Special to Iredell Free News
CHARLOTTE – U.S. Attorney Dena J. King announced Monday the launching of Think Again, an informational campaign aimed at educating the public on how to prevent illegal firearms from getting into the wrong hands.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of North Carolina partnered with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives (ATF) in this initiative, as part of a joint effort to reduce gun-induced violence and to increase reporting of illegal firearms activity.
“The fight against gun violence requires the coordination of law enforcement agencies. More importantly, our success relies on the help of the community. With this campaign, we invite the public to be a part of the solution to gun violence,” King said. “Our message is simple. We ask everyone to Think Again, before you agree to be a straw gun purchaser for a person who is not permitted to own a firearm. To Think Again, before you make a decision that could lead to an illegal firearm ending up in our streets. And to Think Again, before you ignore illegal gun activity. Instead, report it to the authorities. Let’s work together and let’s be the cure to the gun violence epidemic.”
“Each and every person plays a critical role in protecting their neighborhoods and preventing crime, and when we make the right decision and push back against those involved in committing crimes, we help make a much safer community,” said ATF Special Agent in Charge Bennie Mims. “Before you break the law, before you help put a firearm in the hands of a dangerous individual, or before you make a choice that could put yourself or those around you in danger, we want you to Think Again and consider the consequences.”
The Think Again campaign combines a multi-media dissemination of information, to include 30-second radio spots, Public Service Announcements, promoted social media messaging, and billboard advertisements designed to increase awareness about gun crimes and underscore the dangers of illegal firearms purchasing or misuse. The information will also be shared with certain school districts within Western North Carolina in an effort to engage in outreach with students, guardians, teachers, and school administrators. Furthermore, information on how to spot illegal gun purchases and other important information related to straw purchasing of firearms will be disseminated to Federal Firearms Licensees (FFLs) in Western North Carolina via ATF’s notification system.
An important component of the campaign is the anonymous reporting of gun-related criminal activity. The campaign enourages the public to get involved by reporting illegal firearms to the ATF by calling 1-888-ATF-TIPS (1-888-283-8477), via text at 63975, or online at WWW.ATF.GOV/ATF-TIPS.