- Gun Safety and Children at Home and Away from Home
- One thing to consider when thinking about gun safety is that no child will be under the protection of their parents or guardians 24 hours per day, 7 days a week. Most children go to school, play outside with other kids, visit their friends at home, and stay with family at one time or another. The chances of them being exposed to a firearm at one point in their childhood are very high. As we all know by now, sadly some kids take guns to school to show off in front of classmates, while others take guns to school with the intention of using them for protection or with the intention of causing harm to others. Either way, children have a very high likelihood of being exposed to guns at some point in their childhood whether you want them to or not.
- Gun Safety Considerations
- Some states make it into law that firearm owners attend a safety class and attain at a minimum a firearms safety training certificate before they can legally purchase and own a firearms. While laws differ from state to state, whether or not you have children, teenagers or young adults in your home, all gun owners are responsible for keeping their firearms away from unauthorized and untrained individuals. Ultimately you will be responsible for the injuries, deaths or damages that occur as a consequence of leaving your firearms within reach of unauthorized individuals.
Gun safety must be the first priority of anyone owning, storing or handling any type of firearm. As a result, anyone interested in owning firearms should at the very least, take a gun safety class with a certified instructor and at a minimum, purchase a gun lock, or a gun safe. If not for safety alone, consider protecting your investment. There are numerous options to consider and depending on how much you are willing to invest to protect your investment (your firearms), the prices for gun locks and gun safes range from $10 through $1,000 or more. If you are considering gun safes, they will not only prevent an unauthorized individual from accessing your firearms, but they will also prevent someone from steeling them as well. Some have biometrics options that will allow you to access your guns quickly if it were necessary.
- Get The Right Information From The Right Source
- Would you go to a dentist to treat a potential heart condition? Don’t just trust your friends that own guns or carry guns for work. While these people may be able to handle a firearm safely most of the time, the truth is that only a certified instructor that practices what he or she teaches and keeps current in his or her training field should be your best bet when considering taking any type of gun safety or shooting class. Too many “gun experts” end up giving bad advice and, or incomplete information that will ultimately put you and others at risk. Additionally, an experienced instructor will not only emphasis the key points to remember; but, they will also give enough examples to ensure that the gun safety skills you learn, stays with you for a very, very long time.
- NRA Rules of Gun Safety
- As a general rule, you should follow the NRA rules of gun safety. These are:
- 1. Always point the muzzle in a safe direction; never point a firearm at anyone or anything you don’t want to shoot.
2. Keep your finger off the trigger and outside the trigger guard until you are ready to shoot.
3. Keep the action open and the gun unloaded until you are ready to use it.
There are other firearms safety rules taught by the NRA and by the NSSF that are just as important. One of the rules that I learned at the academy nearly 20 years ago and you will ALWAYS hear me repeat is to ALWAYS treat all of your firearms as if they were loaded. Why? To ensure your safety and the safety of those around you, it is highly recommended that you keep all of your firearms unloaded until you are ready to use them. However, because as human beings, we tend to change our minds from time to time, ans we also tend to forget things, there is no way for us to be absolutely sure of the condition of our firearm until we open the chamber. Even then, people have inadvertently placed a round in the chamber and accidentally shot someone or destroyed something. So as a rule, always treat your firearms as if they were loaded; always. If you follow these simple rules all of the time, you should be able to avoid an accidental discharge and avoid the damages or losses that occur as a result of these.
- Think about the numerous accidental shootings where homeowners have accidentally shot a member of their family thinking that they were shooting at an assailant that had just broken into their home. A very sad recent incident that comes to mind is one were a mother shot and killed her daughter thinking it was a burglar. I recall several similar incidents that have occurred over the years. Lack of proper training is the problem. Safety is an integral part of any proper training program. Having a loaded firearms next to your bed while sleeping can represent a threat to your own family. That is why the NRA and other training organizations recommend that you store your your firearms away from your own reach, and that ammunition is store separately from your firearms. Sadly, too many gun related deaths and injuries have resulted as a consequence of violating these safety rules. While no one wants to be found unarmed in the middle of a burglary, the safety of your family depend on your abilities to keep them safe from the would-be burglars and from yourself.
- Guns Safety Education
- Apart from using gun safes and gunlocks, education is key. Deciding when to teach your children about guns is a very personal decision. However, before you decide to wait until they grow up, remember that you will not have full control of your children 24/7. They may encounter someone with a gun at school, at the park or even next door. The NRA and other organizations have educational programs to teach children and youth about gun safety and what to do when they see a gun somewhere else. As an NRA Instructor, I am familiar with the NRA Eddie Eagle Firearms Safety Program. I used it myself to teach my children about gun safety. The NRA even went as far as to create a catchy song to get kids to remember what to do when they see a gun.
- I hope you found this information helpful. Please write a comment and let me know if you would like to read about other related topics.
- Written by Ricardo Rosario
- Florida Class K Firearms Instructor, NRA Law Enforcement Division Firearms Instructor and former law enforcement officer with over 20 years of experience providing training to law enforcement officers, security professionals, healthcare professionals and members of the community.