Benton PD to issue free gun locks

By: 
Special to the Courier
Staff Writer

The Benton Police Department will distribute free gun safety locks to residents through the Project ChildSafe Program and the National Shooting Sports Foundation.
The program promotes the safe storage of firearms and raises awareness about firearm safety by distributing gun locks and educational material to gun owners.

“We encourage citizens to come to the police department or ask a patrol sergeant for a free cable-style gun lock,” Chief Kirk Lane said. “We want to prevent an injury or death of any person, especially a child, by eliminating their access to a gun that doesn’t have a gun safety lock. It doesn’t take long to put the lock on the gun, and it may also prevent the theft of the gun.”

Fatal firearms accidents in all age groups dropped by 22 percent between 2000 and 2010, according to the National Safety Council.
Lane said the Benton Police Department has been a member of the Project ChildSafe Program for a number of years and attributes the decrease of firearm fatalities to the education of firearm safety to residents along with the increase of gun safety locks being provided to gun owners.

“We are ramping the program up this year due to a rash of guns being stolen from homes and vehicles,” Lane said. “And because of accidents that have resulted in deaths due to the mishandling of firearms. Placing the cable-style gun lock is the first step in safely securing your gun.”

Project ChildSafe also promotes the “Own it? Respect it. Secure it.” Initiative to raise the public’s awareness and encourage the importance of properly storing a gun. Gun-locking devices render firearms inoperable and should be used in addition to safe firearms handling and storage methods. The lock is intended to discourage unauthorized access to a firearm, but should not be considered a high-security device. Unloaded firearms should be stored in a locked cabinet, safe, gun vault or storage case. The storage location should be inaccessible to children.
Lane said responsible gun owners should also record the serial numbers from the guns. He said firearms should never be left in unlocked vehicles. If a firearm is stolen, report it immediately to the Benton Police Department.

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