Project ChildSafe, the nationwide firearms safety education program of the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), is celebrating its 20th anniversary at the SHOT Show, and stepping up efforts with the shooting sports industry to remind gun owners of their important role as leaders in firearms safety.
“Nearly 9,000 retailers, gun ranges, makers of accessories and conservation groups, along with many of the nation’s largest firearms manufacturers, have joined us in spreading the message of ‘Own It? Respect It. Secure It.,’ and encouraging gun owners to store their firearms responsibly when not in use,” said Steve Sanetti, NSSF CEO. “With new companies in our industry adding their support for Project ChildSafe, I know we can continue to reduce firearms accidents, thefts and misuse, including suicide.”
Project ChildSafe launched in 1999 and through partnerships across the shooting sports industry, as well as with more than 15,000 law enforcement agencies, the program has distributed more than 38 million free firearms safety kits—each including a gun lock and safety brochure.
The program is financially supported by NSSF member companies, and during its history has received federal and state grants helping to extend its reach. At the SHOT Show this week program leaders are focusing on increasing direct industry engagement with customers and the gun-owning public to promote safe firearms handling and storage. In the time since Project ChildSafe launched, fatal firearms accidents in all age groups have dropped to historic lows, according to the National Safety Council. Additionally, in 2017, the Government Accountability Office issued a report with a clear determination that giving gun owners free gun locks, as Project ChildSafe does, results in more gun owners choosing to use the locks and store their firearms securely.
Sanetti said that there are many safe storage options gun owners can use to keep guns out of the wrong hands, including lock boxes, and that parents should make it a priority to talk with their children about gun safety. “The firearms industry is committed to the safe, legal and responsible use of firearms, and, as an industry, we are the leading voice in the national conversation to promote responsible actions among legal gun owners, to help prevent accidents and to help keep guns out of the wrong hands,” he said. “Because all those actions are real solutions that make homes, neighborhoods and communities safer.”