Episode in brief:
• To keep firearms out of the wrong hands
• Lock it Up!
• NCPC teaches gun owners after-hours security
• TALK to your family about firearms safety
• Protecting children can protect all of us
The National Crime Prevention Council series on the Social Network Show recognized October as Crime Prevention Month. It emphasized October as chance for each of us to identify crime problems in our communities and work with law enforcement and other community members to resolve them. One of the focal points for this year’s Crime Prevention Month is to encourage safe storage of firearms.
With the number of mass shootings we have seen in the past few years the firearms issue has taken on political and social significance. The National Crime Prevention Council produces a campaign about safe firearms storage that began running in the media over a year ago. Research has shown that emphasizing safety for the sake of children and youth is an effective approach.
Ann Harkins, NCPC’s President and CEO, kicked off the inaugural show of the NCPC series. She returned to speak about safefirearmsstorage.org. Ann has had an amazing career including serving as Deputy Sergeant at Arms of the U.S. Senate from 2001 to 2003 where she was chief operating officer of the 800-person administrative office and a senior Senate adviser after the 2001 terrorist and anthrax attacks. She has also held many public policy positions, including chief of staff for Attorney General Janet Reno, U.S. Department of Justice, and chief counsel, Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Technology and the Law.
One part of controlling firearms violence is for firearms owners to keep them out of the wrong hands. NCPC has a campaign encouraging safe storage of firearms. In this context, “wrong hands” include
• unsupervised children,
• at-risk youth,
• potential thieves, and
• those who intend to harm themselves or others.
NCPC does not advocate for or against owning a firearm, but encourages firearms owners to do their part to increase public safety.
NCPC recommends establishing and discussing family rules about safe storage of firearms, just like you would about pool safety. Recommendations include
• always clearing (unloading) before storing
• in a locked safe or cabinet
• storing ammunition separately in a locked container
• using trigger locks or cable locks
You can see illustrations of these options on the “Safe Storage Options” tab at http://safefirearmsstorage.org/. Even if an owner feels he or she needs ready access for protection against intruders, firearms must be secured. (Trigger lock might be a solution.—JK) Discuss the crucial need to keep firearms locked with your family and decide on the most appropriate approach for your household.
Our thanks to co-host, Michelle Boykins and guest Ann Harkins, both of the National Crime Prevention Council. There is no doubt the debate about guns will continue, but we all hope there is a solution on the horizon to prevent mass shootings and keep firearms out of the hands of those who intend to do harm.
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Please have fun and be safe, online and off until we meet you here again.
Ann M. Harkins, President and Chief Executive Officer, National Crime Prevention Council
In September of 2009, Ann M. Harkins, Esq. became the President and Chief Executive Officer of the non-profit National Crime Prevention Council (NCPC). NCPC symbolized by McGruff The Crime Dog® and his signature “Take A Bite Out Of Crime®” slogan, conducts public education training, technical assistance and manages public service advertising to help people keep themselves, their families and their communities safe from crime.
Prior to this role, Ms. Harkins served as the Vice President and Chief Operating Officer overseeing the day-to-day operations of the National Crime Prevention Council. Before joining NCPC in 2006, she was executive director of CASA of the Eastern Panhandle and coordinated West Virginia Summits on Homeland Security in 2003 and 2006. From 2001 to 2003, she served as Deputy Sergeant at Arms of the U.S. Senate where she was chief operating officer of the 800-person administrative office and a senior Senate advisor after the 2001 terrorist and anthrax attacks. Before that, she held many public policy positions, including chief of staff for Attorney General Janet Reno, U.S. Department of Justice, and chief counsel, Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Technology and the Law. Ms. Harkins has a J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center and an M.A. in Latin American History and a B.A. in History from The Catholic University of America.