(Crystal A. Proxmire, Jan. 20, 2013)
Some Ferndale residents own guns, and the Ferndale Police would prefer it if those guns were stored safely. That’s why they have partnered with Project Child Safe to provide free gun locks to residents who request them.
The locks have been provided to the department though Project Child Safe at no cost to the department, according to Sgt. Barron Brown. The program began several years ago, but the department has not given away very many, most likely because the public hasn’t been aware of it.
The lock is a simple device with a metal cable and a lock similar to a bike lock. While it is possible that a determined individual may cut through the cable, it can help discourage unauthorized use, particularly by children.
Brown said that “part of buying a gun is all the things that go along with it, like bullets and a holster. How you’re going to keep it safe should be one of the things you think about. A lock helps, but to keep a gun truly secure, a name brand gun safe is the best way.” The locks provide only a basic first step to true gun safety.
As a police officer Brown carries a sidearm, as does his wife who is also a police officer in another jurisdiction. “When we don’t have our guns on us, they are locked in a gun safe. That’s what a responsible gun owner does,” he said. He said that if you have a gun in the home “there’s no requirement that says you have to lock it up,” but that the Police recommend that people do so.
- ~Keep cable and lock outside of trigger guard at all times.
- ~Always push cable into padlock until it locks securely. After removing key, tug on cable to ensure connection is secure.
- ~Store key to the gun lock and the firearm separately. Be sure to store key in a location inaccessible to unauthorized persons, particularly children.
- ~Do not work the firearm’s action with the lock in place. This may damage the lock and/or the firearm.
- ~If the lock’s plastic coating becomes damaged or separated from the steel cable or the lock face, replace the lock.
The Ferndale Police have done hunter safety classes in the past, and officers are willing to discuss personal safety needs with individuals who ask. When people pick up a gun lock, there is no record kept of their personal information.
Sgt. Brown said that in addition to the Project Child Safe website (http://www.projectchildsafe.org/About/), the Ferndale Police recommend the NRA’s Information for Parents website at http://eddieeagle.nra.org/information-for-parents.aspx.
The State of Michigan has a pamphlet available about firearm safety and laws. It reads as follows:
“Firearm ownership carries with it a responsibility of safeguarding the welfare of others and you when handling firearms. Accident prevention is the user’s responsibility. It is the responsibility of a firearm owner to know what the law is pertaining to ownership, possession, transportation and use of firearms.
It is advisable to have a serious discussion with family members concerning a firearm and stressing the danger of careless or unsafe use.
A basic rule in firearm safety is to never assume that a firearm is unloaded. You should treat every firearm as if it were loaded.
A firearm should always be unloaded when not in use and the ammunition stored separately from the firearm. It is generally recommended that the cylinder assembly of a revolver and the barrel assembly of a semi-automatic be removed from the frame for long term storage.
Both the ammunition and the firearm should be stored in a safe place out of the reach of children. You may be criminally and civilly liable for any harm caused by a person less than 18 years of age who lawfully gains unsupervised access to your firearm if unlawfully stored. As such, a trigger lock, gun case or other device designed to prevent unauthorized access to a firearm is strongly recommended.
The improper storage of a firearm at home could result in the arming of a criminal breaking into the home or the injury or death of a child who discovers the firearm and plays with it. Discharging a firearm at a range without proper ear and eye protection could result in permanent damage to those senses.
For the safety of you and others, be sure the barrel is clear of any obstructions before shooting. Obstructions such as snow, dirt, excess grease or lubricating oil in the bore may cause increased pressures, which could damage the firearm and cause injury.
On a semi-automatic firearm, you should keep the safety on and/or action open unless firing. Never put your finger on the trigger until ready to fire at a proper target. A proper target is knowing what is beyond the target and in the line of fire.
You should always keep the barrel pointed in a safe direction, even when dry firing, loading or unloading. In the event of an accidental discharge, no injury can occur if the barrel is pointed in a safe direction.
Dropping a loaded firearm may cause an accidental discharge, even with the safety on.
Bullets can glance off many surfaces like rocks, the surface of water and other surfaces. Glancing bullets travel in unpredictable directions with considerable velocity capable of causing injury or death.
The law requires a person to report the theft of a firearm to police within 5 days of having knowledge of the theft.
Alcoholic beverages and controlled substances should be avoided when using firearms. Possession and use of firearms while under the influence is unlawful and constitutes a reckless disregard for safety.
It is a felony crime to: (a) discharge a firearm in a facility or from a motor vehicle, snowmobile or off road vehicle in a manner as to endanger the safety of another person; (b) discharge a firearm at a facility that is a dwelling or an occupied structure.”