Community-led effort focuses on preventing firearms accidents, thefts and misuse
MEMPHIS, TENN. – The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), along with Mayor Jim Strickland, D. Michael Dunavant, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Tennessee, City of Memphis leaders and law enforcement officials today announced the kickoff of Project ChildSafe Memphis, joining a national initiative designed to encourage responsible firearms ownership with an emphasis on secure gun storage. Several kickoff events throughout Memphis mark the start of a year-long, community-led effort encouraging gun owners to “Own it? Respect it. Secure it.”
“It is heartening to see just how many of our community leaders and organizations have united in support of this program to launch Tennessee’s first Project ChildSafe Community in Memphis,” said Mayor Jim Strickland. “I look forward to taking on this challenge by working together as a community to practice and promote firearms safety.”
Project ChildSafe Communities is supported by NSSF through a two-year $2.4 million grant by the U.S. Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA). BJA awarded this grant to help promote additional firearms safety efforts on a national level by creating Project ChildSafe Communities in key cities around the country. In Memphis, the initiative will provide local law enforcement agencies with thousands of gun locks to distribute across the city.
“It’s a program that works, and the role it plays in keeping our kids safe is to be commended,” said D. Michael Dunavant, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Tennessee. “I encourage our citizens to join me and responsible gun owners everywhere in taking the steps to properly and safely store their firearms when they aren’t in use.”
The initiative is partnering with several local organizations representing the education community, mental health and suicide prevention advocates and hunting and shooting groups to help share messages and information about responsible firearms storage.
“As we can all agree in the wake of recent news in our city, it’s time for all of us to come together to advance the very important community priority of practicing and promoting safe firearms storage,” said Michael Rallings, Memphis Police Director. “Through safety kits and educational resources, we can reach more members of our community, and have a larger impact in promoting smart habits that will help keep guns safely stored away from children, at-risk individuals and criminals.”
Their collective efforts will be backed up by community-wide messaging that that will appear in social media, in an upcoming public service announcement on TV and radio, and on billboards around the Memphis region.
- more -
“The National Shooting Sports Foundation and its Project ChildSafe Program are doing a lot right now to help put information and tools into the community at a time when we really need it,” said Tonia Howell with the Memphis Chapter of The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. “None of us want to see another accident happen in our community again.”
In addition to NSSF, BJA, the City of Memphis, the Memphis Police Department and The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, other local stakeholders supporting the program include, 4-H Shooting Sports, Delta Waterfowl, Range USA, The Well Armed Woman, Shelby County Sheriff's Office, and the Shelby County District Attorney.
“Memphis represents the first Project ChildSafe community effort in Tennessee and, based on the tremendous local support we’ve seen already, it will serve as a model for similar firearm safety efforts across the state and around the nation,” said NSSF President and CEO Steve Sanetti.
Through partnerships with more than 15,000 local law enforcement agencies and more than 3,400 organizational supporters, Project ChildSafe has helped educate firearms owners on the importance of gun safety, while distributing more than 37 million free firearm safety kits—which include a free gun lock—to communities in all 50 states and the U.S. territories.
For more information on Project ChildSafe Communities and how to get involved, visit projectchildsafe.org.
This project was supported by Grant No. 2015-FG-BX-K001 awarded by the Bureau of Justice Assistance. The Bureau of Justice Assistance is a component of the Department of Justice’s Office of Justice Programs, which also includes the Bureau of Justice Statistics, the National Institute of Justice, the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, the Office for Victims of Crime, and the SMART Office. Points of view or opinions in this document are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the official position or policies of the U.S. Department of Justice.