I have been working on and off in the firearms industry for a little more than two decades. And now that my husband and I are both employed by the USCCA, you can probably imagine our household is very full of projects, topics and conversations centered around guns, 2A advocacy, self-defense, gun safety, security and the like. Our household is also very full of guns … and gun stuff … and gear, gadgets, accessories and training tools!
Without a doubt, firearms safety, responsibility, advocacy and training have become a very integral part of our personal and professional lives. And in the midst of all this, our three children — now ages 19, 11 and 8 — have grown up in this firearms-focused world. In fact, these are the kinds of things our kids have been around just about all of their lives! And because of this exposure, guns (and gun stuff) have become just about as routine, commonplace and normal in their world as SUVs, remote controls, sunglasses or applesauce.
Firearms Safety: Avoid the Taboo
I know that’s a very random assortment of objects. But in our home, firearms, just like those other things, are “the norm.” They aren’t weird. They aren’t scary. And they aren’t forbidden. And I believe this normalcy has been a very important and beneficial part of educating our children to be safe and responsible with and around guns. Instead of firearms being an unmentionable taboo or some off-limits temptation, guns are something we regularly and openly use and discuss.
This gives my husband and me countless opportunities to share truths with our children about how guns work, what guns may be used for, and why we always need to be cautious and careful around firearms. It also gives us the chance to model safe and responsible behaviors and attitudes about owning guns, about being armed and about supporting the Second Amendment.
Gun Safety for Kids: Develop the Norm
As parents, we are constantly doing our best to keep our children safe by providing them with information and expectations. We know that when a child understands the rules and knows what’s ahead, they will often respond and behave better. And that knowledge is even more important when it comes to guns. By treating firearms as a regular part of our daily lives, our family has, ultimately, created “a condition of being normal … a state of being usual, typical or expected”… or, in other words, we’ve embraced the normalcy of guns!
We know from research that normalcy helps develop habits and routines. And these habits and routines help build trust and security. A sense of normalcy also helps establish and develop meaningful elements and important priorities in family life, helping children understand what’s important and what’s appropriate. We also know from research that when you demystify guns and teach children the appropriate ways to handle them, their risk of accidental injury or negligence plummets. All of this is imperative for a healthy, safe, secure and responsible child. And all of this is important for a future healthy, safe, secure and responsible gun owner!
Try Making Gun Safety Normal in Your Home
Want to know a few ways to normalize guns in your home?
- Share the universal gun safety rules.
- Model safety at all times!
- Let your children see you safely prepare your concealed carry gear.
- Ask your kids what they know about guns.
- Talk about guns — types, parts, models, etc.! (Use photos, videos or even clear, unloaded firearms to safely demonstrate.)
- Notice guns on movies, TV shows or video games and discuss how those differ from real life.
- Explain and demonstrate the safe storage and staging of firearms.
- Get the kiddos involved with safe gun cleaning/maintenance.
- Take your kids to the shooting range!
- Sign them up for a class.