The Oakland County Board of Commissioners kicked off National Safety Month with their annual Gun Safety Awareness press conference. The conference was a huge success and was attended by county officials, safety advocates, and over 30 local law enforcement agencies. It highlighted the importance of safe firearm storage in curbing gun violence and educated the public on the importance of means restriction in suicide prevention.
“We stand here today united in our effort to avert tragedies and prevent violence crime,” Commissioner Bill Dwyer, Chair of the Public Services Committee and member of the Gun Violence Study Group stated. “We know lives can be saved when gun owners use trigger locks and secure their weapons in gun safes.”
Board Vice Chairman Michael Spisz emceed the event and Oakland County Sheriff Michael J. Bouchard demonstrated how to use a trigger lock and gun safe. The Sheriff also announced his new initiative to place gun locks in patrol cars in order to expand and expedite the effort to get gun safety locks into the hands of area gun owners.
“We encourage citizens to use gun safety devices, whether it is a trigger lock, lock box, or gun safe,” said Sheriff Michael Bouchard. “Properly securing weapons is critical in helping to prevent accidental shootings, suicide, and theft.”
The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) is another integral partner in the Board’s annual gun safety lock giveaway program.
For the past four years, they have donated thousands of gun locks to support this important effort. Bill Brassard, Senior Director of Communications for the organization, discussed the ongoing efforts of Project ChildSafe and noted that NSSF recently received a $2.4 million grant from the Department of Justice to continue their firearm safety efforts on the national level.
Brassard praised the Board’s gun safety press conference and giveaway program, stating, “This is a unique effort. It’s a model of cooperation that I don’t think I think I have seen duplicated throughout the country.”
This year’s event placed particular emphasis on the issue of suicide prevention through means restriction, an effort to limit the accessibility and choice of lethal means, such as guns, and to promote safe storage practices for firearms.
Brassard discussed the NSSF’s new partnership with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, a firearms and suicide prevention education program launched in 2017. Leigh-Anne Stafford, Health Officer for the Oakland County Health Division, also addressed this urgent and critical issue.
“As we continue to learn more about suicide, it becomes increasingly clear that how a person attempts, the means they use, plays a key role in whether they live or die,” Leigh-Anne Stafford, Health Officer for Oakland County’s Health Division, noted. “Restricting access to lethal means can deter suicide attempts and save lives.”
For more information on the Health Division’s efforts, including how to obtain one of their free gun lock boxes, please visit www.oakgov.com/health.
Members of the public can obtain a free gun safety lock from participating local law enforcement agencies while supplies last. To view the gun safety PSAs featured at the press conference or for an updated list of participating local law enforcement agencies, please call the Board of Commissioners office at 248-858-0100 or visit www.oakgov.com/boc. For more information about NSSF’s Project ChildSafe, please go to www.ProjectChildSafe.org.
To learn more about Oakland County’s Lock-it-Up-Oakland campaign, view a full list of participating police departments, get gun safe coupons, and view PSA’s, visit www.LockItUpOakland.com.
The gun safety press conference was held in honor of June as National Safety Month in Oakland County, as designated by a resolution that was unanimously passed by the Board of Commissioners on May 25, 2017. The Board’s Study Group on Gun Violence includes Commissioners Bill Dwyer, Marcia Gershenson, Janet Jackson, Tom J. Berman and Michael Spisz.