January 02, 2004
Contact: Mik Mikitik, (360) 902-8113
WDFW offers free gun locks
OLYMPIA – Free gun locks are now available from the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) as part of a nationwide firearms-safety initiative spearheaded by the U.S. Department of Justice and the National Shooting Sports Foundation.
In the months ahead, WDFW plans to distribute 40,000 cable-style gun locks at sports shows, the department’s Olympia headquarters and its regional offices around the state, said Mik Mikitik, WDFW hunting education instructor.
WDFW will also send a free lock to gun owners who request one by mail and enclose $2 in return postage. Requests should be addressed to: Free Gun Lock, WDFW Enforcement Program, Hunter Education Division, 600 Capitol Way N., Olympia, WA 98501-1091.
“We’ve already distributed several thousand gun locks to firearms-safety students and hunters in the field, and we want everyone who doesn’t have one to come and get one,” said Chief Bruce Bjork of the WDFW enforcement program. “Most accidents involving firearms occur at home, and gun locks are a key step in preventing them.”
When properly installed, gun locks temporarily disable a gun’s firing mechanism. WDFW’s distribution effort is part of a nationwide gun-safety campaign called Project Childsafe, funded by a $50 million grant from the U.S. Justice Department and managed by the National Shooting Sports Foundation, which is giving away 20 million gun locks nationwide.
While most of those locks will be distributed through local police and sheriffs’ departments, Mikitik said he convinced Childsafe project managers that WDFW could play an important role in the distribution effort in Washington state.
“ Gun locks are an important element in our hunter-safety program,” Mikitik said. “Hunting seasons last for two or three months of the year, but ensuring firearm safety is a year-round responsibility.”