Common-Sense Strategies for Teaching Gun Safety: Guns and fire are a lot alike

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gun safety for kids

Continuing with my series on the topic of gun safety for kids, here is my next tip.

Tip #4:  Guns and fire are a lot alike.

One of the earliest safety rules I ever taught my kids was to never touch fire. You would think it was obvious, with the heat and all, but there’s something alluring about a beautiful flickering, orange and gold flame that draws kids like, well, a moth. Those brightly colored flames can be just as alluring as the handguns and rifles we have in our homes.

It only takes a single close encounter with a flame to make a memorable impression. An encounter with a 12-gauge shotgun does the same.

Several years ago, my husband purchased a shotgun while I was away on a business trip. When I returned, my son couldn’t wait to show me the new gun in the closet. He was completely entranced with this new firearm and asked to see it over and over again.

A few days later we were at the range, and he was practically giddy over finally having the chance to fire this cool, new gun. Well, he fired it exactly once. With my husband crouched down behind him and supporting him, the recoil still scared him silly. Three years later, and much taller and stronger, he again fired the shotgun at the range. He hated the recoil, it left a bruise on his shoulder, and he’s not crazy about shooting it again, any time soon.

The gun did, indeed, look very cool, but a close encounter can change a young mind pretty quickly.

In many ways, a gun is a lot like fire. They can both be used to save lives and both play important roles in our homes and communities, but we need to learn now how to use them safely. We manage to teach fire safety to kids just fine. Why not apply those same rules to teaching gun safety?

  • Both fire and guns are tools and not toys.
  • Fire can save lives but can also be deadly. This holds true for guns.
  • Equipment used to start fires should be kept out of the reach of children. Guns and ammunition should be stored safely as well.
  • ‘Don’t touch!’ is a good, basic rule for young ones.
  • Supervision is a key component to good safety training.
  • Both a fire and a gun can quickly cause a dangerous scene that can get out of control.


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