Video Transcript

Should you make guns and gun safety normal for your kids, or is it too dangerous to even talk about? I can hardly say that with a straight face. Of course, you should make it normal for your kids. In this video, I will go over how I taught my kids about guns and gun safety, and then you can comment down below on how you teach your kids.

My household, as you can imagine, is filled with guns and gun stuff, gear and gadgets, and accessories and training tools. Without a doubt, firearm safety, responsibility, advocacy, and training have become a very integral part of my personal and professional life. And in the midst of all of this, I have raised two children. They are now twenty-four and twenty-one, and they’ve grown up in this firearms-focused world.

My entire adult professional life has been centered around firearms. So as you can see, my kids have been around guns and the gun industry all of their lives. And because of this exposure, guns and gun stuff have become just about as normal in their world as SUVs, remote controls, sunglasses, cell phones and all the other stuff that goes with growing up. So when we’re talking about firearm safety, we need to avoid the taboo.

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 normal. They’re not weird. They’re not scary, and they aren’t forbidden. And I believe that this normalcy has been a very important and beneficial part of educating my children to be safe and responsible with and around guns.

Instead of firearms being something that’s unmentionable or taboo or off-limits or that they shouldn’t touch, guns are something that were regularly and openly used and talked about, and we focused on safety and responsibility. Yes, guns were kept locked up when not in use. But when the kids wanted to learn about them, I did everything I could to make time to help them learn and let them understand what was going on.

Learn About Children’s Firearms & Safety Fundamentals

This gives me countless opportunities to share the truths about guns with the children and about how guns work and what guns may be used for and why we need to be cautious and careful around firearms. It also gives me the opportunity to model safe and responsible behavior and attitudes about owning guns and about being armed and supporting the second amendment. Kids will mimic what they see, so make sure you’re doing everything right with and about your guns when you’re around your kids. Develop gun safety as something normal in your house.

Gun Safety for Kids: Develop the Norm

As a parent, I’m constantly doing the best to keep my children safe. They’re grown now, but as they grew up, I had to keep them safe, educated, and going in what I consider to be the right direction. So I provided 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, the family has ultimately created a condition of being normal, a state of being usual, typical or expected. 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 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 healthy, safe, secure, and responsible children. And all of this is important for a healthy future and a safe, secure, and responsible gun owner and gun-owning family.

I want you to try to make gun safety normal in your home, and here are a few ways to do that. Share the universal gun safety rules. Model good gun safety at all times. My kids even use proper trigger finger discipline now when using an electric drill.

Let your children see you safely prepare your concealed carry gear. My kids knew when I was putting on a gun how important it was. And even from a very early age, if my shirt rode up or the gun became visible, my kids would tell me quietly, “Hey, dad. Your gun’s showing.”

I didn’t want to cover that up. Ask your kids what they know about guns. Talk to them about guns, the types, the parts, the models, etcetera. Use photos or videos, books, training, anything that you can do to teach children about guns.

Take unloaded firearms and demonstrate safe gun use. This is one of my personal favorites. Notice guns in movies, TV shows and video games, and discuss how different that is from real life. My kids sometimes hate to watch movies with me now because I just point out all the bad crap that goes on with gun handling and gun safety in movies.

I want you to explain and demonstrate the safe storage and staging of firearms. One of the things that we did all the time was make sure that the kids would see me putting guns away when they weren’t being used. In the safe, locked up, unloaded, they would see that all the time. And then get the kids involved with safe gun cleaning and maintenance.

Include Kids in Shooting Activities

And this falls right in line with taking your kids to the range shooting. My kids love to go shooting until I told them that every time we went shooting, we had to clean the guns. Now they were asking me, “Yeah, let’s go shooting, but you’ll clean the guns, right?” They didn’t want to do the gun cleaning. But they saw it happen, and they understand how to do it safely. And finally, sign them up for a class.

Here in Wisconsin, kids as young as twelve are taking hunter-education firearm safety classes. That’s great. Encourage that. Have them go through those classes.

If you can sign them up for other classes as they get older, get them involved in some defensive shooting classes and some tactics classes, and let them learn from other instructors. We demystify guns. If kids are familiar with guns, they won’t be interested and won’t want to play with them and mess around with them when you’re not around. It’s all up to you.

You can make your children safe around guns. Thanks for watching all the way to the end of the video. I’m Kevin Michalowski, director of content for the US Concealed Carry Association. If you enjoy videos like this, please subscribe to this channel and comment down below.

Tell us how you keep your kids safe around guns. We’ll notify you every time something new comes out. Stay safe.

*The original copy for this video was based on a blog post authored by Beth Alcazar. 

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.