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City to distribute free gun locks

By Kevin Hanson, The Courier-Herald

As a proactive step toward averting needless tragedy, the Enumclaw Police Department has joined with the national Project ChildSafe to disperse gun locks throughout the community.

The locks, which interrupt the firing mechanism of either a rifle or handgun, will be distributed free of charge beginning this week, according to Lt. Dave Williams of the EPD.

The locks, a simple cable device with a padlock, render a weapon inoperable until the lock is removed.

A Project ChildSafe truck stopped in Enumclaw Monday to present the gun locks and educational materials to the local police department. Fifteen vehicles are now touring the United States, passing out gun locks to various law enforcement agencies.

Williams said the locks are available at the police station (corner of Myrtle Avenue and Wells Street) 24 hours a day. City residents will be given the priority, he said, but those living in the immediate area will not be refused.

Williams said police officers might carry a supply of gun locks in their patrol cars to give to interested citizens. Also, he is hoping to distribute the items during Enumclaw's Salmon Festival on Oct. 11 (though plans were uncertain at press time).

About two years ago, the city was poised to distribute free gun locks, but plans were scrapped at the last minute when it was determined the locks were defective.

Those problems have apparently been ironed out, Williams said, and the major players in the giveaway program are the same. Project ChildSafe has been funded by a $50 million grant from the Department of Justice and will eventually oversee the distribution of nearly 20 million gun locks throughout all 50 states, the District of Columbia and five U.S. territories. About 330,000 gun locks will be distributed in Washington.

Project ChildSafe is an expansion of Project HomeSafe, which is administered by the National Shooting Sports Federation.

Kevin Hanson can be reached at khanson@courierherald.com

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