Do you have kids? If you have firearms in your home, it’s important to teach them from a young age about firearm safety.
Of course, you have to consider their age to figure out the best and appropriate ways to impart this knowledge, so they are prepared to be around your collection. What a three-year-old can understand is vastly different from the conversations you need to have with your ten-year-old or older teen.
Here are some ways to talk about firearm safety at each stage of your child’s life and potentially teach them how to shoot. Keep in mind this is a vital conversation to have even if you don’t have a gun collection in your home, because eventually they will go to their friends’ houses, and their families might have them present there.
A Few General Conversation Starters
A few great conversations starters about firearms in general can start with the importance of honoring the Second Amendment. You can explain in simple terms how this affects our right to protect ourselves and stand up to tyranny. That’s why having gun rights is an essential part of our heritage as a country. It’s also vital to go over a little bit of the history about how our ancestors fought to protect those rights through the ages.
You can judge the interest of your child in learning about some historical precedents of gun ownership, but it does help them to be better informed about why we are allowed to “keep and bear arms.” This is a part of our liberty that many people have fought to protect. Kids should be aware of this heavy-duty and responsibility when growing up around firearms in the home.
Now For The More Serious Warning
Above all make sure you tell children that improper handling can be dangerous or fatal. You don’t want to scare them with the consequences, but you need to make sure they understand that serious injury or death can occur when they aren’t handled correctly. Tell them that with safe handling, firearms alone aren’t the issue. Only those who are appropriately trained and practiced should use a firearm, whether for hunting or protection.
Children and teens should know that they aren’t allowed to touch a firearm without a consenting and knowledgeable adult being present to guide them.
Age Three To The Elementary
Kids are supremely curious little people. If they know that you have firearms for hunting, shooting ranges, and protection they are naturally going to want to learn about them. Children as young as three can understand not to ever touch a gun they see anywhere in the home. But by the time they reach the age of 6 or 7, it might be time to let them get educated on how to safely shoot with an adult closely supervising.
Teaching them the fundamentals should be fun. They can easily learn how to stand, trigger squeeze, and alignment. It can be a great exercise to shoot cans off a fence out in the country somewhere at a relative’s house. Or many gun ranges offer programs that are specifically geared towards kids.
In order to stress more tips on safety, the NRA has a special kid-centric gun-safety program called the Eddie Eagle Gun Safe Program which helps to explain gun accident prevention in the home. Introduce your child to some of these videos where Eddie and his “Wing Team” go over ways to be safe around guns.
Tweens and Teens
When your child is a tween or teen, and they have grown up around guns in a safe environment, they should know all about safe gun handling. If your older child has questions about firearms, make it an open conversation to have. Let them know that you are available if they want to learn more about how to handle a firearm, so they are prepared to be a responsible gun owner as an adult.
~ Ready to Fire News