You’ve probably heard people say that “kids change everything,” and they’re absolutely correct. It’s not so much that having kids will mean you have to change jobs, stop listening to your favorite musicians, or any of those big things that are a part of you. It just means you’ll need to think a bit more about how every aspect of your life will affect your kids. This can include things like who watches your kids on a snow day or if you have some music you don’t want them listening to until they’re older. And, of course you can’t forget to childproof the house when your child starts crawling and walking. Sure, having kids changes your life in a lot of ways, but as parents, we make those changes because we want to protect our kids and give them great lives.
For firearm owners, a big part of the ‘everything’ that changes may be ownership. That’s not to say you should take all of your guns to a local reseller and get rid of them, but it is something many parents consider. Or, if you prefer to keep your firearms, parenthood means being even more cognizant of safety measures. If you’re just tuning in to the Bootleg, Inc. blog, be sure to check back to our previous post for part one of our gun safety with kids series.
Gun Safety At Home: Basics First
Before worrying about how you’ll teach your kids about guns or any other steps, start with the most important step: Have a means of securing all of your firearms. And when we say secure, we really mean secure. Kids are curious and surprisingly clever, so those childproof locks that you have on all the kitchen cabinets aren’t going to cut it. If you have kids in your home, even if it’s just occasionally, you need a way to secure all of your firearms that is close to impossible to pry open with a lock that’s difficult to break. Of course, this means something an adult would have a hard time breaking into, not just something difficult for kids to get into. We recommend a gun safe rather than a gun cabinet or other less-secure methods.
Once you have a way to secure all of your firearms, part two of the primary step is to lock up your guns. Always. Yes, always means always. Unless you are taking a gun out to go shooting or to clean it, all of your firearms should be cleared and locked away. And, if you do have a firearm out, never leave it unattended — not even for something as quick as answering the phone. It might seem innocent enough if the gun is in your sight the whole time, but we say this because leaving a gun unattended for even a minute can eventually lead to lax safety habits. Starting off with heightened awareness about safety will set you up with better security-conscious habits.
Talking & Teaching
The other key component to keeping your kids safe with guns in the house is to raise them with an awareness and respect for firearms. As we mentioned in our last post, this starts with warning your kids about the potential harm is a good place to start. This means cautioning them consistently the same way you would with sharp things in the kitchen or potentially harmful cleaning chemicals. As your kids get older, however, those cautions will stop being as effective. When this starts to happen, it’s important to expand your discussions about firearms before they can try to snoop.
When your kids are old enough to understand, it can be helpful to transition from consistent warnings and shift toward teaching them. This doesn’t necessarily mean you need to teach your seven year old how to shoot, but kids are curious and teaching them about your firearms will help take away some of the mystique. Often, when kids are taught about guns, they learn a healthy level of respect on top of their curiosity being sated. What this means is that, generally, kids who are taught about guns are less likely to try sneaky or underhanded ways of exploring your firearms collection. Of course, it’s not a guaranteed solution, so don’t get lax about locking your firearms up. Start by teaching your kids the same way anyone new to guns is taught: dig into proper gun safety before they ever touch any type of firearm. If you aren’t comfortable teaching those lessons yourself, a gun safety class or a hunter safety course can be educational alternatives. Get in touch with a local instructor to see what they suggest.
There’s nothing that hammers home the power a firearm has quite like taking it to the shooting range and firing several rounds. When you decide your kids are old enough and mature enough to handle the responsibility, consider teaching them to shoot. When things are conscientiously explained, kids are more likely to actually take in those lessons. Of course, you know your kids better than anyone else, so use your best judgment. That being said, learning to shoot can be a good way to underscore all of the gun safety lessons you’ve been imparting to them. This can also be a great time to teach by example, so make sure you focus on demonstrating perfect safety measures.
Be Conscientious About Gun Safety
All in all, keeping your kids safe with guns in the house will come down to how conscientious you are about gun safety and how well you keep it up on an ongoing basis. A good rule of thumb overall is to use your best judgment and err on the side of caution. For further safety tips and suggestions, check with your local instructors or ask the Bootleg, Inc. team. We take our time to stay connected and educated on all things AR 15, so we can provide that knowledge as well as awesome custom AR parts. Shop online for everything from new carrier group options to our specialized rails and more, or contact us for more information!