North Carolina Department of Public Safety launches N.C. S.A.F.E Campaign

North Carolina Department of Public Safety launches N.C. S.A.F.E Campaign
Published: Jun. 6, 2023 at 8:40 PM EDT
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GREENVILLE, N.C. (WITN) - The North Carolina Department of Public Safety stopped here in the East and gathered with local law enforcement, and ECU Health officials as part of a statewide campaign to raise awareness about the importance of safe firearm storage.

“In 2020, firearm injuries in children surpassed the deaths we see in car crashes. We have been car crashes survivable and safe with seatbelts, it’s time to do the same with our firearms” ECU Health Pediatric Surgeon Dr. Shannon Longshore said.

The city of Greenville is no stranger to the tragic and potentially deadly consequences that can come from unlocked firearms, in 2021, an 8-year-old died after accidentally shooting himself with a gun found in a family member’s car.

To help eliminate these types of accidents, The NCDPS launched N.C. S.A.F.E stands for Secure All Firearms Effectively.

“We just were handed the easiest method that we will be able to use as a city as a county and as a state in this program. We were longing for something that would be able to give us additional resources” Greenville Chief of Police Ted Sauls said.

N.C. S.A.F.E. was launched in response to a skyrocketing number of children who were killed as a result of firearms not property being stolen, leading to accidental deaths and shooting with stolen firearms.

NCDPS wants to remind parents it’s a legal requirement to keep guns out of the hands of their kids.

“If you have children in your house, you must secure them in your house. So that is part of the current legislation that is ongoing. There are two bills pending in the legislature right now to give tax holidays for people that go out and buy safe storage devices and to give a tax credit for people that go out and buy gun safety devices.” NCDPS Deputy Secretary William Lassiter said.

Firearms are the leading cause of injury-related deaths in children and youth in our state according to the NCDHHS, with over 600 children dying between 2012 and 2012, increasing the annual rate of gun-related by 231%.

As part of the campaign, Lassiter says that the NCDPS has purchased 25,000 gun locks and 200 gun safes which will be given out or raffled off at events across the state in local communities.