You need to talk to your kids about gun safety.
I’m not gonna lie, I’m growing tired of this conversation. Just when I thought I couldn’t have this talk again, I see a news story about another kid who died because his parents were stupid.
To be honest, this is not something I’ve covered in depth here on this blog, but others. While I feel like it’s not necessary to cover some topics multiple times across different websites, this one is different.
It’s different because I’m a daddy to three awesome kids. All of them from my 8 year old to my 13 year old have received gun safety training geared toward them. This safety training is meant to teach them that guns are not some mystical thing.
I think this safety training is important because innocent kids die when their parents are idiots. I’m going to get right to the point because I just saw another story that infuriated me.
There are only two types of parents in the world.
- Those who teach their kids about guns
- And those who don’t teach their kids about guns
There are different variations on each, but if you’re a parent you either think that gun safety is important to teach your kids, or you don’t. Weather or not you’re a gun owner has no bearing on this.
Whether you’re anti-gun or pro-gun; own guns or not, is unimportant because in either category you can drop the ball big time if you don’t properly teach your children.
You can be the biggest anti-gun advocate in the world but your kid may still end up at someone’s house where there is a gun.
Trust me when I say with 100% certainty that it’s better if you teach your kids, or at least have someone who can.
If you’re so strict about firearms that your kid can’t even form a gun with his fingers, then you’re going about this the wrong way. Or, if you won’t let your kids have a water gun, go paintballing, or play with other toys you’re going about this the wrong way.
This is amplified if your kid watches TV shows and movies where there are guns. And I’ve got news for you, if you let your kid watch certain types of TV and disallow actual imaginative play which is healthy, then you’re a hypocrite.
When the TV is watched but you don’t allow your kid to even play it out all it does is build up mystery. Then if your kid finds him or herself at a friend’s house and they’re stupid and left the gun out, your kid could get hurt.
And why? Because you were too stubborn to teach your kids about gun safety.
He still has the awe associated with something he’d never even been allowed to see or pretend his fingers into its shape.
But when you teach your kids about gun safety properly, the right way, it can save his life, or the life of the person who owns the gun.
This doesn’t just happen with people who don’t like or own guns, though. Most of the child shootings that occur happen in the kid’s own house. And it happens for one of two reasons:
- Either the kid was too young to fully grasp what was going on (and the guns should be kept away at this point.)
- Or the parents never taught the kid anything.
In either instance, it is never the fault of the child. The parents are always to blame when this happens. The parents should be the only ones with access to the firearms unless certain criteria are met.
Criteria being proper training, the maturity of the child, etc. But I understand that not everyone knows how to teach their kids about guns, so I’m going to walk you through this.
This is important stuff, here.
How to teach your kid about guns if you don’t own any:
It doesn’t matter if you’re anti-gun or not, or if you’re going to raise your kid to be. All that really matters is that he knows he shouldn’t go pick one up because he can hurt someone with it.
This can be very hard to do if you don’t own or have access to any firearms. On the plus side, there is a relatively easy fix for this, even if it takes you out of your comfort zone.
The gun –
There are more gun stores in the United States than most people are aware of. In fact, in my small county of about 15,000 people, I can think of three gun shops off the top of my head.
It may go against everything you stand for to go into one of these places, but where else are you going to find a firearm to teach your kid about? Remember, one of the things you need to do with this safety training is demystify the guns as much as possible, while telling him that he should never touch one because doing so could be dangerous.
What I need you to do is call that gun store up and ask for the owner of the store. Once he or she is on the phone, explain that you want to teach your kid about gun safety but don’t own a gun yourself.
Most of the gun shop owners I know would take the time out of their schedule to help you out here. If you run into who doesn’t, then call up another one until you find someone who will help you.
You will find someone.
Eddie Eagle –
Another good thing to do is use the Eddie Eagle video. I’m personally not a huge fan of the NRA, but the Eddie Eagle program is one of the best tools out there for teaching younger kids that a firearm isn’t to be messed around with.
How to teach your kid about guns if you do own some:
This is a little different, but if you’re uncomfortable with teaching your kids about guns, you can do the above steps. And in fact, I suggest everyone with young kids watch the Eddie Eagle videos with their kids to help ensure they get it.
Don’t be afraid to quiz your kid afterward because you need to make sure the he gets it.
The steps I took with my kids because I’m extra careful, is to let them handle empty firearms, so no ammo. I taught them the names of the parts, to keep their finger off the trigger, to not point it at anyone, etc.
Then, I’d quiz them after to make sure they got it.
The overarching theme of the training, however, is that they should never go pick up a gun by themselves because it could be dangerous. They may unintentionally shoot someone they love, which is obviously a bad thing.
It’s also important for them to know that if they’re with their friends and the friends try to access or pick up a firearm that they need to tell the friend to stop. If they don’t stop my kid needs to leave immediately and go tell an adult.
Every so often, though I haven’t done this in a while, I’d leave a safe gun somewhere at eye level so they could see it. This was a controlled environment with an empty gun, and the action left open to ensure. I wanted to see how they’d react.
Each time the gun was never touched, instead they’d come get me or tell mom.
Why did this work for me? Because I removed the mystery from the guns, and I let them handle them under supervision. That, coupled with the fact that I actually taught them that guns can be dangerous if mishandled, went a long way to the safety of my children.
Ultimately, it’s up to you. What do you want to do? Do you want your kid to go through life always having that mystery? Or, is it better to just suck it up and teach your kids about gun safety so that they actually learn something?
You decide. But I’m sick and tired of reading news where little kids pick up a gun and shoot themselves, siblings, or parents.