Talking to Your Kids About Firearms Safety
Guns can be found in as many as 40% of American homes across the country. They can be a very real danger in homes where there are children present, particularly if they are not properly stored. Unlocked and loaded firearms can be found in the homes of 1.7 million kids. As a result, curious children who live in these houses are at risk of serious injury and death from accidental gunshot wounds. Even correctly stored guns pose a risk if children are aware of where the weapon and its ammunition are kept. This is particularly true when it comes to children who are not properly taught about the dangers of guns. To prevent this from occurring, it is important that parents take responsible action to ensure the safety of their offspring. This begins with talking to their kids about guns and gun safety.
When it comes to discussing firearm safety with children, parents should not be deterred by age. Because children are able to physically pull a trigger as young as 3 years old, it is important for parents to begin some form of dialog about guns at an early age. A good rule for parents is to start discussing guns when their children begin to show some interest or curiosity in them during playtime or otherwise. To ensure that young children understand, conversations about guns should be done in a way that is appropriate according to their age group. Regardless of age it is important that parents discover how much their children already know about them. This is done by first asking open ended questions. For example, parents of young children will want to start by asking if the child understands what a gun is and what it does. When talking to children in any age group, ask if they can explain the difference between a real gun and the ones on television and video games. Parents may also want to ask them how they feel about guns. It is also important to know if they have ever seen or held a gun, and where did they do so. By first asking questions, parents are not only able to determine just how much their children already know about guns, but what their level of exposure is, and correct any misinformation.
After establishing what their children know, or think they know, about firearms, parents and guardians should talk with their kids about the reality of guns. This includes stressing that unlike various types of entertainment, guns can and do kill people. It should be enforced that what kids see on games or television is just pretend, while a gun is real and can kill. Young children should be taught the difference between a toy gun and a real gun, and what to do if they see a gun, whether it's in their own home, or the home of a friend or relative. If they encounter a gun, parents should instruct their children to always assume that the weapon is loaded and dangerous.
Children should be taught to stop and not touch or otherwise handle the weapon or its ammunition. They should then quickly leave or run away from the gun and tell their parents or another trusted adult. In homes where children are being taught to use guns, rules should be established and it should be stressed that neither guns nor any ammunition in their home should ever be touched without parental permission and supervision.
In addition to children, it is important that parents talk with their teenagers about gun safety. Frequent conversations are a good way to stress family rules and ensure that teens know how to act in the presence of a firearm. Let them know that they should never take guns, nor should they carry a gun with them to school for any reason. Teens should also be taught that guns are not meant for settling arguments or disagreements, and if they know of anyone who has a gun and is making threats, they should let a parent or school official know.
This page was write by our own content writer Tim Barson. To learn more about Tim Barson, click here
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