Gun Safety – Kid edition
BEFORE YOU GO ANY FURTHER – This is not a post about the second amendment. This is not a post about gun rights or my views on this subject. If you feel a certain kind of way about the subject, please take it elsewhere.
The fact is, we live in a country in which the right to purchase and carry firearms is legal. And the ownership of a firearm brings to bear certain responsibilities that should be addressed. From the looks of it, society in general has embraced the “tacticool” mentality. ‘Murica and pew pew pew and all that fun stuff. Full transparency, I love it too. But it needs to be taken seriously, when many times it is not. Social media is riddled with beards, bald eagles, and AR’s. In many states, you can buy a car and walk away with a free rifle. One roofing company in particular boasts a star spangled commercial in which you get a free rifle upon completion of your new roof. Don’t believe me? Well, here ya go…
See, told ya. On Black friday alone, there were 200,000 background inquiries submitted to the FBI for the purchase of firearms. The guns are out there, and unfortunately for every video of a bearded guy slamming a beer and having a rifle thrown at him while a bald eagle screeches in the background, there are very few that address gun safety and responsibility. The sad truth is, there are almost none that address gun safety for kids.
If you choose to own a firearm, whether for personal or home defense or as a shooting enthusiast or collector, the fact is that you have entered into an agreement with society. An unwritten social contract, if you will, that states that you will conduct yourself in a manner that will keep everyone else around you safe. They did not ask you, nor did they endorse you to purchase and carry a firearm, and are blindly trusting that you take this responsibility seriously, and will seek the proper training and mindset needed. This is especially true when it comes to children. Unfortunately, this social contract is all too often broken, with the worst of consequences.
Let’s get down to the real truth about this, kids will find it, and kids will play with it. I wholeheartedly agree that knowledge is power, and that to simply yell at a child to “never touch that” is never the right way to go about gun safety and kids. However, to teach your child about firearms, to show them proper firearm safety and handling, or to teach them the NRA approved “Stop! Don’t touch it! Leave the area, find an adult” method, while all very good practices, is just not enough. A kid’s curiosity will generally rule the day and no matter how well taught or trained they are, they will most likely touch or handle a firearm if they find it.
In 2014, 20/20 did a piece on families in which both firearms and children are present. In it, they show kids of parents that own and keep firearms that have consented to do a study. The kids met up at a local elementary school and were given the NRA presentation, a presentation by local law enforcement, and a teacher from the school to reinforce the message. The kids nailed it, and could repeat it on command. “Stop! Don’t touch it! Leave the area, find an adult!”. A week later, the kids were brought back for what they thought was going to be a memory test. In reality, there were several hidden cameras around the room and two real, unloaded firearms were hidden as well. In every case, the kids touched, handled, and picked up the firearms, the same kids that just a week prior knew all about gun safety. These screen captures of the footage show exactly what happened:
In this last photo, the first thing this little boy does is look directly down the barrel with his finger in the trigger guard. It’s a sobering thing to watch, and to realize that kids will ultimately be kids, no matter how much you train them and how well they can shoot.
Statistically, in the U.S. in 2014, 1.7 million homes with kids also had firearms in them, that’s 1 in 3.
And if you think you have hidden yours in a spot they will never find, you are very wrong. Don’t believe me? Check out this little future Ninja Warrior champion:
At the end of the day, you need to ask yourself if you are willing to bet the life of your child on how well you’ve hidden it, and that they won’t play with it if they find it.
So what do you do? LOCK THEM UP. Period. Look, I understand the argument of having a firearm accessible in the event of a break in or a home invasion, but I would also challenge you to be able to wake up from a sound sleep, retrieve the firearm, get it functioning, and place rounds on target accurately. Unless you train it, it is unlikely to happen and in all honestly, you are probably just going to arm the bad guy who is wide awake, riding a wave of adrenaline and whatever drug they might have in their system, and has intent to do harm.
My personal belief is that you live in a home without children, keeping a firearm accessible is fine. (Full disclosure, I do it in my home, but until my dogs grow thumbs, I think I’m ok.)
But if you have kids in your home, get a safe. I’m not a sponsored blogger yet, so I won’t plug any one brand. There are all shapes and sizes, and all types of locks. From high speed, biometrics to old school lock and key. If you don’t want to get a safe or can’t afford one, at least stop by your local police station and pick up a free gun lock, and if you don’t know how to use it, swallow your pride and ask the desk officer to show you how.
Finally, just remember this, in order for something to be shot by a firearm the following things must ALL happen:
- The firearm must be loaded
- The firearm must be touched or handled
- The trigger must be pulled
If any one of these things doesn’t happen or is interrupted, then it is impossible for the firearm to properly function. By keeping the ammo separate and locked away, or using a trigger guard or a gun lock, you can control two of these things without being there, so control them. There is no excuse. Delete the term “accidental discharge” from your vocabulary. There are only negligent discharges. Frame your mind this way, and you are on your way to becoming a more responsible parent and gun owner.
If anyone reading this has any questions or wants to learn about gun safety and responsibly carrying a firearm concealed, we offer training. Reach out (firstname.lastname@example.org). If you have a kid in the home and you want to learn, but can’t afford basic gun safety classes, still reach out and we will get you squared away. Like I said, there is no excuse.
Side note, I highly recommend you watch the following videos, and that you share them with your kids.
20/20 piece about kids with guns in the home:
NRA “Eddie the Eagle” Gun safety for kids:
For more information or to get a hold of myself or another qualified trainer, go to www.opssecuritygroup.com. Train safe, train smart, and thanks for reading