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By Larry Keane

The American Automobile Association (AAA) estimates more than 110 million Americans are traveling this holiday season to visit family and friends. That’s not a record high but is significantly above last year’s numbers – 34 percent higher – given that so many Americans stayed home due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Last year saw a record-high number of firearm purchases as more than 21 million Americans passed a National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) check to buy a gun. More than 8.4 million were first-time buyers and as of November this year, the numbers are only slightly behind for 2021.

The convergence of the two trends gives occasion for a critical reminder as people gather to celebrate the holidays and New Year. Safe and secure firearm storage in the home is always a pillar of responsible gun ownership but with children and guests in the house, it’s a reminder to double-check safe storage practices.

Prevention

NSSF’s Project ChildSafe was developed by the firearm industry trade association to educate and remind gun owners to properly store firearms in the home when not in use. That means using a gun safe, trigger or cable locking device and always keeping firearms unloaded when not in use. Keeping firearms out of reach of children or locked away to prevent access by individuals who shouldn’t possess a gun is vitally important to prevent tragedies.

NSSF President and CEO Joe Bartozzi attended a U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on safe firearm storage to provide testimony in support of the industry’s efforts and proven track record of success achieved through Project ChildSafe. Bartozzi summed up the importance of safe storage education before an accident occurs.

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“What we’re talking about here, from NSSF’s perspective, is a proactive approach to educating people. It is more important to prevent a tragedy than to deal with the pieces afterwards,” Bartozzi said.

Practice

The firearm industry doesn’t just merely preach gun safety in the home. The entire industry walks the walk too. Through partnerships with over 15,000 local law enforcement agencies in every state and five territories, Project ChildSafe has provided educational materials and free firearm safety kits to gun owners. This includes handing out more than 40 million locking devices free of charge. Combined with similar cable-style locks provided by firearm manufactures with every retail firearm purchase, that equals more than 100 million free gun locking devices.

“We know the program works. In the 22 years that Project ChildSafe has been in existence, we know that fatal [firearm] accidents have decreased by 40 percent,” Bartozzi added. “We are seeing progress and progress is a good thing – it means we’re having an impact.”

Having a Brave Conversation

Safe firearm storage in the home isn’t just about preventing the tragedy of an accident involving a child. It also means ensuring those who may be enduring a mental health crisis, especially during the holidays, can’t harm themselves with an unsecured gun.

NSSF partners with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) on efforts to encourage family and friends to have a “Brave Conversation” with loved ones in hopes of preventing the tragedy of suicide. These efforts include providing firearm retailers and range operators toolkits to educate gun owners about suicide risk and encourages them to safely store their firearms if they or their loved ones have suicidal thoughts.

The holidays and New Year are wonderful times to spend with family, especially after the past two years have made doing so difficult. Project ChildSafe is just one of several NSSF Real Solutions for Safer Communities initiatives to help reduce unintended firearm accidents.

With the excitement that family get-togethers bring to all, it’s critical that gun owners remember to practice safe firearm storage.

 

Larry Keane is SVP for Government and Public Affairs, Assistant Secretary and General Counsel of the National Shooting Sports Foundation.

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16 COMMENTS

    • You should have locked up your Little Gun long before you had kids to worry about. Ponder how many more guns you have to leave laying about today were there no kids…. 🙂 🙂 🙂

  1. If any of you are traveling to NJ this holiday season, you’d better not transport your firearm here if you’re under a disability or a textbook red flag candidate!

  2. VERY FUNNY ON THA KIDS , KNOW YA RIGHT THOUGH … PLENTY OF DUCK TAPE , CAMO , NEEDED .

    CARRY IF POSSIBLE ONLY WHAT NEEDED FOR LTC , PROTECTION ,
    LOCK N MORE LOCKS N HAND CUFFS IN MITTINS …

    BEGAN TA LOOK LOT LIKE XMAS …

    UNLESS GRAND PARENTS FARM IN SHOOT STEEL TARGETS ??? MORE WEAPONS N AMMO

    YA DIRTY FILTY ANIMALS ….

  3. I guess thats good advice on keeping kids safe.
    Does NSSF have any tips on keeping your kids safe when visiting the president of the United States of America?

  4. I do not understand who would ask a question like this. If you have guns you most likely carry one. I do not go anywhere without my tools, 24/7-365. When I was young and had my kids we could not afford safes and gun storage items, we were lucky to have 1 or 2 firearms. Anyway, my firearms were loaded and ready at all times and my kids were taught from day one about firearms and they never touched them. Nowadays I think the parents do not teach their kids responsibility and do not watch them like they are suppose to. The discipline is non existent today and that’s why kids are in trouble all the time, they have no discipline. This type of thing will end up being a mandatory thing to lock up your guns and force you to buy more insurance. I think it is just an easy way out instead of raising your kids the proper way.

    • MD requires guns to be locked up when children are in the house. I never did, but my children knew the rules. The men watching the woman in LA armed with a pickax to steal from the store tells me a lot. Where is Kyle when we need him.

  5. That means using a gun safe, trigger or cable locking device and always keeping firearms unloaded when not in use. “

    Don’t buy that propaganda. It takes less than a minute for a thug to break your door and be within 10 feet from you. Raise your children to respect knives, guns, medicines, automobiles, and gardening equipment.

    Also, look at a reciprocity map and avoid the fascist states

  6. All this stuff drives me nut’s, it is not that hard to do things in the right way in life and everywhere you go it is red tape! All you have to do is have common sense and ask the LORD for guidance and everything works out.

  7. Reinforcing safe storage habits in the home is good, but what does that have to do with safe traveling with a gun?

  8. In decent states, have it ready to draw if attacked.
    In craphole liberal tyrannies, do the same, but have a lockable briefcase ready. You can toss your guns and ammo into it and lock it. It would require a probable cause warrant separate from an ordinary car search for them to force it open.

    Merry Christmas.

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