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Your Kids and Gun Safety

What You Can Do

Despite the Court's say on the matter, gun ownership is not an issue that's likely to be resolved soon. Gun laws vary from state to state, and even from city to city. More important, philosophies and rules regarding gun ownership vary from household to household. Whether yours is a gun-owning family or not, there are a few important steps you can take to minimize the likelihood of accidental firearm injuries or fatalities.

Keep any guns in your house stored safely. If you have a gun in your home, safe gun storage is the most crucial thing to remember. While you may wish to teach your child how to handle a gun at a time and place of your own choosing, remember that curiosity can sometimes get the better of a child. Keep your ammunition and weapons stored in separate, locked locations.

Use a gun lock. In many places, gun locks are now a legal requirement when you purchase a new gun. These are lock-and-key systems that physically prevent the trigger from being pulled.

Ask if your child's friends have guns in the home. It's your choice to allow or not allow your child to spend time at a house where there are guns. Either way, you should know the answer to this question. Maybe you support gun ownership, but your child's friend lives in a home that doesn't take the same safety precautions you do. You need to know what kind of access to guns your child might have - that's the single biggest contributor to gun violence, accidental or otherwise.

Talk to your kids about guns. Again, no matter what your opinion about guns, educating your kids about gun safety is always good idea. Teach them a few key points, and revisit the subject often. Very young children should know simply to stay away. Older children need to understand the difference between television and real life, and how to resolve conflicts peacefully.

Most important of all, you should always be a good role model. Teach kids to respect firearms. Make sure they understand these important safety tips, and keep the lines of communication open so you know what exposure your child might be having to guns elsewhere. People can differ philosophically on the issue, but safety needs to be a priority for all. Because no matter where you come down on the issue, there's one thing we can all agree: There should be no more cases like that of Christopher Bizilj.

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