FIREARM SAFETY FOR CHILDREN Information and Prevention April 2009
Training Objectives • Recognize the importance of firearm safety. • Identify ways parents and adults can keep children safe from firearms. • Identify what a child can do if they see a gun, and be able to teach these steps to a child.
Firearm Use • Mishandling or playing with guns can lead to tragedy. With appropriate care, maintenance and securing of firearms, deaths due to accidental firearm injuries should never occur.
Statistics • In the United States, about 100 children (through 17 years of age) die each year from unintentional shootings. Almost five times as many are wounded. • Boys are far more likely to be victims of unintentional firearm deaths than girls. • In the United States, 70% of the unintentional firearm shootings involved handguns.
Most unintentional childhood shooting deaths involve guns kept in the home that have been left loaded and accessible to children. • Unintentional shootings among children most often occur when children are unsupervised and out of school. • Children as young as 3-years old are strong enough to pull the trigger of many handguns available in the United States.
Nearly two-thirds of parents with school-age children, who have guns in their home, believe that the firearm is safe from their children. One study found that when a gun was in the home, 75-80% of first and second graders knew where the gun was kept.
Missouri Child Firearm Deaths • In 2008, seven Missouri children died as a result of unintentional firearm injuries. • Of the seven unintentional firearm deaths reviewed by Child Fatality Review Program Panels in 2008, four involved a gun that was owned by a family member. • All seven of the Missouri children who died as a result of unintentional firearm injury in 2008, were killed with a gun that was accessible to children or not locked or securely stored.
In 2008, five of the seven child victims of unintentional shootings were male and two were female. • In 2008, six of the seven unintentional firearm deaths among children involved handguns. One involved a shotgun.
Two boys had been shooting at groundhogs. A 12-year old left the loaded gun on his bed, while his friend was jumping on the bed. The gun went off, striking the 12-year old, who suffered massive internal injuries. • While preparing for a hunting trip, a father left a handgun on a kitchen counter where he believed it would not be accessible. A 2-year old climbed on a chair, got the gun and shot himself while playing.
Two boys were pretending to shoot at each other, when one shot the other in the temple with a .38 caliber derringer.
What Can Parents Do To Keep Their Kids Safe? • Parents who own guns should always store firearms unloaded and locked up. Ammunition should be locked in a separate location, out of the children’s reach. Gun locks, load indicators and other safety devices should be used on all firearms.
Keep Children Safe • Parents should teach their children the difference between a toy gun and real gun. • When children see someone on television being killed, they need to be taught the difference between a television death and a “real life” death. (National Rifle Association) • Safety lessons that explain the rules for gun safety should be done openly with time for the child to ask questions.
If your child is 11-years old or older, and expresses an interest in hunting, enroll them in a Hunter Education Safety Course. Missouri mandates Hunter Education Programs for anyone born on or after January 1, 1967. Hunter Education Programs teach participants how to handle firearms safely at home and while hunting. For more information, access the Missouri Department of Conservation’s website at: http://mdc.mo.gov/hunt/heclass-search.html
Ten Commandments of Gun Safety • Always keep the muzzle pointed in a safe direction. • Guns should be unloaded when not actually in use. • Don't rely on the gun's "safety". Treat every gun as if it can fire at any time. • Be sure of the target and what's beyond it. • Use correct ammunition.
If the gun fails to fire when the trigger is pulled, HANDLE WITH CARE. • Always wear eye and ear protection when shooting. • Be sure the barrel is clear of obstructions before shooting. • Don't alter or modify the gun. Do have the gun serviced regularly.
Learn the mechanical and handling characteristics of the firearm used. Do not use any firearm that you have not had adult instruction in handling. (Missouri Department of Conservation)
If Children See A Gun… • Stop! • Don’t touch the gun. • Leave the area where the gun is located. • Go tell an adult about the gun. (National Rifle Association, Eddie Eagle Program)
For More Information • National Rifle Association, Gun Safety Rules: http://www.nrahq.org/education/guide.asp • National Rifle Association, Eddie Eagle Gun Safety Program: http://www.nrahq.org/safety/eddie/index.asp • Kid’s Health, Gun Safety: http://kidshealth.org/kid/watch/house/gun_safety.html • Project Child Safe: http://www.projectchildsafe.org/
Missouri Department of Social Services State Technical Assistance Team Address: PO Box 208Jefferson City, MO 65102-0208 Telephone: (573) 751-5980(800) 487-1626(8 a.m. to 5 p.m. CST, Monday – Friday) Email: firstname.lastname@example.org