Imagine your handgun lying on the kitchen table with your small children gathered around daring each other to pick it up. It looks like a toy, let’s play with it! You’re sure you put it safely away on the top shelf in the cupboard. Safely? No. Truly a nightmare situation! This must never happen.
It’s likely that your kids knew where the gun was hidden – they’ve seen you put it there dozens of times. Clearly, it’s absolutely essential that guns do not get into the hands of children.
As the owner of a firearm, it is your responsibility to ensure that guns in your home are always stored where they are inaccessible to children or other unauthorized persons.
Here are 5 steps you can take to ensure that this never happens.
#1 Invest in a Gun Safe
Storing your handgun in a drawer or on a shelf in the cupboard, is not a good idea. A handgun safe is not expensive but it could prevent a disaster. Buy a gun safe and you can also use it store other valuables. Handgun safes range in price from around 50 dollars to 150 dollars depending on the features – some are more sophisticated than others. The most expensive handgun smart vaults or gun safes include a biometric lock and you can program multiple fingerprint into its memory. Very easy to use, quick to open and, most importantly, very safe. Keep the keys and combinations hidden.
Keeping your firearm safe in a vehicle is another very important issue. Many people travel with their firearms as permitted by law and there will be times when you want to leave your firearm in your vehicle. Remember, a vehicle door lock and glove compartments can easily be broken into – they are not secure storage devices.
When keeping a firearm unattended in a vehicle there are some rules to follow.
Unload it, just like at home. Lock the gun away in secure temporary storage like a lockable gun case or box and secure the box to the vehicle. Keep firearms and ammunition out of sight to avoid a temptation for children and thieves.
A golden rule is when you get home or back to your vehicle, put your gun away in safe storage immediately. Don’t put it on a table thinking, I’ll do it later. Do it now, you may forget. And unload it first.
#2 Keep the gun and ammunition apart
Never leave ammunition in the gun or with the gun, guns should always be stored unloaded. By keeping ammunition and your gun apart, you will prevent the misuse of your gun by your children or by intruders who may find your gun. Ammunition, just like the firearm, should be stored in a secure, locked location but separate from your firearm.
#3 Consider a Gun Lock
Buying a gun lock for around 20 dollars, really must be considered as an option but only a temporary option. You really want your gun to be out of site safely locked away. A gun lock will render your gun unusable. It prevents loading and firing. Gun locks are intended to discourage unauthorized use of a firearm and should not be considered a high security device.
But when you find that you have more budget or the right space, invest in a gun safe.
#4 Talk to Your Children
This is not so simple and mainly depends on the age of your children. Young kids may not grasp the importance of your words and the gun may seem like a toy to them.
The words you should use that have stood the test of time are “Stop, Don’t touch, Leave, Tell an adult”.
Around the age of 11, children start to become a little more curious and adventurous and may lie to cover up their tracks. Guns, alcohol, smoking, drugs and other taboo issues are particularly intriguing areas for their curious minds – it’s a normal part of growing up. At this time, it is essential for parents to make sure their kids understand all the Do’s and Don’ts, like guns must never be stored away loaded, never point a gun at somebody and keep your finger off the trigger until the target is sighted.
#5 Relatives and Friends
This can be a sensitive area but a necessary issue to consider.
You are probably following all the rules about being a responsible gun owning parent. The problem is, your kids visit friends and relatives often on a daily basis. Are they as responsible as you?
Sadly there are many stories of tragedies occurring during kids’ visits. It need not be a delicate issue since many families own guns in America. So the safest approach is not to be embarrassed, just ask the appropriate questions about gun security when a visit to a friend or relative is planned. There are many parents who wish they had. Better safe than sorry.
When you have taken the step to buy a gun for hunting or for your protection, you have then accepted the responsibility of ownership and all its implications. At all times, if the gun is not in your physical possession, it must be safely and securely locked away from temptation and unauthorized access and use.
Talking to your children about safety, what to do if they come across a gun, and how to handle a weapon makes them less likely to injure or be injured by a gun when there isn’t a responsible adult in charge.
Article Written By; Tom Ginevra