New initiative aims to keep guns out of the hands of children

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WOLO) — A new initiative by leaders in the Columbia community called Project Childsafe Columbia is meant to keep guns out of the hands of children.

Headed by the National Shooting Sports Foundation and Project Childsafe, the initiative encourages more responsible storage of firearms.

Both organizations say properly storing and locking a firearm not only keeps children safer, it can prevent gun accidents, gun theft, and suicides.

Mayor Daniel Rickenmann says Project Childsafe Columbia will help keep everyone safer.

“We want to make sure that we do everything we can to support any option to reduce any accidents, any potential accidents, or gun violence moving forward,” Rickenmann says.

President of NSSF Joseph Bartozzi says education of safe gun ownership is key, saying, “So what we hope is, by having this type of campaign, people will think twice about how they’re storing their firearms, where they’re storing their firearms and what method they might use to store their firearms securely when they’re not being used.”

According to Mayor Rickenmann, gun violence has increased by 18% in Columbia over the past year. As part of the initiative free gun locks were given away at St. Paul Baptist Church on North Main Street.

Columbia’s Chief of Police William Holbrook says better safe than sorry.

“It isn’t worth not being 100% certain. We’ve all seen what children can do, they can get into anything. So why take a chance? This is a free piece of equipment that’s readily available that takes just a second to put on the gun. It’s the responsible thing to do,” says Holbrook.

Founder of Put Down The Guns Now, Young People,  Jack Logan says education is the most important component in safer gun ownership.

“Education is the key. Children should never touch a gun. A parent should always teach their child how to use a weapon so they know if they point that gun, that gun may hurt someone else,” says Logan.

For a free gun lock, contact the Columbia Police Department at 803-545-3500.

Categories: Local News