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Fairfax police urge gun owners to be vigilant over holidays

Residents encouraged to participate in firearm-safety courses

The Fairfax County Police Department is stressing the importance of responsible gun ownership and firearm safety to ensure community members enjoy a safe and joyous holiday season while reducing the risk of firearm-related accidents and incidents.

County police this year are working with the Fairfax County Circuit Court to provide new concealed-carry-permit applicants a free gun lock to ensure they have the proper equipment to secure their firearm. Those who already have a permit for concealed carry can contact crime-prevention officers at all of the department’s district stations to receive a free gun lock.

As the community prepares for holiday festivities, it’s essential to keep safety in mind, especially when it comes to firearms, county police said. Whether you’re a gun owner or not, understanding and promoting gun safety can make a big difference in ensuring a safer and happier holiday season for everyone, they said.

Police offer these safety tips:

• If you own firearms, store them securely, especially when family and friends gather at your home. Unintentional access to firearms by children or unauthorized users can lead to tragic accidents. You can do this by ensuring that your firearms are unloaded and locked in a secure safe, always storing ammunition separately from your firearms, treating every firearm as if it’s loaded and always keeping the muzzle of any firearm pointed in a safe direction.

• Ensure that everyone in your household, especially children, understands the basics of firearm safety. Teach them to treat every firearm as if it is loaded and immediately inform an adult if they come across an unattended firearm.

• Always follow proper handling procedures when using firearms. Keep the muzzle pointed in a safe direction, keep your finger off the trigger until you are ready to shoot, and be aware of your target and what lies beyond it.

• Never mix alcohol or drugs with handling firearms. Keep firearms away from situations where impaired judgment could lead to dangerous accidents.

• Consider removing unwanted or unused firearms from your home. If you are looking to get rid of a firearm, you can bring the firearm to any of the police department’s eight district stations. Returning your unwanted firearms helps reduce the risk of accidents or stolen firearms in the community. For more information on this program, go to and search for “disposal of unwanted firearms and ammunition.”

Fairfax County police encourage residents to participate in firearm-safety courses and seek additional information on responsible firearm handling and storage. Remember that safe gun practices are not only for gun owners but for everyone, police said.