Teaching Your Child About Gun Safety
As a parent
In a world that seems to have forgotten about personal responsibility, we are about to remind you of yours. That is, as a parent, your first and foremost responsibility is to make good decisions and to be responsible for those decisions. When it comes to firearm safety, you as the parent are responsible. This is not only apparent, but it is paramount when it comes to gun safety. Training your child to be safe around firearms can and will be the difference between a child's respectful caution around the weapon and a possible tragedy.
• Make sure firearms cannot be reached by anyone who should not have access to them without your consent. Store guns so they are not accessible to unauthorized persons, especially children.
• Keep ammunition securely stored where a child or any other unauthorized person cannot reach it.
• Talk to your child about guns and gun safety. By removing the mystery surrounding guns, your child will be far less curious about guns and more likely to follow safety rules.
• Make sure your child understands the difference between a toy gun and a real gun, and the difference between pretend and real life.
The world's view
The world has a knee-jerk reaction that says all guns are bad and that you must stay away from them in order to be safe. This, of course, is non-sense and is more politically motivated than reality based. Teaching your kids to fear guns because they are unknown is no better than teaching them to fear everything that is unknown. Yes, guns can be dangerous and deadly, just like drinking poison from under the kitchen counter can be. That is why you must teach your child to understand firearms and to make responsible decisions about them. The last thing you want to have is your child's curiosity getting the better of them if they get their hands on a firearm and try to "learn" about them on their own.
Teaching your kids about guns
What age should my kid be when I teach them? This is as varied as children themselves. There is no magic age. The age you really should start is when a child shows interest in guns. If they ask questions, you need to be prepared to answer and direct them with intelligent responses that show respect for the gun and the child. More than a simple "because I said so" is recommended here. You are trying to satisfy curiosity, so they won't try to satisfy it themselves. Explain to them what it is, why you have it, what it looks like and feels like, and yes, that it is dangerous and not to be touched without your specific guidance. Explain the ammunition and what it looks and feels like, and explain the dangers.
This way, your child will know what real guns and real ammunition actually look and feel like. This will help your child to discern the difference between a toy and a real gun. The more you teach your child about what is real and about what is a toy, the better off they are going to be.
The goal is that your child will know what to do in a situation where a real gun or real ammunition is present and there is no adult supervision. We want them to have a healthy knowledge and respect so they will act appropriately and not out of curiosity.
Not ready for your child to handle a gun?
That is okay. As the parent, you know your kids, and you are the one who should be making this decision. So, what do you teach them? As an NRA Certified instructor, I recommend the Eddie Eagle Gun safety program. Below is a video to get you started:
Learn more about the Eddie Eagle Program with tips for the parent as well as the child: