It’s always been more than a little nauseating to watch the various firearm prohibitionist groups attempt to rebrand their failing cause as one of “gun safety.” Americans for Responsible Solutions, the Brady Campaign, Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, Everytown, Moms Demand Action, Violence Policy Center, etc don’t offer any gun safety training courses. None.
What they do instill in their smattering of followers is a great degree of anger and ignorance.
Sadly, ignorance kills.
An experiment held in Texas by police officers and parents had some interesting findings.
Police put a fake gun which could not be fired in a room and then let eight children into the room. It took a child just 15 seconds to find the gun. With parents and law enforcement watching, the children were passing the fake weapon around, aiming it and attempting to shoot it.
While the result might not be surprising to most, the children who didn’t touch the weapon were children whose families have guns inside the home and have explained the dangers and responsibilities of guns.
The findings of this study are limited and yet entirely predictable.
Children who have been brought up in home where firearms are present, and firearm safety has been taught to them from an early age and who have that lesson constantly reinforced, know that guns are not toys. Good parents introduce children to firearms at an early age, and explain to children that firearms are not to be touched (when the children are very young) or only to be touched when a responsible adult is present and certain safety conditions have been met.
Kids grok this stuff easily, they simply need to be educated and have those lessons be reinforced. This study and others like it prove that truth.
Unfortunately, there are far too many parents that have not these conversations with children, and who think that a context-free “don’t touch” speech from a position of abject ignorance will suffice to keep children safe. That simply isn’t enough.
We live in a society where firearms ownership is increasingly more popular across a wider range of demographic groups. It’s reasonable to assume that somewhere between 1/3 and 2/3 of the homes your children will visit will have firearms in it, and that some of those homeowners do not safely store their weapons in a safe or locking gun cabinet.
While we’re fortunately doing a much better job of educating gun owners about safety storage, there are some people who think they can hide guns from children by putting a gun in a high drawer or on a closet shelf under clothes and that it will be “safe enough” there.
It never is.
The only thing that will keep a child safe when they come in contact with an unsecured firearm is the training and education you instill in them. You will not get that from any of the fake “gun safety” groups.
The best resources to teach your children gun safety come from the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) and the National Rifle Association (NRA)
The NRA teaches gun safety to every age and experience level (up to and including law enforcement officers). The NRA program best suited for early childhood gun safety education is the Eddie Eagle program. It features a kid-friendly web page and teaches parents and educators about this professionally-developed curriculum.
For older youths embarking into shooting sports—and shooting sports are the fastest growing high school sports in the nation—the NRA also offers a wide range of youth programs, with training opportunities and resources for different disciplines and levels of interest from teens up into collegiate shooting.
No one has ever been saved by spreading ignorance and fear of firearms.
Please use these resources to educate yourself and educate your children.