When kids shoot: The need for at-home gun safety

It seems the media, once again, is falling over themselves to push stories around the country of kids finding guns in the house and discharging them, injuring and sometimes killing other family members.  We have all heard of the 5-year old Kentucky boy who accidentally shot and killed his 2-year old sister.  Some may have heard the story of the 7-year old who accidentally shot himself in the head.  More stories are out there.

The moral of all these stories should, of course, be simple.  Guns are a right, but they should be treated like a responsibility. Gun safety is paramount for responsible gun ownership, and the importance grows 10-fold when kids are in the house.  Gun safety does not mean avoid the issue altogether and simply hope your kids never find your guns.  In fact, this is arguably irresponsible.

Instead, confront the issue.  If you have guns and kids in your house, show them your unloaded guns, and make sure the television and any other distraction is eliminated during this talk.  Teach them that guns can be dangerous if used improperly.  Show them that if they ever find a gun, you never, ever touch it or pick it up.  Do this often, monthly if you feel you have to.  Reinforce to your kids that guns have a purpose, and they are not toys.  The last thing you want, as a parent, is for your child to run across a gun and not know what it is.  Kids are curious…

Of course, never leave your kids unsupervised with guns, even if they are unloaded.  Once again, this reinforces to the child that responsible adults always need to be present when guns are available … always.  There are no exceptions to the rule, ever.  Loaded, unloaded, disassembled, whatever.  The only thing that stands between your child and a devastating mistake…is you.