Did you know that every 2 hours a child is killed with a loaded gun? Did you know that every year Arizona has a higher rate of death from firearm injuries than the US average? A gun kept in the home is 43 times more likely to kill someone known to your family than to kill someone in self-defense.
Guns are in more than one third of all U.S. households, so they're a very real danger to children, whether you own one or not. That's why it's important to talk to kids about the potential dangers of guns, and what to do if they find one.
Talk to Your Child
Even though guns are featured in many television shows, video games, computer games and movies, it's important for your child to know that real guns are dangerous and can hurt or even kill someone.
If you allow your child to play with toy guns, you may want to use that to show teach then about safe gun handling. The color of the toy gun should not be modified as they can easily be confused with real guns and have tragic results.
You may also want to talk to your children about guns and violence teaching them that anger and fear can be expressed without striking out at other or using weapons. The most positive way to resolve conflict is to talk it out.
Tips on what you tell your child to do if they ever see or find a gun:
- Don’t touch the gun. You might get hurt or hurt someone else.
- Get as far away as possible. Don’t stay and try to talk to anyone. Just say, “I need to leave now” and go.
- Find a grownup. Tell them you just saw a gun, where it was and who had it. You might help save someone’s life.
Gun Safety Tips
If you choose to keep a gun in your home, it’s important to always be a positive gun safety role model for your children by storing and using guns safely and responsibly:
- Store the gun unloaded until ready to use. If you don’t know how to tell if a gun is unloaded, leave it alone and get help from someone who knows.
- Use a trigger lock or gun lock, and store the gun in a locked container. Store the ammunition in a separate, locked container. Make sure to hide all the keys.
- Be sure the places you store guns and ammunition are out of reach of children. Don’t store a gun where it is visible, in a nightstand or under a mattress or pillow.
- Always point a gun in a safe direction. Never point the muzzle at anyone.
- Ask if the homes where your child visits or is cared for have guns. Ask how the guns are stored and be sure your child will be safe there.