Every year, children are injured in firearm accidents that happen in the home. These accidents can be deadly and even in cases where everyone survives, they can lead to serious injuries. Loss of limbs, devastating fractures, damages to vital organs, paralysis and disfigurement can all result from a firearm. Centerfire weapons, those that fire a bullet with a center primer, can inflict horrific injuries. Even air rifles can inflict brain injury, blindness and death. A child who gains access to a weapon and inflicts a wound to himself or another, can be further scarred with the emotional consequences.

Preventing Accidents Before They Happen

However, experts do note that the vast majority of these accidents can easily be prevented. Those with firearms in the home are still much more statistically likely to suffer a firearms-related injury or death than those without firearms.  Safe keeping and proper storage are significant steps toward safety. Once a child gains access to the firearm, even if the child has been instructed on proper handling, the risks increase. Some states have laws requiring proper storage, but many people leave firearms loaded with a round “in the chamber” as security from home invasion. No child should be able to access a loaded firearm. Even a child old enough and experienced enough to be familiar with firearms may not know the condition of the firearm accessed. Moreover, the friends of the well-informed child may not be quite so savvy.

Learning About Firearms

Simple rules exist for when someone does handle a firearm. You can access these “Commandments of Firearm Safety” in the literature that accompanies the sale of most modern-day firearms. They are also available through popular websites like that of the National Rifle Association. Hunter safety courses are now mandatory for young people seeking their first hunting license. There can never be enough reminders of basic gun safety rules, because learning the rules in the classroom is frequently much different than implementing them in the field or the real world. Nothing prepares a person for proper handling of a firearm like repetitive use.

Your children can never be too frequently reminded of how to properly handle or treat a firearm. Even if you do not have firearms in your home, and the vast majority of American households do not, your children can still benefit from a discussion of basic firearms’ safety. Every firearm should be treated as if it is loaded, irrespective of what you have been told, or what a casual inspection may suggest.

Secure Storage

Gun safes or lockers can be expensive. In addition to restricting access to the weapons, they are usually fire proof and water proof. The expense of a secure gun storage safe pales in comparison to loss of life. Locked, secure closets or cabinets can be a cheaper alternative. A loaded firearm should never be left unsecured. If someone commits a crime with your firearm, make sure you do not get blamed. Immediately report lost or stolen firearms to law enforcement.

The manufacturer of your particular firearm can answer questions you may have. Never simply assume you know the answer to a question about gun safety. Get the answers. Practice gun safety. Save a life.