Free gun locks available at police station

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The Steamboat Springs Police Department has boxes of gun locks to give away to firearm owners.

The police department is participating in Project Child Safe, a nationwide program sponsored by the National Shooting Sports Foundation and funded by a $50 million grant from the U.S. Department of Justice. The project encourages safe and responsible gun ownership and storage.

The police department has gun locks available for all makes and models of guns, and people can get free locks for every gun they own, Assistant Police Chief Art Fiebing said.

"We think all guns and ammunition should be locked up -- period -- even if you don't have kids," Fiebing said. "It is best to play it safe and make sure weapons are locked up."

The Routt County Sherrif's Office also has gunlocks available for free. Having a gun lock on firearms also is important for people who don't have children, Fiebing said, because accidents can happen when children come to visit.

This is the second year the police department has become involved in the program. The police department was contacted by the organization and then applied to receive the gunlocks, Fiebing said.

The locks are available from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays at the front desk of the police station, 840 Yampa St. The safety kits include a brochure on safe handling tips and a cable with lock and key. The retail value is about $20, Fiebing said.

An accidental child shooting has not been reported in Steamboat, but Fiebing said the police department has seen gun owners accidentally shoot themselves in the foot or leg.

"Guns and ammunition should be locked, so if a child should find it, it is important to make sure it won't be fired," he said.

In the past six months, Project Child Safe has distributed more than 9 million gunlocks to almost 12,000 communities in 46 states.

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