According to a gun ownership survey done by Gallup Inc. and Gun Owners of America, 36% of people they surveyed own a gun. Gun ownership is an important issue to a lot of Americans, and despite the political differences that people have over it, there is something that people on every side of the issue can agree on: the importance of gun safety and education.
Learning about safety and proper usage is important for every gun owner, but especially gun owners that have children. Since gun ownership has become such a debated issue, it is never too early to talk to your children about the subject. Some parents never quite know how to bring up these topics to their children. Finding the right approach depends on your own feelings and the kind of relationship you want your children to have with guns. What you tell your children is obviously up to you, but here is some universal advice that should help your discussion to go smoothly.
De-mystify guns in your home
Guns can be very fascinating to children, and keeping them locked away only adds to the mystery and piques their curiosity. No one is saying that you should leave your guns out in the open, but you should try to take away some of that forbidden allure that can get some curious kids in trouble. Let them know why you keep guns in your home, whether it’s for hunting, protection, or other personal reasons. If you go to a shooting range or like to go hunting, take your kid along one day to show them what you use your gun for. They’ll get used to seeing them, and they’ll understand why you personally choose to keep them.
Make a distinction between real gun use and play/fake gun use
When we’re talking about play guns, we aren’t talking about the plastic revolvers and super soakers your kids are playing with. Kids see guns in televisions shows, Youtube videos, and movies, and it’s safe to say that in almost every situation they aren’t portrayed realistically. Wildly shooting in the air or into a crowd to get “bad guys,” holding guns sideways to look cool, waving around guns menacingly with a finger on the trigger to prove a point — all of this exaggerated behavior may look great on screen but, in real life, any of those actions could end up hurting someone.
Lead by example
The old saying that “actions speak louder than words” is very true when it comes to teaching your children. If you want your child to have a healthy relationship with firearms, lead by example. Show them that you always unload your gun when you get home, and that you make sure to put it in your gun safe so that it’s secure at all times and you know where it is. Your kids will eventually see how to responsibly use firearms and, when they’re old enough, they’ll be prepared to handle their gun of choice because they grew up with such an excellent example of proper gun usage and ownership.
Do you have any other suggestions for teaching kids about gun safety? Let us know!