of five years, the organization has relied on donations from the firearms industry to accomplish its goals since 2008. “I hope to see even more law enforcement agencies come on board, and I’d like to one day report that Project ChildSafe has distributed more than 50 million free firearm safety kits,” Romanelli says. “I’d like to see Congress restore funding for this program. Every $2 puts another safety kit in someone’s hands.”
For more information, visit projectchildsafe.org.