Gun Safety for Children
According to the American Crime Prevention Institute, guns kill 15 children under the age of 19 every day and many more are injured.
An estimated 1.2 million latchkey children of elementary school age have access to guns in their homes.
A child between 10 and 19 years of age commits suicide with a handgun every six hours.
The average hospital bill for treating a child wounded by a gunshot is enough to pay for a year of college.
If your household contains firearms please consider these safety tips:
- Make sure firearms are safely stored. This means unloaded, trigger locked, and in a locked gun safe, case, or pistol box with the ammunition locked away separately. Keys for the guns and ammunition should be located out of reach of children, away from the weapons and ammunition. Check frequently to make sure the items remain secure.
- Make sure that your child knows what to do if they should find a firearm. They should not pick it up or even touch it. The child needs to tell an adult immediately.
- Children should know that guns are not toys and that guns and other weapons can kill and injure people.
- Make sure that children realize the difference between TV violence and reality.
- Parents should know if firearms are present in homes their children frequent. If so, they need to make sure that the guns are secured while their children are there.
- If firearms are used by your household for sporting purposes such as hunting, target shooting, etc., make sure that once your child has reached an age you feel is appropriate that they are familiar with every aspect of the firearms they will use. The child should know how they work and how to use them.
- Handle all firearms as if they were loaded.
- Always keep the firearm pointed in a safe direction.
- Always be certain that your target and the surrounding area are safe before firing.
- Whenever you handle a firearm, the first thing you should do (while keeping it pointed in a safe direction and with your finger off the trigger) is to open the action and see if the gun is loaded.
- Be familiar with the weapon.
- Make sure it is in good working order.
- Use only ammunition recommended by the manufacturer.
- Use good quality ear and eye protection.
- Make sure firearms are secured while transporting them.
- Treat the gun as if it were loaded at all times.
- Never point it at anything you would not want to shoot.
- Be sure of your target and what is behind it.
- Keep your finger off the trigger until your sights are on the target.
If you do not have a child-safe gun lock and would like one, you can contact the Crime Prevention Unit at 874-2113 and one will be provided to you free of charge.