Parents can prevent needless injury and death by teaching their children about gun safety. Every day 14 children die from gun-related violence. Many more suffer injuries. The simplest -and most effective-way to prevent gun-related injury or death is to remove the gun from the home. It is commonly thought that a gun in the home will protect family members from crimes. However, the opposite is true. There are an estimated 43 fatal shootings of family members for every one instance in which a gun is used to kill in self-defense! If a gun is kept in the home it should be unloaded and locked up. Ammunition should be stored and locked away in a different location. Trigger locks - inexpensive devices that reduce the risk of unintentional firing- should be installed on all guns. Ask other families if they own a gun and talk to them about safe storage.
Talk to your children about the dangers of guns. All children are fascinated by guns! By nature they are curious and will explore their environment. Tell children that if they find a gun they should not pick it up but should inform an adult. Repeat this lesson periodically. Parents should limit gun play and the purchase of toy guns. Additionally, think twice before buying your children BB guns and air rifles. Serious injury and death can occur from these "miniature" firearms. Also, remind children that gun violence in the media is not real. In reality children die and are injured by guns.
Gun safety is harder with teens. They are developing independence. They feel invincible and are often impulsive. Parents can emphasize safety and limit access to the guns. Talk to your teen about resolving conflicts without violence. If you suspect your child is depressed or abusing substances, remove all weapons from the home. Lethal gun use is high under these circumstances. Following these safety tips should reduce the chance of firearm injury.