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The Tuscaloosa Police Department will now offer free firearm safety locks for gun owners, a spokeswoman announced in a Thursday press release.

In partnership with Project ChildSafe, the department will distribute a gunlock to the first 100 residents who request one at the TPD headquarters.

"These gunlocks and safety kits are available for parents who own guns as well as gun owner who has children regularly visit their homes," Tuscaloosa Police Chief Brent Blankley, said in the release. "So many accidents involving firearms are preventable. I hope this will help gun owners remember how important it is to store their firearms securely."

A 2017 review by the U.S. Government Accountability Office stated that many households keep firearms loaded and unlocked. The study also showed that in 2015 there were over 1,400 children died firearm-related deaths.

"If even one accident or death can be prevented through Project ChildSafe, this program will have been worth the effort," Blankley said. "A key goal of this program is to keep gun owners from leaving a loaded firearm lying around the house where a child could pick it up and play with it. That’s a tragedy waiting to happen."

Along with the gunlock, residents will also receive a safety brochure explaining the importance of safe gun storage. Anyone who is interested in receiving a free gunlock should go to the TPD headquarters at 2501 Hargrove Road East from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

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