Sunday, March 28, 2010

Guns and kids: How to avoid Accidents

I think this was asked before and given that we’re talking about the ownership of guns lately its important to look into it.
The best thing to do is of course keep your guns secured in a safe.
A small one to keep a handgun in doesn’t cost much, there’s some with electronic locks that cost around 100 USD. Kept in the closet you’ll have your gun within easy reach and safe from kids and unauthorized users.

A women once mentioned me the problem she had regarding owning guns and a suicidal family member living with them at the time.
Tough call, but if your gun stays with you at all times like you should do when carrying concealed (perfect excuse to get your carry permit and pack at all times!), and stays in the safe while you sleep, I’d say its pretty safe. I doubt a suicidal person would try to put a grinder to the safe while you sleep a few feet away.

When it comes to kids, you have to see for yourself and make your own call regarding when you feel they are responsible enough to handle firearms under the close supervision of an adult of course.
Explain to your children that whenever they want to see or handle a gun, all they have to do is ask you. Make sure you make the time to keep your word. They’ll ask you a few times, after handling the empty gun they’ll eventually lose interest but if you don’t do this, they’ll make it a personal mission to get hold of such gun on their own.
That’s a kid spending his entire spare time and imagination planning on how to get to a firearm, you sure don’t want that.

There’s no such thing as a perfect plan so you always have to have a plan B. Plans B are pretty much the essence of preparedness. So, what happens when you leave a gun within reach of a child by accident?
Don’t say it will never, happen, it will.
Even if your Mr. Perfect, what happens when your kid is playing at the neighbor’s and the guy commits a mistake himself or happens to be one of the many irresponsible gun owners?
What I did was this, and I believe it’s the best solution:
1)Want to see a gun? Dad will show it to you every time you ask.
2) What if you FIND a gun lying around or a FRIEND brings a gun or finds one?
In both cases, you DON’T TOUCH IT, leave the room and find an adult to explain what you found. If you’re home that would be the parents. If its someone else that found it, a friend for example, find the nearest responsible adult. Tell your friend not to touch it, LEAVE the room or the house if you have to but don’t EVER stay in a place where friends are playing or fooling around with a gun.

After talking about this several times I put it to test. I purposefully left a gun on a table and waited near by, keeping an eye on it (do I need to remind you the importance of such gun being empty? better yet, remove the barrel just to make sure).
When my son found it he did as I was told, he didn’t touch it, came looking for me and told me what he had found.
Its important to repeat these rules to your children, then test it again a few weeks and a few months later on.
I found out that children can learn this at a very early age, as soon as they can follow basic instructions.

Just like everything else in life, its work and training. Train your kids not to touch guns without the supervision of parents and to go looking for an adult if they ever find one on their own and that’s exactly what they’ll do. Do nothing and if such an incident ever occurs it’s a potential tragedy.



Anonymous said...

Good, thoughtful post FerFAL. Thanks for sharing it.

Anonymous said...

Someone beat me to it, but...

Very thoughtful, very good.

Anonymous said...

In a word: education. Teach your kids that guns are not toys, to respect the four rules,and what is the purpose of guns are. Which are, but not limited too: protecting your home and liberty, putting food on the table,and perfecting the skill of being a riflemen.

Anonymous said...

This is very important because when you have children usually that is who you are trying to protect with your guns!

Right now in America there is alot of sentiment that if you have guns in your home your kids will get them and go shoot up the school or shoot themselves.

I was raised with guns in my dad's home and he had a very effective way of making us not touch his guns unless given permission. I still remember what he said even though it's over twenty years ago now. He took me over to where his handgun was on the table when I was about 8 or 9. I remember being facinated with how it looked and I was a little afraid of it already. He was very serious and pointed at the gun. "Chrissy, he said, " If you ever touch this gun and it went off by accident and hit your little sister it would rip through her chest and she would bleed to death in front of your eyes." He then went on to descibe the many points of horrible death that come from accidental gunshot wounds.

"This gun," he went on, "is a tool that can be usefull, but can also kill you or one of us and I want you to respect what this tool can do."

Then he took us all up in the mountians and started teaching my older sister and I about gun safety and how to shoot military style as he was retired military. He also taught us to respect life and that you only shoot to either defend yourself or feed your family. I was never once tempted to go and shoot a bully or someone I didn't like.

He showed us how to shoot, reload, and shoot in a panic situation all before I was 14. It didn't matter that we were girls, we were going to learn how to defend ourselves and do it the right way Dammit! LOL

Not one of us children ever touched his guns without express permission. Not even when he wasnt home.
It may seem cruel to do that to a young child but it made me think about how dangerous a gun can be. It made it real. It is good in my opinion to do that while the child is still young enough not to be resistant to advice. If you wait until they are over 11 then they are already into teenage additude and not as reseptive. They want to seem tough.

Thanks for addressing this on your blog.

Anonymous said...

My Dad took what I consider to be a common sense approach. Figuring telling my brother and I to leave his guns alone, he instead taught us how they worked, how they fired, how they were loaded - generally, removing our natural curiosity about them. After these lessons, he told us if we wanted to look at them in the future, he would allow us to do it with his supervision. If he found we were doing this behind our back, the stars would shoot out our eyesockets with the pain.


Sounded reasonable to both of us. No need to risk a good spanking.

Seriously, teach your kids how they work and the curiosity about them wanes.

dc.sunsets said...

Great post. With my sons I showed them early and often: rules of safety, never sweep anything with the muzzle, etc. They went to the range as early as possible, starting with a Ruger 10/22 .22 LR caliber autoloader.

One slight wrinkle others haven't mentioned in the comments approved so far: find a range where inanimate objects can be shot safely. It's one thing to remind them that a bullet exits the barrel so fast that it's invisible, it's another thing to see what happens to a full can of soda pop, a 2 liter plastic bottle full of water or a watermelon when it's hit with one of those invisible bullets, especially if you use a centerfire rifle or larger-bore pistol with HPs.

Drama is memorable. So is destruction.

It's a reminder that making a thoughtless mistake is catastrophic, that this is a NO BOZO ZONE. Also, when demonstrating the operation of a semi-auto, point out what happens if the magazine is removed but you didn't check/empty the the chamber of the gun by firing the round that's still in it safely downrange. Full safety, full hearing and eye protection, just an object lesson that a magazine removed means NOTHING about the unloaded condition of the gun, and that is why unloaded guns are still always treated like they're loaded.

Sorry if this is obvious/redundant. Truth is, once the mystery is removed most kids see guns as just another tool in the shed...which is just what they are. Gun enthusiasm tends to skip generations.