The NRA offers gun safety training as do many shooting ranges, Fish and Game departments, sporting goods stores, and even firearm manufacturers. Often, this training is free. There’s no need to reinvent the wheel or wonder which rules are best for which ages.
NRA’s Eddie Eagle Gun Safe program is available to individuals, schools, and groups and priced affordably. Eddie Eagle’s four basic rules for kids to remember if they ever see a gun are:
Leave the area.
Tell an adult!
These four rules are perfect for the young set and a good place to begin.
When kids are old enough to learn how to safely handle a run, these rules need to be hammered home each and every time a discussion about guns comes up:
1. ALWAYS keep the gun pointed in a safe direction.
2. ALWAYS keep your finger off the trigger until you’re ready to shoot.
3. ALWAYS keep the gun unloaded until ready to use.
4. ALWAYS know what is behind your target.
One advantage to using experts, especially when kids get older, is that their message often has more impact than a parent’s. My son will never again step across the firing line at the shooting range. Why? Because the Range Master snapped at him once, and he’s never made that mistake again. A couple of years later, both my kids went through a summer camp at the local indoor range. They were under extremely close supervision and learned, not only shooting skills, but respect for firearms as well.
It’s important to remember that training of any kind, not just firearm safety, has to be backed up with common sense safety strategies (no leaving a loaded gun on the kitchen table, please!) as well as reminders. Refer back to my earlier posts about kids and firearms for suggestions.
Here are a few online resources for some great firearms education:
Eddie Eagle GunSafe education
A Gun Safety Course for Kids (pdf — better used by parents in an ongoing conversation about firearms)
Firearm safety videos (online, some have accompanying brochure for parents)
National 4-H Shooting Sports homepage
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