As a parent, your job is to help your children navigate life, giving them the information they need to stay safe and make good decisions. Life is full of confusing topics and dangerous situations your child will have to maneuver through, choosing right from wrong. You'll talk to them about alcohol, drugs and other areas requiring sound knowledge and good choices to stay safe, and gun safety education is of the same importance.
Politicians, activists and many other parties widely and regularly discuss guns, from their use to the laws regulating them, and there's a lot of questionable information in that space. Instead of letting your children learn from outside actors, popular culture or friends, you want to ensure they receive their information from you. Understanding how to talk to your child about guns will help them demystify what they are, how they operate, and how to be safe with and around them.
How to Talk to Your Kids About Gun Safety
Guns are common in many areas of American society, used for hunting, recreational sport and protection. Gun education for youth is vital to help them understand the importance of safe practices when encountering firearms. Before teaching your child anything about guns, you and your partner should be on the same page. This will ensure that the conversations you have with your youngster don't conflict or confuse them.
Gun use and safety is an ever-evolving conversation that you should continue as your child grows up. It's only natural that they become curious about what they don't know. Rather than let them investigate on their own, you want to create a safe and controlled environment allowing them to ask questions, explore the different components and learn safe practices.
As you have these conversations, it's essential to connect to your child in a way that holds their attention — you know your child best. Each individual is unique and may be interested in different things. No matter how you decide to introduce the idea of guns, it may be helpful to use visual aids and real-life examples to give them something to connect to. Above all else, they'll learn best from watching what you do, so it's crucial to practice what you preach.
Start Teaching When They're Interested in or Aware of Guns
Whether or not your children are enthusiastic about guns, they should understand what they are and how to be safe around them. When this lifelong conversation begins is up to you and your family. However, it's usually best to start early, especially if you own guns yourself and have them present in the home. Many find the age range of three to seven years to be a suitable time to introduce education about the importance of gun safety, though this is entirely up to your family.
There's a significant difference between teaching your kids about guns in general and demonstrating how to shoot. Giving your child knowledge about guns and safe handling practices first will benefit them when they're old enough to start shooting, whether on a family hunting trip or for sport. When you begin by teaching respect for firearms, your child will be able to learn the mechanics of using a gun with all of the safety practices in the back of their mind.
Basic Rules of Gun Safety
Firearm safety should be among the first ideas you introduce when talking to your child about guns. Safe practices are not one-and-done lessons taught once and never discussed again. Gun safety should play a prominent, ongoing role in your conversations as you continually emphasize — and actively demonstrate — the importance of taking the necessary precautions when handling a firearm. For gun users of any age, there are four essential rules to keep in mind:
- You should only point the gun in a safe direction.
- Remember to keep your finger away from the trigger until you are ready to shoot.
- The firearm should remain unloaded until you're ready to use it.
- Until you have personally confirmed that the chamber is empty, you should assume every gun you see is loaded and handle it appropriately.
Owning and using a gun is a significant responsibility. This responsibility comes with rules and standards necessary to keep your children and those around them safe when they're old enough to tag along on hunts, venture to the range or participate in shooting sports. When having your talk about guns, be sure to teach your kids these fundamental safety rules:
- Always wear eye and ear protection.
- Utilize only proper ammunition.
- Perform regular maintenance and cleaning on your firearm to ensure it functions as intended.
- Never use a gun while under the influence of alcohol, over-the-counter or prescription drugs.
- Understand the appropriate use of your firearm.
- Know your target and what's behind it before pointing the gun.
Store Guns in a Safe
You'll often hear stories about young kids injuring themselves after playing with a parent's gun they found lying around. These situations usually stem from inadequate storage, resulting in easy access to the gun. Of course, everyone wants to feel safe in their own home, and many choose to attain that comfort by owning a firearm. While you want to maintain easy access in case you need your gun quickly, you also want to ensure that no unauthorized person, like a child, can get to it.
Gun safes are essential equipment that ensures your gun is stored securely when you're not actively using it. There are also many other methods of storage to prevent inappropriate use of your firearm, including vaults, lock boxes and trigger locks. These tools provide fantastic teaching moments, letting your child know that guns aren't toys and deserve to be treated with extreme care and caution. When they see you being responsible, they're more likely to implement those strategies into their own lives.
NRA Gun Safety Rules for Kids
Many helpful resources are available to assist parents, law enforcement officers and educators in the conversation about gun safety for kids. The National Rifle Association (NRA) is leading the charge, advocating for the importance of gun safety education in the United States. Since its founding in 1988, the NRA's Eddie Eagle GunSafe® Program has educated over 32 million kids from pre-K to fourth grade about what to do if they find an unattended firearm. The program informs kids to take these four steps to handle the situation safely:
- Don't touch
- Run away
- Tell a grown-up
Wing Tactical Has All of Your AR-15 and Glock Needs Covered
Gun education in youth is vitally important to ensure your children understand the significance of guns. These conversations allow kids to learn, ask questions and develop respect for firearms in an attempt to reduce accidents and injuries. The more knowledge these kids have about firearms, the more protected they'll be when around them.
At Wing Tactical, we're firearms enthusiasts ourselves, and we're always happy to support other shooters in building their ideal firearms and sharing our community's passion with the next generation. We maintain an expansive inventory filled with premium products, only stocking parts and accessories our experts would use themselves. You can count on our Wing Tactical team to provide unparalleled customer service and a value you won't find anywhere else.
Whether you're looking for training supplies or an extensive selection of AR-15 parts to build a first rifle for your budding gun enthusiast, you'll find what you need right here. You can also contact our staff with any questions and we'll do what we can to assist you.