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Gun safety in the home - priceless

November 28, 2004|by BRIAN SHAPPELL

shappell@herald-mail.com

Hundreds and hundreds of gun locks have been given out in the past 11 months by local law enforcement groups through the Project ChildSafe program.

Now, the Hagerstown Police Department says it has thousands more, which are available for free.

Inside the side door of the department's city barrack are dozens of boxes of free gun locks, Chief Arthur Smith said. The department recently requested reinforcements to the dwindling supply it had received in December 2003 and got plenty, Smith said.

"Now, people can have 10 of them at a time if they want," he said.

Area police departments began receiving gun locks, to be distributed to residents at no cost, last year as part of the National Shooting Sports Foundation's federally funded Project ChildSafe program. The program is designed to help make homes with firearms safer by raising awareness about responsible ownership and storage, according to a foundation news release.

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Among those who signed up to receive them in the last year through the city department were police officers, are residents and representatives from local gun clubs. Several people on the list declined to speak on the record this week about receiving the locks.

Capt. John "Jack" Moulton said obtaining the locks is an easy measure for parents and others interested in keeping their homes safer.

"By putting them out for free, it gives everyone a chance to protect their children from tragedy," Moulton said.

Moulton said the best way to use the locks is to secure the "action point" on the guns. He said the locks are useable for virtually every type of firearm owned by the average citizen.

"For example, the best way to use it with a revolver is to loop the coil (on the lock) through the frame or, for a semi-automatic handgun, lock the slide back and loop it through the magazine well," Moulton said.

Moulton said the free gun locks are available at the Hagerstown Police Department Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., and weekends from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

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