Do you have firearms in your home? Your vehicle? How about that concealed carry handgun in your purse? What about firearms at your child’s friend’s house?
Bottom line: It is your responsibility to keep those firearms out of the hands of children. It is, I believe, also a responsibility to have a discussion with your child about firearm safety. They need to understand what to do if they find a gun when not in your presence, such as at a friend’s house. Sadly, children are killed every year from gun accidents.
When I provide firearms training, no matter the audience or experience level, one of the first things covered is firearms safety rules. I expect the rules to be followed, both on and off the range! When it comes to the safety of children, there can be no exceptions.
Not sure how to talk to kids about firearms, or what educational programs are available? Let’s take a look at a few of these options.
1. Hunter education programs. These state-run programs are an excellent way to get the gun safety message across to kids, and most programs allow for parents or guardians to take the course along with the child. Even if you or the children are not hunters, the overlying theme of these programs is firearms safety. Check with your local state game & fish agencies or the county extension office. Some 4-H and scouting programs also have shooting and gun safety training in many states.
2. National Shooting Sports Foundation. This national organization is dedicated to “Promotion, Protection and Preserving” the shooting sports. They have an excellent program, “Project Child Safe,” that is dedicated to children and firearms safety. Check it out here.
3. National Rifle Association. The organization has been around for decades and is committed to the preservation of gun rights and firearms safety. Their resources available to the public for gun safety are too many to mention here. However, a good place to start is the “Eddie Eagle Gunsafe Program.”
4. Project Appleseed. Another great shooting and educational organization that has lots of opportunities when it comes to gun safety and offers shooting programs with the unique twist of American heritage all rolled into one program. Find more information here.
These are but a few of the programs available to you and your children. I have had hands-on experience with all of them.
Please take gun safety seriously. Safe gun handling, storage and education are responsibilities that we must never take for granted.
What advice would you add for teaching kids about guns? Share your tips in the section below: