As firearms sales soar across Minnesota, South Lake Minnetonka Police are ramping up efforts to advocate for safe firearms storage.

The initiative, Operation Lock and Unload, brings awareness to safely storing guns and offers free cable locks to any resident in Excelsior, Greenwood, Shorewood and Tonka Bay.

"It is important that we all do our part to help avert a needless tragedy from occurring due to the negligent storage of firearms," Chief Bryan Litsey said in a statement.

As gun sales increase, police say many first-time gun owners don't know the responsibilities of safe storage. That means, police say, securely storing ammunition away from a firearm, unloading the firearm, using a trigger or cable lock and placing the firearm in a lock box or safe.

Police are giving out fliers about Operation Lock and Unload to anyone who comes to them applying for a firearm permit. For more details about Project ChildSafe, go to