Things To Teach Your Kids About Gun Safety
At some point, most kids will have played games including guns. It may have been a video game simulation or even outdoor games like cops and robbers with toy guns. Some kids grow up and join hunting clubs as adults and many homes to this day, still have a firearm or two.
Kids have always had a fascination with guns, and sadly, putting kids and guns together unsupervised can end in tragedy. Kids, by their very nature, are curious beings so simply putting guns away may not be enough. It is better to appease this curiosity and answer their questions and teach them these 10 important points about gun safety.
1. Treat All Guns As Though They Are Loaded
An unloaded gun poses no threat, but just by looking at it, there is no way of knowing whether a gun is loaded or not. A loaded gun can accidentally be fired, especially but a kid you lacks the knowledge and experience to handle guns properly. That makes this point possibly the most important one to teach kids. Treat every gun as though it is loaded. That means, picking it up cautiously, or better still, not picking it up at all.
2. If A Gun Is Unattended, Immediately Find An Adult
Any adult that leaves a gun unattended is irresponsible but unfortunately, it does happen. It also sets a really bad example to kids who may replicate this behavior in the future. Kids should be taught to never pick or touch an unattended gun but to immediately run for an adult.
3. Fingers Away From The Trigger
At some point, kids will need to pick up a gun. It’s all part of teaching them how to handle guns and use them responsibly. At this point, we are coming back to the most important point of treating all guns as though they are loaded so kids must be taught to keep fingers away from the trigger when picking up a gun.
4. Never Point A Gun At Anyone
Once again we’re enforcing the main point of treating every gun as though it is loaded and with this in mind, teach kids to never point a gun at anyone. Even if they are just picking up the gun, they must be taught to look around before they do so and make sure the barrel is always pointed away from anyone that is close by. This same point applies when the gun is being carried or being put down.
5. No Distractions
This is probably a point that applies to adults and kids but it is a crucial point that kids need to be taught. When handling firearms of any kind it’s important to stay focused. This is not the time to be checking social media or joking with your buddies. All it takes is a split second of lost concentration for an accident to occur. Teach kids that handling guns requires full focus and concentration.
6. Always Ask Permission
Kids are naturally curious and it’s perfectly normal for them to want to take a closer look at a gun when they see one. The trouble is, most kids have trouble avoiding the temptation to not touch guns. Teach them that it’s okay to touch and hold a gun, but that it is absolutely important that they ask for permission from the adult owner first. The adult can then show the child how to pick it up and hold it safely.
7. Guns Are Not Toys
Gun battles in video games make gun use look really cool and many kids will have had a toy gun at some point. However, they absolutely must be taught the difference between a toy gun and a real gun. More importantly, the danger of treating a real gun as a toy.
8. Explain Why People Have Guns
It’s not enough to just teach gun safety. Again, kids are curious and the more information you give them, the better they learn. Explain to your kids why people have guns. Some people are in hunting clubs, others like to practice at firing ranges and people like farmers need them to protect their animals and homes, etc. Then you can also mention professionals who carry guns like police, security guards and military personnel. At this point, also explain to your kid that all of these people were taught the same rules of handling a gun which is why they are able to carry one today. Kids love to emulate heroes so will be happy to follow in the footsteps of these heroes.
9. Show Them How To Shoot
There is no better way to hit home the seriousness of gun safety than to let your child fire a shot from one. Of course, this is something that needs to be held off until the child is a little older, bigger and stronger. By allowing your child to actually fire a gun, they will feel the power of the weapon and really gain the understanding that a gun is not a toy. Once they gain this understanding you can teach them how to prepare and take aim before actually firing the gun.
10. Lock And Key
Any responsible gun owner will have a lockable cupboard or strong box for their guns. Teach your kids that locking guns away is the only safe way to store guns when they are not in use. Show them where your guns are kept locked but again, reiterate that they should never touch a gun without adult supervision. Just to be on the safe side, make sure the key is kept hidden.
The greatest danger of kids and guns comes from curiosity. By showing your kids your guns and educating them about the dangers of mishandling guns and proper gun safety, you take away the novelty of guns and the mystery. Kids who are educated about gun safety and whose parents have the patience to answer the multitude of questions their kids may have about gun safety and use are less likely to seek your guns when you’re not looking because you’ve taken away the curiosity factor.