The freedom to bear arms is an important U.S. constitutional right that was born out of the repression that our founding fathers experienced at the hands of the English government. Along with that freedom to own firearms comes a responsibility to teach children to treat them with a fearful respect which recognizes their power to injure and even kill. They are a deadly weapon and need to be treated as such. We have provided ten ways that you can teach your kids that healthy respect for firearms.
- Teach By Example – Kids emulate their parents and other adults. To teach kids to treat firearms with respect, and fear of their potential for injury and destruction, they need to see their parents and other adults treating their weapons accordingly. Gun cleaning should never be done in a room with other individuals in it. Guns being handled in such a way that they are always pointed up or down and never in a direction that could cause damage will set the proper example for the kids.
- Demonstrate Their Destructive Power – With kid’s exposure to television and film portrayals of gunshot wounds that don’t seem to hit their targets or make holes in cartoon characters that seem to magically disappear before the next scene, the destructive power of a bullet may not be a reality that they can comprehend. Target practice which provides a demonstration of destruction of an object that is explained somberly and not treated as ‘cool’ may help them gain respect for the use of firearms.
- Firearms Safety Class – When kids are old enough to join a local firearms safety course design for young hunters and marksmen, don’t hesitate to sign them up. The professionals that lead these safety programs are highly experienced and understand the importance of impressing young minds with respectful handling of their weapons.
- Accidental Shooting Stories – Accidental shootings happen more often than we would like. When one of these makes the news in your area, don’t hesitate to point out the safety rules that were neglected that resulted in the injury or death. Make a point of sharing that even the most experienced gun handler can make mistakes and neglecting safety rules is one of them.
- How a Gun Works – Often times, full understanding can be the key to full appreciation for the power of firearms. Explaining how fast and how far a bullet is projected when it is blasted out of a barrel can help them understand that even a gun fired in an ‘empty’ field could strike someone or something out of their sight.
- Firearms in War – Guns are used for hunting and target practice, but they are also weapons of war. When guns are shot by soldiers in battle, other soldiers are injured and killed by those bullets. It is important that children understand that soldiers do not use their weapons unless necessary and that shooting other people is not something that they enjoy or want to do.
- NRA Materials – The National Rifle Association has a wide variety of materials that can be used to help teach kids about safe handling of guns and respecting their power.
- Hunting Together – Taking kids hunting with an adult, even before they are old enough to carry a gun themselves, is a great way for them learn respect for firearms. They will see proper handling by the hunter and also the damage that bullets do to the prey that is shot during the hunt.
- Target Shooting – Taking kids target shooting can help them form a visual picture of what bullets do to the targets and backstops without the added somberness of a bloody wound on an animal. It’s all in the presentation.
- Repetition of Safety Rules – Never stop reminding them of the safety rules regarding the handling of guns. Your insistence upon going over the same ground over and over again, demonstrates the importance you place upon the proper handling of weapons.
With television and movies presenting glamorized and erroneous pictures of the use of guns, it is important to counteract those images with strong teaching about the need to be fearfully respectful of the power held within the barrel of a gun.