Tragedy struck a community in KwaZulu Natal earlier this year that resulted in the death of a teenager. A news article alleges that two teenage boys were playing with a gun that belonged to a family member when one of the boys was shot and killed. Paramedics arrived and the 14-year-old boy was declared dead on the scene. This incident destroyed the lives of many people and rocked the community and the boy who shot his friend will have to live with the guilt of killing his friend for the rest of his life.
A firearm owner’s worst nightmare is an incident at home where a child is hurt or killed due to negligence or lack of knowledge. It is an unimaginable tragedy but is unfortunately a reality for firearm owners all over the world. Fortunately there are various safety tips firearms owners can follow to avoid such incidents.
Firearms Guardian suggests that firearm owners concentrate on two areas to ensure the safety of the youngest in the house when there are firearms around: Firearm storage and firearm education.
1. Store Firearms Safely:
The most important thing is to ensure all guns are locked up in a secure gun safe or cabinet.
Invest in a quality gun lock or trigger lock and use it whenever the firearm is not in use.
2. Educating children about gun safety should be your main priority:
First of all, teach your children from a young age about the dangers of firearms and the importance of not touching them
Explain that guns are not toys, and they should never handle a gun without adult supervision.
Emphasise that they should treat every gun as if it’s loaded and never point a gun at anything and to keep away from the trigger.
3. Supervise and Monitor your children:
Always supervise children when they are around firearms.
Ensure that anybody visiting your home, especially those with children, are aware of your firearm safety measures and expectations.
4. Make Guns Inaccessible:
Consider using a quick-access gun safe or lockbox for home defence firearms which will ensure that only authorised adults can access them quickly in an emergency.
5. Remove Temptation:
Remove the mystery of firearms by demystifying them for children through education, but never show them how to handle a gun yourself unless they are old enough and mature enough to learn safe handling.
6. Encourage Reporting:
Teach children that if they ever come across a gun outside of your supervision, they should not touch it and immediately inform a trusted adult.
7. Be a Responsible Role Model:
Lead by example when it comes to safe firearm handling and storage practices.
8. Regularly Review Safety:
Periodically review gun safety rules with your children to reinforce their understanding and awareness.
9. Seek Professional Training:
If you have firearms in your home, consider taking firearm safety courses and ensure that other adults in your household do the same.
Remember that preventing accidents involving firearms in the home is a shared responsibility. By following these guidelines and promoting a culture of safety in your household, you can significantly reduce the risk of accidents and keep children safe.
Find out more here.