Written by Sierra Ballistic Technician Philip Mahin
This is a continuation from my previous article about gun safety.
As I was standing on the 4-H shooting line watching the youngsters do a bang up job (pun intended) of putting holes in paper, I was reminded of all the safety rules they just received and was watching to make sure they were followed to the letter. Accidents can turn deadly if safety rules are forgotten temporarily in the excitement of a good shooting string.
This particular match was especially unnerving, because my son was on that line. As a parent, we try to prepare our children for the trials of life, but firearm safety is one lesson we cannot fail to teach correctly from the start.
Personally, I think of the rule ‘every gun is loaded’ as a foundation to all other rules. By keeping this rule in the front of your mind at all times, the muzzle of the firearm is kept pointed in a safe direction. Trigger fingers are kept off, and away from the trigger until it is time to shoot, but is that just rules for the firing line? The answer to that is no.
This frame of mind can be applied to everyday scenarios at home also. Children are naturally curious and can find their way into anything including a safe that they have seen the combination to only once. They also have friends who may have parents that shoot and have firearms in their homes.
How do you keep them safe from their own young ignorance?
You need to prepare them from the very start. Before my boy was ever allowed to visit friends, he knew that anyone else’s firearms were off limits and if one was ever presented or he was invited to see one, he was to go directly to the adult and report what took place. Fortunately, he has never had to resort to this, because his friends have parents that have prepared them also. He also knew that if he ever had a question on a firearm related topic, I would be more than happy to answer it, thereby defusing the curiosity.
Through everyday conversations, firearm cleaning sessions, and disassembly/reassembly tutorials, he knows that a muzzle is always to be pointed in a safe direction, even after he witnessed the ammunition being removed from the firearm. This is the same mindset that I wanted to convey here. Accidents can happen at any time and hopefully we can reduce them to learning experiences instead of being tragic life changers.