Our 2 kids began learning how to shoot a .22 rifle when they were 7 and 9 years old. Our approach to the shooting skills and gun safety was very casual and low key. You might have thought we were teaching them how to use nail clippers for all the excitement we displayed!
They learned and had plenty of time to practice basic safety rules. My son was corrected by a range officer more than once for forgetting the safety procedures. Never once have they indicated a worrisome level of curiosity or obsession with our firearms.
Still, I remain cautious with our use of guns for one reason, and this is my third tip in a series of 7:
#3 Never under-estimate the Stupid Factor
In spite of an Eddie Eagle education and constant reminders, kids are kids. They act impulsively. They sometimes make poor and stupid choices.
Sooner or later, most kids will encounter a real live gun somewhere. The gun may or may not be supervised by an adult. It may or may not be loaded, and my kids may or may not be inclined to use the common sense God gave them. As parents, we increase the chances our kids will do the smart thing and stay safe when there’s a gun around when we train, educate and remind, remind, remind.
Recently a few parents voiced their complete confidence in their kids’ safety around guns because they had been trained and they are very aware of the damage that can be done when a gun is played with or misused. I believe that assumption is a bit naive. We may know what our kids are like when they are around us, but we don’t always know what they’re like when they’re around their peers or someone they want to impress.
My advice? Continue training and educating but remain cautious. If you choose to keep a loaded firearm in one or more locations around the house for home defense, they should be out of sight from the kids. I’m not a believer in storing firearms and ammo separate from each other — what’s the point in having a firearm for home defense??
However, do be smart about where you place those loaded weapons and very choosey about the people who know those locations. Something like a gun magnet can be used to store a gun under a desktop or tabletop. Something like The GunBox can contain a handgun and open with the touch of a finger. SentrySafe makes gun safes that can be purchased in many stores around the country. Guns can be concealed in specially designed furniture — hidden but at the ready when needed.
Here’s my own true story. When my brother was an older teen, he became part of the drug crowd at high school. At times he would be angry and combative with my parents, especially my Dad. In his wisdom, one day my Dad took the entire collection of family guns out of the house and placed them elsewhere. My brother was in a place in his life that we couldn’t be certain of his mental or emotional stability at any given time. Removing all guns in that scenario was the smartest thing my Dad could have done for our protection and that of my brother.
Think twice about assuming that your kids would never do something stupid around guns.
This gun safety tip has been sponsored by The GunBox, a revolutionary product that gives gun owners rapid access to their firearms while keeping the guns safe.
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