06 Aug 10 Most Important Things to Teach Your Kids About Guns
You’re ready to teach your kids about firearms and gun safety. You feel they’ve reached the point that they can comprehend the consequences of using a firearm incorrectly and the responsibility that falls upon gun owners to act appropriately with a gun in their possession. What would you teach them?
Education is of the utmost importance, especially when dealing with something as powerful as a gun. It’s important to explain to your child the critical nature of gun safety, how they should react if they encounter a gun out in the open, and how they should handle a gun themselves (in a supervised setting, of course). To help get you started, we’ve put together this list of critical points to teach your kids when you feel it’s time for them to start learning about firearms.
1. A Gun Is Not a Toy…
This item is a no-brainer for most adults, but an important facet to stress to a child. They might not readily grasp what it is that guns can do, so as a parent, you must educate them.
To understand the severity of the consequences that can come from improperly handling a gun, you should explain to your child that guns are powerful, and that irresponsible use of a firearm can lead to dire outcomes. They should come to respect a gun for what it is capable of, and know that it is not a plaything.
2. …But It Is Not to Be Universally Feared
At the same time, however, the respect you instill in your child about guns should not become an undue fear or nervousness. They should know that guns can be dangerous, true, but they should also know to keep their calm so that when they are around a firearm, they can react accordingly in a manner that will keep them safe. Just like any other tool, there are rules that come along with guns, which leads to our next item…
3. What to Do if They Spot a Gun Left Unsecured
Your child should know that if they spot a gun that’s been left out and is unattended, they are not to touch it under any circumstances. Instead, they should stop what they are doing, leave the area, and find an adult to alert them of the gun’s presence. Reiterate that playing with guns carries consequences, and that’s why it’s important not to handle them without adult consent and supervision. If nothing else, your child should understand this point well to keep them from harm.
4. What Guns Are For and Why We Have Them
Guns serve a purpose, and you should explain these purposes to your child so that they can begin to better understand the reasons that people own guns. You should make it clear that firearms are designed for killing, and while sport activities (like target practice) are enjoyable, the main role that guns fill (be it for hunting or self-defense) is ending life. Additionally, you may delve into the ethics behind gun ownership (if you feel your child is capable of comprehending them), and explore the reasons that people choose to own guns as well.
5. Disagreements on Guns
Just as you explained the reasons that people own firearms, you can explain to them that some people are opposed to gun ownership as well. You can teach them why these disagreements exist, why opponents of gun ownership believe as they do, and explain why it’s important to comprehend opposing viewpoints, even if you don’t share them yourself.
6. Basics Workings of a Firearm
While a child might not understand all the mechanics behind how a gun works, you can still teach them some relatively simple basics. For instance, you can explain how it is that a gun fires projectiles, in rudimentary terms — the gun creates an explosion, which then launches bullets from its barrel. You can follow up by reiterating that this is what makes guns powerful, which can lead into further discussions on why gun safety is so important.
7. The Importance Of Safety (Continued)
And here we are again at gun safety. This point, however, is about safety when handling a firearm. Teach your child the foundations of operating a gun correctly, and what rules they need to follow while they have their hands on a gun. Stress that they should treat all guns as if they are loaded, that they should never point a gun at anything they aren’t aiming at, and that they should keep their fingers off the trigger until they have a target in their sights, among other lessons from the Ten Commandments of Gun Safety.
8. Distractions Are a No-No
Because guns are powerful (and can lead to injury or death) explain why it is important to maintain focus when they have a gun, that they should avoid distractions as those can lead to unsafe scenarios and increase the likelihood of unfortunate accidents. Reiterate that they are never to handle a gun without adult consent and supervision.
9. When It Will Be Time for Them to Handle a Gun
Your child might not be ready to handle a gun yet, but you can tell them that there will come a time when you believe they are ready. Explain to your child that as they become more responsible, you will teach them more about handling firearms (the right way) as this will decrease the likelihood of them attempting to use a gun without your knowledge.
10. Learning About Guns Can Be a Lifelong Passion
Stress to your child that there’s plenty to learn about firearms, and that you will continue to teach them if they are interested. Again, providing education on the topic will temper your child’s curiosity about guns, and increase the chances that they will behave appropriately around them.
There’s plenty to teach your child, but these ten points are a good place to start with their firearms education. Introduce topics as you feel they are ready for them, and you’ll be helping to promote a healthy interest for guns that may develop into a genuine hobby as they grow older. All the while, they’ll come to understand that knowledge of firearms is central to staying safe.