I enjoy reading, and I definitely love to get my hands on books about firearms, training, safety, drills … you name it! So I was pleased when Yehuda Remer asked me to read his new children’s book, Safety On: An Introduction to the World of Firearms for Children. As parents, not only do we struggle with the host of misinformation presented on TV, movies and even in the news, we struggle with the when, where and how of introducing our kids to safe and responsible gun ownership. And while getting involved with firearms certainly depends on the situation and on the child* himself or herself, I truly believe that kids and parents alike will enjoy reading this book, while walking through the life of the main character (young Kyle) and seeing things — and learning things — from his perspective.
Overall, Safety On is an effectual, educational, non-political foundation for kids and for families, as it pertains to not only firearms and firearms safety but also to the normality of firearms within our homes. That’s probably what I appreciate most about Yehuda’s book. In a society that is so fixated on so-called “gun violence,” this is not a tale of the “dangerous gun” or the “scared shooter.” It’s not about broaching forbidden topics or taboos. While the author certainly does not ignore the fact that guns can be used by bad people to do bad things, the undertones presented throughout this story help create a clear picture of firearms as a regular, normal, everyday part of our homes and our lifestyles. Beyond that, Safety On is also a fantastic introduction to (or a refresher course for) firearms safety, responsible gun ownership, our 2nd Amendment right and the concealed carry lifestyle.
Of course, I didn’t just read the book … I had the chance to speak with the author himself and pick his brain a little about his creation. Here is what Yehuda had to share.
What is your goal/vision for Safety On?
“Save lives; change America’s perceptions that gun owners practice safety protocols and are not a bunch of cowboys; educate children; and inspire other 2nd Amendment advocates to write/promote children and guns in a positive light.”
Whom do you see reading your book (or, how do you envision this book fitting into families, education, conversations, etc.)?
“Children ages 6-10, as well as parents … meaning children who are learning to read to kids who already know how; parents reading the book to their children as a bedtime story or just reading it to them whenever; and anyone who needs a good refresher course on the basics of gun safety. In terms of family/education/conversation, just like we teach kids not to touch knives on a countertop, an oven or stove or flame, the concept of guns is the same. It is something that needs to be taught just like the things mentioned.”
What is the most important “takeaway” you hope someone can get from the book?
“The most important thing I hope that someone can get from the book is that a firearm is nothing more than a tool, and like the many tools we keep around our homes, it could be used for good or for bad. That is why firearms education is so important.”
What’s your best advice for parents on how/when to teach kids about firearms safety?
“This is actually the most common question I get from people. My answer to them is always the same. In terms of education, they are never too young. Like with knives or fire, you should teach kids from a young age about gun safety. If they pick up a toy gun or pretend to shoot, you begin explaining. Even if it doesn’t register at a young age, you keep on going, because it will be instilled at some point. In terms of taking kids to a gun range, that is up to the parents’ discretion. When you think your child is mature enough and ready, that is when you take them.”
*NOTE: You can check out the “Ages & Stages” post I wrote a few years ago at: www.usconcealedcarry.com.