FANWOOD, NJ — The Fanwood Police are committed to keep the community safe by participating in Project ChildSafe, an organization that distributes firearm safety materials. These materials include safety kits that provide gun owners with a gun locking device and a brochure about gun safety. The Fanwood Police Department is one of the 15,000 law enforcement agencies to partner with the program.
The national organization is helping reduce accidents related to guns and access to guns by unauthorized individuals. Since 2003, 37 million firearm safety kits have been distributed. Firearm accidents have decreased 31 percent between 2003 and 2013.
“We are in the process of gathering the necessary materials right now,” Fanwood Police Chief Richard Trigo told LocalSource. “We should be ready to start distributing the gun locks in the beginning of June. Every citizen with a permit to purchase a gun will receive a gun lock and S.M.A.R.T. postcard. ‘S’ stands for secure all guns in homes and vehicles, ‘M’ stands for model responsible behavior around guns, ‘A’ stands for ask about presence of unsecured guns in the home, ‘R’ stands for recognize the risk of teen suicide and ‘T’ stands for tell your peers to be S.M.A.R.T.”
June 2 is National Gun Violence Awareness Day, which was addressed at the borough’s council meeting on May 16. In observance of the day, Moms Demand Action Union County, a group of moms and family members that advocate stricter gun control laws, are participating in an event on June 2 at 7 p.m. at Fanwood Borough Hall Lawn at 75 North Martine Ave. In the case of rain, the event will take place at Forest Road Park Building in Fanwood. Events like this are held throughout the state and country. Participants wear orange to show their support. The color orange is worn by hunters to communicate their identity to other hunters. It also symbolizes the importance of human life.
Fanwood Mayor Colleen Mahr will co-host the event. Mahr was unable to be reached by email or phone to comment on Project ChildSafe for LocalSource. However, she has publicly stated that she loves working with Moms Demand Action Union County. She believes they are an intelligent group of women who recognize the dangers of gun violence and are dedicated to bringing awareness to the community. For more information about National Gun Violence Awareness Day, visit wearorange.org. There is also a webpage for locals to register for the even in Fanwood.
Special guests will include Union County Prosecutor Grace H. Park and Rev. Tracy Sprowls, of First Unitarian Society of Plainfield. The event is recommended for citizens age 15 and older. However, the importance of answering children’s questions about guns cannot be ignored. A video about how to talk to kids about gun safety is featured on Project ChildSafe’s webpage. There are also several quizzes to test one’s knowledge about gun safety.
The “Own It Respect It Secure It” Initiative is a commitment made by Project ChildSafe to raise awareness of firearm safety. It encourages proper use and storage of firearms. The message, “Store your firearms safely when not in use,” is being communicated to gun owners across the country. Gun owners are encouraged to take the “Own It Respect It Secure It” pledge to make sure his or her firearm doesn’t pose a threat to the community.
Project ChildSafe is funded by donations. Thanks to the donations made, police enforcement can provide gun owners with the safety materials needed free of charge. Aside from raising awareness of gun safety, it’s also important to take a proactive approach when securing firearms.
“I’m waiting on a vendor to supply me with the gun locks I need in order to start the program,” Trigo added. “Once the donations arrive, I can begin distributing the gun locks and S.M.A.R.T. postcards to the Fanwood community. I have a few gun locks right now to start, but I need more in order to fully commit to Project Childsafe.”