Kids And Guns In The home
Kids And Guns In The home

Kids And Guns In The home

Responsible Firearms Safety Training For Kids With Guns In Their Home

Vicki Hanak My boys have been taught from early on, that the most dangerous part of a firearm is the PERSON that is wielding it!  Their firearms’ training is deeply rooted in safety, function, and education as well as preparing for the unknown.  This means a situation involving a firearm, that we are not in charge of (a friend, a classmate, or any public setting).  We have discussed those topics and have always had many 'what would you do if...?' conversations with them.  

Another very COMMON SENSE approach to the boy's firearms training (and I give BIG KUDOS to my husband for this one) is that they have never been denied their natural curiosity.  Please take special note here, this is very important!  They are 'allowed' to be curious, and we not only use that to help them to learn, but it also opens doors for multiple discussions about how other kids that have never been 'allowed' and then 'taught,' might handle a firearm if they were to encounter one.  We talk about how dangerous that is for them, and EVERYONE that is around them!  The boy's curiosity is responded to by us in such a way that tells them that 'we know they want to know,' that 'WE will TEACH them,' and that the safest way to approach the subject of gun safety is not to think you have to 'sneak around' to satisfy that curiosity.

Then we DO IT!  We don't put them off.  We don't promise to show them later, but then forget, and we don't just say we will go to the range and shoot...we actually do GO!  This too, is a key part of what works for us and what has worked for our boys. 

What about girls?  They are statistically less likely to harm themselves or another child accidentally, but they also NEED and MUST be trained!  Less likely does not mean it won't happen, nor does it mean they won’t benefit, in long term ways, from the empowering lessons you give to them when you provide this education!  YES!!! Teach your girls,  Without any doubt!

I could go on and on....there are so many practical lessons we have used with our kids over the years, but there is not room for that here...at least not today ;-) 

I would like to leave you with this final thought....

If YOU are not going to be the one that teaches your children about firearms...then they will be educated by someone else.  DO NOT let it be media, video games, or worse.  Make sure that YOU choose the person that is going to do it!  It might be your spouse, a trusted relative, or a certified firearms instructor.  Whoever you choose, they need to emphasize all safety aspects of firearms, including teaching THEM to safely handle and shoot, in an age appropriate way.

Why do I teach my children to shoot?  So my children understand firearms---not fear them.  So they practice safety and responsibility---not ignorance.  Because education is the best 'gun safe' we can have for our children…… 

The below information is provided by US Precision Defense, LLC, and is in no way part of the above listed article or the views of its author. 

Guns And Kids, And In The Home Safety Is Achieved By Proper Education!

So, what about the others listed?  There are several sad and frightening statistics out there about not only what parents 'think' their child would do if they encountered a gun, but also what kids actually DO when they encounter a firearm.  MOST parents believe that their child will never touch or handle a firearm if they encounter one.  They think they 'know better,' are 'too smart for that,' r have 'been told not to' and 'they KNOW it is dangerous.'  Unfortunately, researchers have proven in controlled test situations that the overwhelming majority of children that encounter a gun, DO in fact, handle them, and that almost half of them pull the trigger during their encounter, with enough pressure to discharge it if it were actually loaded.

The kids that go through a structured, 'just say no' type of program can repeat to a parent or other adult, an hour after the lesson or even the next day, or days later, that what they learned about what to do if they encounter a firearm is to 'stop, move away, and tell an adult', or some similar type of sequence.  Successful program,  right? (No, not really), 9 out of 10 kids can tell you the rules they learned about what to do if they encounter a gun....Wrong.  It is great that they can 'tell you what they were told to do,' but when those SAME children (in a test situation) encounter a firearm, only about 1 in 10, actually follow those 'rules.'  Even the children that do not touch or handle the firearm do not leave the group that IS handling it or passing it around.

So what are we to do?!  Well, first of all, there is no hard and fast rule to go buy, no 'one way' to deal with this issue that has a guarantee, and certainly you should never fool yourself into thinking that by doing one particular thing, that you have insured your child's safety around firearms.  I also caution you never to assume 'your child would never,' as it is just not practical at all.   

So that brings all of us here... if we are going to have firearms  in our homes, and if we know our children are likely to be in homes with firearms, we owe it to them to properly train them.  Beyond telling them 'not to touch them,' or 'keeping them 'out of sight.'  We need to ARM them...with knowledge!  With practical, age appropriate, experience and the correct information.  We do not want our children to learn about guns and various firearms from TV, movies, video games, or even their FRIENDS!  Before that becomes their source of education, We must step in! 

Kids And Guns In The Home What To Do?

I am asked about this so often!  For anyone with their CCW, or that has guns in the home, keeping children safe is a TOP priority and a huge responsibility.  There is no ONE answer that is right for everyone or for every possible situation.  I can simply tell you what does NOT work, and offer some things that have worked for us.   

Texas Shooting Star Kids Firearm EducationMany 'anti-gun' advocates will tell you that the only way to keep children safe from guns is NOT to have them in your homes. They often say that the 'simple' answer is that there is 'no chance of a child coming across a gun if you don't have one in the home.' Right?  Completely Wrong. 

 Here in our state of Texas, guns are in more than 50% of households.  Even if you do not have a gun in your home, guess what?  Your child leaves your house...they have friends, they go to school, they do not live in a bubble.  Chances are likely, quite likely, that they will be somewhere, sometime, that a firearm is present and even in a friend’s home.  

Others will tell you that if you have a gun in your home, you should keep the gun unloaded and the ammunition kept separate from the firearm.  They might even tell you that you need to have a trigger or barrel locks on your firearms, or keep them unloaded in a gun safe or cabinet. 

This is probably a great idea for those of us that have multiple firearms that are NOT regularly used for self and or home defense or work, or in situations where firearms are present and we cannot be 100% responsible for their care, custody and positive control.  But for those whose firearm is used for home and self-defense, or are in law-enforcement, this is simply a non-option.  An unloaded gun is useless.  Criminals do not make appointments...you cannot ask the 'bad guy' that is about to inflict serious harm upon you or your family, to wait...just a bit...while you get the keys, unlock the gun, go to the other room, get the ammo and load your firearm.

 So now what?  

 Well, let me start by telling you what does NOT work:

Texas Shooting Star Firearms Instructions

Hiding your gun in the home

Telling your child not to touch or handle a firearm

Telling your child where you keep your firearm, and then telling them that they can never to touch or handle the gun.

Training your children with ONLY a 'just say no' approach (this includes various programs that are offered in schools or structured settings by trained individuals teaching them to: stop, move away, and tell an adult').

Why not?  Let's start with the first one.  Hiding your firearm....that is an easy one to explain with a simple comparison...did your parents, or you as a parent, ever try to hide a Christmas or a child’s birthday gift?  Did they know where they were hidden?  Most of the time...it is a resounding yes.  Simple and so very true. 

 Vicki Hanak

Female firearms instructor, wife, mother, supporter of the 2nd amendment and personal protection education.

Texas Star Shooting