If you have both kids and guns at home, you must be more adamant in practicing firearm safety at home. No excuses. Here are six tips to help you with that.
Firearm Safety at Home | Keeping Everyone Safe
It should come as no surprise to any gun owner that keeping loaded guns out of the hands of children is their responsibility.
In some states, leaving a loaded firearm unsecured around a minor is a fineable offense that could also land you in prison.
In addition to physically protecting kids from handling firearms, parents should also be educating their children on the potential hazards of guns, and what to do if they encounter weapons outside of the home.
Gun safety is an important topic that should not be avoided just because your guns are securely locked in a safe.
Being proactive parents can save lives in the instance that your child finds or is shown a gun outside of your home when you’re not there to protect or educate them.
As a parent with guns in the home, there are several steps you can take to ensure your child’s safety.
1. Keep Guns Secured
Do not leave loaded firearms within reach of children. If you are not storing your guns in a locked safe, keep ammunition separate from the gun.
A locked safe is the best place for your guns; avoid giving the key or combination to your children.
2. Talk to Your Children About Gun Safety
Take the mystery out of the equation. Talk openly with your children about the proper use of firearms and that guns are not safe for young children.
Explain how they work and why grown-ups should be the only ones handling guns.
3. Differentiate Real and Pretend
Show children the differences between toy guns and real guns, and talk about use in video games vs. use in real life.
There is no reason for your child to fear a squirt gun used in a friend’s backyard if you educate them.
Again, talking openly with children removes the taboo and curiosity surrounding guns.
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4. Teach Children How to React If Encountering a Firearm
There will be situations where you may not be present and your child comes across a firearm.
Talk to your child about these situations, and teach them to never touch the weapon, quickly get away from the weapon, and tell a trustworthy adult immediately.
5. Be Consistent
A one-time talk with a toddler about guns is not sufficient firearm safety. Continue to talk to your children frequently and at an appropriate level as they get older.
Be consistent in your messaging, explaining why you have guns in the home and why they are not for children.
6. Wait Until Your Children Are Ready to Learn to Shoot
Very young children cannot consistently follow safety protocols that would make it appropriate to take them shooting.
Know your child and use your judgment about the right time; this is never before 6-8 years of age.
Be honest with yourself in regards to their maturity level, and wait longer if you feel it is necessary. Start them off with a BB gun and restrictions on when and where they can practice shooting.
Sadly, hundreds of children are injured and killed each year in homes where gun safety is not practiced or discussed.
Do not neglect your responsibility to teach your children about guns, or your responsibility to keep your guns properly secured.
How do you practice firearm safety at home? We’d like to hear from you in the comments section!