Local News

Retailer preaches gun safety

Posted January 27, 2012 11:32 p.m. EST
Updated January 28, 2012 9:02 a.m. EST

— A shooting involving a child in Durham Friday brought gun safety into the spotlight, a place Rick Franks says it should stay. Franks has worked for more than a decade at Raleigh's Personal Defense & Handgun Safety Center, Inc., a retailer and shooting range that offers classes in basic handgun safety, competitive shooting and self-defense.

Every weapon he sells comes with a gun lock. With the lock in place, a gun will not fire. "At that time, it is a chunk of metal," Franks said.

Many sheriff's offices give away gun locks for free to owners. PDHSC sells combination gun locks for as little as $10 and gun safes, starting at $325, that require a fingerprint code to open.

Franks is passionate about gun safety. He stresses keeping guns out of reach of children and teaching them the dangers guns can present. 

It is personal for Franks. "I have seen what guns can do to people."

For 30 years, he was a deputy with the Wake County Sheriff's Office. 

"I have seen many times where people – just for a split second – did not think safety, and they paid the consequences," he said.

Franks explains those consequences to his customers, and he distributes the a copy of the federal Youth Handgun Safety Act with each purchase. The law allows for a penalty of up to 10 years in prison for giving a gun to a minor. In North Carolina, storing a gun where you know or should have known a minor could get to it is a Class 1 misdemeanor.

"That is part of your responsibility being a gun owner," Franks said.