Friday, April 28, 2017

Kids & Firearm Safety

While we all know that firearms can be a divisive issue, everyone agrees that we want to keep kids safe.

Kids by their nature are interest and curious.  That said, why would it be any different when it comes to their curiosity about firearms? We all know that kids see guns on TV, movies, and maybe even at their friend’s house and other situations that you are not aware of. It is vital that YOU discuss firearm safety with your kids.  Discussing firearms and their use on TV and video games with children is important as well. Guns are often improperly handled, and most children are not able to tell the difference between being killed on TV and being killed in real life.

If they don't learn about gun safety from you, they will learn it from someone else. Likely other kids, TV and video games. Having this conversation with your kids about gun safety will make your kids, your family, and our community a lot safer.   

I get asked all the time what the appropriate age to start teaching children about gun safety is.  It is my belief that the earlier the better - however it is not about the age as much as it is about YOUR child’s maturity level. I also believe that when discussed, taught, and even handled at an early age, the child is more likely to follow the safety rules you have taught them when you are not around.

The conversation of course needs to be age appropriate, your description about firearm safety will be different for preschool children than it will be for teenagers. For all kids, no matter what age, there are a few things you can do to make this a significant talk for you and your family

Getting Ready:

        This does not need to be a lecture, but kids need to know that it is a serious topic.

        If you have other adults in the home, get everyone on the same page. This will ensure that your children are learning the proper lessons from both parents.

        Find a good time and place where you and your kids won't be distracted. Remember that this is a conversation, not a lecture.

        Ask questions. Most likely they already have questions, so invite them to ask questions, and have questions to ask them as well.
  
        Find out what they already know or have heard, clarify the situation, then use example of real life that will help them understand why we have rules about firearm safety.

        Help them to understand what to do in situations where you will not be there. Have a plan of action. Your discussions on gun safety may be ALL they have to help guide them in those situations.

        WALK the talk, set an example of proper and safe gun handling of firearms.

        Reinforce your conversation regularly, adding details and more mature conversation as your kids get older.

        Repetition is the key, every month or so is not too often.



Preschool Kids:

The NRA has an excellent children's gun safety program for Pre-K through third grade, The Eddie Eagle GunSafe® Program.

The purpose for this gun safety program is to provide the protection and safety of our children, our family and our communities

You do not need to be a NRA member and any one can obtain all the material to teach this program.

The program includes:
        A parent/instructor guide book
        Activity books
        A Poster
        Animated video to explain its four-step safety message.

For more information about the program, visit
Or call (800) 231-0752

I suggest starting by watching one of the videos posted below. 
That gets the conversation going.

After watching it together open up with questions to chat about.
        What did the team find?
        What was in the backpack?
        What did they do after they found the backpack.
        Who was your favorite character and why?
        What is the song they sing? Can you sing it?

Help them understand a few fundamental rules:
When you see a gun:
         STOP
        DON’T Touch it
        Leave the area
        Go tell an adult.

Learn about gun safety with Eddie Eagle and the Wind Team
 8:22


Another animated Gun Safety video
National Shooting Sports Foundation video on gun safety
 12:37

Remember REPETITION is key.



TEENS: 
Many kids at this age may want to start by going to the gun range. That is why education and plan of action is so important before they ever encounter a gun.

Even if you don't have a gun at home, they may see them at friend's house.  YOUR instructions on gun safety may be ALL they have to call on in those situations.

For teens, these lessons are very clear:
        Don’t Touch, pick up or use a gun without an adult's permission/supervision
        Never ever point a gun a anyone
        Always assume a gun is loaded and can fire

Watch the video “It’s You Call” (link below) together.

Talk with your teens about situations that could arise, and walk through options of what they would do in different scenarios.

National Shooting Sports Foundations:
It's Your Call: Playing It Safe Around Guns (grades 6-9)


PARENTS:

Think your kids are prepared for situation about gun safety when you are not around?  THIS IS A MUST WATCH for ALL parents.

ABC 20/20 Program

Whether you and your family want to be involved with shooting sports, or simply want to do all that you can to prevent accidents and unsupervised access to firearms, having a plan in place is necessary.

If you have a firearm in your home, the safety of your children and the children that visit your home is your responsibility. As the adult, it is your duty to understand and follow all laws regarding gun purchases, ownership, storage, and transport. Contact your state police and/or local police for information regarding such laws. (Insert link to law)

It is up to you so get started today.

Resources:

West Coast Armory North
Kid’s Safety Day

National Shooting Sport Foundation ( NSSF)
Project Child Safe
Own it, Respect It and Secure It

NRA:
Youth.nra.org     Youth Programs
Eddieeagle.nre.org  Young Kids

InSights Training Center;
Kids Safety School: 3 hr classes

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