Gun Violence in Oakland County Prompts…

Gun Violence in Oakland County Prompts Gun Lock Giveaway in 38 Communities (video)

(Crystal A. Proxmire, June 6, 2014)

Putting partisan politics aside and collaborating with 38 local agencies, The Oakland County Board of Commissioners organized a ctechadfight to reduce gun violence. They unanimously voted to make June 6 Gun Safety Awareness Day. They conducted a six month study on the prevalence of gun violence. They created public service announcements to raise awareness of mental health issues, video game rating systems, and gun locks. And on June 3 they gave out 2,000 gun locks to be distributed for free through the 38 agencies involved.

“It’s a tragic and unfortunate reality that we must always be mindful of the threat of gun violence,” said Public Service Committee Chair Phil Dwyer. The national statistics he shared were startling:

~In 2010, 15,576 children and teenagers were injured by firearms.

~About 85 Americans are shot dead daily.

~53 of those shot dead each day are suicides.

~Every day one of those killed by firearms is a 14 year old or younger.

seed028_michelle foster“As a 49 year veteran of law enforcement, I’ve certainly seen my fair share or more of the impact of gun violence,” Dwyer said. “That is why we believe so strongly in gun safety locks. Put simply, gun safety locks save lives. They’re available at no cost and there is no excuse for an unsecured, unsafe weapon in your home.

Commissioner Helaine Zack, whose day job involves helping employees cope with stress and personal problems by connecting them with resources or counseling, helped lead the six month study.

“We don’t change gun laws or backgrounds checks at this [county] level, but what we wanted was to focus on something that we could change. When responsible gun owners lock up their firearms it helps keep them from being used by criminals or by children,” Zack said.waterwork

The effort came about after several police officer deaths. In 2008 Oak Park Officer Mason Samborski was killed by a 16 year old with a handgun after a traffic stop. In 2012 West Bloomfield Sergeant Patrick John O’Rourke was shot by a barricade gunman. In 2011 Officer Larry Nehasil was killed in White Lake.

“I’m reminded of officer Larry Nehasil who was working a surveillance unit and following a burglary suspect and their unit dropped back and actually watched them break into a home,” said Northville Police Chief Gary Goss. “As the suspects left the home, there was afoot chase. Jim Shaffer KELLER ad blackLarry chased that person up to a wall. Now what Larry didn’t know is that when the person had broken into the house, he found a loaded 45-calibur handgun. This person, when he hit the wall, turned around and killed Larry Nehsil with that firearm. That is why these gun locks are so important.”

The gun locks are available for free and without questions asked through the following departments: Auburn Hills, Berkley, Beverly Hills, Bingham Farms, Bloomfield Hills, Bloomfield Township, Clawson, Farmington, Farmington Hills, Ferndale, Village of Franklin,   Hazel Park, Oakland University Police Department, Orchard Lake, Oxford, Pleasant Ridge, Rochester, Royal Oak, Southfield, South Lyon, Sylvan Lake, Troy, Holly, seed017_darlene_bignottiHuron-Clinton Metropolitan Authority, Lake Angelus, Lake Orion, Lathrup Village, Madison Heights, Novi, Northville, Oak Park, West Bloomfield, White Lake and Wixom. They are also available through the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office.  Contact the department for specific times the locks are available.

To view the report conducted by the Public Service Committee, go to

To see the gun lock PSA go to


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