There is arguably nothing more horrible than to lose a child under any circumstances. But to be the one responsible for the death of that child because of an unsecured gun is simply beyond most people’s comprehension. Some people even commit suicide, so deep is their grief and guilt. As a result, it just makes sense to do everything possible to prevent such tragedies.
Have a Gun in the Home? Child-Proofing Is Mandatory
Do an internet search for “toddler shot” and you will find a disturbing number of incidents involving very small children getting hold of a gun. One example is this excerpt from a Washington Post report just last week:
“Jun 19, 2019 – On Wednesday two 3-year-old boys were shot by another toddler who found and inadvertently fired a gun at the home of their babysitter in Dearborn, Mich.”
Now, while it is true that such incidents are rare, they do happen. The infuriating thing to responsible gun owners is how avoidable these tragedies are. All that is required is basic common sense.
Reality Check: It’s Impossible to ‘Hide’ a Gun From a Child
I have a friend who admitted to me that he once kept his handgun in a box on a shelf in his master bedroom closet. One evening, he and his wife were downstairs with company. His 5-year-old son and the 6-year-old son of one of his guests were supposedly playing in the child’s bedroom upstairs.
When he just got that nagging feeling that things upstairs had become “too quiet,” he went up to check on them. To his shock, his son was sitting on the bed, showing his gun to the other child. The boy had placed a chair in the closet, then stacked a box on top of it in order to be able to reach the gun.
But how had the child even known where the gun was in the first place? Apparently, he had noticed Dad “hiding something” one day and decided to find out what it was.
The methods you use to protect your children are very much dependent on their ages. Procedures for toddlers are unlikely sufficient for a household full of teenagers. Even the most responsible teen often has “that friend” who is every parent’s nightmare. Make sure you take that into consideration.
Traditional safes, trigger locks and other methods represent good options for securing guns. For those who want to retrieve a gun for defense on short notice, gun vaults utilize various methods to allow quick access for the owner (but no one else).
Whichever method you select, it MUST make it impossible for any unauthorized person to gain access to your guns without you being present.
Safety and Everyday Concealed Carry
Many of you may recall the case a few years ago:
“A mother, 29, was killed when her 2-year-old son in the shopping cart grabbed a gun from her purse and accidentally shot her.” [CBS News]
Here again, simple common sense would have prevented this tragedy. If you carry a gun in a purse, it should remain on your body. Setting it down for just a moment (as the woman above did) invites tragedy. Also, kids have gotten guns out of the glove box or console of a vehicle. Be warned.
Thanks to responsible gun owners, accidental shootings involving young children have been declining for decades. But such numbers mean nothing if the unthinkable happens to you and your family.
Be smart. Be safe. Always.
About John Caile
John Caile is an NRA Firearms Instructor Certified in Pistol, Rifle, Shotgun, Home Firearm Safety and Personal Protection in the Home. He has more than 35 years of experience in concealed carry training and practical handgun shooting skills. John was communications director of the Minnesota Gun Owners Political Action Committee and was instrumental in passing Minnesota’s landmark concealed carry permit law. He is a contributing writer for USCCA’s Concealed Carry Magazine and has appeared on national talk radio and network and public television and has been frequently published in the press. John lives in Palm Coast, Florida, where he continues his lifelong activism for gun owners and their rights.