RICHARD WALKER / RWALKER@STARBULLETIN.COM
Project ChildSafe spokeswoman Shari LeGate held a model handgun with a safety lock at yesterday's news conference at the governor's office about the distribution of 60,000 lock kits.
Gun owners offered
The state is distributing 60,000 gun locks to firearms owners through a federally funded safety and education program.
"They're absolutely free, no questions asked," said Shari LeGate, spokeswoman for Project ChildSafe. "We're not going to ask you to fill out any forms, there's no registration, we're not even going to ask your name.
"The only thing they're going to ask is, 'How many do you need?'"
Officials estimated there are about 1 million registered firearms in the state.
"Safety is the inherent responsibility that goes along with owning and using a firearm," LeGate said. "Keeping our children safe in our homes and in our communities is our No. 1 priority."
Project ChildSafe, funded through a grant from the U.S. Department of Justice, has distributed about 30 million gun locks nationwide since it began in 2001, LeGate said.
Locks, which are valued at about $10 each, are available to the public immediately, said Lt. Gov. James "Duke" Aiona, whose office is taking the lead in distributing the devices.
Supplies also will be allocated to county law enforcement agencies, which will work with their communities to determine the best method of distribution, Aiona said.
"It's our hope that this partnership will save lives," Aiona said. "If we can just save the life of one child, we believe that it's worth our attention and support."
Although there is no way to track how many gun accidents have been prevented through programs such as Project ChildSafe, LeGate noted that recent statistics from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicate that accidents related to firearms are at an all-time low.
Those wishing to obtain a lock can contact the lieutenant governor's office at 586-0255.