Bellevue Police Chief James Montgomery announced on March 27 that the city would not distribute free gun locks, provided by the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF). Up to 1,500 free cable-style gun locks, valued at $15,000, would have been given to the city over the next three years under NSSFs "Project HomeSafe" program.
Reacting to Bellevues announcement, members of WeCARE, a coalition of firearms safety organizations, expressed astonishment that a city, whose officials have historically campaigned for restrictive gun laws, would reject this program.
"It is unfortunate and sad," said WeCARE founding member Joe Waldron, "that the city of Bellevue has politicized a safety issue we should all be willing to support."
Alan Gottlieb, chairman of the Bellevue-based Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, agreed.
"This is appalling," Gottlieb declared. "While over 100 major cities nationwide are taking advantage of this free program, the city officials in Bellevue have rejected the opportunity to make their community safer."
Bellevue joined Seattle in rejecting the program, which has been adopted by scores of other cities nationwide, including Houston, Orlando and Las Vegas. NSSFs HomeSafe program as conducted in Easton, CT, was recently given wide and favorable media coverage, with Easton officials expressing keen support.
"Pittsburgh, Miami and other cities," Gottlieb continued, "are on-board with this program. I simply cannot understand why Seattle, and now Bellevue, have decided to play politics with this program. Bellevue and Seattle are sacrificing safety on the altar of political correctness."
Montgomery pulled out of the program 48 hours before it was to begin.
Attempts by one Seattle radio station to arrange to have the NSSF locks distributed by Washington CeaseFire, a gun control group, also met resistance, from that groups executive director.
"This is political correctness at its worst," noted Dave Workman, another WeCARE founder, and member of the National Rifle Associations board of directors.
"These guys have turned their back on a chance to practice what they continually preach about gun safety," said Workman, about CeaseFires refusal to participate, even when NSSF was willing to agree.
"It demonstrates their total insincerity when they argue for some gun control measure on the grounds of saving just one life," Workman said.
Coincidentally, WeCARE is helping sponsor, with support from several organizations, "Project KidSafe" on May 13, the day before Mothers Day. KidSafe is a home firearms safety effort which is expected to be held at gun ranges in several states, including Washington, Connecticut, New York and Michigan.
Aimed at families, or single mothers who keep a firearm in the home and want to prevent accidents, "Project KidSafe" is being organized by Waldron and firearms safety trainer Wendell Joost.
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