How to teach gun safety to kids
These days, there is a lot of talk about gun safety. Every other day, there is some story in the news, or on the internet about gun-related accidents and other similar incidents that put kids' lives in danger.
Parents want to protect their kids from such incidents, however, in most cases, they take the wrong approach. The common approach is to simply hide your guns from your kids, and not tell them where you have hidden your firearm. After all, if they don't know where you've locked away the gun, your kids will be safe, right?
Well, not at all.
In a lot of gun accidents, parents do keep their guns hidden or locked away, but their kids are still able to get to them, sometimes out of curiosity, and sometimes with worse intentions. You can't keep your kids safe from gun-related accidents by hiding your guns.
Why teach your kids about gun safety?
If you want your kids to stay safe, and understand how dangerous guns can be, you need to teach them about gun safety. After all, guns aren't the main problem, but the irresponsible handling of guns is. If you teach your kids how to safely use a gun, they aren't going to be as curious to find the guns that you have stored in your home, and if they do find a gun, they will be significantly less likely to get into an accident since they understand how to safely handle a firearm, and the devastating impact it can have if safety precautions are ignored. Even if you don't have a firearm in your home, it is important to teach your kids about gun safety. Whether you own a firearm or not, it is quite likely that your child will come across one, perhaps at a friend's house whose parents do own guns. Therefore, firearm safety awareness is essential for everyone.
Start with firearm safety:
If you have guns in your home, your kids are going to notice. So, it is important that when they start to show interest in guns, you teach them about gun safety, and how important it is to handle a firearm responsibly.
Ideally, you shouldn't buy toy guns for your kids until they are about 5-7 years old. When they are so interested in firearms, you should buy them a BB gun, and teach them how to use it responsibly. The ideal is to make your kids understand that where gins can be used for sport, they are not a toy.
Teach your child to keep their BB gun in a locked chest, and emphasize the 4 main rules of firearm safety.
●Always Keep Firearm Pointed in a Safe direction
●Treat All Guns as Though They are Loaded
●Keep Your Finger Off the Trigger until You are Ready to Shoot
●Don't point your firearm toward anything you don't intend to destroy, Always Be Sure of Your Target and What’s Behind It
Overall, make your child treat their BB gun as a real weapon. Teach them to respect it, and use it responsibly. This is a good way to help your child understand gun safety in a safe environment before you introduce them to a real gun.
Introduce your kids to marksmanship:
When your kid gets a little older, perhaps around 7-10 years old, depending on their level of interest, and maturity, you can introduce them to marksmanship with a real firearm. A small 22 caliber hunting rifle or a 22 caliber pistol like the Ruger Mark IV is a good place to start.
These are real firearms, but don't have much recoil, and fire a very small bullet. Make sure that you are always supervising your kids when they are practicing their shooting, and emphasize following gun safety precautions while doing so. You should also emphasize that your child should never use a firearm without supervision, and tell them how dangerous firearms can be.
The idea is to take a mystery away from firearms and teach your kids how to responsibly handle them.
Be a good example:
You can talk to your child about gun safety and responsible gun ownership all day, however, your actions speak way louder than your words. If you want your kids to grow up and become responsible gun owners, you need to lead by example and be a responsible gun owner yourself. This means that you can never compromise on any gun safety precautions, and not show any kind of leniency when your child makes a mistake regarding gun safety.
Moreover, make sure to store your firearms with responsibility. Even though you have taught your child about gun safety, you need to set a good example and still lock your firearms and store them in a gun safe that your kids can't access without your supervision.
Take your child on a hunting trip:
When your child is old enough, perhaps about 12-14 years old. If they show interest in firearms you should take them on a hunting trip. You can tell your kids about how dangerous a gun is all you want, but it can never have the same effect as a first-hand experience.
When your child goes on their first hunting trip they can experience first-hand what a firearm is capable of. This imprints the importance of gun safety in their mind, and what could happen if they aren't responsible.
Look for teachable moments:
As your child is getting older, they are going to be exposed to gun violence in multiple ways. They are going to hear news about unrelated accidents, and mass shootings on the news, and be exposed to the unsafe use of firearms through movies and video games.
Where many people like to limit their child’s exposure to such content, the truth of the matter is that it is unavoidable. So, instead of ignoring it, use such instances as a teachable moment. Use these moments to start discussions about firearms, and talk about how these accidents and incidents could have been avoided through gun safety and responsible firearm ownership.
If you have a firearm in your home, it is essential that every person in your home, including your kids, have a good understanding of firearm safety. By following the tips mentioned in the post, you can make your kids responsible gun owners, and avoid gun-related incidents.