Oregon County Buys Gun Lock Boxes
Dec. 01, 1998
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) _ All Multnomah County employees who are required to carry guns will be given lock boxes to keep them safe at home.
County commissioners on Monday said they will allocate $20,000 to buy lock boxes for about 200 sheriff's deputies. Multnomah County, home to Portland and more than 500,000 people, is the state's most populous.
``It just makes good sense,'' said Sheriff Dan Noelle, a founding member of the Oregon Safe Handgun Storage Coalition. ``I'd rather do it now than wait and wish we had done something later.''
Last year, Noelle sent letters and discount coupons for lock boxes to about 14,000 concealed weapons owners in the county, encouraging them to keep their guns safe. But Rep. Earl Blumenauer, also a member of the coalition, asked Noelle what he was doing for his officers.
So Noelle requested the money to buy the devices. And he said he intends to ask for a second $20,000 grant to purchase lock boxes for another 200 county employees who are not required to carry a weapon at work, but own a gun.
There have been no reported accidents involving officers' weapons at home. During a news conference Monday, Blumenauer said 1 million children across the country go home every day to a house where there is an unsecured gun.
``That just took my breath away,'' said Barbara Simon, public information officer for the sheriff's office. ``We all know how curious kids are.''
Richland County, S.C., took similar steps earlier this year, spending about $15,000 on 400 lock boxes for deputies, after a deputy's teen-age son died in an accidental shooting. The deputy had kept his service revolver atop the refrigerator.
``We're not making it mandatory,'' Sheriff Leon Lott said at the time. ``But we wanted to make it available for the deputies, especially the ones who have children at home. I think you'll see them using it.''