Guns and Children

Dear Fellow Survivalist;

I’m fortunate, in that my children are all grown up and have moved away, marrying and starting their own families. For some years now, that has meant that I could have loaded guns hidden in various places around the house, in the secure knowledge that I wouldn’t have to worry about little ones finding them and the risk of a fatal accident. But that is changing. My children now have children of their own and they come to visit, displaying all the curiosity that small children need, but which can lead them into danger.

Obviously, I can’t have business as normal when the grandkids come to visit; just like anyone else who has small children in the home. It’s never safe to assume that guns are hidden away well enough that children won’t find them, nor is it safe to assume that those children won’t be able to figure out how to load and fire them. If it can happen, then it will sometime; so, we have to make sure it can’t.

Then there’s the potential problems with older children and teens, who might want to get their hands on a gun to seem cool, to protect themselves from bullies or even to commit a crime. Children and adolescents don’t have the judgment of adults… and to be honest, some adults don’t have it either.

The number one means of protecting children from accidents with firearms is by teaching them how to handle guns safely. That’s what my dad did with my brother and I when I was about 7. Statistics prove that children who have an understanding of guns and gun safety are much less likely to be involved in firearm accidents and accidental shootings. But what do you do with a child who is too young to shoot a gun?

First, if they have any sort of toy guns, including squirt guns and nerf guns, teach them to treat those with the same respect as real guns. Children often can’t tell the difference between make-believe and reality; so, if they can shoot at each other with squirt guns, why not with real guns?

That raises the question of what to allow them to play with, in place of squirt guns. There are options out there, which can give them the opportunity to get each other soaked with water, but don’t look at all like guns. I’d stick with those.

But that alone is not enough; it’s necessary to implement means of ensuring that they can’t get their hands on any real guns, without your supervision. While knowing how to use guns properly and safely, with a respect for the power and danger that they contain, is essential for children’s safety around guns, it’s best to never allow them to be in a situation where they are put to the test.

The obvious place to keep a loaded gun is in a holster, on your body. That way, you retain control of it, while making sure it is available to you, should the need arise. The lessons you teach about gun safety will be reinforced by seeing you practice those same rules, as well as by the fact that you are there, with the gun, to ensure that it is always used in a safe manner.

Guns other than your carry gun have to be kept locked up, in one way or another. That means keeping it in a gun safe or keeping a gun lock threaded through the action, so that it can’t close and fire. With magazine loaded firearms, that gun lock should be threaded through the magazine well too, so that the magazine can’t be loaded.

It’s always a good idea to keep guns and ammunition stored in separate places. That won’t only protect your children from misusing your guns, but it also makes things safer if a burglar finds the guns. An unloaded firearm might still hurt, if you get hit over the head with it, but at least the burglar won’t be able to shoot at you.

Realistically speaking though, there are always going to be times when you can’t have that gun on you, such as when in the shower or when sleeping. What do you do then? That’s when a personal handgun safe is useful. These small safes, which are either biometrically coded or have a push-button lock on them, allow fairly quick access to the pistol stored inside, while still keeping the gun away from little hands that might want to check it out. I’ve bought one of these and keep it in my night stand, just for those times when the grandkids are here.

Gun safety is every gun owner’s responsibility. The anti-gun lobby is constantly on the lookout for cases of accidental shootings, especially involving children. To them, those are examples of the irresponsibility of gun owners, a brush they tar us all with. We definitely don’t want to be the ones putting that brush in their hands.

I want my gun available, just like I want my powder dry and my survival gear close at hand. But I want it safe too, and as far as I’m concerned, that’s ultimately more important.

Dr. Rich

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