Protecting Your Children From Guns In A Pro-Gun State

By Jeffrey Nelson, Parent Herald December 27, 05:11 am

(Photo : Jeffrey Nelson)

Keeping children safe from accidental gun incidents should be a high priority for everyone. Being a parent that has lived in several states, I understand that guns are viewed differently in different areas of the country.

Guns are not very common in some parts of the U.S., but they are widespread in other places. My wife, our three little boys and I live in Texas where guns are literally everywhere. While the availability of guns could be seen as a threat, we use it as a means to spark up conversation with our little guys and explain to them the dangers of firearms.

The Conversation that Got Me Interested in Gun Safety for Kids

I recently had a conversation with a coworker that got me thinking a lot more about gun safety. We were chatting about life in general and she happened to make a reference about having a loaded pistol on her nightstand. Normally, this wouldn't be all that interesting, however, I happen to know she has a 3-year-old daughter.

Curious as to her logic in this situation, I asked her if she is ever concerned her daughter will find the gun and something will happen. She confidently proclaimed that she wasn't because her daughter "knows better than to touch the gun."

Honestly, I was surprised. I assumed that this can't be mainstream thinking and it peaked my interest a bit further.

A Few Facts to Help Us Educate Ourselves

First, let's start off with a few important facts to keep in mind. According to a study done in the journal of Pediatrics by Frances Baxley and Mathew Miller, about one in three US households has a gun in or around it. Among those, 1.7 million children live in homes with guns that are both unsecured and loaded.

Considering these surprising numbers, the number of gun-related accidental deaths is relatively low compared to other things. The reason it's disturbing is because there are many effective ways to reduce these incidences that aren't always being utilized.

Gun Safety Is NOT Gun Prohibition

I grew up in North Dakota where hunting is very common. In fact, I happened to be one of the few kids I knew who didn't hunt on a regular basis. All of my friends were avid hunters. They would go out with their parents from the time they were young and hunt for pheasant, deer, turkeys and anything else that was legal and available.

There is nothing wrong with that. I do firmly believe, on the other hand, that if a child (anyone under 18) is around a gun, they should have some form of supervision. This supervision can vary depending on their age, level of maturity, experience and many other factors. Nonetheless, the parent is ultimately responsible for their child's safety and well-being. This is the same for guns.

Responsible Gun Ownership Helps Strengthen Everyone's Position

As a parent, shooting activities don't necessarily worry me. What worries me are what happens to those firearms when they are not in use. Where are they stored? Are they loaded? In any home where children are present, these questions require serious and honest answers.

Any gun I have in my home is always completely secured, locked in an appropriate safe and stored in a place where the children don't have access to it. Additionally, the ammunition for that weapon is secured, locked and stored separately from the weapon.

While I'm not naive enough to think that this will eliminate 100% of the risk, it greatly decreases the likelihood of one of my children finding the weapon and letting curiosity drive them into a bad decision. This is easy enough to control at my home but I still wonder: How do I protect my kids when they are not in my home?

Ask Questions to Keep your Children Safe

As soon as your child leaves your immediate area, you lose a little bit of control. This is a very healthy thing for children, but it can be unnerving for parents if there is any concern about firearms. This is where it's very important to ask the question: Do you have firearms in the house? If so, are they locked and stored properly?

These two simple questions could greatly reduce the odds that your child is injured or worse in an incident. To learn more and see the infographic I created on this topic, please visit my page on how we can keep kids safe from guns.

Jeffrey Nelson lives with his wife and three sons in The Dallas/Fort Worth Metro area in Texas. He currently works for a Fortune 100 company, is studying for his MBA and writes about various topics online in his spare time. Check out more from him at

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