What if facing your fears about Guns would make your family safer? Proper Gun Safety and gun handling skills could save your life!
The biggest fear every parent has around guns is that their child might find one and use it to hurt themselves, because they don’t know what the gun does or how the gun works.
First and foremost as an act of prevention, as a parent and gun owner, it is imperative that you keep your guns locked up in a secure safe. Your ammunition should be locked up separately. Your guns should never be loaded with ammunition if they are being stored.
Yet, as a parent, you need to instill additional rules if your child finds a gun outside of your own home, such as at a friend’s house.
There are child safety programs that teach a very simplistic set of safety rules for young children to follow:
If you see a gun:
Leave the Area.
Tell an Adult.
But these rules only accomplish a part of the job. If a child or a teen misuses a loaded gun and shoots themself or someone else, it’s usually because they didn’t:
-Point the gun in a safe direction
-Check the gun to make sure a bullet wasn’t chambered
-Engage the safety
If you own guns, or want to educate your kids and yourself about guns, here are four basic rules that you need to follow AT ALL TIMES to keep yourself and your family safe:
1. All guns are always loaded. Even if they are not, treat them as if they are.
2. Never let the muzzle cover anything you are not willing to destroy. (For those who insist that this particular gun is unloaded, see Rule 1.)
3. Keep your finger off the trigger till your sights are on the target. This is the Golden Rule. Its violation is directly responsible for about 60 percent of inadvertent discharges.
4. Identify your target, and what is behind it. Never shoot at anything that you have not positively identified.
These rules were laid down by a man named Jeff Cooper, who authored several books on firearms, gun safety, self-defense, and shooting.
Rules like this don’t just keep you safe, they teach you and your kids respect for the destructive potential of guns.
Using a gun to commit suicide is a disturbingly popular choice among troubled teens, but locking up a gun, unloaded, reduces the risk of suicide significantly, by 70%!
If you’re handling a gun, it can only be as dangerous as you make it. Be smart, be safe, and teach your kids to be the same.
If you are new to exploring the world of gun safety, I encourage you to visit the GUNS/Children exhibit in Sedona, Arizona. This is a masterpiece collaboration of artists that explores a world with guns, and how you can best teach and protect your children. It’s an excellent way to spark dialogue between you and your kids about guns, and to unearth and explore your fears revolving around guns.
When we self-reflect, we can best reduce our fears and create solutions that can change the world. I hope you’ll join them. For more information you can visit: http://www.imagiventure.org/gunschildren-exhibition.html
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Debra Beck is a devoted mother, sought-after presenter, author, and has spent over 20 years working with teens and their parents. She’s helped thousands of teen girls develop their self-esteem through her blog, one-on-one mentoring sessions, and mother-daughter retreats.
Her award-winning book My Feet Aren’t Ugly: A Girl’s Guide to Loving Herself was revised and updated for re-release in September 2011 with Beaufort Books.