It is estimated that there are guns in half of all of the homes in the United States. Although most of these guns are purchased for safety reasons, a firearm at home is thought by many people to be more likely to kill or injure a family member or friend than an intruder, especially if it is not secured properly.
To keep your children safe and prevent firearm related injuries, it is important to restrict access to guns by children and adolescents, either by not having a gun in the home or by storing it properly.
Proper storage of a gun includes that you:
- keep your guns locked
- keep your guns unloaded
- keep your ammunition locked
- keep your ammunition in a separate area from your gun
- A safe or lock box are good places to store your unloaded guns and your ammunition. A trigger lock can also provide extra security when you store your unloaded guns in a safe or lock box.
As with other types of child safety, this type of layers of protection plan is the best way to protect children from accidentally finding a loaded gun, or finding a unloaded gun and ammunition and loading it themselves, and then shooting themselves, shooting a family member, or shooting a friend.
Other steps you can take to ensure gun safety include:
- Use a gun trigger lock.
- Make sure that your children do not have access to the keys used to lock your guns and ammunition.
- Teach your children to not handle guns without adult supervision.
- Avoid letting your children play with realistic toy guns.
- Even if you don't have a gun in your own home, it is important to educate your children about firearm safety in case they discover a gun outside the home or in the homes of their friends.
- Gun Safety Programs
Kids should also know the 4 steps of the Eddie Eagle gun safety program, including:
- Don't Touch.
- Leave the Area.
- Tell an Adult.
Parents should also consider discussing gun safety with other parents or family members if your child spends time in their homes. When your child has a play date or sleepover, do you know if there are guns in the home? If there are, are they properly stored?
Don't be afraid to ask other people about guns if your child is going to be in their home.
Kids and Guns
Parents shouldn't count on their child simply knowing what to do if they find a gun. Much to their parent's surprise, one study found that most kids who find a gun will handle it; many will even pull the trigger, being unsure if the gun is real or a toy.