Owning a gun bestows a lot of responsibility on the owner, especially if you’re a parent. A gun is not a child’s play thing and an accident involving a gun is not a joke.
You as a parent have to ensure that your gun never falls into the hands of your child. The following gun safety tips for parents are important to ensure that you keep yourself and your child as safe as you possibly can.
Although it is not entirely possible to keep your kids out of danger caused by bullets and guns in general, one can try to minimize the situation as much as they possibly can.
By law, it is the responsibility of every parent to ensure that their child remains in a state of comfort and safety at all times. Check state gun laws in the USA to find out where you can carry.
Although this is prescribed in the country’s law, it is also natural that any parent wouldn’t want to see their child in danger or worst case scenario hurt.
Safety education for your kids does not only revolve around guns. You should teach your kids about the different dangers that they may come across in life and how to handle themselves when faced with such situations.
The following are some of the gun safety tips for parents that will in the long run help protect your kids from dangers associated with guns:
Gun safety education for your kids
Nearly a third of all homes in the United States have a gun. This means that in every three homes that your child visits, one is likely to have a gun.
Therefore, your child does not necessarily have to come across a gun at home to be in danger, the possibility is almost unlimited and can happen anytime. You do not have to own a gun for your child’s safety to be compromised by a gun!
This makes gun education very important and maybe the most crucial step that one can undertake when trying to keep your kids safe.
There is no specific age that one should start teaching their kids about gun safety. A parent should slowly and patiently introduce their kids to safety education when they notice that they are becoming self-aware.
With the evolving world, a gun is not a new thing to most kids who see them in TVs and movies all day. Many kids also have toy guns.
Therefore, when planning to teach your child about how to handle themselves when they come across a gun, you should bear in mind that they already have a little info about guns.
Guns and play
How much a child is exposed to gun knowledge is usually out of the parent’s hands. You may choose not to expose your kid to movies and television shows that have extreme action.
You may also choose not to acquire any toys that resemble a gun for your child, but your efforts only go that far.
Your child is bound to come across the ‘vices’ that you are keeping them from when they come in contact with their friends.
The decision as to whether your child will play with toy guns and watch action movies may not be in the hands of the parent but the reaction of the child when playing with the toys and when watching the movies is important.
How do you as a parent respond when you notice that your child does not hesitate to pull the trigger when playing with toy guns?
How do you as a parent respond when your child gets very excited when a person in a movie pulls the trigger or they get disappointed when the guy in the movie does not pull the trigger?
A child should understand the difference between real life situations and what they see in a movie. They should know that real guns can extensively injure a person or even cause death. You should be able to relate to your child and explain to them the dire consequences of improper use of guns.
Talking to your kids about gun safety
What should your kid do when they come across a gun? When teaching your child about gun safety, you should be conscious of the fact that your child is likely to one day come across a loose gun.
Whether your child is alone or in a group, it is important that they observe the following key steps:
- Stop whatever activity they were undertaking. If they were in the middle of a game, they should abandon it immediately.
- Never touch the gun! I cannot reiterate this point enough. Whenever your child comes across a gun, they should never attempt to touch the gun or even lift it.
- Leave the area where they found the gun. The kids should immediately leave the gun where they found it.
- Inform an adult about what they saw. The next logical step is informing an adult who they trust about what they saw so that they can take care of it.
It is very important that your child leaves the area where they found the gun. There are other kids may not possess the knowledge that your kid possesses and may try to use or play with the gun and you child may be hurt in the process.
Any child above three years of age possesses enough strength in their fingers to pull the trigger of a pistol. Therefore it is paramount that your child leaves the area.
Although it is important that your kids inform a grown up when they find a loose gun, it is important that the said grown-up be a person they can trust. Inform your kids to come directly to you or another close relative for reporting such sensitive cases.
You wouldn’t want your child to report a loose gun to a criminal who was trying to lose the same gun.
Teach your kids the difference between a real gun and a toy gun
How much exposure to guns your child gets is entirely up to the parent. The topic about toy guns raises a lot of controversy with some sections of parents demanding for total elimination while other parents are a little relaxed and encourage the idea.
You should have constant sit downs with your kids and explain to them the major difference between a real gun and the toys that they use or see around.
Explain to your kids the difference between the water that a toy gun produces when they pull the trigger and the likely consequences of pulling the trigger of a real gun.
The danger posed by guns to your kids is very real and you shouldn’t hold back when explaining it to them.
What to do when you own a gun?
Talking to kids can only do so much. Children are sometimes difficult to talk to and will often ignore the advice that you give to them. In some cases, the more you talk to your kids about gun safety, the more curious they become.
A study conducted in the year 2006 among gun owners showed that 22% of parents believe that their kids do not know where they store their guns. Surprisingly, among this group, half the number of kids knew exactly where the guns were stored and half this number had already touched the gun!
What many parents fail to recognize is that kids are smart and will easily uncover most of the secrets of the house.
You as a parent and as a gun owner have certain responsibilities bestowed upon you by law and by nature to protect your children.
The following are some of the gun safety tips a parent should observe if they happen to own a gun:
Keep your gun and ammunition separate at all times:
Although this is the most commonly used rule for firearm owners, it is important to repeat it at all times and emphasize it vehemently.
A gun without ammunition is as harmful as a cooking stick. Therefore, you must always ensure that your gun does not have even a single bullet if you have kids in the house.
The gun and the ammunition should be locked separately at all times. Arming your gun is not a simple procedure, and unless your kid has training from some other place, they will not be able to load the gun even if they were to come across both the gun and the ammunition.
Make an effort to acquire a gun safe
Forget about the technology that has been invested in making your safe fool proof or have the ability to withstand fire for several hours, what you are looking for here is the safe’s ability to keep your gun and ammunition away from your child.
Whether you are dealing with a disgruntled teenager or a nosy kid, a gun safe will be able to keep your gun out of their reach.
Children are curious beings and their curiosity spans far and wide. Not only will they try to crack the parental control codes on your TV schedule, they will also try to crack the security code of the safe if they have access to the safe.
Ensure that the locked safe is far out of their reach and that the unlocking code is not in any way known to them.
Gun safes can be expensive depending on the number and size of guns you want to store but the investment is justified if your aim is to keep your kids safe.
Add gun locks on each gun that you own:
Gun locks are used to lock a gun and make it unusable. A gun with gun lock cannot be loaded or fired until the gun lock is deactivated.
If you do not have the sums required to buy a gun safe at the moment, employing gun locks is recommended. However, gun locks should not be used as alternatives for gun safes. They are supposed to be a short-term solution before you buy a gun safe.
You should also consider the possibility of your gun safe being opened by your kids in one way or another. Therefore, even after acquiring a gun safe, you should still use the gun locks.
Secure your hand gun
Although the above methods are very effective in ensuring that your kids do not get to use your gun, they may also be counterproductive.
The main aim of buying a gun is to keep you and your family secure. Therefore, ask yourself how will the gun keep you secure if it is locked in a gun safe and the ammunition locked in another compartment? How will you be able to respond to emergency situations?
Such questions are very difficult to answer as you wouldn’t want to compromise the security of your home and you wouldn’t want your kids to start shooting each other.
Hand guns are a probable solution to this predicament but even they require securing and fortification.
If you own a hand gun, it is likely that you move around with it at all times. However, situations occur that necessitate you to leave them behind at times. Also, you cannot sleep wielding a gun.
If you have to keep a loaded gun with you at all times, then consider investing in several quick access pistol safes. I say ‘several’ as you may need one in the kitchen, bedroom, car and your working desk.
Since such a safe will be seen by your kids, ensure that it has more tamper proof mechanisms such as an ability to show you if someone had tried to access the safe with different combination codes.
Biometric safes are also a good option as your kids will not be able to test several combinations trying to open the safe.
Get on the same page with your partner
You can devise a million ways of securing your home and your children but if your partner does not agree with what you are doing, then your efforts are bound to fail.
Ensure that you educate your partner on the importance of the operation that you are undertaking. They should approach each situation the same way that you are going to so as to avoid collisions and misunderstandings.
If you are using gun safes, you are likely to share passwords with your partner. If your partner appreciates the importance of keeping the guns away from the kids, they will make a step of ensuring the fidelity of the passwords.
Run through scenarios with your kids and your partner
Teaching your child how to behave when they come across a loose gun is important but an elaborate scenario-based session is easily memorized and more practical.
You can run drills with your partner and child of what situations your child may come across and what they should do. Ensure that the sessions are fun to keep the minds of the kids engaged and repeat them severally.
Gun safety is a critical issue that must be addressed at all times. Teaching your child about guns and the dangers associated with them is an important step in ensuring that they remain safe at all times.
Although you may take all the measures that are recommended to keep your home secure, remember that every household your child visits may have a loose gun.
Teaching your kids how to conduct themselves when they come across a loose gun is vital. Gun safety tips for parents are important so that they can prepare their children for any eventualities involving a gun that may arise.