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All gun owners must protect curious children

Staff Report • Oct 24, 2013 at 9:22 AM

Law enforcement officials in Nevada say the 12-year-old student who opened fire on a middle school campus, wounding two classmates and killing a teacher before taking his own life, got the weapon from his home. The Associated Press reported Wednesday that police in the Washoe County School District police are trying to determine how the boy obtained the 9mm semi-automatic Ruger handgun used in the Monday shooting at Sparks Middle School. Authorities say the boy’s parents are cooperating with authorities and could face charges in the case.Nearly 40 percent of households in the United States with children under 18 have at least one firearm in the house. Statistics also show 25 percent of those guns being stored either loaded or unlocked. We all know children are naturally curious, and a loaded gun can present a dangerous temptation. There are, however, a number of things adults can do to keep guns out of the hands of children. Parents should start by talking to their children about not touching or playing with guns. It’s important for children to know they should never handle a gun without proper adult supervision.Gun owners always should keep their weapons locked in cabinets and/or use trigger locks. Many local law enforcement agencies have these trigger locks on hand, often free for the asking.Parents should encourage their children to immediately inform adults if they see or hear of a gun, emphasizing the point that they would not be tattling, but preserving safety. Parents also should make sure adults in the homes their children visit are responsible with any guns they own.As we’ve said in this space many times before, responsible gun ownership begins in the home with parents who teach their children that guns are not toys.

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