Does Teaching Children to use Guns Prevent Accidents?

Apr 21 2014

Hotly contested, pro-gun and anti-gun advocates disagree about how to raise children with guns.

Pro-gun advocates promote training children at a young age, ensuring that children are comfortable handling guns. They believe this leads to safer gun handling practices, helping avoid accidental discharges. Believing that diminished curiosity helps to decrease shooting accidents, as well as teaching children that guns are deadly instruments instead of toys as portrayed on television, advocates believe teaching children about guns removes mystery and intrigue. Anti-gun advocates believe that society would be safer without guns and strongly enforce the belief that hiding guns helps to protect children.

With these two opposing arguments citing different sides – one focusing on education, while the other embraces ignorance – experts believe that it’s important for gun owners to be responsible with their weapons.

ABC News recently aired a special report that highlighted statistics that said that in the U.S. every hour a child is sent to an emergency room, suffering from a gunshot. However, this data has been skewed, as it includes 18- and 19-year-old young adults. These young adults should know the safety protocols involved in handling guns, as their curiosities and mentalities are far different from those surrounding 5- and 10-year-old children.

The special aired, showing children that were unsupervised in rooms that contained guns. Some children picked up the weapons out of curiosity, before fleeing to tell an adult, while other children looked at the weapon to see if it was indeed real or a toy.

Advocates believe that by addressing children’s innate curiosities, they can prevent children from handling firearms when not in the presence of adults. However, parents do need to realize that despite any precautions they may take, they can’t prevent accidents from happening. For example, parents can make children ride in booster seats and wear seatbelts, but they can’t prevent car crashes and accidents from causing harm or injuries. The same is true for parents that may not have guns in their homes, but their children visit friends that do have guns. It’s important to educate children and help them understand that if they see a gun, the first step is to contact an adult who can immediately assess and address the situation.

Generally, parents can start teaching children around the age of five about basic firearm safety, which includes not to touch weapons. Parents should also explain to children that despite what is portrayed in video games and on television, guns are not toys and they can kill. Explaining how a bullet can harm another person is an important part of this process.  Statistics also show that more children die from accidents that relate to bicycles, falls, drowning and even accidental poisonings.

Jumping Targets offers a variety of moving targets, which are ideal for teaching children how to accurately use guns. These steel shooting targets are great for family shooting events.