When you own a firearm around kids, you NEED to take time to think about safety. There are no two ways about it, kids need to be kept safe. That doesn’t mean fear, however. And that doesn’t mean not owning a firearm. There are just a few things to teaching kids about gun safety that we will talk about.
1. Know the 4 rules of firearms
Rule #1 A firearm is always loaded.
“Always” means…ALWAYS. We taught our children to respect a firearm as loaded, even when we were cleaning it. Any firearm they look at is loaded and ready to shoot. So, it’s important they think on those terms and treat firearms with that respect.
Rule #2 Never let your barrel point at anything you are not willing to destroy and take responsibility for destroying.
That is just another reason for rule #1, really and shows the consequences of not taking that seriously. Remember, you are 100% responsible for all shots fired, including those “unintentional” ones. Even at the range, you don’t point the firearm at anything you aren’t wanting to shoot at.
Rule #3 Know what’s behind your target.
Simply put, what’s behind that deer, that duck, that target? That’s the main reason we wear orange or neon colors when hunting. It’s a signal that you are there to other hunters and to not shoot that deer you are standing behind. Imagine if the shot went through the animal, or just above or below it and hit the target BEHIND the intended target. That could be tragic. Know what’s behind what you are shooting at.
Rule #4 Keep your finger off the trigger until you are ready to shoot.
This is very important, as accidents happen. If your finger isn’t on the trigger, the firearm isn’t going to go off. At the range, we teach our children that you don’t put your finger on the trigger until you have aimed, know what’s behind the target and taken a deep breath first. Taking a breath not only will steady the aim, it allows you to really see the target and have a better chance at hitting it the way you want to.
2. Keep it locked up and out of reach when not in use.
This is not only for their safety, it’s for those times when their friends are over. You can teach your kids to not touch a firearm without you present (as we have) but you can’t necessarily control how their friends will react. We use a trigger lock, store it in a locked cabinet and away from any ammunition.
3. Along those lines, we also chose not to make a firearm in the home a mysterious thing.
Our kids were part of our decision to own one, as well as part of the decision where to keep it stored. It made them less “curious” about the firearm, and less likely to want to play around with it. Of course, it’s still locked up when we are not at the range, and we go as a family often to practice.
4. Practice with your kids at the range.
Often. We go at least bi-monthly to our local indoor range. Since we own a firearm, it’s not of any use to us unless we know how to use it properly. So, we practice. Our kids know how to load, aim and fire each firearm safely. My oldest son is actually a better shot than I am, and reminds me of that often, “An amateur will practice until they get it right, a professional will practice until they can’t get it wrong” is our mantra with firearms.
5. Allow your kids to help you clean the firearms after use.
They will garner a respect for them, as well as learn more about safe handling. It’s our kids’ job to clean all the firearms after the range, with my husband and I being there to guide and help them. If they are going to use it, know about it, they need to know how to care for it. Check out the video below for some basic tips on cleaning firearms safely.
Keeping kids safe around firearms only requires you to use common sense and some basic standard measures. If you can’t follow them, then please don’t own one. Too many tragedies are caused by adults who didn’t follow the basic safety rules.
Do you have any tips for parents who want to educate their kids on proper gun use and safety? How did your parents teach you to be a responsible gun owner? Let us know in the Comments Section below, thanks!
About The Author
Heather Harris and her family live in Northern Indiana where they strive to raise 75% of their own food on their 1/5 acre. You can follow their crazy adventures at The Homesteading Hippy