On Monday, Governor Roy Cooper announced the NC S.A.F.E. (Secure All Firearms Effectively) initiative to encourage and educate North Carolinians on safe firearm storage to save lives and protect our communities. This call to action promotes firearm safety in response to mounting numbers of deaths of youth from firearm injury, along with a surge in firearm thefts across North Carolina.
Governor Cooper proclaimed June 4 – 10 as NC S.A.F.E. Week of Action to raise awareness about the importance of safe gun storage. As part of this week, representatives of the North Carolina Department of Public Safety are traveling across the state to spread this message along with local law enforcement, juvenile justice and other partners in public safety. In addition, NC S.A.F.E. will be encouraging all North Carolinians to securely store their firearms and to encourage others in their communities to save lives.
Visit ncsafe.org to find a full list of firearm storage options and a checklist for the steps to effectively secure firearms.
Read more about Governor Cooper’s NC S.A.F.E. initiative and call for safer firearm storage practices:
AP: North Carolina governor launches safe gun storage campaign as Raleigh recovers from mass shooting
Hannah Schoenbaum - June 6, 2023
A safe firearm storage campaign launched Monday by the North Carolina governor’s administration aims to counter a recent surge in gun thefts and shooting injuries by making safety features available to more gun owners statewide.
The initiative will distribute free gun locks starting this week and equip local law enforcement, doctors and school personnel with resources they can use to teach community members how to prevent children from accessing guns.
Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper said he expects many gun owners will be receptive to the initiative because people do not want their guns stolen or their children accidentally shot.
“When we own a gun, we need to make sure that it is not misused — it’s our responsibility,” he said.
As part of the initiative, an interactive map will identify nearby locations where someone can drop off their firearm for temporary storage if they are going out of town or have children visiting their home for a short period of time.
State Department of Public Safety Deputy Secretary William Lassiter said he hopes the storage program — a partnership with several gun dealers around the state — will reduce suicides by allowing people to temporarily remove a gun from their home if they or a family member are considering suicide.
The campaign, which Lassiter said has a total budget of just over $2.5 million, comes the year after a 15-year-old boy killed five people and injured two more in a shooting rampage in Raleigh.
Raleigh Police Chief Estella Patterson said adults have a serious responsibility to prevent tragedies like that mass shooting and the 148 aggravated assaults she said were committed in Raleigh by juveniles with a firearm since 2022.
“We witnessed the tragic mass shooting of five individuals that was committed by a juvenile who had full access to firearms and ammunition,” Patterson said. “The reality is, each of those deaths and the countless numbers of assaults and suicides that occurred in this city could’ve all been prevented ... if the weapon used had been properly secured.”
She urged gun owners to stop making careless mistakes, such as leaving their guns in unlocked cars or on the seats of their vehicles. Last year, 582 firearms were stolen from cars in the capital city, she said, and 179 have been stolen so far this year.
The initiative has purchased 25,000 cable locks, which retail for about $7 to $13, and 200 gun safes that it will distribute for free between now and January, Lassiter said. The state is currently applying for federal funding to continue the campaign.
A bipartisan proposal scheduled for debate Wednesday in a House committee could build upon the campaign by providing a temporary sales tax exemption for safe storage equipment and a tax credit for residents who buy that equipment.
Read the full article HERE.
N&O: Gov. Cooper launches firearm storage program to address NC gun violence and thefts
Makiya Seminera - June 6, 2023
Gov. Roy Cooper launched a firearm safety education initiative Monday in an effort to curb gun deaths among children and firearm thefts in North Carolina.
The NC Secure All Firearms Effectively initiative primarily focuses on educating North Carolina communities about secure gun storage in cars and houses. The $2.5 million effort will include a weeklong tour around the state to encourage safe firearm storage, as well as a statewide media campaign until January.
Many North Carolinians will be receptive to the initiative’s effort to secure guns properly, Cooper said, in part due to gun violence rising at an alarming rate. Firearms have become the leading cause of death among children from ages 1 to 17 in the state, according to the Research Triangle Institute.
“People don’t want to see their child in a pool of blood accidentally shot,” Cooper said. “People don’t want their guns used for suicide. They don’t want their guns stolen to be used in a commission of a felony.”
Efforts to expand gun safety education in North Carolina schools are also part of the NC SAFE initiative, said NC Department of Public Safety Deputy Secretary William Lassiter. The program — Educating Kids about Guns — was launched in 13 school districts last year.
Preventing youth deaths by firearms isn’t the only aim of Cooper’s new program — addressing gun thefts across the state is another focal point.
In Raleigh, 582 guns were stolen from cars in 2022, Raleigh Police Department Chief Estella Patterson said. In Durham, 331 guns were stolen from cars last year, Lassiter said.
The rise in gun thefts — up 45% in Raleigh between 2020 and 2021, The News & Observer previously reported — can be attributed to factors like an increase in gun ownership and looser gun restrictions, experts say. Gun owners’ carelessness plays a role as well, with many gun thefts being from unlocked cars.
NC SAFE will distribute around 25,000 gun locks and 200 gun safes initially, Lassiter said. The program will also collaborate with local law enforcement departments across the state to educate communities on proper gun storage.
The program joins other gun safety initiatives launched out of the governor’s office, including the Office of Violence Prevention established by a March executive order. The office, formed under the state Department of Public Safety, aims to use public awareness campaigns to mitigate firearm misuse.
The initiative also comes nearly eight months after a mass shooting in Raleigh’s Hedingham neighborhood that killed five people. The suspected shooter was a 15-year-old Knightdale High School student.
Read the full article HERE.
WRAL: State's firearm safety campaign aims to give parents, gun owners and kids peace of mind
Chelsea Donovan - June 6, 2023
A new campaign to protect children from rising rates of gun violence is launching this week in North Carolina.
It comes as new data shows the rate of gun deaths in kids doubled from 2019 to 2021.
NC S.A.F.E. stands for secure all firearms effectively. It’s a new effort aimed at protecting children from gun violence.
NC S.A.F.E.'s week of action is launching this week, making stops all across the state to help law enforcement agencies, schools, pediatricians and community members learn about firearm safety.
According to the North Carolina Department of Public Safety, from 2019 to 2021, the rate of firearm deaths among children and teenagers in North Carolina more than doubled.
The campaign stresses the majority of the guns kids are getting are not locked up. Education and action are pointed to as preventative measures.
Governor Roy Cooper hopes the initiative will cut down the number of gun deaths among children as well as thefts where firearms get into the wrong hands. Cooper feels the issue goes beyond personal safety and is a matter of public health.
"Gunfire has now surpassed car accidents as the leading injury killer of our children," Cooper said. "Gun violence is not only a crime problem, it's a public health problem."
"If you go back and look three years ago, about three percent of juvenile crime involved a firearm," said said NC Department of Public Safety Deputy Secretary William Lassiter. "Last year, that was 13 percent of all crime with kids involved a firearm. Kids are getting way too much access to firearms."
From 2012 to 2021, there were 600 firearm-related deaths that involved children in the state. Figures like that have moved to state to distribute 25,000 gun locks to gun owners across the state as part of the campaign.
A new program called EKG, educating kids on guns, will soon launch in public schools. Another part of the campaign called calm training, which aims to help anyone living with someone in crisis or that is suicidal, teaches how to limit access to lethal means. The state is rolling out public service announcements called "It Only Takes a Moment" to lock up a gun at home in a car.
Raleigh Chief of Police Estella Patterson also spoke on Monday, adding that 179 guns have been stolen from cars so far in Raleigh in 2023. In 2022 there were 582 firearms stolen from cars. Patterson also referenced Raleigh's mass shooting in the Hedingham neighborhood last fall, allegedly committed by a juvenile with full access to guns and ammunition.
The chief shared more statistics to illustrate the problem, including that in 2022 there were 490 reported aggravated assaults in Raleigh. Of those, 101, or 21 percent, were committed by juveniles.
“Children are gaining access to firearms in their homes, and gun theft — especially from cars — is on the rise throughout North Carolina,” said Lassiter. “Today, more than 20 percent of youth car break-ins involve guns. That’s double what we’ve seen in recent years. We all have to work together to stop guns from getting into the wrong hands.”
On Tuesday, the Durham District Attorney's Office and Durham County Public Health Department will be outside the Durham County courthouse from 9 a.m. to noon distributing free gun locks and gun safety information.
The campaign is also giving away gun safes and arming communities across the state with tool kits so neighborhoods or even city councils can present information to neighbors.
Read the full article HERE.
WNCN: Gov. Cooper announces NC initiative focused on safe gun storage
Maggie Newland - June 5, 2023
Guns are hurting and killing too many children in North Carolina, and the governor says it’s time to do something about it.
Monday, he announced an initiative to keep guns out of the wrong hands. It’s called NC SAFE, which stands for “Secure All Firearms Effectively.”
Gov. Roy Cooper says an increase in gun-related deaths and injuries among children and an increase in gun thefts prompted the new initiative.
“A lot of people have bought guns and they don’t really know how to use them, how to keep them safe. Many people who’ve had guns for a long time don’t do the things that they need to do to keep them safe,” he said.
“According to a 2021 survey, 30 percent of North Carolina high school students say it would take them less than an hour to get a loaded gun and to be ready to fire it without a parent or another adult’s permission. That’s unacceptable,” Cooper added.
Raleigh Police Chief Estella Patterson talked about gun-related crime in Raleigh.
“This year to date, there have been 47 aggravated assaults where a juvenile has had access to a firearm,” she noted.
According to the state health department, 116 North Carolina children died of a gun-related injury in 2021. Experts say safely storing guns can reduce those numbers and save lives, but safe storage isn’t only important in the home.
“In 2022, here in Raleigh, 582 firearms were stolen from vehicles,” Patterson said.
That’s why it’s also important not to leave guns in cars – especially unlocked cars.
As part of this initiative, the state is giving out 25,000 gun locks and 200 gun safes and working with communities across the state to get the word out about safe storage.
There is also a program in a number of school districts focused on educating students about gun safety.
To find out more about the campaign and safe gun storage, click here: https://www.ncsafe.org/
Read the full article HERE.