Gun Safety: Teach Your Kids, Hunting, Children and Gun Safety

//Gun Safety: Teach Your Kids, Hunting, Children and Gun Safety
Hunting is by and large a safe sport. When people do get hurt, it is far more likely that they fell from a tree stand than to have been inadvertently shot.

But gun-related hunting accidents do happen, and, when they do, the “what went wrong” trail often leads back to a youth hunter who was either not properly taught about firearm safety or who is not mature enough to put into practice what he or she has been taught.

Add to that the occasional tragedies that take place when children or teenagers improperly handle firearms in the home, and you’ve got a good case for starting to drum firearm safety rules into your children’s head at an early age. Even if you don’t plan to take your child hunting, there may come a time when he or she decides to pursue the sport. Even if you don’t keep firearms in the home, some people do, and chances are your child will find himself in the presence of guns at various times during his youth and early adulthood.

The National Rifle Association—that nation’s leading firearm safety advocate— has a good “information for parents” page on its website.

“In homes where guns are kept, the degree of safety a child has rests squarely on the child’s parents,” the site reads. “According to federal statistics, there are guns in approximately half of all U.S. households… It is critical for your child to know what to do if he or she encounters a firearm anywhere, and it is the parent’s responsibility to provide that training.”

So why not teach your child a few basic rules now that could save his life or someone else’s soon or in the distant future? Google firearm safety rules, and you’ll find countless websites listing the basics of gun safety. One of the most straightforward lists is the one developed by United States Marine Corps, which can be found at The four rules include:

• Treat every weapon as if it were loaded;
• Never point a weapon at anything you do not intend to shoot;
• Keep your finger straight and off the trigger until you are ready to fire; and
• Keep the weapon on safe until you are ready to fire.

The second rule is sometimes articulated as: Never let the muzzle of the weapon cover a target you are not willing to destroy. This makes clear exactly what guns have the power to do: destroy. They can destroy the lives of the person who is shot, the shooter and of everyone who cares about either of them.

One rule listed by the NRA, and which is an extremely important part of teaching a new hunter to be safe, is to “know your target and what is beyond.” Hunting accidents often occur when a young hunter mistakes a hiker or some other person for a deer or other game animal. Making such a mistake may be hard to imagine, especially for veteran hunters, but the maturity level and experience of the person behind the trigger must be considered. Is the youth hunter so eager to get her first deer that she might fire at the first sign of movement?

And even after the target animal has been positively identified, the hunter has to know what his bullet or shot could hit beyond the animal. Hunters shooting without some form of backstop can have tragic results, destroying life and/or property. It can also lead to a negative public perception of hunting and new laws that make it harder for hunters to enjoy their sport and manage wildlife. Hunters in Howard County, Md. are currently experiencing this as the county government considers more restrictive hunting regulations in the wake of a deer hunter’s shotgun slug hitting a daycare center window last fall.

Used properly, however, a gun can be a valuable tool used in recreation, putting food on the table and, for some adults, keeping their families safe. Once you’ve talked to your child at length about what guns are for and the basic safety rules, you should consider taking him to the range and giving him the opportunity to gain some experience putting these rules into practice. If you don’t own a firearm, or if you don’t have access to a range, the NRA has family programs aimed at teaching youth and other new shooters how to safely use and enjoy guns.

Other groups that offer programs and events designed to help children learn to safely enjoy shooting and hunting include the National Wild Turkey Federation and Ducks Unlimited. Read up on gun safety and take advantage of what groups like those listed above have to offer. Take a firearms safety course with your child. If you are a hunter, this can be the first step toward gaining the best hunting partner you will ever have.

And whether you hunt or not, it can be the first step toward making sure your child is never involved in a life-destroying firearm-related incident.
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2018-06-27T16:06:03+00:00 June 27th, 2018|Categories: Discover Cities in My Online World|Tags: |