5 Small Steps To Encourage Safe Gun Storage In Your Home
Everyday in the United States, eight children are unintentionally injured or killed by family fire, a shooting involving a gun left unlocked and loaded in the household. Most parents think their children don’t know where guns in the home are stored - let alone that their children have accessed those guns; however, according to a study published by the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, 20% of parents mistakenly believed their children have never handled a gun unsupervised. If there are guns in your house or that of a neighbor, special steps need to be taken in order to prevent children from having access to unsecured guns and ensure their safety.
There are resources to help parents learn and implement safe storage practices. Without proper storage practices, parents run the risk of enabling family fire. End Family Fire, an initiative led by Brady and the Ad Council, has been leading the way in sharing useful information about how to combat gun-related incidents in the home. Through public service communications, End Family Fire inspires gun owners to make their homes safer when it comes to the storage and handling of their guns, because unsafe storage is a public health crisis we can all play a part in addressing.
Romper recently partnered with End Family Fire to share some of their tips on how to promote safe gun storage in your home and in your community. Everyone – whether they are a gun owner or not – can be a part of the solution by practicing and encouraging safe storage.
1. Store Firearms Unloaded and Separately from Ammunition
4.6 million children live in homes with an unlocked, loaded gun. Whenever you're not using firearms, make sure they're unloaded before being stored away.
Yet even when a gun is unloaded, a gun stored close to its ammunition still presents a risk. Take extra care to keep your family safe by storing ammunition in a locked location separate from your firearms. And ensure your child can't access either the gun or the ammunition.
2. Keep It Safely Secured
Anyone who has kids knows they are naturally curious and will get into everything. Be on the safe side and store your firearms in a locked cabinet, safe, gun vault or storage case whenever it's not in use. 76 percent of children know where firearms are kept in their house, so even if you've taught them not to touch guns unsupervised, help keep them safe by removing the temptation and locking firearms away. Continually evaluate your safe storage practices and remember that as your family changes, its safe storage needs may change as well.
3. Lock It Up
When it comes to your child's safety, don't cut corners. Exercise even more caution by using a gun locking device that renders the firearm inoperable when not in use. The two main kinds of locks are trigger locks, which are designed to prevent the trigger from being pulled, and cable locks, which prevent the firing of a firearm by blocking the barrel or the use of ammunition.
These locks can be bought wherever firearms are sold, including gun stores, sporting goods stores, firing ranges, and even locksmiths.
4. Reach Out To Others In Your Community
Talk with family, friends, and community members and ask them if they have unlocked guns in their home. It may feel like an awkward question, but it has the potential to save lives. You ask about food allergies and pets, so why not ask about firearms? Once you talk, you’ll be able to use your best judgment as to whether or not you want your kid entering their home.
By creating an open dialogue free of judgment, you'll be able to get the intel you'll need in order to make sure your kid is safe.
5. Have A Family Talk
Knowledge is power in the fight against unnecessary gun-related incidents. Guns are the second leading cause of death among children. With more knowledge on the subject, your family can make better decisions about whether they want to keep firearms and how they should keep them. Keep in mind that these conversations, and the best safe storage options for your family, will also evolve as your family grows and changes. Stay on top of the beat by creating an open channel of communication between you and your loved ones.
This article was sponsored by the Ad Council and Brady.