Children and Firearms: Safety at Home

The number of people owning various types of firearms is at a steady increase. These firearms are acquired for different reasons ranging from home and personal safety, and for sports. There also firearms that are acquired for illegal purposes too such a crime or extortion.

These firearms have found their way into our households. Ammunition used with these firearms is also stored in the same households. A majority of these households in which there exists firearms have children, most of whom are too young to understand the dangers of these firearms. There have been cases of children shooting themselves accidentally. So, how do we ensure that the firearms in our homes are safe around our children?

Parents need to talk to their children about firearms at a young age, especially when the child develops some interest in firearms; through video games, television and movies. Children need to know that firearms can be useful but dangerous too and that there is a big difference between firearms use in the fantasy world and real life.

All firearms must be unloaded before storage. Firearms’ storage should always be locked and the key should be kept where children cannot reach. Children also should be warned from playing near where firearms are stored. The child should be told why he or she should not play there and why the firearms should stay locked. Children can grow curious at times. Ammunition needs to be stored in a separate place from the firearms.

Children should also be taught what to do when the find a firearm lying somewhere. Children need to learn the four rules: stop, don’t touch, leave the area and tell and adult. You can go online and find educational videos for children on these four rules.

Firearms dealers also provide booklets on basic firearms safety rules. If you do not have a copy, you can again go online and read more. Parents need to teach basic firearms safety rule to their children such as not pointing a firearm at another person and never accepting firearms from strangers.

Before children visit a friend’s house, it is advisable for the parent to call ahead and ask if there are any firearms in the house and their storage.

Remember, informing the local police that you have firearms in your household does help too. In case of anything, they have the expertise to handle the situation and ensure there are no casualties.

Updated: February 10, 2015 — 11:27 am
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