An important part of safe gun ownership is keeping guns in secure locations that prevent access to children. Parents know the importance of making sure children stay safe by wearing seatbelts and bicycle helmets, as well as making sure all medications and poison are out of reach of children. However, it’s just as important that parents take the same safety measures to prevent firearm accidents.
To help prevent accidents or suicides, parents need to practice the following safety tips:
- Guns should always remain unloaded and securely locked up.
- Store bullets and weapons in different secure locations to prevent any accidents.
- Invest in a fingerprint or combination safes. If the safe has keys, make sure children don’t have access to them.
- Invest in gun storage and gunlocks, which can be used when children are in the home.
Some parents don’t own guns and they’re under the misconception that this means their children will remain safe. However, children can visit other friends’ homes whose parents do have unsecured weapons. All parents should talk openly to their children about guns, which includes:
- Educating children to avoid guns, even at friends’ homes.
- If parents find out unsecured weapons are in friends’ homes, they should speak immediately to the parents about securing weapons around children.
By nature, children are curious. Children should know that guns are very dangerous and they should never touch a gun without the permission of a parent. Some children have a difficult time differentiating between video game and television violence. Parents need to explain to children that the violence portrayed in these types of visual entertainment is not real, but guns are very dangerous in real life.
Always keep guns away from depressed children, as most teens don’t understand the long-term repercussions of suicide or self-inflicted harm. Teach children how to adequately shoot weapons at a young age. Many local gun clubs offer safety training for parents and children, including teaching children the necessary safety precautions related to weapons, such as never pulling a trigger, treating all guns as if they are loaded weapons, etc.
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