Project ChildSafe Underway

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Funded by a $50 million grant from the U.S. Department of Justice, Project ChildSafe, with the help of local law enforcement, will distribute over 20 million gun locks this year, free of charge.

"We are (asking) the police department and the sheriff's department to distribute one or two per household, regardless of how many firearms that family has," said Jay Drangeid, firearm safety coordinator for Project SafeChild. "The information in the brochure is actually more important that the lock itself."

The cable locks fit all types of shotguns, rifles and handguns. One of the benefits from a cable lock is it can't be placed on a loaded weapon. So the owner knows when the lock is on, the weapon is completely safe.

"We find that if somebody puts the cable on, they know the firearm is unloaded. And we also hope that they will continue to educate children that if they see a gun, not to touch it, leave it alone, and tell an adult," Drangeid said.

The goal of Project ChildSafe is not to lock up all guns, but to save lives, according to Drangeid. That's why they have included a 15 page gun safety booklet with each lock.

"We are not trying to say that every firearm needs a cable-style lock. What we want is to raise awareness of firearms safety," said the safety coordinator. "So people know to store their ammunition separately from their guns and they keep them under lock and key."

The Meridian Police Department, Lauderdale County Sheriff's Office, and the Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks will have the locks available while supplies last.