For many of us, owning a gun is all about being able to defend ourselves and protect our loved ones if needed.
But how do you follow the conventional rules of gun safety – keeping your firearm unloaded and secured until ready to use – and still have the weapon ready for self-defense?
If you have children, roommates or you frequently entertain and have guests over, you don’t want to leave your handgun loaded and laying on your nightstand. By the same token, it will be of little benefit if left unloaded in a safe in the garage or basement when a home invader kicks in your door at midnight.
We all too often read about children getting their hands on a firearm and catastrophic events follow. The child shoots a friend, a family member, or even himself. Sadly, these too often result in a death.
There are various child locks and wall or closet safes that can safely contain a handgun and keep it out of the wrong hands while still being accessible when needed.
Biometric safes have evolved by leaps and bounds and can be activated only by the user’s fingerprints. This gives quicker access than the various keyed and combination locks common to most safes and lock boxes. Best of all, the technology behind these is no longer prohibitively expensive.
The best recommendation, however, is to keep your defensive handgun in a comfortable holster and wear it at all times or as often as you can.
That way it is always completely under your control while remaining easily accessible.
Most children who pick up a firearm and have an accident do so because they think the firearm is a toy or they do not grasp the reality of the outcome of a gunshot.
To help teach children about gun safety, the National Rifle Association has a program called “Eddie Eagle.” The program is designed to teach children how to act if they come across a firearm.
It is a simple mantra, not unlike the one most children are taught to protect themselves from burning in a fire: Stop, drop and roll.
This is designed for preschoolers through fourth graders and, in my opinion, should be mandatory for all children. Even if they don’t have a firearm in their home, other family and friends may have firearms in theirs. Here’s what the NRA teaches children to do if they find a gun:
- Stop: The first step is the most critical. A mental note to stop gives the child a cue to pause and remember the rest of the safety instructions.
- Don’t touch: Firearms are not sentient and capable of acting on their own. If a firearm is left undisturbed it will not be fired and thus poses no risk.
- Leave the area: This takes the child away from the potential source of danger. Your child may not pick up the firearm, but another child might.
- Tell an adult: Children are taught to find a trustworthy and responsible adult such as a neighbor, relative or teacher if a parent or guardian is not available.
These four simple steps are only the first layer in a network of safety to prevent a child from having an accident with your firearm.
What advice would you add? How do you keep your children safe? Share your tips in the section below: