The Rockland County Legislature unanimously approved instituting a new program to give out free cable locks for firearms to local residents.
The Rockland County Firearms Cable Lock Safety Program was originally proposed by Legislator Ilan Schoenberger, and was also supported by not only a bipartisan group of other legislators, but also Rockland County Sheriff Lou Falco.
The cable locks would come at no cost to the county taxpayers from the sheriff’s department, as Falco said they have a surplus. Falco said he has 1,600 locks to be distributed, with a limit of four per household.
Schoenberger said he originally wanted to bring back a similar program that saw the county distribute trigger locks for free back in 2000.
“With what’s been happening lately in the news, with guns and weapons and accessibility to them, I proposed the reinstitution of the trigger lock program, and Sheriff Falco and County Clerk Paul Piperato were also working on it,” Schoenberger said. “Sheriff Falco had received cable locks. Our last conversation with him, he had some 1,600 cable locks to be given out free to Rockland County residents. Now, cable locks, I think, are better than trigger locks. Trigger locks are mainly for pistols, firearms, handheld weapons and guns. Cable locks, however, can be used not only for handheld guns, but they can also be used for shotguns, rifles, which people have in their homes which you don’t need a permit for, therefore they didn’t appear on the list that was in the newspaper.”
With the trigger locks program, the county actually ran out after the initial distribution and then-Sheriff Jim Kralick secured more donations to be handed out. Chairwoman of the Legislature Harriet Cornell said all the cable locks that will be given out came from grants and private donations.
While four legislators — Legislators Aney Paul, John Murphy, Frank Sparaco and Patrick Moroney — were absent from the meeting, the other 13 voted in favor of implementing the program, and a few brought up possible ideas should the county give out all 1,600 locks.
“If they all do get given out and there’s no left, I would be willing to purchase more,” said Legislator Jay Hood. “I really do think it’s that important.”
Legislator Doug Jobson said he told Falco the same thing, and Legislator Michael Grant said he’d also be willing to dig into his own wallet to purchase more, or look into allocating county money to keep the program going.
“There’s nothing that could be more important than the safety of our public,” Grant said. “I think this will contribute to that.”
Schoenberger said the Ramapough Sportsmen Association, of which he is a member, has also said if the locks run out, they’ll look into getting more for the county at no cost.
Legislator Ed Day added he did some research and discovered a nationwide effort called Project ChildSafe, which, through grants, gives gun owners and law enforcement agencies firearm safety kits to then distribute for free to gun owners in the community. According to Project ChildSafe’s website, the group has distributed more than 35 million safety kits to gun owners in all 50 states and in the five U.S. territories since 2003.