Cheryl Bone has never been one to settle for the conventional. From studying nursing, to serving as a law enforcement lieutenant, to joining a music ministry, and finally becoming a chaplain in her community—at 72 years old—Cheryl’s life is anything but ordinary.
One thing has remained constant in her varied life, however: Practicing, teaching and advocating firearms safety. Her work and passion to spread the gun safety and safe storage messages are a big part her life. As a result, Project ChildSafe is proud to name Cheryl its S.A.F.E. Summer Champion in Memphis.
Cheryl has distributed hundreds of Project ChildSafe firearm safety kits that include a gun lock at local events, reaching people far beyond her Memphis community. She is a familiar face at school career fairs, and is often recognized for passing along gun locks and resources to youth in hopes of encouraging parents to securely store their firearms.
As a trusted member of the local faith community and a strong partner to law enforcement agencies that need help distributing gun locks, she is a true advocate for Project ChildSafe and its mission.
“I advocate for gun safety because I’m passionate about it, and I don’t want to see any more children die from preventable firearms accidents,” said Cheryl.
According to Cheryl, children and teens are comfortable and willing to talk to her about their parents’ firearms storage practices, and she always makes an effort to give at least one gun lock to each student with whom she connects.
Firearms safety has been a part of Cheryl’s life from a very young age, dating back to her early childhood years when her father taught her how to use his 20-gauge Iver Johnson shotgun. At five years old, she was instilled with the vital importance of firearms safety – something she still vividly remembers. The most important lesson she learned back then was that the 20-gauge Iver Johnson was not a toy.
Ever since, she has made it her mission to help everyone become a safe and responsible gun owner. That dedication formally took hold in 1968 when she started a career in law enforcement and became the first female police officer for the University of Tennessee police department to work the Memphis streets.
Because of her exposure to guns at a young age and her dad’s positive influence on proper firearms storage and gun safety, Cheryl recognizes how crucial it is to begin having conversations with children sooner rather than later. She believes teaching from the bottom up and not top down will help save more young children from accidental injuries and deaths. A gun owner herself, Cheryl always practices safe storage. It gives her piece of mind to know that when her grandchildren come to visit, her firearms are locked up and out of reach.
Project ChildSafe is proud to partner with supporters like Cheryl Bone nationwide to ensure that gun owners “Own It? Respect It. Secure It.” We are pleased to shine a light on Cheryl’s important work through the sixth annual S.A.F.E. Summer campaign. "S.A.F.E." serves as an acronym for Store your firearms responsibly when not in use; Always practice firearm safety; Focus on your responsibilities as a firearm owner; and Education is key to preventing accidents. The effort is focused on providing resources to help gun owners take actions and share information that will help keep their families and communities safer.
For other gun safety materials and tips, please visit our resource library.
Find a gun safety kit in your area through our law enforcement partner list.