Project Child Safe makes free gun locks available in Niles

Published 8:03 pm Friday, October 31, 2003

By By BEN RAYMOND LODE / Niles Daily Star
NILES -- Niles City Police Department is among many law enforcement agencies in Michigan that have benefitted from Project Child Safe.
The project, which is an expansion of the National Shooting Sports Foundation's Project HomeSafe, is designed to help make homes with firearms safer by raising awareness about responsible firearm ownership and storage.
Since its beginning in 1999, Project HomeSafe has become the largest most comprehensive firearms safety education program in the nation.
Project Child safe is funded by a $50 million grant from the Department of Justice and will provide nearly 20 million free gunlocks and firearm safety educational materials to families all over the United States.
Capt. Jim Merriman, Niles City Police Department said project representatives called a while back asking whether the city police department would be interested in receiving the safety material.
The police department received the gun locks last Wednesday.
Merriman said the locks, which the department received hundreds of, come with information that can help educate parents about gun safety.
He hopes the program will help people prevent gun related accidents from happening in their homes because "many young children are naturally curious and tempted to play with guns."
He said not storing guns properly can have serious consequences.
If police can prove that the gun was fired because of neglect, the owner will be criminally charged, Merriman said.
Merriman, therefore, encourages people to store their guns and ammunition in separate places, out of reach for children.
Bob Keyser, a Project Child Safe spokesperson, said recent statistics show accidents with firearms in homes are declining.
But he said that's no reason to stop informing people about safety measurements.
So far the program has been very successful, Kaiser said.
Project Child Safe representatives will travel until they have visited and distributed free gun locks in all 50 states, the five U.S territories and the District of Columbia.
Having recently finished Michigan, project representatives are currently handing out gun locks in Connecticut, he said.
Merriman said people who want to pick up a free gun lock and the gun safety information can drop by the police station anytime.