All of us have heard the stories and news reports. A child is killed by a friend that found a gun. They didn’t think it was loaded. He pointed it at his head and pulled the trigger. Parents and law enforcement point fingers at who is responsible, but a child is still dead. My family has taken these reports to heart. My children will not be the child responsible for another’s death because of under-education nor will we leave weapons unattended or unsecured for any reason in our own home or vehicle.
Our son, S, is 4 years old. Naturally inquisitive and curious. My husband and I also have weapons in our home. For us, that means we have to be diligent in our teaching S the proper way to handle a firearm. Reports state male children are the shooter 93% of the time in what we consider accidental shootings, and the victim of an accidental shooting 81% of the time. These odds are too great for my comfort.
My family has been teaching S the NRA Gun Safety Rules since he was old enough to stand.
1. Always keep a gun pointed in a safe direction.
2. Always keep your finger off the trigger until ready to shoot.
3. Always keep the gun unloaded until ready to use.
I know I say “at targets only” many times a day in our house. This is how we teach our children to keep a gun pointed in a safe direction. The constant repetition for toddler and young children is imperative. They know what they see and hear. My husband and I are examples of this practice. We only point our weapons in a safe direction and ensure we state this fact aloud to our children if they are within earshot. S has his own set of targets in our home. We add them to a safe wall for any time there is a “play” situation. We do own toy guns with the red/orange ends. These are to be pulled out with adult supervision only. This action mimics the good practices laid out in the Eddie Eagle Gun Safe Program.
If you see a gun:
Leave the Area.
Tell an Adult.