Teaching My Son About Gun Safety: The Practical Steps I Adopted
I do not think the issue of guns, their usage, and safety measures should be hidden from children. My candid opinion is that parents and guardians should educate children on this essential matter that can impact children (negatively or positively). This is why, as a mom, I’ve taken it as an essential duty to teach my son about gun safety and other gun-related matters. I decided not to wait for his dad to do it, though he later woke up to this vital duty when I took the lead.
In my opinion, ignorance is the cause of fear. In this case, the reason many people are so scared of guns and do not even want them mentioned around children is because of their ignorance regarding gun safety. So, just the same way I continuously teach my son about other life-related matters such as sexual curiosity, dealing with a bully and so on, I also talk to my son directly about guns, and how to stay safe when a gun is involved.
I Started Handling Guns as a Child…Why Shouldn’t my Son?
Just like me, if you grew up in these parts of America: Mississippi, Kansas, Indiana, Pennsylvania, New York, Alabama, and so on, where an integral part of the culture is to hunt, you were probably exposed to guns earlier than your children.
For most children in Alabama where I grew up, exposure to guns was an early experience. As a child, my dad introduced me to rifles, but not before intensive drillings on gun safety instructions.
Start Early to Teach Your Children about Gun Handling and Gun Safety
Just like my parents, it has always been my desire to raise well-rounded children. My son is already nine years old, and I’m doing my best to raise him properly – and that includes teaching him how to handle a gun safely and correctly, not just for his sake, but also for the sake of everyone else.
Guns do not frighten my son. Just like my son, most children of his age in our part of the country have already made tons of hunting trips with their parents. So, these children share their exciting hunting and shooting experiences with their friends.
Gun Safety Lessons
Some of the valuable lessons I’ve taught my son in practical situations regarding gun safety have impacted him. I often hear him chanting those guns safety lessons to his friends when they come around. So, he will go on for minutes saying;
- Don’t touch the gun except when mummy or daddy says so and supervises you -whether it is a shotgun, bazooka, rifle, handgun, or even a fake gun!
- Be sure the gun is unloaded, ask someone before you go near!
- Call mom to come and get you if you are not comfortable seeing a gun in your friend’s house
- and so on
Also, I started to show him early how to find out if the magazine and chamber are empty. He learned to point a gun in a safe direction. Also, I instructed him never to touch the trigger, except he wants the gun to go off. Those days, before he could handle a gun, I would take him to a nearby gun club and let him watch targets get smashed to bits.
And of course, he witnessed the bloody holes that my gun or his dad’s gun put into animals when we go hunting with him. So, he learned early about the power of real guns.
It Helps to Spend time with Children at the Range
Another thing that helped my son to imbibe great gun safety values was my constant practice of taking him to the range when he was younger. While at the range, I will insist on where the muzzles should point – downrange, down, or up. Of course, I ensured that I stayed in control of the firearm myself and doled shells out one at a time. I also taught him the importance of ear and eye protection in a practical way.
Indeed, gun safety isn’t just about mere knowledge, but is a life skill with the capacity to impact children in different situations. So I can’t fail on this duty; I have to prepare my son in the best possible way I can, as should every other parent.
About the author:
Annabelle Short is a housewife based in Alabama. She’s a mother of two. In her free time, she likes to go fishing. Her husband is a hunter and she joins him from time to time. She has been working freelance for several years and would like to start home-based food business.