Free gun safety
lock program a success

February 04, 2000
Santa Paula News
The effort by the First United Methodist Church and Santa Paula Police Department to supply gun safety locks to those who want them has been a success, according to Chief Bob Gonzales. “We've been getting a lot of people coming in to get them,” at the 10th Street Police Station since the giveaway program was launched on Jan. 19th, he noted. In addition, “We've been getting a lot of phone calls about them.”In fact, the Rev. Merle Lehman of First United Methodist Church delivered an additional 50 gun safety locks to add to the original allotment of 36, Chief Gonzales added.Accidental shooting is a leading cause of death for children; also on the rise is the number of people shot by their own guns in their homes, whether by accident or suicide. Gun safety lock proponents note that since the gun can’t be loaded until the lock - which threads through the barrel - is removed, if all gun owners used them the rate of children killed accidentally would fall dramatically.The locks were made possible through the First United Methodist Church Missions Outreach Program; the program was created by The Faith Connection of the North Oxnard United Methodist Church as part of its fight against violence and drugs in the community.Giving away the gun locks free to those who ask for them - and are willing to sign a waiver - has been an ongoing program in several Ventura County cities since summer.
“It's a worthwhile program and I really appreciate the people moving it,” said Chief Gonzales. “Fortunately, we've never had that type of incident in Santa Paula [someone accidentally shooting them self or a child injured by playing with a gun] and this program will help prevent it. Besides, you can't beat the price.”The unit has a master lock and a key, even a spare key. Each lock costs the Faith Connection less than $2; retail they can sell for as high as $8.Donations are being accepted by the First United Methodist Church of Santa Paula to ensure that more of the gun locks will be available as needed.

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