Responsible gun ownership can be vaguely compared to the same respect, if not more, awarded to say owning a car, an aeroplane or even just a set of knives.
As surely as one would not let a five-year-old drive, or give them a set of kitchen knives to play with, one obviously would take precautions in the storage and safety of personal weapons in the home. This is especially in the case where children are present and most especially in the case where these are small children 0-9 years old.
Children are always a vulnerability when it comes to keeping guns in the home. A conclusion reached by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP*) after the review of medical research has published that if one has children, it is recommended to be safer not to have a gun in your home.
There are “some states that have implemented Child Access Prevention laws” in America “that hold adults legally responsible for children’s injuries that result from failing to store firearms safely” (K. Sokal-Gutierrez, MD., MPH*).
There are several common generalities in the safe storage of personal weapons and these are some suggested ways to keep your guns safe but most especially your children safe from unnecessary encounters with perhaps a loaded gun, their consequent theft by little hands and perhaps ways that might just save a small-one’s life.
These compiled safety precautions are suggested ways to help you achieve a safe environment for children in the presence of guns.
- Storing and locking your unloaded gun away in a gun safe or gun cabinet is a most commonly known gun storage rule, but to go a step further for curious little minds, it is also wise to keep the combination of the lock unknown to the kids and in the case of a key, safe storage of that too should be considered and the key kept out of the reach of children.
- Another well-known rule is to lock and store the ammunition separately from the unloaded stored weapon.
- Teaching your children about guns and talking openly to them about gun safety is a good way to prevent accidental handling of guns. According to the National Rifle Agency (NRA) some rules that can be taught to children when coming into contact with a gun is to 1. Stop, 2. not to touch the gun, 3. leave the area that the gun is and 4. to tell an adult immediately.
- Training your children emergency numbers like the police or paramedics is also a good idea should the unthinkable happen.
- As not all accidental handling of guns would solely take place in your own home, when children are visiting or playing at a friends house, it is wise to ask questions like if there are guns in the household, or if they are safely locked away and the obvious one about the kind of adult supervision involved. This is vital information that should be asked boldly like one would ask about contagious bugs for the safety of the children.
The question arises about where to store self-defense weapons especially in the case of an emergency scenario when the alarm bells are going off. The general rule is to lock away an unloaded gun with the ammunition stored safely in another place, but how does one gain quick access to your self-defense firearms safely? A recommendation for the safe extraction of a weapon for the defense of your home was to practice emergency scenarios where you can “safely and efficiently extract your gun from your gun safe,” (A. Breivik: European Police and Gun Control) especially in the case where children are in the home, training oneself procedures of safety in gun handling will inevitably protect your children’s lives.
Local police are always available should information and advice be needed especially concerning the local laws for the proper safety and storage of weapons.