Gun Safety for Parents
If you own a gun, you understand how important it is to be a responsible gun owner. If you are one, you have to make sure you know how to handle your weapon, whether you are shooting it or not: how to clean it, how to properly load/unload it, how to disassemble it, among many other things. But there’s another thing as important as proper use: how to keep others safe. Especially if you have children living in your household. Gun safety for parents is paramount! If you are a parent, you probably bought or you are thinking about buying a gun to keep your family safe. If that’s your main goal, you should know you have to explain to your children how to be responsible with (and around) guns. If you don’t know where to begin with such an important task, here are 7 rules you must follow to avoid any issues.
Be completely honest about it.
Don’t try to hide the fact you own guns or create a mysterious aura around them. The worst thing you can do is tell your children there’s something in the house they can never, ever touch. They will make it their life’s mission to get to whatever you have forbidden. You need to be completely open about it: the guns you own, why did you buy them, how dangerous they are and why they are important. If you take the mystery away from guns, they become an everyday thing – something less attractive for your children. You also take away the shock factor away from guns, paving the way for their future responsible gun ownership.
Bear in mind you shouldn’t make guns sound unimportant. They are everything but that.
Talk to your children about guns – Gun safety for parents is gun safety for kids
Once you have explained the what, why and how of your guns, you should talk to your children about guns in general. Educate them about their importance, not only in your household but in your country. Talk to them about their rights as future citizens and the laws related to guns. Explain how different guns work, why police carry them and why civilians might carry them as well. The more they know, the better. Talking about the consequences is important as well.
Take a moment to explain to your kids that life is not a video game.
There are more than enough action movies and video games with unrealistic scenarios on them. It only takes one of them to make your children confused about the true nature of guns. In a movie, a character gets shot and he’s likely to stand back up. In a video game, you might be able to get shot and walk it off. Take a little time to explain these things are nowhere near real life and how using a gun can change a life forever, for better or worse. Actions have consequences, especially when you decide to fire a gun.
Store it away from your kids but close to you.
If you decided to own a gun, you probably did so to deal with possible threats. If someone breaks into your house and tries to harm your family, that’s where your gun becomes important. You must have it at hand’s reach in such a dangerous scenario. But it should never, ever be at your children’s reach. If you are at home, it must be locked away safe. There are many products on the market that allow for safe keeping of your gun while still providing quick access, such as bio-metric safes. If you are away from home, you should take it with you – that is if your state allows citizens to concealed carry.
If you are storing your gun away, it needs to be unloaded.
It goes without saying, stored guns should always be unloaded. It doesn’t matter if you are at home or not, it’s the best way to prevent an accident. If you are at home, you can simply unload the gun and store both pieces in the same safe box. Several people recommend storing your gun in one place and your ammunition in another, but that’s entirely up to you. If you are away from home, you should take that route and avoid possible problems by making either the gun or the bullets unavailable for anyone who isn’t the gun owner.
Explain how they should act with guns when they are away from home.
If you have decided to take the time to talk to your children about guns because you are concerned about home safety, you can take a little bit to talk about overall safety as well. You are probably not the only gun owner your children are going to encounter throughout their life, and you need to explain to them how to act around guns in other people’s houses. If they are young, they need to know they are not supposed to be around guns, no matter who the grownup is. If they are old enough, they need to understand what gun ownership implies.
Teach them how to use a gun… when they are old enough.
If your children are taught how important guns are from a young age, they will grow up to be responsible adults capable of carrying guns — a privilege many people do not have. When they are old enough, it’s best to teach them how to properly handle and fire a gun. That way, you’ll know they will be safe when they encounter one. Plus, going to the gun range for firearms training is a great way to bond with your kids!