The mother that owned the home and the gun had told the boy never to touch the gun but that he should know where it was, how to use it and that in the event he ever needed to defend himself it was okay to do so. I grew up in a home that have guns. It was not until I became a teenager and started learning about shooting and hunting that I really became interested in them. The Boy Scouts taught me a lot about marksmanship, proper care for guns and above all, safety. Through my upbringing, I came to know a guns as a tools that were to always be treated with safety and respect. But they were still just tools that if used safely, were a great deal of fun, but if used in an unsafe manner, could be as deadly as a knife, or a chainsaw, or a lawnmower.
My wife on the other hand grew up in the far away and foreign land of Rochester, NY. She never really knew anyone that hunted and to this day is very nervous around guns and even knowing that one is in the house. I understand her fears and concerns and am still working with her in tackling her fears that a gun may one day start chasing her around the house, randomly shooting at things by itself.
I make light of this only to illustrate a point. A lot of time a person’s concept and opinions about guns are developed from an early age and are heavily influenced buy the area a person grew up, their familiarization with them and their parents’ attitudes. But a gun that is kept in a safe place, locked away from young children and others that are not allowed to touch it, in and of itself is not a dangerous object. The decision to own a gun is a very personal one and one that should not be taken lightly and should probably be discussed with the entire family. Once they are the proper age, everyone should learn to use it safely, that it is never to be treated like a toy and never to be touched or handled unless an adult is present. Hopefully, it will never have to be used to defend the home or the people in it, but as this family found out, in the event that it does, you would certainly want to know that the person using it knew how to operate it correctly and safely.
Anchor Security offers gun familiarization and safety classes for the whole family and also the SC Concealed Weapons Permit classes for those 21 and up. The classes are taught in your home so that the setting will be more familiar, will make people feel more at ease and so they work with your busy schedule.
Whether you are considering the purchase of a firearm or not, a gun safety class, especially for children, is critical. You never know when they may be spending the night with a friend whose parents have guns in the house. Even at the police department, I was amazed at how many calls we got about people that had found guns in the weirdest places; the golf course, on a bike path, a grocery store parking lot, lying in the street or on a sidewalk, or in their back yard. One guy even caught one in a shrimp net. It is imperative that children understand that a gun is not something to be afraid of but that it should be treated with the upmost respect. If you do nothing else for your children, teach them the four (five) cardinal rules of gun safety.
- Treat every gun as if it were loaded, regardless of perceived or actual state.
- Always keep the gun pointed in a safe direction and never it at anyone or anything you do not intend to shoot.
- Keep your finger off of the trigger until the decision has been made to fire.
- Always know what your target is, have clear sight of it and know what lies beyond it
- And though it is not considered one of the “big four”, the most important one has to do with children and that is: if you see a sun, stop, don’t touch it, go and tell an adult.