Too often, a lack of information about proper handgun safety prevents parents from keeping and owning handguns for protection. Unfortunately, this can amount to more risk in the event of an emergency. To maintain the safety of your home and family while responsibly teaching children about handgun safety, review these do’s and don’ts.
The Do’s of Handgun Safety Education for Children
When approaching handgun safety with children, it’s important to weave lessons about handguns into everyday life. Take the following steps to help children understand handgun safety:
- Do distinguish between real and pretend. Children are exposed to a variety of television shows, video games and movies featuring violence and shooting. It’s important to distinguish between make believe and reality at an early age when it comes to handgun ownership.
- Do go to the range with your children. One of the best ways to eliminate the mystery of handgun ownership and use is to take your children to the range to practice. By observing the proper way to handle handguns, kids have a better understanding of how a firearm works, and are less likely to accidentally discharge a handgun.
- Do take advantage of teachable moments. Life provides parents with ample opportunity to turn real situations into teachable moments. Whether in the midst of a television show or watching a commercial, help children pinpoint safe and unsafe handgun practices portrayed in the media.
The Don’ts: What to Avoid
When teaching responsible handgun ownership and safety is your goal, avoid the following missteps to ensure your message reaches children:
- Don’t make handgun ownership a secret. Children are naturally curious. One of the primary things to avoid is making handgun ownership seem like a secret. Being honest with your children is the first step in demystifying handgun ownership.
- Don’t slip up and provide a bad example. More than most others, parents are under pressure when it comes to handgun ownership. To be responsible and provide a good example, parents must follow the rules 100 percent of the time.
- Don’t forget to review the basics. Until a certain age, discussing handgun ownership and safety isn’t appropriate. When your child is young, start by teaching them to stop, leave the room, and inform an adult if a handgun is spotted.
Promote Responsible Handgun Ownership
The best way for your children to become responsible handgun owners as adults is to teach handgun safety and responsibility throughout childhood. By serving as a positive example of handgun ownership, children are far less likely to mishandle handguns in the future.