Firearm safety is no joke. More than 500 Americans died from preventable and accidental shootings in 2020. Thousands of others were injured, including small children.
You need to take several steps to keep guns safe from kids. The first step is to educate yourself about firearm safety, which you can take right now.
What tools do you need for gun safety? How should you talk to your children about gun safety? What else do you need to prevent besides accidental shootings?
Answer these questions and you can raise your kids while being a responsible gun owner. Here are four good rules for gun safety.
1. Put Your Gun in a Gun Safe
Every home owner should own at least one gun safe. Your safe should be just big enough to store your gun, and you should put your ammunition in a separate container.
Not all gun safes come alike. A gun box is big enough to store one starter handgun, and it is made of metal. This prevents the gun from getting damaged if you drop the box.
If you own a rifle, you may want to store it in a gun cabinet or safe. Cabinets tend to be cheaper than safes, and they are lightweight, making them easy to transport. However, safes are sturdier, and you can pick a combination that only you know about.
You should store your gun with other tools. A trigger lock will prevent your gun from firing accidentally. You can anchor your safe or cabinet to the ground to make it harder to steal or access.
2. Carry Your Gun Carefully
You should treat a gun as though it is loaded, even if you know it isn’t. This means pointing it down at the ground and keeping your finger off the trigger.
You can put your gun in a holster, but make sure the gun is pointed away from yourself. You should be able to grab your gun and remove it without putting your finger near the trigger.
Do not remove your gun until you have assessed the situation. You should have a clear sight of your target. Wait for objects or people to move out of the way before you grab your gun.
Keep in mind that the bullet may penetrate through your target and hit someone or something behind it. Take a look behind your target and make sure everything is clear.
You should only use your gun for self-defense as a last resort. Pointing your gun at someone can cause an unintentional shooting or escalate the situation. Use your words or leave the area instead of using force.
When you are preparing to fire, you should hold your gun using both hands. Hold it at the centerline of your body so the shot does not knock you off balance.
Extend your arms out and then place your index finger on the trigger. As soon as you fire your shot, you should remove your finger and assess the situation.
3. Talk to Your Children About Firearm Safety
Many children shoot themselves or others by accident, thinking that guns are toys. You should tell your child the difference between a real gun and a fake gun.
You should then tell your child to never fire your gun without permission. If they see your gun lying on the ground, they should not go near it.
Do not tell your child what the combination for your safe is. Ask them to stay downstairs while you go and get your firearm. If you use a key, you should keep the key on your person or in a location only you can access, like a high shelf.
Don’t just talk to your child. Set a good example for them by demonstrating safe practices.
Give them a tutorial on how they can hold a gun without pulling the trigger. You can also bring them to a gun safety course for children.
4. Focus On Preventing Suicides
Locking your gun in a gun safe and teaching your child about gun safety can prevent accidental shootings. But more than 24,000 Americans died by firearm suicide in 2020. Keeping a gun in your home makes it more likely that you or a family member will attempt suicide.
There are several prominent warning signs for suicidal behavior. Someone may talk about wanting to die or research ways to kill themselves. They may withdraw from others or seem anxious or reckless.
If you or someone you love exhibits these signs, you should get help. You can speak to a therapist and contact someone on a helpline.
Move your firearm and ammunition so they are out of sight. You can ask a family member or friend to hold your gun for you while you get help. Some police stations and gun clubs also offer storage options for local residents.
You can also disassemble your firearm and remove the trigger assembly so the gun cannot be fired. If you’re worried about losing pieces, you can store them in different locations in your house and buy spares.
Be Smart on Firearm Safety
Firearm safety involves a few basic steps. Keep your gun stored in a safe away from ammunition.
You should only pull out your gun once it is safe to do so. Always point it away from yourself and hold it with both hands.
Instruct your children to treat guns as dangerous weapons, not toys. Move your gun out of the house if a family member demonstrates the warning signs of suicide.
Experts in gun safety are always there. We at Gun Shop Near You connect you with local gun stores. Find a shop near you today.