OKLAHOMA CITY – The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), along with Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin, Oklahoma City leaders and law enforcement officials, today launched Project ChildSafe Communities in Oklahoma's State Capitol, kicking off a national initiative designed to encourage responsible firearm ownership with an emphasis on secure firearm storage. The event marked the launch in Oklahoma City – the first event in the nation under the initiative – starting a year-long, community-led effort that is, among other goals, "Aiming for Zero" firearm accidents.
"Like many of my fellow Oklahomans, I am a strong supporter of the Second Amendment and of the right to own guns. Every member of my immediate family has a conceal carry permit. So I know the great responsibility that comes with owning a gun, and that includes responsible firearm safety" Governor Fallin said. ". I look forward to working together to practice and promote firearm safety throughout our state to protect our children from firearm accidents."
Project ChildSafe Communities is supported by NSSF through a two-year $2.4 million grant by the U.S. Department of Justice's Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA). BJA awarded this grant to help promote additional firearm safety efforts on a national level by creating Project ChildSafe Communities in key cities around the country.
In Oklahoma City, the initiative will provide local law enforcement agencies with thousands of gun locks to distribute at public events and at their office locations, complemented by a library of educational resources and information.
"By making the safety kits and educational resources available, we will help promote responsible gun ownership to members of our community that will have a larger impact in facilitating smart habits that will help keep guns safely stored away from children, at-risk individuals and criminals," said Oklahoma City Police Chief Bill Citty.
The initiative is also partnering with several local organizations representing conservation groups, mental health and suicide prevention advocates, veterans, retailers and hunting and shooting groups to help share messages and information about responsible firearm storage.
Their collective efforts will be backed up by community-wide messaging that that will appear in social media, in an upcoming public service announcement on TV and radio, and on billboards around the capital city region.
"Oklahoma City represents the first Project ChildSafe community effort under the new initiative and, based on the tremendous local support we've seen already, it will serve as a model for similar firearm safety efforts around the nation," said NSSF President and CEO Steve Sanetti.
Through partnerships with more than 15,000 local law enforcement agencies and more than 3,400 organizational supporters, Project ChildSafe has helped educate firearm owners on the importance of gun safety, while distributing more than 37 million free firearm safety kits—which include a free gun lock—to communities in all 50 states and the U.S. territories.
In addition to Governor Fallin, and the Oklahoma City Police Department, local stakeholders who attended the Project ChildSafe Communities launch event included Mayor Mick Cornett, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Oklahoma Mark Yancey, the Oklahoma County Sheriff's Office, the Oklahoma City Fire Department, the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife, the Oklahoma Veterans Council, Honoring American Warriors, the Oklahoma City Gun Club, Hall-N-Hall Consulting and local chapter leaders of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, National Wild Turkey Federation, Delta Waterfowl and The Well-Armed Woman, Cabela's and 4-H Shooting Sports.
For more information on Project ChildSafe Communities and how to get involved, visit projectchildsafe.org.