Dec. 19, 2018
Randy Zellers Assistant Chief of Communications
LITTLE ROCK — Hunting rifles, shotguns and handguns are some favorite “big-ticket” items that find their way under a hunter or shooting sports participant’s tree each Christmas. Help keep everyone in the household safe by ensuring each firearm comes with a safety lock.
Many firearms come with some sort of safety lock from the manufacturer, but some are purchased used from gun stores or handed down from older generations. A simple cable lock or trigger lock can be included right alongside that gift with the advice to always practice responsible gun safety, which includes securing the firearm properly when not in use.
Joe Huggins, hunter education coordinator for the AGFC, says a gun safe is also a great option to give people who already own firearms.
“It’s one of those things people always say they’re going to get, but don’t want to spend the money on,” Huggins said. “It’s a great thing for a larger Christmas gift to a hunter.”
The holiday season also is a time for all gun owners to think a little more about securing and storing their firearms safely. People who normally have a firearm somewhere convenient for security issues may have family gatherings or get-togethers with friends.
“Kids are going to play hide-and-seek and get into the drawers and closets out of curiosity when they’re visiting grandparents and other family,” Huggins said. “Some people who have their guns in easy-to-reach areas for personal defense or guns waiting for a hunting trip may want to secure their firearms away from areas where a curious child may find them. And keep a lock on the firearm until you’re at your hunting location.”
Huggins says nearly all gun locks are made more as a deterrent for children than something to prevent theft.
“Most locks aren’t going to stand up to bolt cutters or some other tool if someone is really wanting to take it off,” Huggins said. “But they do help keep younger people safe until they learn how to properly handle firearms from an adult.”
According to the National Shooting Sports Foundation, fatal firearms accidents declined by 24 percent from 2006 to 2015. Safe and secure gun storage is the number one way to increase gun safety in the home. As part of the NSSF and AGFC’s commitment to safe firearms handling, each AGFC nature center has a supply of free gun locks, provided by the NSSF’s Project ChildSafe, while supplies last.
“We’ve worked with the NSSF for years to offer these whenever we could,” Huggins said. “And our staff helps distribute them to anyone who needs them.”