Many homeowners in the United States choose to keep guns in their homes, and gun safety should be a concern any time children are close by. By talking to young people about guns, you are taking steps to keep them safe, whether they are your own or a guest in your home.
Keep Guns Out of Reach of Children
This may seem like just common sense, but a number of people don’t stop to consider that children can be very creative when it comes to reaching items that you think you have stored out of reach. They can and will climb on furniture and move chairs to get to something that they want to find out more about.
Simply putting a gun on a top shelf in your closet isn’t enough. If you want to follow appropriate gun safety procedures, then your firearms should be stored in a gun safe or other secure location. Your ammunition should also be kept under lock and key, and stored away from the firearms. Be sure that you remove the ammunition before you put the gun away, too.
Keep Your Keys Away From Youngsters
The keys to your gun cabinets should be stored on a separate key chain from your household keys. Make sure that they are kept in a location where children can’t get at them. A better idea is to take steps to make sure that your children don’t know where the keys are kept. Young children often imitate their parents and they may decide to find the keys and try to open your gun case if they have seen you do this.
Teach Your Children What to Do If They Find a Gun
Your children should learn what to do if they find a gun, whether they are at home or somewhere else. Here are the steps they should follow in this situation:
1. Stop what you are doing.
2. Don’t touch it.
3. Leave the area immediately.
4. Tell an adult where the gun is located.
Leaving the area is important, since a toddler has the strength in his or her hands to pull a trigger. If your child comes to you to let you know that he or she has seen a gun, find out where it is located and report the matter to local law enforcement.
Young children may not be able to tell the difference between guns use in movies and on television shows and in real life. They may not understand that if they were to shoot someone in real life that there will be serious, possibly life-threatening, consequences. They may have trouble telling the difference between a toy and a real gun. This is another reason why they should not be left alone with a firearm at any time.