COLUMBIA, S.C. — NSSF®— The Firearm Industry Trade Association — Columbia Mayor Daniel Rickenmann, the Office of Congressman Joe Wilson and local law enforcement agencies, along with local veterans, conservation, youth, faith and sporting organizations today launched “Project ChildSafe® Columbia,” a citywide initiative to help prevent firearm accidents, theft and misuse, including suicide.
“We’re launching Project ChildSafe Columbia to help prevent gun accidents, suicides and the theft and misuse of firearms,” said Joe Bartozzi, NSSF’s President and CEO and Chairman of the Project ChildSafe Foundation. “We know secure storage is the number one way to help prevent unauthorized access to firearms, and we’re grateful to all our local partners for joining us in this effort.”
Local organizations participating in the program along with NSSF, Mayor Rickenmann and Congressman Wilson include the Columbia Police Department, the Richland County Sheriff’s Department, the West Columbia Police Department, the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, the South Carolina Department of Veterans Affairs, the Kershaw County Chapter of Armed Women of America, Sandhill Shooting Sports, Put Down The Guns Now Young People organization and St. Paul Baptist Church.
NSSF and its local partners are providing thousands of free gun locks, along with educational resources, to the community through its Project ChildSafe initiative, which has distributed more than 40 million free gun locks through partnerships with thousands of law enforcement agencies across the U.S. since its founding in 1999. This new on-the-ground effort complements a digital campaign program NSSF and Project ChildSafe launched in Columbia last fall to emphasize firearm safety in the Columbia area.
“We want to provide members of the Columbia community with the resources and tools to take the rights steps in properly securing firearms,” said Columbia Mayor Daniel Rickenmann. “These steps are essential in preventing tragedies, and we’re grateful for NSSF’s partnership and other local leaders for their efforts to make our community safer.”
To support suicide prevention across the city, the local effort will also provide free copies of Project ChildSafe’s Parents Resource guide focused on teen mental health and secure firearm storage, developed in partnership with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.
“It’s been an honor working with NSSF to give out free gun locks and connect community members with the right tools to help save lives,” said Chief W.H. “Skip” Holbrook of the Columbia Police Department. “These locks and materials are free to everyone, and we want to encourage gun owners to securely store them when not in use to make the community of Columbia a safer place for everyone.”
The National Shooting Sports Foundation is the trade association for the firearms industry. Its mission is to promote, protect and preserve hunting and the shooting sports. Formed in 1961, NSSF has a membership of thousands of manufacturers, distributors, firearms retailers, shooting ranges, sportsmen’s organizations and publishers nationwide. For more information, visit nssf.org.
About Project ChildSafe
NSSF, The Firearm Industry Trade Association, launched Project ChildSafe in 1999 (originally as Project HomeSafe). The program has provided more than 40 million free firearm safety kits that include a gun lock to firearm owners in all 50 states through partnerships with thousands of law enforcement agencies. That’s in addition to the more than 70 million free locking devices manufacturers have included, and continue to include, with new firearms sold since 1998. While helping to prevent accidents among children is a focus, Project ChildSafe is intended to help adults practice greater firearm safety in the home. More information is available at projectchildsafe.org.