Please read this whole post before you go all crazy on me in the comments. Thanks!
Guns have always scared me to death. My dad kept a loaded gun where he thought it was safe, but we knew exactly where it was and one time my sister got it out and was threatening me with it. Scary, I know. I could easily be dead right now. That is WHY I teach my kids about guns. I am not an idiot. I know that my kids will come across a gun in their life, whether it be at a friends house or in our own house, and I want them to have MAJOR respect for them.
We do have guns in our house. BUT, they are locked with a trigger lock, taken apart, and the bullets are stored in a separate locked container. Not stored in the same place in the house either. So it’s nearly impossible for my kids to ever get a hold of one at our house, take the lock off, put the gun together and load it with a bullet. My kids do not have access to a loaded gun.
That being said.
I do teach my kids how to turn off the safety and shoot a gun.
Because guns can KILL.
You see it in the news all the time. Kids who found guns, played with them, now someone is dead. It happened in my friends neighborhood a few years ago, and everyone is still rattled by it. Those kids probably did not have a healthy respect for what a gun can do. Most of them have probably never handled a gun. They have never really seen what a gun can do in real life. They probably have never had an adult stand beside them and show them what a gun can do and teach them how to turn a safety on before putting the gun down.
My kids know what a gun can do. My kids have seen how a bullet can make a watermelon explode. My kids know that a gun can go off easily. They know how hard they need to squeeze a trigger before a gun will fire. They know when a gun is “HOT”. They know how to hold a gun when they are not shooting it. They know how hard a gun kicks. They know how loud a gun is.
From the time that my kids were really little, I haven’t allowed my kids to point anything that they are pretending is a gun at another living being. Human, dog, cat, bird, horse. Guns, pretend or real never get pointed at a living thing.
Why does it matter if my kids know these things?
Because they know that a bullet will kill someone. They know that GUNS ARE NOT TOYS. They know that if they ever see a gun in a friends home that they are NOT allowed to touch it and they should tell me if they see one. They know what a REAL gun looks like and if the safety is off. They know how to check if a gun is loaded. And they know to get the heck out of the house if their friend thinks it’s funny to play with a gun.
My husband is the one who taught me how to handle a gun. We go shooting about once a year or more if possible. Is it fun for me? No. I really don’t like to go shooting, but I know it’s an important thing for my kids to learn about on a regular basis. Shooting a gun once, doesn’t give my kids enough knowledge about gun safety. It has to be a recurring thing. Repetition teaches. When we go shooting. All of the kids but one stay in the car. The one that is shooting is constantly under the watch of an adult. After the child shoots, the adult holds on to his hand and shows him how to hold the gun after shooting. This way the child doesn’t swing around excitedly and dangerously.
Whether you agree with me or not does not matter. Kids need to be taught gun safety. We can’t live our lives with our head in the sand. Guns are all over the place and I’m confident that my kids have a healthy respect for guns and would never treat handling them lightly.
You can find a gun safety class near you. You can visit NRAInstructors.org to find a gun safety class in your area. They have Boy Scouts of American courses, courses for women and courses for youth.
Even if you don’t take your child shooting, a gun safety class would be enough to help a child learn respect for guns. And if you don’t take them to a course, then show them what guns can do. Talk to them about how dangerous guns are and that if they see a gun, they shouldn’t pick it up or let their friends pick it up. Talking to our kids about things like this could save a life, probably the life of your own child.