If I had children, even if I didn’t have any firearms, I would make a point of teaching them gun safety. It is estimated that half of all US households have at least one gun. Even if you don’t have one, it’s likely that your child may come into contact with one. I have created this page to provide some resources for people with children who may not have guns in their home. YOU NEED TO TEACH YOUR CHILD GUN SAFETY, EVEN IF YOU DON’T OWN A GUN!
To avoid teaching a child about gun safety because guns aren’t your thing is irresponsible and could have tragic results. Just because there are not guns in the home, children have a way of finding things they shouldn’t have access to. It could be a ditched gun in a park or a gun found at a friend or relative’s house. No matter what, if your child finds a gun, he or she should know what to do.
There are four basic rules that every child should know – if they find a gun they should:
Leave the Area!
Tell an Adult!
Kids aren’t stupid. They get it. And if they are taught that guns aren’t toys for children, that they are dangerous, and that they should only be touched if they are with an adult who has given them permission, they will follow the rules.
The following excerpt is from the NRA Eddie the Eagle info page regarding toy guns:
Toy Guns vs. Real Guns It is also advisable, particularly with very young children, to discuss gun use on television as opposed to gun use in real life. Firearms are often handled carelessly in movies and on TV. Additionally, children see TV and movie characters shot and “killed” with well-documented frequency. When a young child sees that same actor appear in another movie or TV show, confusion between entertainment and real life may result. It may be a mistake to assume that your child knows the difference between being “killed” on TV and in reality.If your child has toy guns, you may want to use them to demonstrate safe gun handling and to explain how they differ from genuine firearms. Even though an unsupervised child should not have access to a gun, there should be no chance that he or she could mistake a real gun for a toy.
Most people I know who have guns and children in the same household tell me that their kids understand the rules and they don’t have a problem with inquisitive little minds looking for the forbidden. In fact, one friend mentioned that his kids understand so well that at very tender ages they were not even pointing toy guns at any living thing. In contrast, children with no gun education were running around with toy guns “Bang! Bang!” Pointing them at each other and pulling the trigger.
Don’t be afraid to teach your kids what to do if they find a gun. It’s better for them to know what to do than pick it up out of curiosity and get hurt or worse.
This is a cute, but somewhat outdated cartoon of Eddie the Eagle – the gun safety version of Smokey the Bear.
Also, check out http://www.nrahq.org/safety/eddie/infoparents.asp – the NRA has spent a lot of resources creating safety education for children.
http://www.corneredcat.com/Kids/firstlesson.aspx – This is an excellent website with a lot of good information.
http://www.savetheguns.com/for_kids_only.htm – this page has a lot of information on different topics for older kids. On this site I learned that in recent school shootings some kids knew in advance, but didn’t take it seriously. They need to know it’s ok to tell an adult even if it’s just a rumor.
Also – as a reminder to the adults — the 4 commandments or rules of gun safety:
1) All Guns Are Always Loaded: When you first pick up a gun ALWAYS assume that it’s loaded. Treat every gun as if it’s loaded and check the chamber to make sure it isn’t.
2) Always Point the Gun in a Safe Direction: In other words, NEVER point the gun at anything you don’t intend to kill or destroy. EVER! Keep in mind that pointing it at the floor or wall if you live on the second floor of an apartment building is NOT a safe direction. If you think it’s ok to point the gun at anything because it’s unloaded -try to remember rule 1. NEVER POINT A GUN AT A PERSON – EVER! It’s simply not funny.
3) Keep Your Finger Off the Trigger Until You’re Ready to Shoot: It means just what it says. Keep that finger off the trigger until you have your target in your sights.
4) Know Your Target & What’s Behind It: In otherwords, know your backstop. Know what that bullet will hit when you pull that trigger – loaded or not. No dry firing willy nilly.