Area law enforcement agencies received free gun locks on Tuesday from the National Shooting Sports Foundation. Local residents can pick up the safety locks at the Portales Police Department or the Roosevelt County Sherrif’s Office.
Portales Police Capt. Lonnie Berry said he has about 800 safety locks that will fit almost any gun.
“It’s a child safety issue,” Berry said. “We’re hoping we can take care of quite a few people.”
Berry said the locks were awarded thanks to a grant from the Department of Justice.
Curry County Sheriff Roger Hatcher said the gun locks being distributed are cable-style locks that go through the gun barrel and make firing the gun impossible. He encourages anyone with children at home to take advantage of the free gun lock program if they don’t already have one.
“You just can’t have a gun without teaching kids about guns,” Hatcher said. “They are naturally inquisitive, they will get into them if you leave them out and available and accidents will happen.”
Clovis Police Chief Bill Carey said his department is pleased to have gun locks available.
“What happens is these locks are put on the triggers so children cannot pick up a gun,” Carey said. “Guns should never be put where children can get them and should never be loaded. These will just help keep children from getting a gun.”
David Cresap, owner of Crosshair Gun Shop in Clovis, said he tries to promote responsible gun usage.
“When people come in, I try to explain to them the function of a firearm,” Cresap said. “I always ask if they have children and I tell them to store the ammunition separate from the gun.
“Most of the gun people know that by instinct, but there are many people who don’t handle guns safely.”
According to a press release by the National Shooting Sports Foundation, agencies around New Mexico will receive 137,800 free gun locks as part of its Project ChildSafe initiative, funded by a national $50 million grant from the United States Department of Justice that will distribute 20 million gun locks.
In New Mexico, the grant is coordinated by local law enforcement agencies, the New Mexico Department of Health, Injury Prevention and Emergency Medical Services Bureau and the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish.
PNT Managing Editor Mike Linn contributed to this report.