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Encouraging Responsible Gun Ownership


Learn about Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA)-supported efforts and initiatives that work to reduce firearm accidents and misuse.

Project ChildSafe Communities

BJA funded the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) to implement an enhanced version of its Project ChildSafe Program in three unique sites known as "Project ChildSafe Communities."

The goal of the program is to reduce firearms accidents and misuse by creating a culture of firearms safety. By reinforcing the importance of storing firearms responsibly when not in use, this culture is driven through community outreach and events, media efforts, and community partnerships. The intent is to reach new gun owners (particularly those located in urban and suburban areas where new gun ownership has increased) and people who may not have had access to traditional firearms safety classes such as those offered in sport shooting venues.

Three cities were chosen as pilot projects and are currently underway in Oklahoma City, Memphis, and Cleveland. Oklahoma City kicked off in January 2017, while Memphis joined in October 2017. The third, Cleveland, kicked off on May 30, 2018. The projects partner with local organizations representing conservation groups, mental health and suicide prevention advocates, veterans, faith groups, retailers, and hunting and shooting groups to help share messages and information about responsible firearms storage.

Two public service announcements (PSAs) have been produced, Safety is a Habit and Protect the People You Love.

Many Paths to Firearm Safety

BJA and NSSF have released a new video series, "Many Paths to Firearm Safety," to help new and potential gun owners understand their responsibilities if they decide to keep firearms in the home. The videos are portrayals of three different gun owners and their stories of ownership, along with the steps they took to make sure they would safely handle and store their firearms when not in use. Americans own firearms for many different reasons, ranging from personal protection to target and sports shooting. The central message of the videos is that while there are many different reasons why people choose to buy firearms, a common thread among them must be a commitment to responsibly store firearms when not in use so they cannot be picked up by a child, stolen, or accessed by someone who may want to harm themselves.

Lock It Up

BJA also funded an initiative to produce a public education campaign to engage current and prospective firearms owners on the importance of safe firearms storage.

Several TV and radio PSAs were created, as well as several print ads, with a simple call to action for firearms owners to "Lock It Up" when their firearms are not in use.

Sell With Certainty

Every day, gun owners sell their firearms to individuals at residences and gun shows, and through classified and online ads. But many of these private sellers do not have the ability to verify if their buyer is legally permitted to receive or possess a firearm. However, it is possible with a federal firearms licensee (FFL) who can determine if a prospective buyer is prohibited from possessing or receiving a firearm.

With this in mind, BJA funded an initiative to produce an educational campaign to encourage private sellers to complete the sale of their firearm through an FFL. Print ads and a radio PSA were created for the campaign with a simple message of “Sell With Certainty.”

Program Contact

David Adams
Senior Policy Advisor
[email protected]

Date Modified: June 4, 2024
Date Created: May 25, 2018