Safely store guns out of reach of children

I received a news release from LeBonheur Children’s Hospital the other day concerning children who commit unintentional shootings.

The release that was date lined  Memphis said that in 2020 there were at least 257 unintentional shootings by children, resulting in 106 deaths and 158 injuries.

With Gov. Bill Lee’s legislation allowing permit less handgun carry there is bound to be more guns purchased.

Forty percent of child gun deaths are suicides and over 80 percent of children under the age of 18 who died by gun suicide used a gun belonging to a parent or relative.

The most effective way to keep kids safe from gun injuries is to have no gun in a home where children live or play, the article stressed.

I took a course in suicide prevention a couple of years ago and that’s what the presenter urged over and over. If you do own a firearm, follow these important tips to prevent accidental injuries.

Keep kids from accessing firearms by storing ammunition and firearms separately, keeping guns unloaded and locked away, and ensuring that both are safely out of reach.

Talking to your kids and their caregivers are a good idea when it comes to guns and ammunition.

• You can explain how a gun your kids might see on television or a video game is different form a gun in real life like “A gun, in real life, can really hurt people.”

• Teach kids never to touch a gun and to immediately tell an adult if they see one. Role play these steps with them to ensure they knew what to do if they see one and get curious.

• Talk to grandparents and the parents of friends your children visit about safe gun storage practices.

• Dispose of guns you don’t need. If you decide that you no longer need to have a gun in your home, dispose of it in a  safe way. You can consult with law enforcement on how to do so.

You read heartbreaking stories from time to time about children that find a gun near a bed or in a closet and accidentally discharge it, hurting or killing someone.

Guns are to be respected and are only to be used when necessary. They are not toys.

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