SURF CITY, N.C. (WNCT) – Gun rights measures are hoping to create a statewide awareness campaign regarding the safe storage of firearms. 

Officials in Eastern North Carolina are also joining in the cause, including Surf City. When purchasing a firearm, law enforcement and local gun shop owners are hoping gun locks can make having a gun safer for those around them. The Surf City Police Department is partnering with Project Child Safety to distribute gun locks throughout the community.

“The number one way to prevent accidents in the home with a firearm is to make sure it’s properly secured when not in use,” said Surf City Police Chief Philip Voorhees.

One gun shop owner said with so many residents in the area owning firearms, safety becomes a big concern.

“I would comfortably say 60% of our area, at least everyone has a firearm in their home, whether it’s a shotgun rifle or handgun, maybe more,” said the owner of Surf City Guns and Ammo, Dorothy Royal.

They want to prevent accidents before they occur.

“We want to make sure that we don’t have a tragedy in our community or anywhere else,” said Voorhees.

Just a split second can change a life, so taking the time to understand the responsibilities can make all the difference.

“Any gun shop, any police department, if you bring a firearm in there, unloaded, and the gun lock, they will be more than happy or we’ll be more than happy to show you how to safely use it,” said Royal. “It takes one second to learn how to do it right.”

Royal also wants to remind owners to always treat a weapon as if it’s loaded, pointing away from others and keeping their finger off the trigger.

“The first thing we do when somebody comes in and says I’ve never owned a firearm before. We get you into the beginner pistol safety class, we get you one-on-one lessons. We want you to be as comfortable with a firearm as you can be,” she added.

Surf City police said they have about 500 of these gun locks. They are also available at most gun shops. Click here for more information on gun safety.