Gun Safety and Your Children

Introduction

Any gun owner will tell you safety is the highest priority. This is especially true with gun owners who have children. Children are naturally curious, and often much smarter than we think.

This means, even if parents teach their children not to touch any guns, there is no guarantee they’ll follow such guidance.

For this reason, it’s best to put a few measures in place so children not only learn gun safety and potentially serious consequences, but also so they don’t have unsupervised access to any firearms in the first place.

Here are some guidelines for practicing gun safety with your children.

No Access

Those who own firearms have an unwavering responsibility to make sure guns in the home are always stored where they’re inaccessible to children or any other unauthorized users.

Some parents believe hiding a gun in a closet, drawer, or other location is enough to prevent children from finding them. Unfortunately, hiding guns is not a means of safe storage and it definitely won’t keep children from finding them.

There are numerous accounts each year of children finding “hidden” guns in a home and the results are often devastating.

The only safe storage is that which includes precautions and various safeguards that provide several barriers against unauthorized access and use.

Here are some clear guidelines to ensure children have no access to firearms in the home:

  • Firearms should be stored unloaded in a secure, locked cabinet, gun safe, or storage case.
  • The location of securely stored guns should be locked and inaccessible to unauthorized people.
  • Firearms should be disassembled, with parts stored securely in different locations.
  • Ammunition should be stored in a separate locked location, away from firearms.

The best way to prioritize gun safety and your children is to make sure they have no unsupervised access to firearms whatsoever. This protects everyone in the home.

Teaching Gun Safety

Children are drawn to what they can’t have or shouldn’t do because it’s mysterious to them. One way to take the “mystery” out of firearms being in the home is to be forthright and directly teach them about gun safety.

Here are some principles to reinforce when it comes to teaching gun safety:

  • Teach children if they ever see a gun anywhere unsecured, they should find an adult immediately and bring the adult to the gun rather than the gun to the adult.
  • Teach children if an adult is not there, to never touch a gun.
  • Teach children to act as if all guns are loaded and to keep their fingers away from the trigger. They should learn to never point a gun at a living person, animal, or any property.
  • Teach children guns are not toys. They should understand, unlike what they might see in cartoons, television shows, movies, or video games, real guns shoot real bullets and can cause great harm and even death.
  • Teach children to openly ask questions about firearms and be honest in responding. This will also reduce the mystery of guns.

Keep in mind: just because you teach your children gun safety doesn’t mean they fully understand the complexities of firearms or the potentially serious consequences of what they can do.

No matter their intelligence, responsibility, or maturity, children are not as cognitively developed as adults. Therefore, it’s best to employ a secure “no access” policy with guns if children are in the home.

Be a Role Model

Children learn much more from what they see than from what they hear. This is an excellent opportunity for gun owners to model gun safety through their own actions.

If children witness their parents taking gun safety as the most serious aspect of being a gun owner, they’re more likely to model that behavior as well.

In addition, if parents are honest and respectful towards their children when it comes to gun ownership and safety, their children will likely reciprocate. This will enhance the safety of the entire family.

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