According to a study, 48.9% of Alabama adults own at least one gun. Whether your household falls under that percentage or not, it’s likely that your children will see firearms on TV, in a movie, or even at a friend’s house. If you own a firearm at home, it’s vital to have this conversation with your kids. And even if you don’t own a gun, it’s just as important to educate your family for a safer community. Just because kids aren’t asking about gun safety, doesn’t mean they don’t have questions. However, sometimes this conversation can be difficult to start.
How Do I Start the Conversation?
Luckily, with Halloween just around the corner, some of the most popular children’s costumes lend a hand to this conversation. If your kids want to dress up as a police officer, cowboy, hunter, or solider, there is probably a toy gun included. Take time before trick-or-treating to educate your children about the safest practices for firearms.
What do I say?
First and foremost, children must know that guns are not toys. The prop for their costume is drastically different than the one at home. For children under the age of 12, it’s important that they understand a few fundamental rules:
- If you see a gun – Stop, don’t touch it.
- Leave the area immediately.
- Tell an adult.
Repetition is key, just like teaching your children to “stop, drop, and roll,” firearm safety can become second nature. For teens, the conversation may change.
- Never touch a gun without an adult’s permission and supervision.
- Never aim the gun at another person.
- Always assume the gun is loaded and can fire.
Why Do They Need This Conversation?
Educating your children about firearm safety can lead to safer environments for your family and community. For more help, you can visit projectchildsafe.org/talking-to-kids or eddieeagle.nra.org. Both organizations are dedicated to preventing child-related gun accidents through education.