The following letter was recently written by the president of the National Shooting Sports Foundation, the trade association of firearms industry (and ancillary products) and its “voice”. As a member of the NSSF’s Board of Governors, as the president of a small arms manufacturing business and as a concerned citizen, I strongly support the message Steve’s letter contains.
FOCUS ON WHAT WORKS TO HELP PREVENT FIREARMS TRAGEDIES
We all want to take effective measures to help prevent the sort of tragedy that occurred in Marysville, Washington, from happening again. When one looks closely at these kinds of incidents and how they happened, one truth emerges: Proper and responsible firearms storage by the gun’s lawful owner could have prevented them.
The common thread in most if not all of these awful crimes is that a troubled individual somehow got ahold of a firearm that had been previously purchased legally, after the required background checks. There’s broad agreement that additional background check legislation wouldn’t have prevented the incident last week and that the effort to stop school shootings and other violent incidents must begin at home. We should focus on safely securing firearms from unauthorized access, rather than on gun control, so that the conversation may move toward meaningful and effective solution to these incidents. We have the chance to do something that will actually have beneficial results, instead of just “doing something” that admittedly would not have prevented these tragedies.
The number one way to help prevent access to firearms by those who should not have them is by storing guns safely and securely when not in use. We have been working to provide gun owners across the nation with the resources and safety information they need to take steps that will help keep guns out of the wrong hands, prevent accidents, and deter theft and other misuse.
For more than 15 years, that has been the objective of Project ChildSafe, a program launched by the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) to promote public education about genuine firearms safety and proper gun storage. Its message is simple-if you own a firearm, you must respect it and secure it safely when not in use. We give gun owners the means to carry out this “Own it? Respect it. Secure it” message with free firearms safety kits that include helpful educational resources and a free cable-style gun lock that can be installed on nearly all firearms. Since the program began, Project ChildSafe has distributed more than 36 million free firearms safety kits to communities nationwide through partnerships with more than 15,000 law enforcement agencies.
We know this program works. Project ChildSafe and other firearms safety programs have helped lower the fatal firearms accident rate by more than 22 percent during the last decade. The reason it works is obvious-in a matter of seconds, any firearm can be rendered unusable by an unauthorized person. A gun lock may not be high tech, but it works. And they’re available now.
More restrictive gun laws and additional background checks would not have prevented the shooting in Marysville and others like it. In the wake of this horrible tragedy, there is one thing we can all agree on: those who own firearms should safely secure them from getting into the wrong hands. It is a simple step toward reducing the misuse of firearms. Securing your firearm with a free gun lock available through your local police department doesn’t require additional legislation and can be done right now. And yes-it’s the firearms industry that provides the safety kits and locks to them.
The infrastructure to prevent unauthorized access to guns and help stop needless shootings is already in place nationwide in the form of Project ChildSafe. If your local police department or sheriffs’ office isn’t already participating, you can call them and ask that they begin. It costs communities nothing to be involved, so there’s no reason to wait. And we all hope that by working together, we can effectively address the real issues behind these heartbreaking tragedies.
Stephen L. Sanetti
President and CEO
The National Shooting Sports Foundation