How to keep children safe from guns in homes
Americans own millions of guns that are stored in homes with children. Statistics indicate that 3371 children lost their lives to gun violence in 2019 alone. And to think that gun sales went up by a drastic 40% in January of 2020 alone. It doesn’t take rocket science to understand the high probability of accidents, injuries, and even death of children, all because of the negligence of gun owners.
If you are a gun owner, it is important for you to ensure gun safety at home so that you can keep your children safe. Here is what you can do:
- Do not underestimate possibilities- The first thing that parents need to work on is to change their mindset from “This can’t happen to us” to “Accidents can happen with anyone.” Children are born curious and want to know everything about everything, especially dangerous things. Also, kids are a lot more observant than you think. Survey results have conclusively shown that a large percentage of parents thought that their children did not know about where the guns in the house were, while the children knew all about their location. This makes it all the more important to wake up to the fact that kids know more than you think they do, which makes gun safety a priority.
- Hide your guns- Do not leave your guns “hidden” in unsecured spots like the nightstand, dresser drawers, under the dining table, or under the couch. These spots are neither safe from your kids nor from burglars. Guns in the hands of burglars is awful enough, but even worse if they get into kids’ hands. So, stash them away safely. Consider gun concealment furniture like hidden gun shelves, gun safes, hidden gun mirrors, hidden gun coffee tables, and so on. Ensure that the guns are hidden securely.
- Put away the ammo in another spot- Your job is not done if your guns are hidden in gun safes or hidden gun shelves. It is important to secure the ammo as well. Place the ammo in a different spot; so that in case someone stumbles onto the guns, they do not have any access to the bullets. This is a double security check and is important to ensure greater gun safety at home.
- Always keep the safety lock on- If you have a gun, it is obvious that you will have to take it out of its hidden gun storage to use it or at least clean it up. Whenever you handle the gun, make sure that the safety latch is on. Using this feature will keep the kids safe even if they accidentally mess with it.
- Talk about TV and video game violence- Regularly spend time with the children and talk to them about the gun violence that they see on TV and in the games they play. Explain to them the difference between shooting a person on the screen and the danger of handling a gun in real life. Also explain to them the permanence of a life lost in real life. They need to know that in real life you don’t get a second chance, even if you have a ton of money. Make gun safety a serious topic at home.
- Give them realistic gun safety education- Follow up the conversation about video games with realistic and age appropriate gun safety education. Set a clear protocol. Establish clear rules about what to do if the kids accidentally come across any guns. Remember, you may have secured the guns at your home, but you cannot be 100% certain about secure gun storage at homes that children visit. Some rules can be:
- If you see a gun, do not touch it.
- Immediately tell an adult about it.
There is nothing like overdoing gun safety. The more careful you are, the happier you will be.