Sheriff’s office provides free gun locks in new safety campaign


Guns in homes may be locked up thanks to free supplies available at all Marin County Sheriff’s Office substations. The office launched a public information campaign this week to improve access to gun locks among other gun safety measures, responding to urgings from the county’s civil grand jury. Although it is impossible to know exactly how many guns are in Marin, conservative estimates say there could be 100,000 weapons in homes, offices and cars. California surveys suggest that around 18,000 of these guns are stored unsafely, increasing the likelihood of accidents, stolen guns, mass shootings and suicide. The locks are beings provided through a partnership with a national program, Project Childsafe. “We encourage residents to pick up a Project ChildSafe safety kit so that they can securely store their firearm,” Undersheriff Jamie Scardina said in a statement. “Each kit contains a safety curriculum and a cable-style gun lock. The locks fit on most types of handguns, rifles and shotguns. The goal is to prevent a child or any other unauthorized person from accessing a firearm in your home.” The grand jury’s report, released in October, sought action from cities, towns, the sheriff’s office and the district attorney; expanding a gun buyback program and making safety locks more available were the chief recommendations. While the district attorney has yet to respond, Sheriff Robert Doyle filed his response in November. He agreed with the findings that a public awareness campaign would be effective in reducing the risk from stored guns; that firearms not stored in a gun safe pose an unacceptable risk of being stolen or used in crime; and that a gun buyback program reduces the availability of lethal weapons to suicidal individuals and the risk of injury or death. He pushed back on the finding that having a gun in a residence increases the risk of suicide for all household members. The sheriff agreed to launching a public gun safety awareness campaign, publicizing the free locks and expanding buyback opportunities. Marin has conducted two gunbuyback programs over the last 10 years, successfully removing hundreds of guns from homes. These programs are contingent on funding; in the 2013 and 2016 buyback events, the county offered $100 for single-shot rifles, revolvers and shotguns, and $200 for semi-automatic handguns and rifles. At the most recent event, 685 guns were surrendered, including 48 at the Point Reyes substation.