When it comes to firearms safety, one of the forerunners has always been the National Shooting Sports Foundation.
They recently initiated a new campaign to remind us that “The hunt isn’t over until you are SAFE” (Secure your firearms when not in use; be Aware of those around you who should not have unauthorized access to firearms; Focus on your responsibility as a firearm owner; and Educate yourself and others about safe firearms handling).
“As gun owners, it is our responsibility to treat firearms with the respect they deserve in the field, on the range, at home and everywhere in between,” said Steve Sanetti, NSSF president and CEO.
The program is a part Project ChildSafe that NSSF launched in 1998. It strongly emphasizes the role safe storage plays in preventing firearms accidents and encouraging voluntary action of all gun owners.
Although the program is focused primarily on children, the online program provides a series of educational materials and resources that should be reviewed.
Since it‘s inception, NSSF has provided over 36 million free firearms safety kits to gun owners in all 50 states and five U.S. territories in addition to the more than 60 million free locking devices manufacturers have included with new firearms sold since the beginning of the program. However, reduced federal funding for Project ChildSafe has limited the availability of safety kits to all Project Home Safe partners. The federal grants from the U.S. Department of Justice originally supported Project ChildSafe, but ceased in 2008.
Now the program is solely funded by the firearms manufacturing industry through NSSF. Unfortunately, NSSF’s recent $1 million commitment to provide 500,000 new safety kits only meets one-third of the demand. Since the summer campaign by NSSF, the requests for the safety kits have increased by 80 percent. You would think that with the program’s obvious success and the initiation of stricter gun controls due to the unfortunate shooting incidents that have occurred, the Federal Government would see the importance of it, and resume funding it. The most overwhelming support right now has been from law enforcement.
As an individual, you can get a free Project ChildSafe safety kit if you go to www.-projectchildsafe.org, click on “find a safety kit,” then on “NYS.” All you need to do then is contact the agency nearest you. This kit includes a cable-style gun lock and instructions. You can also download safety materials: “Firearms Responsibility in the Home,” “Project Childsafe Children’s Pledge” and “Safety Bookmark.” The website has a number of rules, videos including “Own it? Respect It and Secure It,” “Introduction to Range Safety and Etiquette” and “Wingshooting Safety” and information on how and where to find a safety course. I reviewed all of these and discovered a few things I had forgotten. When looking at the New York state partners, it’s easy see the greatest support/participation is from our law enforcement. You will find all our local police and county sheriff departments are listed.
So who are the other partners? In addition to law enforcement, they include governors, lieutenant governors, U.S. attorneys, and community leaders. I didn’t count them all, but there were hundreds.
On a national level, Cabela’s recently partnered with the NSSF and Project ChildSafe to help promote firearm safety. According to NSSF the list of partners in support include USA Shooting, the Outdoor Channel and many other hunting, shooting and outdoor publishers.
Last July, USA Shooting teamed up with NSSF in promoting firearm safety in the home on Project ChildSafe. Other major organizations supporting Project ChildSafe are Bonnier Corp., FMG Publications, Gun View, Inter Media Outdoors, Long Shot, National Assn. of Sporting Goods Wholesalers, Nevada Firearms Coalition, Outdoor News, Sportsman of Tomorrow and USA ESCA (Youth Education Shooting
Are you a safe hunter? There’s a 10-question quiz on the Project ChildSafe website. See how well you can do, and if you have a young shooter/hunter in your family, be sure you both take the test — and both of you review the entire site.
I found several things that I had forgotten, and you probably will have forgotten one or two. I did get one wrong on the test.
Requests for Project ChildSafe firearm safety kits should be made by law enforcement partners only. Individuals, community groups and businesses are encouraged to partner with a participating law enforcement agency.