Midlothian Police Join Forces with Project ChildSafe to Promote Firearm Safety

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Midlothian Police Department Officers
Photo credit Midlothian Police Department

MIDLOTHIAN – The Midlothian Police Department recently teamed up with Project Childsafe to remind firearm owners that proper firearm storage can prevent tragic accidents.

The PD’s announcement to join Project ChildSafe and the “Own It? Respect It. Secure It” program became a reality because Midlothian Police Chief Carl Smith referred to the case his department handled in December 2023.

“This idea came from a case we handled in Midlothian, in December of 2023,” Smith explained. “During that time, a seven-year-old juvenile was able to find a loaded gun in the home and accidentally shot a household adult member of the family. Fortunately, the adult survived the gunshot injury, but oftentimes, this type of shooting leads to someone being innocently killed at the hands of an inexperienced juvenile or adult, not knowing the status of the gun. We decided to take a proactive role to make sure the public is aware of gun safety and take the necessary steps to ensure that shootings like the one described do not take place in our city again.”

The “Own It? Respect It. Secure It” initiative promotes firearms safety and responsibility through the core message: “Store Your Firearms Responsibly.”

“Through Project ChildSafe and the “Own It? Respect It. Secure It” initiative, we want to reach as many people as possible to encourage safe and responsible firearms storage,” Smith said, “Our goal is to make proper firearms storage as second nature as keeping medicine in child-resistant containers.”

Jamie M. Singleton, Midlothian’s Victim Advocate’s Coordinator, said Smith was open to the firearm safety conversation and to being part of Project ChildSafe’s initiative to raise community gun storage safety awareness.

“I am from California, and it was definitely a change moving to Texas, knowing that pretty much every family in Texas has some sort of firearm in their home,” Singleton said. “What was most important to me was the safety of my own children going to their friend’s homes that could potentially have a firearm in an area that is not a proper area for a gun or properly secured.”

Singleton said she believes the incident that happened in Midlothian in December 2023 happens too often in other communities.

“Being the coordinator of the Crisis Intervention Unit made it more of a priority and a necessity that our community has the education and the available resources to properly store their firearms,” she added. “Some firearm owners think that placing a firearm out of reach of a child or even another person is enough. But it is not enough. Something as simple as the gun cable lock could be a deterrent of an accidental incident or an intentional attempted suicidal mental health incident.”

Along with Singleton, the Midlothian PD believes everyone should have access to proper firearm storage to properly secure their firearm. That has never been more important since the Center for Disease Control reported last year that 1,262 children were killed by accidental shootings from 2003 to 2021.

To create gun safety awareness the Midlothian Police Department has also created a how-to video that can be seen on the Midlothian Police Department and Facebook website. The police department said the hope for the video will be to make the community aware of “how to properly secure a firearm using a cable gun lock” as an educational tool.

Add to that, the Midlothian Police Department will be providing those same cable gun locks free to the community and are willing to assist and demonstrate how to install them properly. The cable gun locks are available to anyone who requests one in person in the lobby of the Police Department. A Sworn Peace Officer will provide a safety kit which will include the cable gun lock, along with educational brochures and additional firearm safety resources.

Project ChildSafe is a nationwide educational program created by the National Shooting Sports Foundation. It promotes firearms safety and encourages responsible firearms storage by distributing free gun locks and educational material to gun owners across the country. Since 2003, Project ChildSafe has distributed more than 37 million free gun locks and safety information through partnerships with law enforcement agencies in all 50 states and five U.S. territories.

“I think this is a great program,” said Midlothian Police Chief Scott Brown. “Not only as a police officer, but as a parent. In the summertime, the kids in our community are out and about, coming and going and visiting each other’s homes to play with their friends. I would hope that all the firearms in our homes are safe and secure.”

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