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Dickinson police partner with Project Childsafe to offer free gun locks

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Sgt. Brandon Stockie shows one of the Project Childsafe gun locks now available for free at Dickinson Police Department. (Brandon L. Summers / The Dickinson Press)

Dickinson Police Department has partnered with Project Childsafe to offer free gun locks and safety information to homes that have firearms.

The firearms education program is run by the National Shooting Sports Foundation, which is the trade association for the firearms industry.

"Citizens can come in Monday through Friday during normal businesses hours and ask for a free child lock for the guns," Dickinson police Sgt. Brandon Stockie explained. "There's no questions asked. We give them a gun lock, myself or one of the patrol supervisors."

With the gun lock comes an informational pamphlet that explains how to use it and provides gun safety facts and other information.

"It's to promote locking yours guns, keeping them out of children's hands and preventing those accidents," Stockie said.

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The gun locks work for any firearm.

"You put them through a slide on a pistol or, with a shotgun or rifle, through the bolt area, and they keep it from being able to close or load a round into it," Stockie said.

The new partnership allows the police to provide that much more security to the Dickinson community, Stockie said.

"It's something to give the community, to keep those guns locked up from kids, get that extra barrier in there just to prevent those tragic kid accidents," he said. "Because kids will play with things without knowing, and we want to prevent that stuff from happening."

Police Capt. Joe Cianni said he is a "huge proponent" of Project Childsafe.

"The more secure firearms in the home can be, the less chance we have of any unauthorized person actually getting a hold of the gun and having an accidental discharge or using it in an unintended purpose with an unintended consequence," he said. "The more we can keep those firearms secure in one's home, the better it is for everyone."

The department does not have any reports of near accidents involving children finding unlocked firearms, Stockie said.

"Nationwide, you hear those stories that come up occasionally, so we just wanted to provide this to the community to keep kids and adults safe," he said.

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Specific figures are not available, but Stockie said there are likely many homes in the area that do possess firearms.

"Western North Dakota is a big recreation and hunting community," he said. "We don't have those numbers. We don't track that stuff. I would assume because most people are hunters out here, outdoorsmen, that they would have them."

Though the effort launched two days before Thanksgiving, no one has requested a gun lock yet from the police.

Stockie said he is excited for the department to bring the program to the community.

"Even if we never know if it prevents something, just knowing it could prevent something is a win," he said. "We don't want any of those deaths of kids or adults because of accidents, and this can prevent that."

For more information or to request a Project Childsafe gun lock, contact Stockie at brandon.stockie@dickinsongov.com.

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