A two-year-old was killed after accidentally shooting himself. Mom was in the kitchen, the kids were playing in the next room, and a loaded gun was within their reach. Unfortunately, this is a story we see all too often in news across the country. Parents, we need to do a better job keeping our children safe in our homes. Yes, guns are legal, but if you are going to keep guns in your home make sure you are locking them up. There is no reason for one more child to die because parents failed to follow gun safety.
Here are some responsible ways to create a safe environment when you have guns in your home.
- Always take the ammunition out of the gun. If you are using a gun for home safety, keep the gun and ammunition locked in a gun safe. There are many options that are safe and offer quick access to a gun. Here is an overview of these types of safes.
- Don’t just hide a gun, LOCK it away. Kids are notorious for finding exactly what they shouldn’t be looking for. Buy a safe and use it.
- Store ammunition in a separate, locked box away from the gun.
- If you use a key for your locked gun safe, store it in a hidden place where kids won’t find it.
- Clean your guns when kids are not around. The most obvious rule is don’t clean a loaded weapon. You’d be surprised at how many people are accidentally shot while cleaning a gun.
- If you have guns in the home, teach your children about gun safety. The National Rifle Association has an excellent gun safety program for kids. Go through it with your children on a regular basis.
- If you feel your kids need more training than you can offer enroll them in a local class. Gun Safe Kids offers classes in Black Forest. Guns For Everyone offers free kids’ safety classes. You can also ask about kids’ safety classes at your local gun store.
Parents, you are responsible for making your home safe, not just for your own children, but visiting children as well. They may not have been taught the rules of gun safety like your children. If you let your child visit other homes, it is absolutely an OK thing to ask those parents about gun in their home. The bottom line is kids don’t clearly see the realities of guns. They don’t always connect what they see in games or on TV with real life. It is our job to keep them safe and that means locking up our guns and keeping them out of children’s hands.