San Diego Police offer free gun lock kits - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

San Diego Police offer free gun lock kits

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SAN DIEGO (CNS) - Local gun owners can get free trigger locks and firearm-safety literature at any San Diego Police Department division station house as part of a nationwide program, officials announced Tuesday.

"Project Childsafe is about protecting lives and keeping unsecured firearms out of the wrong hands," SDPD Chief Shelley Zimmerman said in announcing the service. "When firearms are stored safely in a home, families and communities are safer."

The nonprofit agency provided 900 of the kits at no charge to the city. The materials are available at any SDPD station, with the exception of the main downtown headquarters.

The department's involvement in the program was spurred in part by the accidental shooting death of a 10-year-old boy who was playing with a gun along with a 9-year-old neighbor girl at a Scripps Ranch home in June 2013, community-relations Officer Tracey Williams said.

Last year, the girl's 56-year-old father, Todd Conrad Francis, pleaded guilty to child endangerment for failing to properly store his 9-mm pistol and was sentenced to four years in state prison.

The firearm-safety kits "can help provide responsible gun owners with the tools and education they need to safely store their guns away from children, at-risk individuals and criminals," Zimmerman said.

"As we have seen for ourselves (through) the devastating effects of accidental deaths and injuries resulting from unsecured guns, this tragic loss of life can be avoided with proper storage," the chief told news crews.

More than 37 million gun owners have gotten the safety materials since 1998, according to Project Childsafe spokesman Bill Romanelli.

"If you own a firearm, respect it, and secure it," he said. "A hidden gun is not a safe gun, and hiding a gun is not safe storage."

Police also urged firearm owners with children to watch an educational video for parents posted on the safety group's website, projectchildsafe.org.

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