Teaching Gun Safety to the Next Generation
Opening the Door to Important Conversations
This is a conversation that we at American Trailhead do not take lightly. We extend our sincerest condolences to those affected by the Oxford High School tragedy in Michigan. This is the most recent example of a reality our children unfortunately have to face in this day and age. As parents and leaders of the next generation, how do you start the conversation about gun safety? Below is our brief guide on how to responsibly bring attention to gun safety with the young ones in your life.
Introducing Gun Safety to Children
Safely Secure Your Firearms
If you have firearms in your home, please consider keeping them properly secured. Experts recommend locking your guns and your ammo in separate storage spaces to minimize the risk of an accident. This is sound advice, but as many responsible gun owners will point out is that they do have guns for home defense, and it is hard to load and use when separated. This is ok, but it means you need to evaluate the gun safety measures and types of safes you choose to secure your firearm for quick access. This is especially important if your children are not yet old enough to understand the responsibility of handling a firearm and might mistake it for a toy.
If your children are spending time at a friend’s house, you may want to have a private conversation with your child about safety, and based on their age, you may choose to have that conversation with the parents of the other children as applicable and evaluate safety as you would with anything else. There is never too young of an age to start the awareness and safety training with your children. The next few steps will go deeper into the importance of knowledge and building the right base for your children.
As a parent or legal guardian, use discernment as to when your child is mature enough to learn about gun safety. This is an important topic that should be introduced in phases. For example, young children could be taught when to get an adult and that guns are not toys to never be touched. As kids become more mature and closer to adulthood, this may be an appropriate time to introduce them to the responsibility of handling a gun. Important rules include never handling a gun without permission or supervision as well as never pointing a gun at someone else. To reiterate the previous point, as your kids learn about gun safety, please remember to secure your firearms.
Gun safety comes with responsibility. Being an alert parent can make a tremendous difference. Imagine all the undocumented situations when a parent stepped in to prevent a gun-related accident. Pay attention to your children’s behavior and notice variables such as potential depression, mood swings, or family tension. As it pertains to gun safety, these mindsets should not be taken lightly. Seek guidance and assistance as needed for the situation.
An in-depth study of past school shootings has shown that the shooter in each case has shown or expressed early warning signs of a brewing problem. None of them woke up the day off and planned to harm their fellow students.
It cannot be stressed enough: Have a conversation with your kids and ask about their day, even if the answer is brief.
Pay attention to behavior reports from school or others. DO NOT be afraid to have an uncomfortable conversation. Encourage your kids to be aware and express kindness; many times, they know more about their classmates than anyone else. Conversations and education can change the world before the bad ever happens.
To keep you better informed on the topic of youth and mental health, refer to the NSSF article on “A GUIDE FOR PARENTS: UNDERSTANDING YOUTH MENTAL HEALTH AND PREVENTING UNAUTHORIZED ACCESS TO FIREARMS” and the ATF Youth Hand Gun Safety Act Notice.
In the future, American Trailhead will have a deeper discussion and insight into how to respond to an active shooter for all ages. Keep a watch on our Fireside page for updates. In the meantime, for information about preparing for and responding during an active shooter situation, please reference this guide from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
American Trailhead is Here for You
American Trailhead is run by an educated and experienced small team that wants to be a resource to inform our customers. Many of our team members, including one of the founders, have spent many years working on the street and responding to crises in Law Enforcement. We advocate for gun safety by having conversations and education about being responsible. Safety DOES NOT mean you are giving up personal security and by reaching out to our team we can help you understand the many great options for security and defensive response.
From enthusiasts to newcomers, we’re meeting you here at the trailhead to be a part of your journey. To learn more about our products, visit our online shop. Reach out to us to get connected, we are here for you.