Project ChildSafe Partners with Safe Kids to promote Gun Safety
Hunting season has started and the Huntingdon County Safe Kids chapter reminds hunters and all gun owners in the County to safely handle and store their fire arms to prevent tragedy. To help owners secure their guns, the chapter in cooperation with Project ChildSafe has provided gun locks at the following locations: Information Desk at J.C. Blair Memorial Hospital, Huntingdon County United Way Office and Mainstream Counseling. Gun owners are encouraged to stop by these locations and pick up their free gun lock while supplies last.
Project Child Safe reports that nearly all firearms accidents in the home can be prevented simply by making sure that guns are kept unloaded and locked up, with ammunition secured in a separate location.
“Proper fire arms storage in the home is imperative,” said retired Pennsylvania State Police Sergeant Phillip Harchack. “Gun locks alone will not prevent a tragedy, but should be combined with proper training and diligence on the part of the gun owner.”
Harchack reminds that it is the responsibility of the gun owner to know how to properly handle any firearm they own.
• Be sure you know how the firearm operates. Not all firearms are the same. Know how to safely open and close the action of the firearm and know how to safely remove any ammunition from the gun or from the gun's magazine.
• Always keep a gun pointed in a safe direction – so that it will not result in injury if accidentally fired - even when handling an unloaded gun.
• Never assume that a firearm is unloaded. Whenever you pick up a gun, the first thing you should do is to point it in a safe direction and make sure it is unloaded.
• Always keep your finger off the trigger, even when handling an unloaded gun. The only time you should touch the trigger is when you are at a shooting range or other safe shooting location and you are actually ready to fire.
“As a firearms owner, you must make absolutely sure that guns in your home are stored so that they are not accessible to children or other unauthorized persons,” said Harchack. “Hiding a gun in a closet, drawer or similar location is not safe storage. Children are extremely curious and might find a gun in your home that you thought was safely hidden or inaccessible.”
Project ChildSafe warns that a gun lock should be used as an additional safety precaution and not as a substitute for locked storage. The organization further reminds gun owners to always re-check firearms carefully and completely to confirm that they are still unloaded when you remove them from storage. Accidents could occur if a family member has loaned or borrowed a gun and then carelessly returned it to storage while it was still loaded.
In addition, the Safe Kids chapter reminds parents that young people are naturally curious about firearms and, as a result, may be tempted to "play" with a firearm they find. Make sure young people in your home are aware of and understand gun safety. Teach children not to look for guns in their home or a friend’s house. If they find a gun, instruct them to stop, leave it alone and get an adult. Some guns may look like toys; tell children not to touch any gun, leave the area, and get an adult.
Project ChildSafe partners with community agencies to promote responsible firearm ownership at the community level and is managed by the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), the firearm industry’s trade association. Founded in 1961, the NSSF manages a variety of outreach programs with special emphasis on safety initiatives. Additional information about Project ChildSafe can be found at www.ProjectChildSafe.org and additional information about NSSF can be found at www.nssf.org.
For more information on gun locks or a free brochure for your family on securing your firearm, contact the Safe Kids of Huntingdon County at 814-643-8833. Safe Kids of Huntingdon County is a collaboration of the Huntingdon County Healthy Communities Partnership.