Having kids in the house can mean a lot of changes. It will start with smaller things like baby gates at the stairs and outlet covers when your baby starts crawling and walking. Of course, the obvious things like keeping sharp objects and breakable family heirlooms out of reach also happen pretty quickly when your baby starts moving around on their own. And those changes and adjustments keep coming as your kids grow because, as parents, we want to do all we can to protect our kids and help them grow up safely.
If you’re a firearm owner, AR 15 or otherwise, bringing kids into your home can and should raise a lot of questions about safety — and asking those questions means you’re trying to find ways to make your home safe as possible, and that’s a great thing. Before you bring any kids into your home, it’s important for everyone’s safety to figure out how you’ll handle your firearms.
Just because you have kids in your home doesn’t mean you need to get rid of all your firearms. If you choose to get rid of them, be sure to do so safely. Many police departments will take them, unregistered or not. Or, if you want to make a little bit of money back, you can find a licensed reseller who buys firearms. Options will vary, so do a bit of research to find out what options are in your area.
However, having kids doesn’t automatically mean you need to get rid of all of your guns. Plenty of gun owners have continued ownership and raised kids without any problems. The difference between those families and the stories you hear on the news really boils down to preparedness, education, and diligence. To start with, always lock all of your firearms up securely. In addition, it’s important to start having open and clear discussions about guns with your kids, and to continue having those conversations regularly. Check back to part one for the video released by the NRA to help you talk to your kids about guns. The overall gist is to ensure you teach your kids the difference between the toys they may have in their toy box and the damage a real firearm can do.
Have you ever noticed how young children parrot the words and actions of those around them? It’s how kids learn how to navigate the world. Teaching kids to be respectful and cautious about guns from a young age won’t do much to help if your actions teach them something entirely different — not that we think our readers are out there being reckless with their ARs, it’s just important to clarify. Teaching your kids gun safety can be an integral part of protecting them. Around age 11 or 12, kids start to figure out how to fib, a dangerous combination when they get curious about the firearms in the house. To circumvent any potential snooping, this may be a good time to teach them basic gun safety. Of course, it’s entirely up to you whether you choose to teach them to shoot or not, but you can teach them gun safety with or without time spent at the shooting range.
If you do choose to teach your kids to shoot, a trap shooting club, time with you (or a trained instructor) at the shooting range, and hunter safety classes can all be good places to start. Just be sure you remain as honest and straightforward as you can. Kids understand a lot more than we give them credit for, so if you are diligent about your lessons and take the time to explain any underlying reasoning, learning to shoot can help your kids learn better gun safety as well.
All in all, use your best judgment and err on the side of caution. But keep in mind, even with weekly gun safety lessons, ensuring your firearms are all locked up in a sturdy gun safe will help provide better physical protection.
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