Protect Children With Guns in a Home
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, (AAP), a child in the United States is killed every 2 hours by a loaded gun. Most of the death from firearms are accidental and many are self inflicted or inflicted by friends, family member, or neighbors. Some of the school shootings where children or school staff were injured or killed, were committed by students who got their weapons from home. Sadly, a few precautions- being alert, and having basic knowledge about guns and gun safety, along with communication between parents and children-could have prevented most of the crippling injuries or deaths from firearms.
1. Sit down with your children and talk to them about the dangers of firearms. Explain that guns are not toys and need to be treated with respect. Point out that actors or actresses may appear to die on the screen, but that the blood and bullets are fake, and that the actors are really alive and will be able to continue acting in other shows and movies. Then, explain to your child that real guns kill you forever. Explain that a person who has been shot does not get to later get up and walk away from death. They never get to go play with friends or spend time with you again.
2. Purchase a gun lock for hand guns.
3. Purchase a locking gun cabinet and put your rifles,shotguns, and other similar weapons in the gun cabinet and keep it locked at all times. Consider purchasing a gun cabinet with a dual locking system for added safety.
4. If you cannot afford a gun lock or locking cabinet, remove the firing pin from the hand gun, shot gun, and rifles so they cannot fire.
5. Store bullets and weapons separately. You should preferably store bullets where children are less likely to find them like locked inside a home safe hidden and covered in a closet or under your bed.
6. Keep the keys to your gun cabinet, safe, or gun lock where your children will not know where to find them. You could put them on a chain around your neck, inside your wallet, locked into a desk drawer or night stand, or taped to the bottom of a drawer.
7. Always point guns away from you and and anyone else who may be around when checking to see if all the rounds or shells have been removed after hunting or target practicing. Clean weapons in a basement or garage, if you can, and not in the presence of your child.
8. If you and your child or teen like to go hunting or go target practice attend a safe hunter’s class or gun safety class with them, even if you have a hunting license or safe hunter’s card. Make sure your child follows the rules and guidelines learned in the class when you go hunting or to target practice.
9. When you take your child hunting make sure the safety of your firearm is on and that you both wear bright orange hats and vests, so that you can be seen by other hunters.
10. The AAP strongly advises adults to tell their child(ren) that if they see someone with a weapon, whether it is an adult, teen or another child to “Stop. Don’t Touch. Leave the area. Tell an adult.” The same rule applies if your child should find a gun.