Guns and children are certainly not the most savory of combinations. This is one of the reasons we buy gun safes. In fact, many states will require guns to be stored in locked containers when children (under 18) are present in the household. The truth, though, is that gun safety around children is about much more than keeping it locked away. Education will go a long ways in protecting your child in the long run. The natural curiosity of a child will often be piqued by forbidden boxes so it may be worth your while to sit down and explain some of the basic concepts behind firearms to your child when you feel that they are mature enough to treat the subject with the seriousness it deserves.
Keep it Locked Up!
Bear in mind that this is no reason to get lazy about locking up your gun. Keeping firearms locked away in gun safes is the surest way to keep children safe and should be adhered to religiously. In fact, in most states, you will be guilty of a misdemeanor or a felony should your child (under 18) obtain your gun and either carry it in a public place, injure someone, or kill someone. The cardinal rule of gun safety and children is that you can never be too careful. Even if you don’t have kids there is always the chance that a relative’s child may come to visit so it’s important to practice safe gun ownership at all times. This includes storing your gun unloaded and locked away with ammunition kept in a separate container.
Talk to Your Child
While keeping your gun locked up is the first line of defense in preventing unwanted accidents there are additional methods for keeping your family safe around guns. When you feel that your child is of age to take the conversation seriously it may be time to talk about guns. By talking about it you can dispel some of the mystery around them and lessen the natural curiosity of your child. Make yourself open to any questions and emphasize the dangers associated with guns as well as the responsibility necessary. It may be important, depending on the age, to make a strong distinction between make-believe and reality. Should your child come across a gun at some point he or she will at least know something about it and the dangers it presents and hopefully not be so inclined to figure it out for themselves.
Lead by Example
Lastly, it is important to lead by example and exercise proper gun ownership. Should you teach one thing and do another you will be sending mixed signals that may undermine the basic safety fundamentals of gun ownership. Should you ever use your gun around your child be sure to diligently practice the proper safety measures and demonstrate responsible gun ownership. And, again, always remember that when it comes to children and firearms you can never be too careful.