North Carolina Governor Launches Safe Gun Storage Campaign

In an effort to decrease gun thefts and accidental firearm injury and deaths, North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper announced the NC S.A.F.E. (Secure All Firearms Effectively) initiative.

“For those of us who own guns, it’s our responsibility to keep them safe and out of the wrong hands,” said Governor Cooper. “Safe storage is an essential part of responsible gun ownership, and this initiative will encourage North Carolinians to safely secure their firearms in their homes and vehicles.”

NC S.A.F.E. is not associated with any advocacy-based initiatives related to gun laws or regulations. NC Department of Public Safety Deputy Secretary William Lassiter emphasized the urgent need to reverse the trend of youth access to firearms across the Tar Heel State.

“Children are gaining access to firearms in their homes, and gun theft — especially from cars — is on the rise throughout North Carolina,” Lassiter said. “Today, more than 20% of youth car break-ins involve guns. That’s double what we’ve seen in recent years. We all have to work together to stop guns from getting into the wrong hands.”

North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein also highlighted the importance of the youth safety aspect behind the initiative. “Too many of our children are dying from gun violence, and it simply does not have to be this way,” said Attorney General Josh Stein. “If you own a gun or are thinking of buying one, lock it up and keep it secured so it’s not stolen or lost. Our children’s lives may depend on it.”   

The NC S.A.F.E. initiative is one of multiple efforts made by Gov. Cooper’s administration to implement gun control reforms in the state. In March of 2023, Cooper announced the creation of a statewide Office of Violence Prevention focused on reducing violence and firearm misuse in North Carolina. In 2019, the Governor directed state agencies to close crime reporting gaps between state and federal agencies. The Governor’s budget proposal includes investments in school and community safety, including the Office of Violence Prevention.

According to Gov. Cooper’s news release, firearms are the leading cause of injury-related death among children and youth in North Carolina. According to the governor, 62% of gun thefts in Durham were from unlocked cars, and more than half of guns stolen at homes were loaded and unlocked.

Matt O'Hern
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