I feel all families should teach their children about firearms. Whether you intend to own one or not! What if your child comes across a firearm or visits another friend’s home where there are firearms? Will your child know what to do?
Firearm safety is a very important thing in our lives. It has weighed on my mind lately that some people think firearms are bad. I feel they are mistaken in that opinion. It is an opinion of fear which comes from a lack of education. I don’t mean that some of these folks don’t have college degrees because some do. The thing is, they have never been educated in firearms and firearm safety.
I grew up in a household where my father hunted. He hunted for food. That is partially how he fed the family. Having pistols and rifles in the house seemed common to me. I later learned that not everyone was so fortunate.
Part of having firearms involves safety. At about five years old, I still remember when my father took my brother and me outside and taught us about firearms. He showed us how they operate. He showed us how to load them. Then he showed us what they did. He shot them and exploded glass bottles and other items, explaining and demonstrating that they can be harmful if not used properly. He told us not never to point them at anything or anyone. He followed up the demonstration by telling us if anyone ever broke into the house and tried to take our lives, then and only then were we to use it.
A few years later, he taught my brother how to use the rifle for hunting. My brother was brought into the provider portion of the family.
I remember all of this because of the way my Dad taught us. He was not a certified instructor. He never took classes. He just knew that he wanted us to be safe. He wanted us to know that the firearms were not toys. He did put a little fear in us, but he also explained that the person holding the handgun or rifle was responsible for what it shot at.
My parents divorced when I was 13 years old, and my mother and I moved to the city. That is where I learned that not everyone was as privileged as I was to learn about firearms. Walking home from school one afternoon, we passed another kid’s house. There were police cars with their lights flashing and yellow tape all around the home. We later learned that the family had a firearm in the home. Their son and his friend were home alone after school. They found the firearm, and you can guess what happened next.
A life was lost that day. Not because of a “bad” firearm, but because the family hadn’t been safe in locking it up, in keeping it unloaded, and also because they had not taught the children safety and respect of firearms. The visiting child, whose family did not own any firearms, also hadn’t been taught firearm safety. A tragedy might not have occurred if either of these children had been educated.
As this quote says, “One of the unwritten rules of becoming a gun owner is that you have also to become an ambassador for the cause.” Rev. Kenn Blanchard, I will continue to educate and be an ambassador. Maybe you should too. Don’t be afraid. Be educated. If you don’t know where to go to learn, don’t be afraid to ask.
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Mia Anstine is an outdoor writer, licensed outfitter, hunting guide, life coach, keynote speaker, and range safety officer, firearms instructor, and archery instructor. She is the founder of MAC Outdoors and Host of the MAC Outdoors Podcast.
Mia Anstine strives to encourage others to get outside, hunt, fish, shoot, and survive life with others in a positive way.
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3 Replies to “Don’t be afraid – Be educated (Children and Firearm Safety)”
Great article Mia. Safety and confidence are two very important lessons for kids to develop with firearms. Unfortunately, I have seen too many kids injured or killed because they lacked a basic respect and familiarity of firearms. Those lessons can only be taught in life and every gun owning parent should ensure that their children are well taught and that they never handle them without adult supervision. Thanks for sharing the article.
Oh Tom. I am sure you have seen some horrible things. I feel so fortunate to have been taught. It may not have been an organized class, but my Dad did a good job regardless. What a blessing. I have enjoyed passing the knowledge on to parents and to children. I hope I can save at least one through education.
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