Project Child Safe

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The West Virginia Sate Police are trying to prevent accidental gun deaths.

They're the latest police agency in the area to offer free gun locks.

More than 232,000 gun locks are available, and more than 100 are available locally.

It's part of a nationwide program called Project Child Safe, but its goal is to promote gun safety among both children and adults.

"It's always a tragedy when a child is injured or killed by a weapon that should have been rendered safe," explains Sgt. Reginald Patterson of the Parkersburg detachment. "This is an added measure for both parents to promote safety in the home, as well as firearms safety."

To get a gun lock, just stop by any state police detachment across the state, including the Wood County detachment on Route 47.

Parkersburg and Vienna police departments are also giving out gun locks. Extended Web Coverage

Handgun Safety Locks: Protecting Our Children

  • Every day, guns hurt or kill American children. The statistics paint a terrifying picture: guns cause 12 percent of fatalities among American children and teens, and 1 of every 4 deaths of teenagers ages 15 to 19.

  • While many firearms deaths result from violent crime, gun accidents regularly claim the lives of America's youth. Firearms are the fourth leading cause of accidental deaths among children ages 5 to 14. Moreover, firearms have become the primary method by which young people commit suicide.

  • And the trend is getting worse. For children between 10 and 14 years-old, the firearm death rate increased by 18 percent from 1985 to 1990. For teens between 15 and 19, the firearm death rate increased by 77 percent during the same period.

  • Many young people have to look no further than their own home to get access to a gun. Many parents who say they have a gun in their home admit that they do not lock their firearms away from their children.

  • More must be done to prevent the tragic and needless deaths of our children by firearms. The President's Strategy addresses this problem by requiring gun dealers to sell a locking device with every handgun. Properly used, safety locking devices can dramatically reduce the unauthorized use of handguns by a child at play or a teen who wants to commit a crime.

  • Safety locks are inexpensive devices designed to secure a gun from unintended use. A 1991 General Accounting Office study found that one-third of the deaths resulting from accidental shootings could be prevented by a firearms safety device such as a trigger lock.

  • Last year, in the District of Columbia, a police officer's 3-year-old daughter climbed on top of a piece of furniture, pulled down her father's pistol and accidentally shot herself to death. The manufacturer of the handgun, Glock, donated 4,000 safety locks to the D.C. Police Department in response to the accident to prevent a similar occurrence from happening again.

  • Learning how to use a locking device should just take a few minutes. With training, many locking devices can be detached within seconds, allowing the authorized user quick access to their handgun in necessary situations. Locking devices have the added benefit of potentially preventing a gun from being used against its owner.

  • American families have a responsibility to keep their handguns out of the hands of children. A child safety lock on a handgun will help families to keep their kids from using the gun to hurt other kids or themselves.

    Source: (U.S. Department of Justice).