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  • Robert Farago

Gun Storage and Children

A safe isn’t safe enough

If you own a gun, I assume you know what to do – and what not to do – with it. But what about the kids/teens in your house? If you assume they won’t fuck around and find out, you’re taking one hell of a risk. An unnecessary risk.

To avoid carrying a lifetime of regret to your grave, you want to store your gun safely. Securely. So unauthorized sprogs can’t get a hold of it. At all. Ever.

Easier said than done. And a gun safe is an answer to gun safety for children, not the answer. But first, let’s talk about whether or not you keep your gun loaded.

Some people recommend storing your gun unloaded – an empty gun being less dangerous should someone unauthorized gain access. To play with your gun or, say, shoot themselves or someone else.

In some states, storing your guns and ammo separately is the law. In their infinite wisdom, Massachusetts legislators decided that guns and ammo must be stored separately and securely.

If you restrict your firearms-related activities to punching paper, dinging steel or murdering Bambi, why not split gun and ammo?

The majority of owners want a firearm available to defend life. For them, keeping a gun unloaded makes about as much sense as having an unfilled fire extinguisher.

They scoff at the notion of loading a gun in an emergency, when adrenaline’s coursing through your veins. So it’s locked and loaded, and loaded and locked.

Safe storage of a loaded firearm requires a “proper” safe. There are loads to choose from, ranging from fireproof gun safes that weigh more than Samoa, to bedside units opened via fingerprint, key, key fob or combination lock.

Yeah about those safes…

They’re not safe. Not even the good ones. Not from the most vulnerable and likely usurpers. Kids.

Lest we forget, children, have a natural urge to mess with shit they shouldn’t mess with. Knives, fireworks, their baby brother, your credit card and… firearms. To name a few.

Guns are especially attractive. They’ve seen them in a million movies and killed bad guys aplenty in their favorite video games. They’ve either played with toy guns or wanted to play with toy guns.

These little bastards are clever AF. They will find a way to access your gun safe, no matter how many times you tell them not to, or how careful you are with security.

Think of it this way: they’re your kids and you’re not stupid.

Well you are if you think kids can’t find a way to open your gun safe. Besides, the downside of not believing that could well be the world’s worst scenario.

Not just boys and not just your kids. Any child in your house is a potential tragedy. Teens in particular are irresponsible sons of bitches, fully capable of leading your progeny down a killer garden path.

So now what? Now you have to face a simple fact: gun safety is between your children’s ears. You have to train your kids in gun safety.

As soon as they are able to understand, you need to show them your guns and teach them the four rules of safety, until they can repeat them back to you. They are….

  1. Always keep a gun pointed in a safe direction. Never point a gun at anything you don’t intend to shoot. Always be aware where the muzzle is pointing.

  2. Treat every gun as if it is loaded. Even if you know that a gun is unloaded, you should always handle it as if it were loaded. Always keep it pointed in a safe direction and never assume that a gun is unloaded.

  3. Keep your finger off the trigger until you are ready to shoot. Never put your finger on the trigger until you’re ready to shoot. Keep your finger outside the trigger guard until you are ready to fire.

  4. Be sure of your target and what is beyond it. Never shoot at a target if you’re not sure what is behind it.

Not enough. Those are just words. Show them how to handle a gun and take them to a range and to give them a visceral demonstration of a gun’s destructive power.

I recommend going to an outdoor range and shooting at a watermelon filled with water. Once they see the watermelon explode, they will know just how dangerous a gun is.

The NRA recommends that very young children should be taught to immediately leave an area when they see an unsupervised gun and tell an adult. True.

Teenagers are a different story. They must be taught that if an unsupervised “friend” want to shows them a gun, the answer is always no. As in never.

If a gun is produced, they must immediately make sure the muzzle is pointed in a safe direction and do everything possible to remove themselves from the situation as soon as possible. And yes, tell an adult. As in no matter what.

Guns are a fact of life. They’re everywhere. Kids and teens should get the above gun safety education even if you don’t own a gun. Even if you hate guns.

There isn’t a responsible gun owner who wouldn’t be happy to provide the instruction free of charge. Just as there isn’t a responsible gun owner who would hesitate to give their children these lessons. As well as use a good gun safe.

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