Do you know that children as young as three years old can fire a gun? They already have the finger strength needed to pull a trigger, yet many gun owners do not take extra precautions in storing their firearms.
Most US households with children have at least one gun that’s either unlocked or unloaded. Because of this, a lot of kids and teens become more susceptible to firearm-related injuries and fatalities. Lower the risk of gun violence in your home by practicing the following tips.
1. Keep All Firearms Away from Kids
Children are curious beings. They’ll want to touch almost everything that they set their eyes on. To protect them from firearms, keep all guns out of their reach and out of their sight.
Securely store all guns at all times. When not in use, each firearm must be unloaded and locked. Keys should also be well hidden so that no children will have any unplanned or unsupervised access to the gun safes.
2. Store Firearms and Ammunition Separately
Poorly stored ammunition can be a major safety hazard. It can ruin your gun and cause serious injuries. To reduce the risk of gun-related incidents in a home, always store unloaded firearms and ammunition separately.
Many gun safes nowadays have separately locked compartments for ammunition storage. These containers are sturdy and convenient to use. However, if gun owners want to protect their children further from possible harm, they must keep their firearms and ammunition in different locations.
3. Keep Guns Well Maintained
Responsible gun owners understand the importance of routine firearm maintenance. Without proper inspection and regular cleaning, guns will have a greater tendency to misfire. Once a firearm malfunction occurs, the safety of gun owners and the people around them will be in great danger.
Most people keep guns in their homes because they want to protect their loved ones. To avoid dangerous firearm malfunctions, thoroughly inspect your firearms. Remember to always keep guns in their best condition and to purchase new parts and accessories for AR-15 rifles or other firearms as necessary.
4. Educate Children about Gun Safety
It’s impossible to monitor your children 24-7. You can’t always check the places they visit, but you can teach them what to do when they come across an unsecured gun.
When you talk to your children about gun safety, keep it simple. They will most likely be unable to remember complicated steps when they face a crisis. To keep them safe from a firearm, remind them to do the following:
- Stop whatever they’re doing.
- Never touch the firearm.
- Leave the vicinity.
- Tell an adult immediately.
It’s important for children to get away from where the gun is situated. Leaving the area will prevent them from being harmed by an individual who doesn’t know how to operate a firearm.
5. Explain the Danger of Gun Usage Thoroughly
Keeping guns away from your children is not enough for them to completely understand how dangerous weapons are. You must take the time to explain to them what firearms are and how deadly they can be.
As technology continues to advance, American children are becoming more exposed to virtual violence. They learn about firearms on various platforms, such as mobile phones, television, and video-game consoles. To counter the often-romanticized version of gun use shown on media, parents should proactively discuss firearm violence with their kids.
Children must be constantly reminded that guns can kill and hurt people in real life. They must also understand that most of the things they see on the screen about guns are fake. This way, they won’t hastily approach a real gun when they see one.
6. Properly Dispose of Unwanted Firearms
When a gun is no longer needed, get rid of it safely and responsibly. Firearms—just like batteries, radios, and television—are not meant to be thrown in a household trash bin. Children may curiously pick up the discarded gun, play with it, and hurt themselves.
In addition to that, real guns shouldn’t be turned into children’s toys. Kids who play with unwanted guns will have a hard time distinguishing which firearms are safe to play. Prevent your child from getting hold of discarded guns by legally disposing of these dangerous weapons.
There are many ways to dispose of unwanted firearms properly. Some people resell their unused guns to licensed dealers, while others opt to surrender their firearms to the police. Find out the best way to get rid of guns by contacting local law-enforcement agencies.
7. Temporarily Remove All Firearms from Your Home
Sometimes, you need to keep your guns away not only from your children but also from your older family members. Teens and adults may undergo emotional distress, experience depression, and have suicidal thoughts in times of crisis. To protect loved ones from any gun-related incident, ensure that no firearm is accessible to them.
If eliminating the presence of guns in a home is impossible, gun owners must properly lock and safely store their firearms. Locking up guns makes it difficult for an emotionally unstable family member to act on impulse.
8. Remain Vigilant
Responsible gun owners never leave their firearms unattended—even for a moment. When you’re handling or cleaning guns at home, always keep these within sight. Briefly leaving a gun unsupervised around children can result in firearm-related death and injuries.