Gun owners must protect children

Johnson City Press • Dec 20, 2013 at 9:01 AM

Mother Jones magazine reports this month that 194 children under the age of 12 have died in the past year in the U.S. as a result of a gunshot wound. Of that number, 127 died from incidents that occurred in their own homes.An analysis on gun deaths conducted by the magazine found at least 52 of those deaths involved a child handling a gun left unsecured.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. Parents with guns in the home should talk 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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