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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Tuesday, June 25, 2002

Locked, not loaded, for safety

By Kapono Dowson
Advertiser Staff Writer

Kerry McDonnell, coordinator for Hawai'i's Project HomeSafe, displays the gun lock being distributed to the public. Hawai'i's chapter of the program kicked off yesterday.

Eugene Tanner • The Honolulu Advertiser

More than 300 free gun locks were given out in Kaimuki yesterday to kick off the Hawai'i portion of a nationwide firearm safety program.

Project HomeSafe workers set up their tent and mobile truck unit in the Kaimuki Pizza Hut/Taco Bell parking lot while almost 100 people waited for their gun locks.

"I'm really conscientious," said George Pali, 48, as he picked up his gun lock. Pali said he had a semiautomatic pistol at home that he wanted to make more secure. "I already keep it in a safe. But in case the safe is accidentally opened, with the lock on it (the gun) can't be used," said Pali, who has two children under the age of 10. "I just wanted to keep them safe."

The lieutenant governor's office, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell in Hawaii, and the National Shooting Sports Foundation have teamed up here on Project HomeSafe, a national program that promotes safe firearms handling and storage, Lt. Gov. Mazie Hirono said. As part of the program, safety brochures and gun locks will be distributed across the state.

Project HomeSafe

Safety brochures and gun locks will continue to be distributed:

• Today: 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., Wai'anae Taco Bell — 85-752 Farrington Highway.

• Tomorrow: 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., Waipahu Taco Bell — Waipahu Town Center, 94-050 Farrington Highway

• Thursday, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., Pearl City Taco Bell, 98-376 Kamehameha Highway; 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., Liliha Pizza Hut, 516 N. Kuakini St.

• Friday, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., Kailua Taco Bell, 121 Oneawa St.; 5:30 to 7:30p.m., Haiku Pizza Hut, 45-1138 A Kamehameha Highway, Kane'ohe.

• Saturday, Lana'i, time and location to be announced; Moloka'i, time and location to be announced.

• Monday, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., Kaua'i, Lihue Pizza Hut, 3-3171 Kuhio Highway.

• July 2, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., Hilo, Puainako Pizza Hut, 50 East Puainako Ave.

• July 3, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., Kona, Kona Pizza Hut, 74-5620 Palani Road.

• July 5, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., Maui, Kahului Pizza Hut, 10 Kamehameha Ave.

• July 6, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., Maui, Kahului Pizza Hut, 10 Kamehameha Ave.; Makawao Rodeo, Oskie Rice Arena, Makawao.

There are more than 1 million guns in Hawai'i, with 14,000 new registrations each year, said Maj. Tim Slovak, Honolulu Police Department division commander in charge of records and identification.

"In the last decade, there were less than two unintentional deaths per year in Hawai'i," Slovak said.

"Any safety measure is a step in the right direction."

Backed by a $5 million grant from the U.S. Justice Department and additional money from NSSF, a trade association for the shooting sports industry, HomeSafe aims to tour every state and distribute 3 million locks by the end of this year. Hawai'i is the 30th state to join the program, project representative Kerry McDonnell said.

"The National Conference of Lieutenant Governors last year endorsed Project HomeSafe and urged all states to participate," Hirono said. "It was left up to the various states' lieutenant governors to figure out how to get it out into their communities."

Using 11 Pizza Hut and Taco Bell locations on O'ahu, Kaua'i, Maui and the Big Island, the program aims to give out 30,000 gun locks in Hawai'i — 15,000 on O'ahu and 15,000 on the Neighbor Islands, including Moloka'i and Lana'i.

The gun locks are certified by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission and usually cost $10 to $15 each, project officials said. The locks can be used on unloaded pistols, revolvers, rifles and shotguns.

A young mother took a brochure and a lock yesterday. "It's for a friend," said Kristi Bates, the mother of two girls, 11 and 2. "I don't own a firearm, but if you do, you'd want to make it as safe as possible."

Reach Kapono Dowson at kdowson@honoluluadvertiser.com or 535-8103.