A Parent's Guide to Gun Safety in the Home
Bringing a gun into your home is a serious decision to make and one that should not be taken lightly. However, you’re the best person to make that decision and I’m sure that you’ve done your homework and are asking the right questions otherwise you wouldn’t be reading this article.
Before you bring a gun into the home…
So you’ve decided to get a gun – now what? Well, now is the time to research the gun laws in your state. Then consider spending some time at a gun range trying out the different types of guns to get a feel for what you’re looking for. Most homeowners decide on a handgun but there are a lot to choose from and sometimes shooting different types is the only real way to get a feel from what you like.
Once you find the right gun for you and have made your purchase then it’s time to log some serious time with it. Take it to your local gun range for shooting practice as much as it takes to get comfortable. Be sure to include your spouse on these trips because if the time comes to use the gun you both need to be comfortable with it. Fear of a gun can cause someone to be clumsy and make avoidable fatal mistakes. The only way for you and your spouse to stop being intimidated by your gun is to shoot it until you aren’t afraid anymore.
Remember to, not only practice shooting, but also loading and unloading your gun as well as cleaning it. Being a gun owner is a serious responsibility and you need to learn all the basics to be sure you keep your gun in clean working order.
How & Where to store your gun…
Well before it’s time to bring your gun home you need to decide where and how you want to store it. First off your gun should ALWAYS be…
- Unloaded in a locked place
- Somewhere a child cannot access
- Stored separately from the ammunition
Here are some of your gun storage options, which are all designed to stop curious children and keep your family members safe. However, it’s important to know that most will not stop anyone determined to get to the gun with the help of tools. You need to research the storage laws and advice for your state to be sure that you’re following every possible law designed to keep your family safe.
- A firearm lock – otherwise known as a trigger lock or a cable. This can be a simple cable secured with a padlock that makes it so that the gun cannot fire with the lock in place. It’s low tech and costs as little as $10. You can also decide on a slightly more complicated trigger lock, which is designed to fit into the trigger area of your gun and can be either removed with a key or a combination lock. Again, the cost of one of these is minimal.
- A firearm case – this option comes with a bigger price tag and a lot more options to choose from. From digital codes, rolling combination locks to personalized fingerprints – you will be able to find the perfect case to meet your needs. Pick something you can access quickly and yet will keep unwanted people from accessing it. When looking for a good case be sure that it’s designed to be resistant to someone trying to pry it open, doesn’t rely one just one power source to be opened, can be opened by both you and your spouse and is compliant with your state’s standards.
- A firearm safe – Just like the name makes it sound like a gun safe is just that, a safe designed to hold your guns. You can find them priced starting at $120 all the way into the thousands depending on the quality and amount of guns you want to store.
9 quick Tips to follow to keep everyone at home safe
- If you keep your gun unlocked at night then be sure to put it back under lock and key every morning first thing.
- Talk to the kids about the gun in the home and work with them on safe behavior. There are many organizations that have amazing classes and literature you can use to prepare your kids for a gun in the house. Here’s just one great example of one. Perhaps most importantly is to tell them what to do if they run across a gun at home or anywhere else for that matter. The big message is to not touch it and go tell an adult immediately.
- Never bring a loaded sports gun into the home. You want to load and unload it outside. Be very aggressive about this rule in your home and it will dramatically reduce the chances of someone getting hurt accidentally.
- Always return your gun to its proper place after you’ve used it. Take the time to unload it because you never want to store it loaded.
- Recheck your gun when you take it out of storage to be sure it’s not loaded. Do not ever assume a gun isn’t loaded.
- Again get comfortable using your gun by taking it to the gun range with both yourself and your spouse. Both of you need to be comfortable loading, shooting and unloading your gun. Even go the extra mile and read your owners manual.
- Practice with your gun case or safe to be sure it’s easily accessible and something you can get to in a hurry.
- Always always always – Treat every gun like it’s loaded. Guns are weapons and if everyone always assumed they were loaded then a lot more accidents could be avoided.
- Practice good habits with your gun. For example, never putting your finger on the trigger unless you intend to shoot something. You also don’t need to load it with ammunition unless you plan to shoot it. Taking a quick gun class will help you learn all the up to date best practices so look for one in your area.
There are so many myths surrounding gun ownership that make a lot of parents afraid to bring one in their home. So take the time to seriously educate yourselves on the dos and don’ts before you take the plunge and no matter what be smart and be safe!