Far too often, gun related tragedies occur in the United States. Hearing about these stories might make you feel helpless. How can you protect your child from gun violence when they are doing something as simple as going to school or watching a movie? While these are situations that you won’t be able to control, you can help prevent other gun violence issues by educating your child about gun safety. Here are my top tips for preventing gun violence in the home or in other controllable situations.
Practice Gun Safety
If you own a firearm and keep it in your home, always follow best practices. Keep the gun and bullets locked away, separately. It is best if your child does not have access to the gun. You should also explain to your child that your firearm is not a toy, and they should not try to play with it under any circumstances.
Explain Gun Safety
If you don’t own a firearm, or you practice gun safety in your home, you might think that there is nothing to worry about. But this is not the case. Chances are that your child has at least one friend who’s parent keeps a gun in their home. This could lead to dire consequences if your child’s friend has access to this gun.
You should ask your child if any of their friends have access to a gun. If this is the case, you should discuss gun safety with that child’s parents. Preventing unsupervised children from playing with guns is the best way to keep them safe. Explain to your child that they should never play with a gun in your home or at a friend’s house.
Combat the Media
The fear that violent movies and videos games will desensitize children to violence is a valid one. Kids constantly see violent deaths on television and in the movies. Certain video games also allow people to act out this violence, although in a fantasy setting.
It is a good idea to monitor what your children watch and the games that they play. Make sure that the media they consume is age appropriate.
Of course, this can be difficult to do. You are not with your child at all times and can’t prevent them from seeing violence in the media. But, it is important to discuss this violence with your child. Ask them questions about the movies that they’ve seen, and talk to them about alternatives to violence.
Watch Your Teenagers
As your child gets older, you might think that you need to worry less about gun related accidents. But, the opposite is actually true. Teenagers can exhibit reckless and impulsive behavior. This behavior should not be combined with gun use.
Suicide attempts by teenagers can also involve guns. You’re no longer dealing with a 5-year-old who can’t figure out how to open your safe, so take extra precautions to keep your gun away from your teen.
Keep Communication Open
Gun safety should be a consistent topic of conversation in your home, starting when your child is young and continuing until they are adults. You should always make sure that you address gun violence in an age appropriate way, but do not hesitate to discuss it with your child. Make sure that your child knows that they can come to you with any questions or issues related to guns.
These are a few ways that you can reduce the risk of gun related accidents in relation to your child. Of course, even if you do everything right, gun violence can still occur. There is no guarantee that you can prevent gun violence, no matter how hard you try. If this happens, you can contact my office to determine the next steps to take.