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Firearms in the Home: Teaching Children About Gun Safety

The statistics should frighten any parent. Most victims of accidental gun deaths are under the age of 25. In a 2014 study, the results showed that deaths from an accidental shooting are three times more likely to occur in homes with a firearm. Parents must teach their children how to be a responsible gun owner, for their own safety as well as for those around them.

Start With Rules

Establish strict rules about any guns in the household. Anyone under the age of 18 should not handle a gun without a parent or other responsible adult present. The child should leave at once and notify an adult if a friend brings a gun or wants to show off one in their own home without parental supervision.

Parents should never believe that their children do not know when a gun comes into the home. A survey of the children of gun owners revealed that 70 percent knew the location of firearms in their home, and over a third of these children had handled the gun without parental permission or knowledge.

Teach your children to never reveal the location of hidden firearms to their friends or others. Gun cabinets should always be off-limits to everyone except the owner of the guns. Locks on guns and gun cabinets can prevent unnecessary incidents in homes with young children or many children coming in and out.

Teach Safe Handling

Guns are safest in the hands of people who understand and respect them. Good gun handling skills will prevent many accidents. The age at which an individual is ready to learn how to handle a gun differs for everyone, but children should reach certain developmental stages before their hands-on training begins.

Good motor skills are essential because the child needs to have control of the firearm. Children are ready when they understand the power and danger the weapon represents, and when they follow instructions without debate. Every parent should teach their children three simple gun handling rules:
  • Handle all guns as if they are loaded, even when you know they are not.
  • Never aim at anything you do not intend to shoot.
  • Never fool around when holding a gun.
With these guidelines in place, your child should be able to safely handle a gun.

Build Skills Slowly

Over time kids can learn how to handle various weapons, how to load and unload a firearm, and how to clean and care for guns. The first lessons should focus on carrying and holding the weapon properly, as well as how to aim and shoot. Start the lessons at a firing range instead of at home to create boundaries for the use of the weapon.

Look for local and national educational programs designed with age-appropriate lessons to familiarize children with firearms and to increase their safety training. Purchase a child their own weapon only after they have mastered all the basic gun safety lessons. The rules for their gun should be the same as any owned by their parents.

Think Before Buying

Manufacturers make children's guns that they know will appeal to children. It is an understandable marketing practice. Unfortunately, a gun covered in cartoon characters and bright colors or one that genuinely looks like a toy is a potential problem. Responsible parents teach that guns are not toys and should avoid buying their child something that conflicts with that lesson.
Parents want to pass on traditions to their children. Hunting and marksmanship training can lead to thousands of hours of parent-child bonding. Safety training ensures that these events are never marred by tragedy. See us at Hoover Tactical Firearms when the time is right for you or your child to have their first firearm. We will help you find the perfect one for your needs.