For more than a decade, Project ChildSafe has been partnering with law enforcement agencies throughout the country to distribute free firearm safety kits that include gun locks and educational materials. With proper storage widely recognized as the No. 1 way to help prevent firearm accidents, we are pleased to be working closely with the Buckhannon Police Department to help make the community more safe. That said, while the program is not currently being supported by the Department of Justice, renewed support from the federal government could increase our efforts to provide firearms safety education.
In 2003, the Department of Justice began funding Project ChildSafe through a series of grants to promote firearms responsibility and safety education on a national scale. That investment enabled us to provide more than 36 million free firearm safety kits in all 50 states. Yet, despite the program's success and law enforcement pleas, federal support was discontinued after the grants expired in 2008. The program has been funded exclusively by the firearms industry ever since. And while the industry has committed an additional 500,000 locks this year, supply simply can't keep up with demand.
We believe the federal government should re-embrace the importance of firearm storage and safety, and it should look to the success its involvement in Project ChildSafe has already achieved and recognize that even more could be accomplished with renewed investment. Each and every safety kit and lock distributed to gun owners in Buckhannon will help to keep firearms out of the wrong hands-we encourage residents to reach out to their elected federal officials to express their support for Project ChildSafe. The importance of firearm safety is something upon which we can all agree.
Steve Sanetti is president and CEO of the National Shooting Sports Foundation, a leading organization working to promote firearms safety in the U.S. For more information please visit www.Projectchildsafe.org