I have one gun story to share that is humorous now, but it could have ended differently. My brother shot me. Mind you, it was a BB gun, but he shot me. The small round bullet landed right in my ear. It lodged itself deeply and the babysitter (last time she was asked to babysit us) had to pop it out. If the BB pellet had landed an inch to the right it could have damaged my ear drum. I tell that story because it is funny now to look back, but some stories don’t end so well.
USA today printed this statistic:
Between 2006 and 2010, 561 children age 12 and under were killed by firearms, according to the FBI’s most recent Uniform Crime Reports. The numbers each year are consistent: 120 in 2006; 115 in 2007; 116 in 2008, 114 in 2009 and 96 in 2010. The FBI’s count does not include gun-related child deaths that authorities have ruled accidental.
I never really had to talk to my son about guns until my brother (who shot me) came for a visit from California and brought his hunting rifles with him. This spurred a conversation with my brother about keeping his guns out of reach and safe and with my son on some safety tips. The picture above is a toy guy that my son has. I used it to run some scenarios about what to do in certain situations.
Scenario 1: I put the gun on the floor and I told my son he was at the park playing and he walks up and finds a gun. I asked him what he would do. He gave the correct answer of coming to get me or his dad. If your child is older it might be wise to teach them to stay with the gun and yell for help, that way if another little one comes along they don’t try to pick it up.
Scenario 2: We pretended that he was at a friend’s house and the little friend tells him to come check out his dad’s cool gun. I told my son to run out of the room and go get an adult right away.
If you think of other scenarios to run with your children do them, and then repeat them often. It is also wise to teach your children not to aim or pretend to shoot at other kids, that way when they hold a real gun it is already engrained in them. The game we play with the toy gun is hunting. We put stuffed animals around the house and hunt them (my apologizes to PETA).
Consider enrolling your child in a gun safety class if they are older. My dad had both my brother and I take a gun safety class and it was a great learning experience. It didn’t hurt that I received a lot of male attention since I was the only girl who attended. So if you have a daughter make sure your husband keeps an eye on her! 🙂