Bexar County rolls out gun safety initiative, hands out hundreds of handgun locks and safes

The distribution is a part of the GunSafety4Bexar initiative to promote responsible gun ownership and increase community safety.

BEXAR COUNTY, Texas – Just under 500 families registered to pick up free handgun safes and locks at Padre Park from the Bexar County Commissioners Court on Thursday.

The giveaway is part of the court’s GunSafety4Bexar initiative to promote responsible gun ownership, increase gun safety awareness, and enhance community safety.

“It’s one layer of protection that we can offer,” Monica Ramos, a Bexar County public information officer, said. “We’re hoping that through this program, people learn more about what it means to be responsible firearm and gun owner.”

In partnership with University Health, the initiative is working to prevent accidental discharges and unauthorized access to firearms, particularly by minors.

Rebeca Clay-Flores, the Bexar County commissioner for District 1, said the goal is to reduce risks linked to unsecured handguns across the county.

“This is about protecting our community,” Clay-Flores said.

Each family could pick up one free handgun lock and one free handgun safe. Only families who pre-registered for the event could pick up the products.

Ramos said that’s because the locks and safes were bought with county American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds, which need to be specifically spent on residents. She said it cost $140,000 to purchase the 3,800 portable handgun safes and 1,000 handgun cables.

While there are still four more giveaways scheduled for the rest of the summer, Ramos said all reservations are currently full.

William Slater, the president of Handgun Safety Training Corporation, said he’s handed out free handgun cable locks with every class he’s taught over the past three decades.

“I’ve never had anyone leave one behind,” Slater said.

Slater said getting locks and safes out in the community is a first step, but being educated on how to actually use guns is just as important.

“Everybody who owns a hammer is not a carpenter,” Slater said. “Just because you’ve got a tool doesn’t mean you’re going to be successful in using that tool.”

That’s why Ramos said the larger gun safety initiative is important to Bexar County, even if all the current distribution slots are full.

“We’re hoping to come out with another wave of community outreach,” Ramos said. “If we can even just prevent one of those unintentional shootings, then this means the whole world.”

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Avery Everett is a news reporter and multimedia journalist at KSAT 12 News. Avery is a Philadelphia native. If she’s not at the station, she’s either on a hiking or biking trail. A lover of charcuterie boards and chocolate chip cookies, Avery’s also looking forward to eating her way through San Antonio, one taco shop at a time!

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