Most kids know what guns are, but know very little about them. That’s why it’s up to parents and other responsible adults to talk to them about the potential dangers of guns and how to be safe around them.
Explain to your children that real guns — unlike toy guns or those shown on TV, in movies, or in video games — can seriously injure or even kill a person, advises KidsHealth.
Young kids need a different approach than older kids when it comes to teaching gun safety, according to Project ChildSafe, a program of the National Shooting Sports Foundation.
Grade school age and under should follow these rules if they see a gun:
- Stop what they're doing
- Do not touch the gun, even if it looks like a toy.
- Leave the area where the gun is
- Tell an adult right away
Stress to children the importance of leaving the area to avoid being harmed by someone who doesn't know not to touch the gun. Even three-year-olds can pull a trigger, adds KidsHealth.
Repeat rules every month to young children.
For teens, the rules are clear, adds Project ChildSafe.
- Don’t touch, pick up, or use a gun without an adult’s permission and supervision
- Never, ever point a gun at anyone
- Always assume a gun is loaded and can fire
If you have a spouse or partner, talk to your kids together, when there are no distractions, and let them know up front it’s a conversation, not a lecture, advises Project ChildSafe. Invite your kids to ask questions, and ask them questions. Find out what they already know and what they’ve heard. Take the mystery out of guns, using real life situations to help kids understand so they know what to do if you’re not there.
Americans enjoy a right that citizens of many other countries do not...The right to own firearms. Along with that right comes responsibilities. It is the gun owner’s responsibility to store, operate and maintain his/her firearm safely. It is the gun owner’s responsibility to ensure that unauthorized or untrained individuals cannot gain access to his/her firearms. It is also the gun owner’s responsibility to learn and obey all applicable laws that pertain to the purchase, possession and use of firearms in his/her locale. Guns are neither safe or unsafe themselves. When gun owners learn and practice responsible gun ownership, guns are safe.