In its expansion of Ben’s Campaign, the Bucks County District Attorney’s Office is offering free gun lock demonstrations. DA Matt Weintraub made the announcement Tuesday morning alongside Kathy Bennett and Sharon Curran, where they also discussed their push to offer gun locks to vulnerable members of the community.

Bennett, Bucks County Area Agency on Aging Executive Director, and Curran, Lenape Valley Foundation COO, joined Weintraub earlier this month on WBCB 1490 to preview the announcement.

A Project Childsafe gun lock.

As part of the partnership, Bucks AAA will be distributing free gun locks to seniors. An estimated 51,000 seniors in Bucks County are registered gun owners, which is almost half of the senior population. Unfortunately, dementia can create a dangers environment when firearms are involved.

With the potential of seniors suffering from dementia mistaking their caregiver for an intruder comes another risk; elderly men are one of the highest risk groups for suicide.

“The method of suicide matters,” Curran said. “Restricting access to guns while someone is in an active suicidal state can save lives. This is not about gun control, but safe gun ownership.”

And to help explain how these gun locks work, the DA’s Office has organized demonstrations open to the public. There are two in the local area scheduled for June:
  • ​​​7 p.m. June 6, Bristol Township Senior Center, 2501 Bath Rd., Bristol Township
  • 1 p.m. June 12, Ben Wilson Senior Center, 580 Delmont Ave., Warminster

Launched in 2017, Ben’s Campaign has distributed thousands free gun locks to willing gun owners. The program is entirely voluntary and acts as an extra step in the way of preventable tragedies.

Bucks Sheriff Dan Boyle (L) and Bucks Detective Jack Slattery demonstrate a gun lock. Image via Bucks District Attorney’s Office.

“Although Ben’s Campaign was borne out of the tragic, 100 percent preventable death of 2-year-old Benjamin Smith, our campaign has made great strides in protecting our children through this free gunlock distribution program,” said Weintraub. There have been zero accidental gun deaths of children in their homes since the program began.

Demonstrators showed the effectiveness of the locks in several firearms. They acted out securing a semi-automatic handgun, a revolver, a shotgun, and an AR-15 style rifle.

“Just like with the semi-automatic handgun, you’re physically unable to insert a magazine into the magazine well of the firearm, or chamber a round by bringing the action forward,” Bucks Detective Jack Slattery said while demonstrating an example rifle.

“These locks are cheap, they’re easy to install, and as you can see they take less than 15 seconds to install or remove a lock from your firearm,” Bucks Sheriff Dan Boyle said.

Locks are available at every municipality police department, the Sheriff’s Office in Doylestown, and the Lower Bucks County Government Service Center in Levittown.