About 1.7 million children in USA live in a home with at least one loaded and unlocked gun, and as a result one kid 1-14 years old dies from gun accident average every day and even more are serious injured. Official statistics claim that there are more than 2 millions firearms in USA and more than 1/3 of Americans have at least one weapon at home. According to stats by Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine, 40% of children know where their parents store the weapons, and more than 20% have handled the weapons. Warning the children to stay away and be careful is not enough. Furthermore, in many occasions, accidents happen by friends who visit them. A 4 year old boy Dylan Jackson shot himself to death using a loaded weapon that he found at his friend’s home during a birthday party. You can not rely on a small child to be responsible in such matters. For children weapons are just toys. Sometimes even, just a more exciting toy or a way to impress their friends. Parents are responsible for this. Keeping a loaded and unlocked handgun at home is not protection but a danger for your family. Furthermore children are very accustomed and sometimes even addicted to shooting and violence nowadays, as it is one of the most common subjects to watch on television and other popular media. In Connersville of Indiana, a 5 year old boy shot and killed his 2 year old brother while playing with a handgun he had found in his parents bedroom.What should parents do if there is a weapon in the house in order to avoid gun accidents and keep the kids safe?
- The first thing is never to leave the gun loaded. It would be even better to store the ammo in a different place and also keep it locked.
- Keep the gun locked in order not to be accessible not only by children but from anyone. There are many kinds of gun safes you can keep any kind of weapon inside in order to prevent it getting to the wrong hands. It is even better if you keep the gun safe to a place that is not obvious, for example in the closet. If the safe is in an obvious place, a possible intruder will find it easily and try to crack it. But the most important reason is that it will increase your kid’s curiosity when they see it every day and they might find the opportunity someday to get their hands in what is inside.
- Never show off weapons to children. Hunters often show off their weapons and skills to children. You can not show off and then say “Guns are bad and dangerous, stay away”. The child will imitate the adult’s behavior. If you avoid the weapon and beware of it, your kid will do the same thing. In an other occasion you encourage your kid to do what you do. HUnters must show special caution with guns when kids are watching. By this way the children will also show special caution.
As a conclusion I want to mention that it is much more possible to kill your kid instead of protecting it if you have a loaded gun without gun safe. The gun accidents numbers and statistics are very sad to read. Studies have shown that most kids who find a gun are trying to handle it. In many occasions they also pull the trigger without knowing if the gun is real or just a toy. So, don’t count on your kids if a real and loaded gun gets in their hands. Just don’t let that happen.