Gun owners receive free safety kits

By Elena Haliczer

DeKalb and Sycamore police departments are distributing free firearm safety kits to local gun owners.

The kits have been made available through Project ChildSafe with federal grants from President George W. Bush’s Project Safe Neighborhoods program. Project Safe Neighborhoods is a gun-violence prevention initiative of the Bush administration.

“If people have guns in their homes, they’re safer locked up,” said Officer Mike Larmon of the Sycamore Police Department. “We see it as an added safety measure. The kits will prevent the unforeseen. Anybody who is a registered gun owner and who can present a [firearm owner’s identification card] can pick up a kit.”

Prevention in this case means preventing child deaths as a result of negligent gun safety, Larmon said.

The kit contains a gun lock, keys and detailed instructions. The gun lock is designed to work for most guns, and the instruction page has directions for several types of guns.

Illinois law mandates that households with children 14 and under must keep their guns under lock and key, Larmon said.

“Most of our customers who have kids have already taken measures to keep them safe. For first-time buyers, we tell them to keep them locked up,” said Dave Munch, a sales clerk at Carter’s Gun Shop in Shabbona.

Gun locks are readily available through this program and also through gun manufacturers themselves.

“Despite what you hear from some political rhetoric, in fact, quite a few of the gun manufacturers have gone to some very effective and unique key locks that are a part of the gun itself,” Munch said.

Project ChildSafe recommends if the gun lock doesn’t work on your particular firearm to contact the manufacturer of your firearm to find out the best lock for it.