Children are curious by nature but sometimes that curiosity can put a child in harm’s way. A woman named Janine blogs quite a bit about accidental shootings. She refers to them as “negligent” shootings and that makes perfect sense. Quite often, children are the victims of these totally preventable shootings. Talking to your kids about guns will make all the difference in the world.
Imagine sitting in your living room and getting a phone call that completely changes your life. The person on the other end says that your child’s friend was playing with a gun he’d found and shot your beloved son/daughter with it. You would most likely end up spending the rest of your life wishing you’d been able to save your child’s life. But if this scenario hasn’t happened to you, then you still have that chance.
As a responsible gun owner, frequent talks about gun safety should be a priority. It’s not good enough to have the talk once, but it needs to be drilled into the child’s mind over and over again so that if they find themselves in a situation involving a gun, it will be your voice they hear.
For example, my 7 year old son went with his dad to visit some cousins. As soon as he got home he made a beeline for where I was and said “Uncle Jack broke several gun safety rules today.”
“What do you mean?” I replied
“Well, for one, he pointed dad’s gun at him and pulled the trigger.”
I was furious at what I’d just heard and went to confront my husband. He explained that his brother wanted to see his gun so he unloaded it and removed the magazine before handing it to him. His brother doesn’t own a gun so he’s not familiar with them. Once he pointed the gun at him and pulled the trigger, my husband took it away from him and explained that that was not the proper way to handle a gun.
I was upset that our son witnessed this immature and dangerous behavior. Then I realized that my son knew that what had taken place was wrong and he immediately told me what’d happened. He was the smartest one there.
Even if you don’t own a gun you should still talk to your child about gun safety because other people do own guns and they need to know what to do if they encounter one.
Some of the things we teach our children about guns are:
1. Guns are ALWAYS loaded and should be treated as such. Even if you think it’s not loaded, IT IS.
2. Guns are not toys and should never be handled unless a parent is present and has given prior permission.
3. Never point a gun at anything you don’t intent to shoot.
4. If you find a gun lying around somewhere, tell your parent (or an adult).
5. If you are away from home and you see a gun lying around at a friends home….LEAVE IMMEDIATELY.
6. If a friend or another child picks up a gun….LEAVE IMMEDIATELY. Don’t confront the child or say anything to the child because s/he may jokingly point the gun at you and pull the trigger.
Another incident, similar to #6 happened recently to our 7 year old son. He had been hanging around inside the house for quite a while which is unlike him because he’s an outdoor kid. I asked him why he was spending so much time inside and this is what he said:
His former friend (neighborhood bully) was in the backyard of our neighbor’s house where my son frequents. The kid pulled out a gun and shot at the tree. My son went to tell the adults who live there and he was told to tell the kid to stop. Instead, he just came home and stayed inside. Obviously, our neighbors must have thought the gun wasn’t real. And there’s a really good chance it wasn’t. But our son believed it to be real and did exactly as he’d been taught. I asked him why he didn’t say anything to us as soon as it happened and he said he didn’t think he needed to because he’d already told the neighbors.
I was very proud of him for his responsible reaction and he knows next time to tell us even if he tells another adult first.
So whatever you’re doing today, take some time out to talk to your children about guns. You just may save their life. That’s what parents are for, right?