YOUTH GUN SAFETY

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Parent's Guide to Keeping Kids Safe

Firearms can be found in one-third of American homes with children. Teaching them about gun safety may seem intense for a child, but it is necessary. Children are naturally curious. They gravitate toward the new and interesting, especially things that often get described as forbidden like drugs, alcohol – and guns. An important part of preparing your child to be an adult is teaching them how to think about guns when they do come across one, whether in your home or elsewhere. There is one simple idea to help with this conversation, which is to ask one critical question: “Is there an unlocked gun in your house?” before deciding to send your child to someone’s home to play. And if children are coming to your home, remember to tell the parents that you keep a gun in your house. Keeping kids safe takes communication by everyone involved.
You may have a gun-free household. Your child sees guns in the movies and on TV and they may encounter one at a friend’s or relative’s home, given the statistics. That is why properly educating your child on gun safety is a lifesaving skill for ALL children. As with speaking with children about drugs and alcohol, it also important to educate your child about gun safety before they encounter a firearm when you are not around.
                                                                                                                                     
SAFETY BEGINS AT HOME
Keep your firearm in a secure, locked location only you can access:
  • Use a safe. Make sure all firearms and ammunition cannot be reached by anyone who should not have access to them without your consent.
  • Know where and how to secure your firearms. Only adults who use the guns and ammo should have access to the guns. Always unload your gun when you are not using it.
  • Do it now, not later. Make it a habit to immediately put your gun in a safe as soon as you return home. Do not put it down with the intention of storing it later. You may forget.
  • Discuss gun safety with your child. Your child will be far less curious about guns and more likely to follow safety rules by removing the mystery about guns.
 
The NRA’s longstanding rule of gun storage is: Store your guns so that they are inaccessible to any unauthorized users, especially children. Their Eddie Eagle brochure, “A Parent’s Guide to Gun Safety” has information with additional resources available online at
 
Responsibility does not end when the child is away from home. It is vital for them to be aware of what to do if they encounter a firearm. The LPSO D.A.R.E. Officer teaches gun safety to our Pre-K, Kindergarten and first grade students using the Eddie Eagle Gun Safe Program. It has no agenda other than accident prevention – ensuring that children are safe around a guns.
They will learn to:
STOP: The first step is crucial. Stopping first allows your child the time they need to remember the rest of the safety instructions.
DON'T TOUCH: A firearm that is not touched or disturbed is less likely to fire and otherwise endanger your child or others.
RUN AWAY: This removes the temptation to touch the firearm as well as the danger that another person may negligently cause it to fire.
TELL A GROWN-UP: Children should seek a trusted adult, neighbor, relative, or teacher - if a parent or guardian is not available.
 
Resources: www.ammo.com/articles/parents-guide-to-gun-safety
ASK – Asking Saves Kids
Watch With Your Child: www.eddieeagle.nra.org
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