The number one cause of death in children is due to firearm related injuries. Essentially because of lack of supervision, improper storage and security, lack of gun safety education, and overall carelessness. The Columbine High Massacre claimed the lives of 12 students, 1 teacher, and injured 24 students. Not including the 2 students who launched this murder spree and then turned the guns on themselves committing suicide. In 1979, The Cleveland Elementary Shooting was carried out by then 16 year old Brenda Ann Spencer, who had just received the gun used a month earlier as a Christmas present from her father. Parkway South Middle School in 1983 14 year old David F. Lawler brought 2 family owned handguns and the hundred rounds of ammunition he received for Christmas, to school to carry out his intended abolishment. The list goes on but these simply drive home the fact that gun safety and security is not being resounded efficiently.
Across the nation for as far back as I can remember there have been fire, drug, sex, inclement weather drills, and stranger safety campaigns launched throughout all schools. Most kids know Smokey the Bear, to look both ways before crossing the street, stop, drop, and roll, and to say “Nope to dope and ugh to drugs!” Yet many are not aware of the 4 common steps of the Eddie Eagle gun safety program:
Leave the area.
Tell an adult.
Does this mean that households that choose to protect their families and valued belongings by means of firearms should change their ways? No, just their safety and security methods and procedures.
2 common misconceptions:
Households that do not own or handle firearms falsely assume they don’t have anything to worry about and that their children know how they “feel” about guns and therefore will not use or handle one if ever given the opportunity.
Families that do own and keep firearms in the home, often falsely assume that their children are well educated on gun safety and would never mess with a gun without permission or supervision. A dear friend of mine lost her oldest brother years ago when she was just an infant. Her father was a police officer and out of habit placed his gun on the night stand each evening after work, knowing that he had always taught his kids not to play with guns. Her two brothers 6 and 7 were just playing cops and robbers and the gun accidentally fired killing the 7 year old.
All parents should realize that outside of their home is a world of diversity in regards to different belief systems, responsibility, morals, and values. Furthermore, one cannot assume that other households that own, firearms have them properly secured and tucked away. Children are very curious, and even with gun safety training will allow their curiosity and peer pressure to get the best of them. A research study was conducted on a group of boys ages 8-12, many of whom had been previously informed on gun safety. 2 water pistols and a real .380 caliber unloaded gun were concealed in a room where the children were left alone under surveillance. The majority of the children touched or handled the gun and half of them located and/or pulled the trigger. No child left the room. Ultimately, this study determined that boys regardless of gun safety training will touch or play with a gun if found. To see the full details of the study visit the Official Journal Of The American Academy of Pediatrics.
Gun Safety Tips:
1. Utilize gun and/or trigger locks.
2. Lock guns in Safe or Lock box, ensuring that children do not have access to keys or combination. Under the mattress or in a shoe box is unacceptable and absolutely not secure!
3. Teach your children the 4 steps to Eddie Eagle Gun Safety: Stop, Don’t touch, Leave the area, Tell an adult. Make sure they know that it is never okay to handle guns without adult supervision.
4. Refrain from buying your children realistic looking guns or including BB guns, pellet guns, and air rifles. This will help prevent confusion between real guns and toys. Furthermore, BB guns and the like are very dangerous when misused.
Visit the website to Learn more about “The Eddie Eagle Safety Program” in Beaufort.
Remember, regardless of your political views on firearm ownership, it is not guns that kill people, but the people who possess them. Moreover, all gun owners are not criminals, yet those who live a high risk lifestyle and possess firearms are more likely to use a gun or be a victim of gunfire. Many responsible firearms owners have been known to issue verbal warnings or warning shots as opposed to shooting to harm or kill someone.