FORT SMITH, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — The Fort Smith Police Department launches the Gun-Smart Campaign on March 20 to promote responsible gun ownership among gun owners in Fort Smith.

According to a press release from the Fort Smith Police Department, the campaign aims to educate gun owners on the importance of properly securing guns to prevent them from falling into the wrong hands.

The release says officers will be speaking about the campaign on radio and television. Information packets will be placed where guns are sold, as well as additional messaging through social media, traditional media, and other forms of available advertising.

The department says the campaign’s message is to lock up guns when not in use, and don’t leave them in cars, especially if they are visible.

The department says the campaign is a response to a recent surge in gun thefts from unlocked vehicles.

The release says over the last four months, 32 guns were taken from unlocked vehicles in Fort Smith.

The department points to the death of University of Arkansas-Fort Smith student Kaleb Glynn Watson in 2016 as an example who it says was killed by a teenager who had stolen a gun out of an unlocked vehicle.

“Our goal is not to be anti-gun or anti-gun ownership,” said Fort Smith Police Chief Danny Baker. “We believe that gun ownership is a right, but with that right comes the responsibility of ensuring that firearms are stored securely when not in use. The Gun-Smart Campaign is all about encouraging gun owners to take responsibility for their firearms and ensure that they do not fall into the wrong hands.”

The department reminds gun owners that by properly securing guns, owners can avoid having them stolen and used in crimes.

More information on the Gun-Smart Campaign and responsible gun ownership can be found by calling 479-709-5000 or sending an email to