02/26/04 — Gun lock program

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Gun lock program

By Jack Stephens
Published in News on February 26, 2004 1:58 PM

Parents who have firearms can get free gun safety locks from the Goldsboro Police Department. The police got 600 safety locks this week from a federal grant.

The Mount Olive Police Department also received 600 of the locks.

Bob Spangler of Cambridge, N.Y., stopped Tuesday in Wayne County with a truck-full of locks. He explained that they were made possible by a $50 million grant from the Department of Justice.

Fourteen other trucks are crisscrossing the country, he said, to deliver 20 million locks in all 50 states by December. Large- and small-bore locks are available.

Cpl. Leroy Lewis, a Goldsboro crime prevention officer, said the delivery was "a shocker."

Spangler notifies each department before the delivery. He sends a free partnership agreement to the law-enforcement agencies, and none have turned him down.

Lewis says he will put together a gun safety program, notify the news media, churches and civic groups, and pass out the locks at the Police Department.

"We don't want to see them on anything but guns," he said.

Willie Thomas, the Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE) officer, said he will ask Lewis to talk to his seventh-grade DARE classes on gun safety.

Lewis says he will encourage the children to tell their parents about the locks and will distribute them only to adults.

"We don't want them to be used to lock a shed or a bike," the corporal said.

Spangler said the grant is being administered by the National Shooting Sports Foundation. He suggests that the safety locks be distributed at large department stores, county fairs and sportsman clubs.

"I think it's a good program," said the other crime prevention officer, Cpl. Teresa Cox. "I support it 100 percent."

Spangler also said he will deliver the safety locks to the Wayne County Sheriff's Office and the Pikeville and Fremont police departments.

Mount Olive Police Chief Emmett Ballree said he gained the locks by writing a grant he had forgotten about until a truck backed up to the department Tuesday and unloaded all 600 of them. He plans to distribute them to the public.