Gun & Firearm Safety – What Parents Need to Know
Various studies show that over 33% of all households in the United States own guns. Moreover, there are more than enough guns across the country to supply one to every American citizen. Thus, guns are prevalent in our society, and references to guns can be found all over. Whether it is the latest war movie, television show, or news article, guns are often involved. Because of this, children start to learn and can develop an interest for guns at a young age. It is highly important as a parent to teach your kids early on the importance of gun safety and the “do’s and don’ts” of carrying a firearm.
In 2015, approximately 141 deaths of minors due to unintentional or accidental firearm discharges were reported. Surprisingly, the most common age of death amongst minors for accidental shootings is the age of 3. This is due to a small child’s interest in the gun, picking it up, and firing it while it is pointed at them. The next most common age for accidental firearm deaths for minors is between the ages of 15 to 17 years old. These deaths usually arise from the teens playing with guns.
Steps to Take to Prevent Accidental Shootings
Firearm education is key to preventing accidental shootings from happening. Children who learn to respect firearms at an early age and learn the dangers of mishandling these weapons will greatly reduce the percentage of childhood gun accidents. But educating your children is not the only step parents must take; parents themselves must exercise responsible firearm handling and storage to prevent freak accidents from happening. Every day, nearly 8 children under the age of 18 are shot in an accidental shooting. Below are easy steps parents can take to prevent these unnecessary accidents from occurring:
- If you own a gun, do not think that placing it in your favorite hiding spot will prevent a minor from finding it. Lock it up and keep the key and/or combination hidden.
- When storing your firearm, always be sure it is unloaded, and store your ammunition separately from where you store your gun.
- If the gun is locked up, do not let it leave your line of sight.
- After you have used your gun on the range or after a hunting trip, be sure to clean the gun properly so that it will not malfunction on the next use.
- Learn how to properly handle a gun and conduct safe gun handling around your children. Lead by example.
Moreover, educating your children on how to respect firearms and how to properly handle them is extremely important in preventing tragic accidents from occurring. Here are some basic firearm educations safety rules:
- Always treat each gun as if it were loaded.
- Never point the gun at anything you do not plan to shoot.
- Never play with guns.
- If they have friends over, instruct them to never tell their friends where you keep the guns.
- If they find an abandoned firearm, instruct them not to touch it and to contact an adult immediately.
- Talk to your children. Explain the magnitude of handling a gun and the capability of injury if mishandled. Be upfront and honest with them, and let them know that death could result. Explain the difference between guns on TV/movies and guns in real life.
Gun accidents are 100% preventable. As parents, we just need to take the necessary steps to educate our kids on gun safety and the dangers that result from misuse.