Thursday, February 15, 2001

Gun locks distributed free in Clermont Co. recalled as ineffective




By Tom O'Neill
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        About 3,400 gun locks distributed in Clermont County are part of a recent national recall, but the local home safety program says it has received only a few calls from recipients.

        Clermont had the first countywide gun-lock giveaway in Ohio when it began last April. It was the only Greater Cincinnati county to get its locks from Newtown, Conn.-based National Shooting Sports Foundation.

        “It's unfortunate we had this setback,” said Bill Brassard, national coordinator for Project HomeSafe.

        The foundation has agreed to replace the key-and-cable locks, after it learned the Chinese-made locks could be opened with a paper clip, or even by a rap on a table.

        “Actually, we've gotten very few calls, I don't know why,” Miami Township Fire Chief Jim Whitworth said Wednesday.

        The Miami Township Fire Department spearheaded the lock giveaway.

        Township firefighter Harry Scott, now retired, obtained 4,000 locks through the foundation, a group that includes major gun manufacturers.

        The locks, which connect to the trigger mechanism to prevent the gun from being fired, cost $10 to $14 in stores. Clermont residents were able to obtain two for free, and pay $2 for each additional unit.

        The gun locks are similar to bike cable locks, with a red cable connected to a black metal padlock, with red vinyl bands around the top and bottom of the padlock reading “Project HomeSafe.”

        The Clermont program was voluntary.

        The gun locks were distributed by Miami Township to 30 police and fire agencies throughout Clermont, to be given to any resident who requested one.

        “We've been a little disappointed, but hopefully people won't get cynical about gun locks,” Chief Whitworth said. “It's important, we had seen in the news far too many children killed and injured by guns.”

        Cincinnati and Covington also initiated gun-lock programs. Local communities signed up for future HomeSafe programs include Villa Hills, Florence and Campbell County in Kentucky; and Golf Manor in Hamilton County, according to the foundation's Web site, www.projecthomesafe.org.

       To get a replacement Project HomeSafe gun lock, call the National Shooting Sports Foundation at (800) 726-6444. A new lock should arrive in two to four weeks. There is no charge.

       



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