USA – -(AmmoLand.com)- Parenting comes with a lot of hard decisions. From bottle or breastfeeding to public or private schools, it can feel like every decision you’re faced with will make or break your child. And when it comes to protecting and defending your family, the choices get even tougher.
In the United States of America, the Second Amendment ensures your natural right to defend your family with the use of firearms. Some argue that keeping guns around children puts them at a higher risk than it protects them. This is why, for many, deciding to keep guns in the home is a big decision. Because while it allows you an incomparable defense option, it could also lead to your child’s little hands on a deadly weapon.
Remember, you are responsible for the safety and well-being of your children. And since guns are found in at least one-third of all American households – even if your family doesn’t have them, chances are your child will visit a house that does. One way or another, kids learn about firearms. It’s your responsibility to make sure you’re the one teaching them
One of the reasons kids are drawn to firearms is the same reason they’re attracted to drugs, alcohol, and séx – because it’s “taboo”. That’s why demystifying guns is a necessary feat, for both parents who keep guns and especially for those who don’t.
When you teach children about guns, when they see you take them apart, clean them, put them back together, when they learn how they work and what they do – firearms lose their mystery. They become a tool and a weapon, but are no longer shrouded in the vague “dangerous and deadly.”
To make this happen, you need to make guns (or at least talking about guns) a part of your regular routine. These gun talks can’t be isolated events. The message needs to be reinforced over and over again to take root and to become effective when the child’s presented with a gun situation.
If you’re unsure where to begin, ask your child what he or she knows about guns, and ask if there are any questions. See what the response is and go from there. Also, make sure your child understands certain realities about firearms. To ensure this happens, be sure to discuss the following:
- The difference between toy guns and real guns.
- The difference between guns on television and guns in real life.
- The devastation and destruction guns can cause.
- Talking to your kids about firearms works, but studies show that people without guns in their home are less likely to do so regularly, and up to 50 percent of non-gun-owning citizens NEVER talk to their children about guns. These are the kids that don’t understand guns, how they work, and the real danger playing with guns can create.
Gun Safety Must Come First
Gun safety, especially when it comes to children, is a big deal. In 1999, 3,385 children aged 19 and younger were killed by a gun – note this number includes homicides, suicides, and unintentional injuries. Regardless of your position on guns and gun control, people can agree that’s way too many.
One of the main reasons so many children were killed is because parents, and people who have children in their homes, aren’t always practicing safe and secure gun storage.
If you opt to keep guns in your home, you give yourself the ability to protect those you love the most. But you’ve got to keep them safe. Here’s how you can achieve both:
- Keep your gun locked and unloaded.
- If you feel the need for a loaded weapon at home, keep it on your person.
- Store ammunition in a different location.
- Keep gun safe keys away from commonly used keys.
- Children should not know where guns are stored.
- A gun that is unloaded, but has a full magazine beside it in your bedside drawer, is not a secure gun. Don’t store your firearms this way.
Keeping Guns Safe with Technology
While it’s important to teach your kids about gun safety, you can also use technology to help keep your guns secure. New, smart gun technology is becoming available and includes a fingerprint scanner to unlock and be able to fire the gun. Also available soon is grip recognition technology that determines an authorized gun user by the muscle tension in the gun holder’s hand.
Another interesting concept for gun safety is the RFID token, which if not within a certain proximity to the gun, will not allow it to fire. The token can be incorporated into a ring or bracelet, so unless the firearm is in the owner’s hands, it won’t fire.
Teaching Kids about Gun Safety
Gun safety goes beyond securing your weapons. Kids need to understand what to do if they ever come across a gun because if you don’t teach them, they’re going to try to figure things out on their own – and that can quickly turn deadly.
Teach children always to assume the following:
- All guns are loaded.
- Pointing a gun at something means you want to destroy it.
- Never touch the trigger until you’re ready to shoot.
- Be 100 percent sure of your target and what’s beyond it.
- If your child has play guns of any sort, from Nerf to airsoft to paintball, uphold gun safety rules with these “toy” guns as well. This teaches them always to treat guns with respect, even when they’re not quite “real.”
Teaching Kids to Handle Guns
Children who are taught to handle guns the appropriate way and to understand when and where it’s okay to use firearms are less likely to play with guns or use them in unsafe places. These children understand the importance of gun safety and know the damage guns can create. Therefore they’re less likely to handle them unauthorized.
- Shoot fruit: By shooting cantaloupe, honeydew, and watermelon, kids can visualize the reality of the force behind a firearm.
- Start with a small caliber: While your child might want to handle the “big” guns, start with a small caliber gun. A beginning shooter should always focus on building shooting skills with a gun that doesn’t have handgrip or recoil issues. This allows the shooter to build skill without having to fight against the gun.
- Have them watch: After shooting, make sure to show your child how to take the gun apart, clean it, and put it back together. This teaches the importance of proper gun maintenance.
- Always follow the rules: When you’re an adult who’s been shooting for years, it’s easy to forget the safety precautions you should be using. Remember If you’re shooting with a child around, don’t take shortcuts. Be safe and teach them the right way to handle firearms. That way an educated child is a safer child and family.
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About National African American Gun Association (NAAGA):
The goal of the National African American Gun Association is to have every African American introduced to firearm use for home protection, competitive shooting, and outdoor recreational activities. We are a civil rights organization focused on self-preservation of our community through armed protection and community building. The National African American Gun Association provides a network for all African American firearm owners, gun clubs and outdoor enthusiasts. We welcome people of all religious, social, and racial perspectives. We especially welcome African American members of law enforcement and active/retired military.
For more information, visit: www.naaga.co.