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Gun locks given away on Thursday in store

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

A promotion led by Project ChildSafe to distribute free gun locks at the Brazil Wal-Mart Thursday is a move in the right direction, said Clay County Sheriff Mike Heaton.

The national safety organization predicts it will give away more than 400,000 free locks to Indiana gun owners.

"It's (gun safety) of the utmost importance," Heaton said Tuesday.

Younger children don't always realize that what they're watching on television is sometimes dangerous. "There's no reason to take any risk with a gun and a child," he said.

"I'm for it 100 percent," he said.

Representatives from Project ChildSafe and the Clay County Sheriff's Department will be at Wal-Mart from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Free cable-style gunlocks and educational materials will be available, according to information released from Project ChildSafe.

"I'm going to try to be out there as much as I can," Heaton said.

Gun safety in Clay County is under control, he said.

"We've had -- since I've been here -- very few incidents," he said.

Heaton compared gun safety to driving safety. Driving without a seat belt is dangerous similar to owning a firearm without a safety lock. Despite the possible danger, he said, "I do feel people need to take that extra step."

Although the distribution is a one-time event Thursday, Heaton said they are always available at the Sheriff's Department.

According to Project ChildSafe it "is funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Justice and will support the program from Sept. 1., 2004, through Aug. 31, 2005. Phase one of Project ChildSafe was funded by a $50 million U.S. Department of Justice grant. Indiana received 403,700 free gunlocks in 2004."

President of the National Shooting Sports Foundation Doug Painter said, "There continues to be a significant demand for firearm safety education across America and we are pleased that Project ChildSafe is able to meet that demand with millions of additional free firearm safety kits. We are continuing to remind gun owners that their most important responsibility is to know how to safely handle and properly store their firearms in their home."

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