Are you about to become a parent for the first time? Or maybe you and your significant other are taking that next big step and moving in together, which means his/her kids are coming too. No matter what age, having kids around can change just about everything — including how we think. A pretty common refrain among parents is that we want to give our kids the world, and part of that means protecting them when we can. Taking some steps around the house to make things safer is a big part of that.
Have you noticed that child safety is one of the more frequent arguments made in regard to gun control laws? Don’t worry, this isn’t going to turn into one long rant. It’s just important to recognize that it is a valid argument. Any gun owner recognizes that firearms have the potential to cause harm. And, because kids are naturally curious, the potential for harm is increased. Of course, that doesn’t mean you need to get rid of your guns as soon as you have kids around. Getting rid of your firearms is one option to protect them, but many AR 15 owners keep their guns primarily for home defense, which is a whole different way of protecting your family. Ultimately, it’s up to you and your significant other to decide what to do. If you do decide to keep firearms in your home (whether you have kids or not), it’s important to take as many measures as possible to keep your family safe. Start with these safety basics to help you make your decision and to protect your kids as well as possible.
Basic Gun Safety
Above all else, gun safety with kids in the house starts with proper gun safety. Step one to gun safety should always be to make sure all of your firearms are securely locked up. That means that, unless you are actively packing up your kit to go to the shooting range or you are actively cleaning your firearm, your guns should be safely locked away. No, don’t even leave your half-assembled AR on the kitchen table to answer a knock on the door. It may seem like a harmless enough action, and if you’re cleaning your firearm, we assume you took the time to clear it first, but leaving a firearm unattended can be the start of bad habits. Yes, even a half-assembled firearm lying in pieces on the table while you answer the door. Being almost obsessively diligent about locking all of your firearms away is the best way to improve safety.
Get a Gun Safe
Of course, when we say securely locked away, we mean secure. Not just child-safety locks installed on your gun cabinet. If you’re going to keep guns in the same house with kids, they need to be locked away somewhere that can’t be easily forced open. Generally, that means a gun safe rather than a gun cabinet. If you keep one (or more) of your firearms for home defense, they aren’t exempt from the “lock it up” rule. Practice opening your safe until it’s muscle memory ingrained so deeply you could do it in your sleep, but make sure every firearm is locked up.
The reason we sound pretty intent about this is because there can be some serious repercussions. If you own a gun, you are responsible for it. That’s it, end of story. If a minor happens to get a hold of your gun and gets hurt or hurts someone, you are ultimately responsible and you will face the legal repercussions. Yes, even if you weren’t home, even if it was an accident, it’s still your firearm. This means the care and safety are your responsibility, so plan accordingly and keep your guns safely secured to minimize risk.
Warn Your Kids
Kids are smarter and more aware than we often give them credit for. If you do plan to keep guns in your home alongside kids, don’t just tell them the guns are forbidden and leave it at that. Obviously, if you have an infant, they aren’t going to be cognizant enough to understand, but as soon as kids get old enough to understand even the basic concepts, it’s important to start having that discussion about gun safety. And, even more important, don’t just bring it up once and never touch it again. It’s important to keep discussing gun safety on a consistent basis so the lessons are really hammered home. Think of it in similar terms to teaching your child kitchen safety. Even when they’re very young, time in the kitchen is usually focused on warnings that the stove is hot and knives are sharp. If you have a curious four year old, you probably aren’t going to issue a single warning about staying away from the stove; you’re going to need to warn them over and over to prevent an accident. Then, as they get older, you can start explaining more about why the stove is dangerous to help solidify those lessons. If you need help, the NRA has actually made a video to help parents talk to their kids about gun safety. Local gun safety/shooting instructors can also be a good resource for figuring out how to talk to your kids about gun safety.
That’s just the tip of the iceberg, as far as gun safety is concerned, so stay tuned to the Bootleg, Inc. blog for more tips and suggestions to come! For us, a big part of producing the best custom AR parts is helping educate AR 15 owners and enthusiasts. Whether it’s how to install a custom carrier group or ways to help improve your accuracy, the Bootleg team is here to help. Learn more about every aspect of AR 15s with our blog and check out our specially designed custom AR parts online. Explore things like our carrier group, gas block, and charging handle to see what makes Bootleg components stand out and order yours today!