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I could cry every time I see one of these stories, these horrible tragedies involving children and firearms. All of these incidents could have been avoided with proper gun safety practice and training.
No matter which side of the pro-gun / anti-gun argument you are on, GUN SAFETY should be of paramount concern.
If a child has an accident with a firearm, whether it causes an injury or fatality or not, it is often due to an adults negligence - either failure to properly teach gun safety to a child, negligence in supervising the use of the firearm, or negligence in storage of the firearm.
Whether you have kids or not, you should always keep all your firearms in a FULLY CONTROLLED status: that means either *ON YOUR PERSON* or store *IN A SAFE*. Stored in a bag or purse, hidden, set on a high shelf, or in another room does not count.
As a reminder, it is a crime for an adult to allow a child under the age of 18 access to any firearm unless fully and actively supervised in a safe environment (ie: at a firing range or out hunting). This means allowing access both intentionally and unintentionally.There is a reason that so many of these stories are from 4 and 5 year olds. At this age, they are the most curious. They are both curious and fearless. They don't know or understand what a gun can really do until they are taught.
It doesn't matter if you own a gun or not. It doesn't matter if you are pro or anti gun. It is the responsibility of EVERY parent, gun owner or not, to teach them. Gun safety and avoidance training should be taught to every child starting at age three; and repeated annually to maintain awareness.
GUN SAFETY AND AVOIDANCE TRAINING SHOULD BE TAUGHT TO EVERY CHILD STARTING AT AGE THREE AND REPEATED ANNUALLY TO MAINTAIN AWARENESS.
Introduce your child to a gun NOW. Avoid un-supervised curiosity. Teach them the basic rules: (1) Recognize a real gun from a toy (2) Don't ever touch a gun (3) If another kid is playing with a gun, leave the area (4) Run and tell a Parent Immediately.
We taught all of our kids the basics of recognition and avoidance starting at age 3. A child should not be surprised or panicked to see a firearm. But they should know better than to touch one.
If you so choose (and I recommend that you do), there is always time for fully and properly supervised firearms use, care and marksmanship training later. At this age, teach them firearms recognition and avoidance first.
4-year-old boy accidentally fatally shoots his father with resident's handgun during surprise visit.
In this case, the adult left the gun out where the child could access it. Just because YOU don't have kids does not absolve you of the responsibility for properly locking up your firearms when they are not either in use or on your person.
5-year-old accidentally shoots and kill his 2-year-old sister with a .22-caliber rifle he got for his birthday.
4-year-old accidentally fatally shoots 6-year-old
In both of these cases, the child old was playing with a loaded rifle. Kids are not allowed to own rifles until age 18. Yes, there are many parents who buy their child a rifle before then, but it should be locked in a safe until the family goes hunting. Uncontrolled access is illegal and absolutely unacceptable.
4-year-old boy accidentally fatally shoots Sherrif Deputy's wife.
In this case, the 4 year old found a handgun that had *just* been set down. Never set a weapon down. Once removed from a holster, it should go directly and immediately into a safe.
Remember: It is YOUR responsibility to police your own actions and train your own children. YOUR safety with a firearm and your children's safety with a firearm is paramount to the safety of others around you.