Douglas Sheriff’s promote gun safety, give away locks |

Douglas Sheriff’s promote gun safety, give away locks

In less than a week the Douglas County Sheriff’s Department has given away almost 1,000 handgun locks, and another shipment of 500 is expected Thursday.

A man looking for a gun lock Monday was turned away from the sheriff’s office in Minden because they had run out. He was told to return Friday when they would have more.

The sheriff’s department is one of 13 law enforcement agencies across the country that have provided people with free gun locks, as part of a program called Project HomeSafe.

The program is sponsored by the National Shooting and Sports Foundation, which began the program in September. The locks are paid for by the organization of more than 16,000 gun manufacturers, hunters, sport shooters and retailers. Douglas County Sheriff Ron Pierini said the foundation obviously wants to promote handgun and sport shooting, but also promotes gun safety.

“The response has been overwhelming,” he said. “This is a great program and it is something that has to be done.”

People from all over western Nevada and California have received locks at one of the five sheriff’s department locations.

The locks resemble small cable locks typically used for bicycles. The cable is threaded from a handgun’s firing chamber, through either the magazine chamber or the gun barrel. Unlike trigger locks, a gun fitted with a cable lock cannot be loaded.

Each day 14 children are killed in the United States as a result of an accidental weapon discharge.

The program “re-emphasizes the importance of education,” according to Pierini, but does not discourage people from owning guns.

“If you have a weapon in your home you need to store it safely,” he said.

“Traditionally the NSSF has been an organization that promotes hunter safety,” said Melody Alvord, Project HomeSafe spokesperson. “But they recognized that a lot of people across the country have guns for personal safety and that many of those people might not have had proper safety training.”

Along with the locks, Project HomeSafe also distributes educational material that both Pierini and Alvord hope people take the time to read.

“It is important that in addition to proper education people have locks,” Alvord said. “They are just an added precaution.”

Project HomeSafe has distributed 40,000 gun locks in cities across the country, including Oakland and Las Vegas.

South Lake Tahoe Police Chief Brad Bennett said he was impressed by the response in Douglas County.

“I think it’s a great program,” Bennett said. “Particularly in the rural part of Douglas County where there are a lot of people with guns and who are involved in hunting, but it would be a valuable program anywhere.”

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