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Children and Guns: Accidental Gun Deaths Among Children

According to U.S. government figures, the majority of gun deaths that occur in this country are caused by homicide and suicide. For example: In the U.S. for 2001, there were 29,573 deaths from firearms, distributed as follows by mode of death: Suicide 16,869; Homicide 11,348. During that same time period, 802 individuals died due to accidental gun related deaths. Half the victims involved were children (individuals under 18 years of age). Author Jennifer Dionne’s article reviews the accidental gun death among children issue. She also provides some valuable information that will help teach, prevent and guide parents to make appropriate decisions regarding guns and children.

Prevent Accidental Gun Accidents With Children

Lately there seems to be a renewed debate amongst the parenting community about gun control. I have read numerous articles and seen many programs on the issue. Most suggest that guns should not be in a home with children and if you must have guns in the home then they need to be properly stored and locked up. This will prevent the majority of the accidental deaths involving children playing with guns.
Most failed to mention the real reason why kids die around guns: NO BODY TEACHES THEM ABOUT GUNS. Ignorant people are usually the most dangerous. Kids should be taught by adults 1) what guns are, that they are dangerous, that they are not toys and not to play with them 2) how to use a gun so then kids will know if the safety is on or off (most parents don’t even know there is a safety) and they can prevent accidents by their friends.
Contrary to popular belief, not all gun owners are back-woods ultra conservative freaks with gun racks all over their houses. Most are responsible adults who use guns for their intended purposes: hunting, recreational use, personal protection, etc.
If kids were taught by their parents how to use a gun properly and what a gun is actually used for instead of relying on TV to teach their children, then accidents would be significantly reduced. It is my right as a US citizen to own a gun; however, with gun ownership does come responsibility to teach kids what a gun is for and how to use one, which I think is where the breakdown happens between parents and their kids. If kids were taken to a shooting range and actually shown what a real gun can do, that it can kill, they would quickly realize it is not a toy.


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Moreover, if kids shot a gun, the impression left would make them think before picking one up. Talking about guns isn’t enough. That’s why kids should take a gun safety class, learn about guns, and actually be taught how to handle one properly. The notion that kids will steer clear of guns is ridiculous. As we all know, if kids want to do something, be it drugs, sex, or play with guns, they will find a way to do it. Parents who think they can protect their kids 100% of the time from the real world live in a delusional world. As for me, I intend to educate my kids about the real dangers in life and not leave it to chance that I will prevent them handling a gun.
Not having guns in the home is not going to prevent accidents. I think adults that properly own and use guns are invaluable to teaching kids about them. How can someone who has never fired a gun talk to kids about them? Saying that guns are dangerous is not enough. Until you have shot at something or hunted something or used a gun for what it was meant to do, you cannot know what guns are like. I myself have never fired a gun; however, I fully intend to take Hunter’s Safety class and have my husband teach me and my daughters when they are old enough about weapons. It has been one of my deep desires to learn about guns and I aim to do so.
The notion that locking guns up properly so kids won’t gain access to guns is a flawed concept in my view as well. As before, if kids want to do something, they will find a way. They will find a way to gain access to your locked case by finding the key, etc. We all know as parents that a forbidden object is even more coveted by children. Again, education is the key to lowering the number of accidental gun deaths in the United States.

This article was submitted by Jennifer Dionne. Her website is http://www.loveofparenting.com, a comprehensive view of pregnancy and parenting. She is a stay-at-home mom who is passionate about helping other moms through the challenges of motherhood. She is the author of “How to Have a Baby Your Way”, which is available through her website.


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6 comments

  • Ryan Marshall says:

    I could not agree more. I was raised around guns and have shot competitively since I was 8 years old and I have never had a mishap or close call because no1 my dad taught me gun safety from the age of 3. No 2 he dispelled all the curiosity by letting my shoot and handle guns as long as I was under his supervision. So he never said this is bad and dangerous, don’t touch! He let me know that guns are inanimate objects, they are not to be feared just respected for what they can do. The only thing that makes them dangerous or active is the person handling them. So by showing them the respect they deserve and never being absent minded when handling or transporting or storing a gun you take away it’s power to harm you or others.

  • Caleb says:

    While I think guns should remain legal, I disagree with you on one thing. The real reason why kids die around guns is not because they weren’t taught about them, it was because the children had them. I don’t care if your seven year is educated about guns, he should not under any circumstances have access to them.

  • melissa says:

    If you look at statistics kids are not only finding guns in their homes they are also finding guns in their friends home. If a kid see’s a friend with a gun and does not know that their in a bad situation then things can get really bad. Accidents happen and parents think that if they ignore the fact of guns because then their children will be safe, but then why don’t we just ignore the facts of drugs too then cause maybe then our kids will be safe. Ignoring the problems does not make them go away and does not make a safer community! Making our children aware of all the dangers in life and what to do so they are safe is our responsibility as parents as a community. I think teaching children about guns should be as serious as teaching them about drugs and alcohol!

    • Dyann says:

      i have to agree wit the point made that gun is dangerous and children should not be allowed to play with them. parents need to keep their gun is a safe place where the children CAN NOTget to them. they need to stop thinking that the children are going to do the right thing and dont play with the guns. children will be children, they are naturally curious. out of sight for ALL children

  • chris says:

    A close family friend lost their 2 year old child this past
    Weekend as a result of this child getting a hold of her mommy’s pink 38 special and pulled the trigger, the gun discharged and hit the child in the face.Such tragedies are completely unfathomable and avoidable. I pray that another family doesn’t have to suffer the loss of a child, or the pain,
    Regret and remorse this family feels. Please look at safety precautions as a necessary practice rather than an after thought.
    I wouldn’t wish this pain on anyone! I pray this family pulls through this!

  • Wayne says:

    What is the oppsite of a right? Permission


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