Firearm ownership is a fundamental right for us as Americans and I not only support, but also encourage everyone, who legally can, to own a firearm. Having said that, I am a firm believer that if you buy or own a firearm you MUST take the time to learn how to safely handle the firearm. Going one step further, if you buy or own a firearm and have children you MUST also take the time to teach them how to safely handle the firearm as well.
Teaching children how to safely handle firearms not only curves their natural curiosity, but also prepares them in the event that they find themselves in a situation involving firearms when they aren’t with a responsible adult. Children’s firearms safety training is generally broken down into two age groups: Pre-K through 4th Grade and 5th Grade through 12th Grade. The ideas is to provide a stepping stone process for learning firearms safety so that they are prepared when the reach the legal age to purchase a firearm.
The first age group, children in Pre-K through 4th Grade, should be taught to follow the rules of the Eddie Eagle GunSafe Program, which teaches children not to touch firearms unless directed by a responsible adult. The program also teaches children to STOP, DON’T TOUCH, RUN AWAY, and TELL AN ADULT, should they encounter a firearm when a responsible adult is not around. As you can tell, this age group is taught that its not ok to touch a firearm without a responsible adult being present, but its far from giving the impression that firearms are bad or evil. The goal is to teach children in this age group to respect firearms and serves as the foundation for learning how to safely handle firearms as teenagers and adults.
The second age group, 5th Grade through 12th Grade, begin learning the fun stuff. This is the time that emphasis is placed on the Four Cardinal Firearm Safety Rules and when children should begin learning how to safely handle a firearm while in the presence of a responsible adult. Its encouraged that new shooters attend a formal training program such as the National Rifle Association’s Basics of Pistol Shooting course or another comparable training course to get a full understanding of firearm safety. While this age group is defined, access to firearms should be based on the child’s level of understanding and maturity. Access to firearms should also be under the supervision of a responsible adult.
By themselves firearms are no more dangerous than a hammer, baseball bat, or a knife. Its how they are used that make them dangerous. That is why it is important for everyone to have training in firearm handling and safety, especially when there are children involved. I truly believe that if more time was spent teaching firearm safety to children there would be far less injuries/deaths that result from “accidental” discharges. Please take the time to check our the Resources page on our website for firearm safety coloring books or reach out to us on our Contact page if you have any questions.
***Any access to firearms that children have should be supervised by someone who follows the firearm safety rules and knows how to safely handle that particular firearm. ***