So you love your guns! But!…You have children and want to know how to keep them safe should the unthinkable happen and they come across a gun in the home. Here are 3 steps that you can utilize to keep your kids safe!
We, as adults have an obligation to protect our children and many struggle with the thought of gun ownership and being a parent. There is no greater fear than the loss of a child and even worse is the loss of a child from a 100% preventable accident! That being said, the absolute 100% way to keep them safe, is don’t own a firearm. But, this is a CPL/CCW site and a firearm blog and obviously that is NOT what I want and while I cannot guarantee 100% that no accidents will happen, I can help severely reduce the risks of this.
Disclaimer! Never leave a minor child alone with a loaded/unloaded firearm and never leave any firearm unattended! If it is not on your body, lock it up, everytime! Remember, you are responsible for your firearm and how it is used, regardless of intent.
step 1: The game!!
With younger children, this can really help reassure that the child will NOT touch a firearm. You must start by explaining the dangers of a gun in terms that your child will understand. Then purchase yourself a rubber training gun, show it to the child and explain that is a hide and find game but when you find the gun you have to run and tell your mother or father that you found it and where you found it and most importantly, NEVER touch it. And when you find it, you win! This is where you become creative, you can reward the child everytime they find it or use a point system to build bigger rewards.
Now to start out, you’re going to want to play this game a lot and reward them a lot with small things that excite them. Maybe start out by playing it a couple times the first hour, then a couple times a day, then maybe once a week, but every time your child finds the gun and properly informs you, you MUST reward them!! You need to test your child, place it in their room, in the kitchen, bathroom, anywhere you may one day, God forbid, leave a real gun accidently. It does happen! We are human!
At some point you are going to want to switch to another type of rubber gun, something they are not familiar with, to test and see if they make the correlation that a gun is a gun and it doesn’t matter what it looks like and they should respond the same way every single time! Because, your real gun may not look like the trainer you are using.
Basically, you are turning your children into Pavlov’s dogs! They see a gun, they respond, and expect a reward. And should the day ever come where they alert you to a real gun…Buy them the biggest sunday they could ever want and a toy!! And most importantly, hug your child because without this game, things could’ve ended tragically.
Step 2: the toy!
At this point you need to really be on them and engrain those rules into their heads! And just in case you don’t know them, here they are…
Rule #1 Treat every gun as if it were loaded!
Rule #2 Never point your gun at anything you do not wish to destroy!
Rule #3 Keep your finger off the trigger until you are ready to shoot!
Rule #4 Know what your target is and what is beyond!
When your child has a firm grasp of those four rules and follows them without needing correction, it is time for them to graduate to the next step!…
Step 3: Step progression
At this stage you should be feeling pretty confident that your child has learned enough and is following the rules to the point it is time to start adding PROJECTILES to the equation. If you are at this point , Congratulations! Now go buy your kid a 9mm! Joking! Start them off with some sort of soft projectile shooting gun like a Nerf. I know it is nearly impossible to NOT shoot someone or the family pet with a Nerf, especially if you have more than one child but you’ve come this far, let’s take it all the way!
Your child should practice shooting their Nerf gun at a TARGET and nothing else and should show proficiency in handling the gun and maintaining all the safety rules while using it and at that point you should be enticing them with a promise to move them up to airsoft in the near future if they show they can properly handle the Nerf.
This is where the progression comes in, you can progress your child from rubber guns, toy guns, Nerf, Airsoft/BB, and then up to .22 caliber! By the time they reach that level, you have little doubt that you’ve engrained proper techniques, safety, and respect for firearms into them and a firm foundation upon which they can build a lifetime of safe shooting and eventually pass down to their children.
But most importantly, you destigmatized the gun in the eyes of your child from a young age and their natural curiosity has been nurtured and fed to the point they will NEVER feel the need to sneak a look at your guns because it has never been a forbidden fruit!