- WHEN to start teaching your children about firearms
- HOW to teach your children about firearms
- Firearms Education Options
Firearms and firearm safety are prevalent in a lot of the national agenda these days, and it’s easy to see why. As a parent, even a gun-owning parent, it’s tempting to want to protect your children from these accidents by pretending that guns don’t exist.
Neglecting to teach your children to view guns safely and responsibility is a dangerous thing to do, even if you don’t keep guns in your home. Your children are likely to have friends whose parents are gun owners, which means at some point, your child may encounter a firearm.
One of the most important things you can do as a parent is to make it a priority to teach your children to handle guns properly. When you explain and teach children the appropriate way to handle firearms, their risk of accidental injury plummets.
Teaching children about gun safety can be a bit unsettling as a parent. Knowing the right things to say and do to demonstrate safety doesn’t always come naturally, especially with a topic like firearms and safety.
WHEN TO TEACH YOUR CHILDREN ABOUT FIREARMS
What is the right age to start teaching your child about guns? The earlier, the better, especially if you have one or more guns in your home. Another time to begin the discussion would be when a child begins asking questions and/or shows interest in learning about firearms. It is important to remember that there is a difference between teaching your child ABOUT guns and teaching your children HOW to shoot a gun. Teaching children about guns should begin as soon as your child is old enough to understand what you’re saying. Teaching children how to shoot will come later.
As their parent, you are the best judge of when your child is ready to grasp the concept of guns and learn how to handle them appropriately.
START WITH GUN SAFETY
As mentioned earlier, you should begin teaching children about guns when they first show awareness or interest in them. This might mean your child notices Dad cleaning a hunting rifle or hears someone talking about going to shoot at the range. This will most likely happen between 3 and 7 years of age.
Around this time, you can start teaching children that guns, even toy guns, are not toys. You wouldn’t leave a real gun lying around, so the best way to enforce this rule with your children is to teach them not to leave toy guns lying around either. You can demonstrate safety by purchasing a chest with a lock that your child can use as their own “gun safe” where they store any toy guns, including water guns, when they aren’t in use. While this may seem extreme, it’s actually a great way to demonstrate to your child that guns can be used for sport, but should never be considered a “toy.”
This is also a perfect time to teach your child what to do if they come across a gun. We teach our students, as well as our own children to “stop, don’t touch, leave the area and tell an adult.” There are several different methods out there for the best ways to teach this to your child, including the NRA’s Eddie Eagle Program, which has some helpful guidelines for young children that many call the “Stop, Drop and Roll” of gun safety.
DZT also teaches kids classes
We make it fun for the kids and provide popcorn and drinks!