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FIREARM SAFETY IN THE HOME

 By Mario DePasquale 

 

            We’ve all heard horrible stories about accidents that have happened inside the home that involve firearms.  Unfortunately, many of these scenarios involve the death of someone.  More often than not, the victim is a child. 

            Many people want to rush and blame the firearm industry.  Others want to blame the adults of the home.  Some even blame the children.

            One of the most important issues that involve firearms in the home is safety.  If gun owners can learn how to properly store their weapons, many of these tragic accidents can be avoided.

            There are a few simple ways that you can eliminate the potential for an accident in your home.

 Safes:  You can purchase a safe in which to store your weapons.  Safes come in basically two different types.  You can get a large, free-standing safe.  These are fairly big and heavy and act as a storage “locker.”  Large safes are very useful in the storing of long guns.  Or, you can get a smaller hideaway safe.  These safes are much smaller and therefore can only hold a small amount of firearms.  These hideaway safes can be hidden in a closet or such and then mounted onto the floor.  Safes can be costly and some of them take up some space. 

 

Trigger Locks:  These are devices that you physically put onto the trigger and trigger guard.  They then render the trigger unable to be pulled back.  You can get these in either a key format or a combination.  Trigger locks are relatively inexpensive.

 

Cable Locks:  These are devices that you also physically put onto your weapon.  While you have the slide locked back in the open position, you run the steel cable through the chamber.  This effectively prevents the slide from being moved all the way into the locked position and thus disabling the firearm.  Cable locks are also relatively inexpensive.

 

            Let us not forget some of the equally important concepts of firearm safety: 

 

*  When storing your firearm, IT SHOULD BE UNLOADED!

*  Whenever possible, you can also remove a functioning component from the firearm, like a spring, thus disabling the firearm.

*  Never store ammunition with your firearm. Ammunition should be kept in a separate, locked place.

 

            Those of us out there with children know how important the concept of keeping a safe environment in the home can be.  We do what we can to make sure that our children are protected and safe.  But, we fail to talk to our children about firearm safety and how potentially dangerous firearms can be when mishandled.

            Children have a natural curiosity.  They like to explore around the house and often find things that they aren’t supposed to find.  If you think that your child will not find the hidden key and end up opening your hidden safe, you’re wrong.  It will happen!

            In your presence, satisfy this curiosity.  Show your children a firearm, unloaded of course, when they are of appropriate age.  Teach them how to safely handle a firearm.  By responding to their curiosity with a stern “NO”, you’ve just lit a time bomb.  We all know that as soon as you tell a child “NO” then they’ll set out to do exactly what it is that you don’t want them too.

            In other words, train your children in the use of firearms.  Teach them how to avoid accidents.  Lay down the ground rules.  Get them comfortable with the idea that firearms are only to be handled with you present AND with your consent.  When your children are old enough, take them to a firearms range and teach them to shoot.  After firing a weapon, some children will decide that they don’t have an interest anymore and some may continue to progress as safe and responsible handlers of firearms.

            There are groups out there that have programs specifically dedicated to helping parents speak to their children about firearm safety.  The NRA (National Rifle Association) has a program for children with “Eddie Eagle” that teaches children that if they ever come across a firearm, to not touch it and then go and get an adult.

 

            If you plan to have and/or store a firearm in your home, it is your responsibility, morally and legally, to make sure that it is kept in a safe manner.  In most states, Illinois for sure, there are statutes in the Criminal Law books that target adults who have allowed children to access firearms.  The purchase of a safe or locking mechanism is a necessity.  But your responsibility doesn’t end there.  Teach your children about firearm safety.  It’s better to be safe now than sorry later.

 

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