It is commonly stated that more Americans have guns in their homes than dogs. A gun in the house can be dangerous, especially in homes where children live. Each year almost 500 children (under age 18) are killed by guns. Many more receive severe injuries. The best way to prevent gun-related incidents is to not keep a gun in the house, but if you make the choice to do so, always use a highly-rated gun lock or a locked gun safe and keep the gun unloaded. Store ammunition separately.
Boys are more often the victims of unintentional shootings compared to girls. Most of the time, the shooter is a relative (especially a brother) or a friend. About half of the deaths occur within the victim’s home, and the rest usually at a home of a friend or relative.
Do not make the mistake of thinking your child does not know where you keep your gun, or that he or she is incapable of firing the weapon. A three year old is strong enough to pull a gun trigger. Do not assume that a child will know the difference between a real gun and a toy gun. Young children are 1) insatiably curious; 2) unable to understand the long-term consequences of their actions; and 3) often lacking in impulse control. These factors, combined with access to a gun, can result in the unthinkable.
Do not think that pellet guns, BB guns or paintball guns are safe… these air pistols cause over 20,000 injuries per year.
Before you allow your child to visit a friend or relative’s home, inquire as to whether there is a gun in the house. If there is, it is your responsibility to make sure that those guns are locked and kept in a safe manner. If there is a gun in the house, do not leave children unsupervised.
Responsible gun ownership can prevent these senseless tragedies. It is our fervent wish that we never have to hear about another child losing his life in this heartbreaking manner.