Responsible adult gun owners understand the critical need to educate children about guns and gun safety. The security of children living in a home with firearms depends entirely upon the parents. They must take every necessary step to protect a child from becoming a victim of their carelessness. Even gun owners without children of their own must take every precaution to prevent a weapon from falling into the hands of any child who may visit the home. Guns are found in approximately one-third of all American homes, many of which have young children or teenagers. This statistic makes teaching kids about guns and their safety extremely critical. Because children are naturally curious about things they do not understand, educating them about what they are and what they do takes the mystery out of the equation.
Young Children and Guns
Children should be taught to respect guns, but not fear them. Parents should build confidence by teaching children that guns can be very dangerous and that they must always be careful around them. We must teach children the steps they must take when they encounter a gun. They must know not to touch it and to tell an adult immediately. Parents must take this responsibility seriously by not avoiding or postponing talking to children about guns and gun safety. Doing so can put a child’s life at risk.
Teenagers and Guns
Young people between the ages of 15-19 are more at risk for sustaining injuries from firearms than younger children because parents are less likely to store firearms safely out of reach. It is crucial that teenagers understand never to trust a gun that they have not unloaded themselves. Even though safety issues should take priority, teens must know how a gun works and the extent of damage a gun can cause.
Important Gun Safety Tips
Parents should provide their children with basic training in gun handling and safety. It is a parent’s responsibility to know when a child is mature enough physically and mentally to begin formal training in how to use a gun safely. The National Shooting Sports Foundation recommends teaching children all aspects of gun handling only when they are ready. They must learn the proper way to pick up, hold, carry and aim a gun before they are ever taught to shoot one. It is also a parent’s responsibility to teach children that proper gun storage is necessary for ensuring their safety and that of others.