Gun Safety For Kids
Gun safety begins at home
I can’t stress enough the importance of gun safety for kids (even for parents who don’t own firearms). You may think that by keeping your kids away from guns, they will always be safe. We’ve all heard the horror stories about children who have picked up a loaded gun and accidentally shot themselves or someone else.
Being a gun owner means that you are responsible for the safety of everyone in your home. You can do this by making sure you lock and store your guns properly. This helps ensure little hands can’t get a hold of your guns without your supervision. However, you can’t control how other people store their firearms. Kids have an uncanny way of getting into things they are not supposed to. This is why we should give them the tools to act accordingly.
Think of it this way:
If you want to protect your kids from drowning, you teach them to swim.
The same applies to gun safety for kids.
Creating your Rules
Your first rule should be that they never handle a gun without an adult. If they are ever somewhere without you (like a friend’s house) and there are unattended guns, teach them to get an adult or call you immediately.
The next thing to consider is that toy guns are everywhere and have become more and more realistic looking. Use this as a teaching tool! Always assume guns are loaded. It doesn’t matter if it’s a toy gun or a real gun, it is loaded. It doesn’t matter if they can see that it’s unloaded, or you show them it’s unloaded.
THE GUN IS ALWAYS LOADED – PERIOD.
Talk to your kids about the things they see on TV. Action movies are constantly depicting inaccuracies and horrible firearm safety. Tell your kids that that desk the actor dove behind will not actually stop a bullet. Tell them that the way the actor is holding their gun will probably result in a severe injury in real life. If we can remove the sparkly veil of Hollywood, maybe our kids won’t attempt what they see themselves.
Have a set of rules for the gun range. Agree on them and stick to them. It is everyone’s responsibility to ensure the range is safe. Make sure that if you are with other people, they know the rules for your kids too.
Suggestions for Range Rules for Kids:
- Treat every gun like it’s loaded.
- Never point a gun at anything you aren’t willing to destroy.
- Keep your finger off the trigger until your sights are on the target.
- Make sure there is nothing in front or behind the target.
- If you are unsure of anything, stop.
- Don’t be afraid to ask questions.
- Do not pull the trigger until an adult says you can.
- Always wear hearing and eye protection, unless inside the clubhouse or in the vehicle.
- Do not run on the range.
- Do not cross the firing line.
- Never run off on your own. If you are alone, find an adult.
- Do not climb on the berms, shooting stands or tables.
- Clean up after yourself. Leave the range cleaner than how you found it.
It can be hard for very young children to understand the importance of a healthy fear and respect for firearms. If you are consistent in your home and on the range, it will become second nature for your kids. It is never too late or too early to start teaching our kids about gun safety.