Youth Gun Safety
Every year in the United States,
35,000 people are killed and 90,000 people
Every day, 8 children and teens
are unintentionally injured or killed due to family
Gun Safety - TeensHealth
It is safest to stay away from guns. That means no guns at home and avoiding guns outside the home.
If You Have Guns in Your Home
If your parents keep guns in the home, you can talk to them about the risks. Having a gun increases the risk of murder and suicide in that home.
If your family decides to keep a gun in the home:
The gun needs to be stored unloaded and locked up with the bullets locked up away from the gun. Only parents or responsible adults should know how to unlock the storage boxes.
Never get the gun out unless a parent or another responsible adult is with you.
If You Come Across a Gun Somewhere
If you see a gun at your home or a friend's home:
If Someone Is Carrying a Gun
Some teens carry a gun for protection. But this actually makes it more likely that they will get hurt. Other teens carry a gun for attention or because they are thinking of hurting others or themselves.
If someone tells you they have a gun or shows you a gun:
Will Someone Know if I Tell That They Have a Gun?
Your school counselor, principal, teacher, or coach should know how to handle the situation without using your name. If you are still worried that someone will find out, call 911 and ask them to keep your identity confidential.
Remember, you may save a life by reporting that someone is carrying a gun.
Staying Safe When Using a Gun for Recreation
If you are allowed to use a gun for recreation such as hunting, follow these rules:
Gun Safety and Depression
Gun safety is especially important for people who have gone through (or are going through) depression. Depression can make someone more likely to think about or commit suicide.
All guns should be removed from the home if you or someone in the family:
If the guns aren't removed, it's even more important to keep them unloaded and locked up with the bullets stored separately and keys hidden.
If you feel depressed, treatment can help things get better. To find help for depression, talk to a parent, coach, relative, school counselor, religious leader, or teacher about where to start.
If you have been thinking about suicide, get help right away. These are strong feelings that make it hard to see that there are other choices. To get help now:
Go to the emergency room.
Top Things to Know
Guns are dangerous. Having a gun at home or being around guns can put you at risk for being hurt or killed by a gun.
To keep yourself safe:
Remember: The best way to
prevent gun injuries is to never keep guns at home and avoid
homes that do keep guns. If you do keep a gun at home, keep
the gun unloaded and locked up with the bullets locked up
and stored separately. Visit ProjectChildSafe.org
for more information on gun safety.
These toll-free lines are staffed by people who are trained to help you without ever knowing your name or seeing your face. The calls are confidential.
Note: In 2020, the FCC established 988 as the new, nationwide, 3-digit phone number for Americans in crisis to connect with suicide prevention and mental health crisis counselors. All phone service providers must direct 988 calls to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline by July 16, 2022.
Why Do Teens Try to Kill Themselves?
Most teens interviewed after making a suicide attempt say that they did it because they were trying to escape from a situation that seemed impossible to deal with or to get relief from really bad thoughts or feelings. They didn't want to die as much as they wanted to escape from what was going on. And at that particular moment dying seemed like the only way out.
Some people who end their lives or attempt suicide might be trying to escape feelings of rejection, hurt, or loss. Others might feel angry, ashamed, or guilty about something. Some people may be worried about disappointing friends or family members. And some may feel unwanted, unloved, victimized, or like they're a burden to others.
We all feel overwhelmed by difficult emotions or situations sometimes. But most people get through it or can put their problems in perspective and find a way to carry on with determination and hope. So why does one person try suicide when another person in the same tough situation does not? What makes some people more resilient (better able to deal with life's setbacks and difficulties) than others? What makes a person unable to see another way out of a bad situation besides ending his or her life?
The answer to those questions lies in the fact that most people who commit suicide have depression.
Regular Sadness vs Depression
Depression leads people to focus mostly on failures and disappointments, to emphasize the negative side of their situations, and to downplay their own capabilities or worth. Someone with severe depression can't see the possibility of a good outcome and may believe they will never be happy or things will never go right for them again.
Depression affects a person's thoughts in such a way that the person doesn't see when a problem can be overcome. It's as if the depression puts a filter on the person's thinking that distorts things. That's why depressed people don't realize that suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem in the same way that other people do. A teen with depression may feel like there's no other way out of problems, no other escape from emotional pain, or no other way to communicate a desperate unhappiness.
Sometimes people who feel suicidal may not even realize they are depressed. They're unaware that it is the depression not the situation that's influencing them to see things in a "there's no way out," "it will never get better," "there's nothing I can do" kind of way.
When depression lifts because someone gets the proper therapy or treatment, the distorted thinking is cleared. The person can find pleasure, energy, and hope again. But while someone is seriously depressed, suicidal thinking is a real concern.
People with a condition called bipolar disorder are also more at risk for suicide because their condition can cause them to go through times when they are extremely depressed as well as times when they have abnormally high or frantic energy (called mania or manic). Both of these extreme phases of bipolar disorder affect and distort a person's mood, outlook, and judgment. For people with this condition, it can be a challenge to keep problems in perspective and act with good judgment.
Teens with alcohol and drug problems are also more at risk for suicidal thinking and behavior. Alcohol and some drugs have depressive effects on the brain. Misuse of these substances can bring on serious depression. That's especially true for some teens who already have a tendency to depression because of their biology, family history, or other life stressors.
The problem can be made worse because many people who are depressed turn to alcohol or drugs as an escape. But they may not realize that the depressive effects alcohol and drugs have on the brain can actually intensify depression in the long run.
Besides their depressive effects, alcohol and drugs affect a person's judgment. They interfere with the ability to assess risk, make good choices, and think of solutions to problems. Many suicide attempts occur when someone is under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
This doesn't mean that everyone who is depressed or who has an alcohol or drug problem will try to kill themselves, of course. But these conditions especially both together increase a person's risk for suicide.
Suicide Is Not Always Planned
Sometimes a depressed person plans a suicide in advance. Many times, though, suicide attempts happen impulsively, in a moment of feeling desperately upset. A situation like a breakup, a big fight with a parent, an unintended pregnancy, being outed by someone else, or being victimized in any way can cause someone to feel desperately upset. Often, a situation like this, on top of an existing depression, acts like the final straw.
Some people who attempt suicide mean to die and some aren't completely sure they want to die. For some, a suicide attempt is a way to express deep emotional pain. They can't say how they feel, so, for them, attempting suicide feels like the only way to get their message across. Sadly, many people who really didn't mean to kill themselves end up dead or critically ill.
What Are the Warning Signs of Suicide?
Often, there are signs that someone may be thinking about or planning a suicide attempt. Here are some of them:
How Can I Cope With Problems?
Being a teen is not easy. There are many new social, academic, and personal pressures. And for teens who have other problems to deal with, such as living in violent or abusive environments, life can feel even harder.
Some teens worry about sexuality and relationships, wondering if their feelings and attractions are normal, or if they will be loved and accepted. Others struggle with body image and eating problems trying to reach an impossible ideal leaves them feeling bad about themselves.
Some teens have learning problems or attention problems that make it hard for them to succeed in school. They may feel disappointed in themselves or feel they are a disappointment to others.
These problems can be difficult and draining and can lead to depression if they go on too long without relief or support. We all struggle with painful problems and events at times. How do people get through it without becoming depressed? Part of it is staying connected to family, friends, school, faith, and other support networks.
People are better able to cope when they have at least one person who believes in them, wants the best for them, and in whom they can confide. It also helps to keep in mind that most problems are temporary and can be overcome.
When struggling with problems, try to:
Counselors and therapists can provide emotional support and can help teens build their own coping skills for dealing with problems. It can also help to join a support network for people who are going through the same problems for example, anorexia and body image issues, living with an alcoholic family member, or sexuality and sexual health concerns. These groups can help provide a caring environment where you can talk through problems with people who share your concerns.
How Can I Help a Friend?
It is always a good thing to start a conversation with someone you think may be considering suicide. It allows you to get help for the person, and just talking about it may help the person feel less alone and more cared about and understood.
Talking things through also may give the person a chance to consider other solutions to problems. Most of the time, people who are considering suicide are willing to talk if someone asks them out of concern and care. Because people who are depressed are not as able to see answers as well as others, it can help to have someone work with them in coming up with at least one other way out of a bad situation.
Even if a friend or classmate swears you to secrecy, you must get help as soon as possible your friend's life could depend on it. Someone who is seriously thinking about suicide may have sunk so deeply into an emotional hole that they can't see that they need help. Tell an adult you trust as soon as possible.
If necessary, you can call a suicide crisis line (such as 1-800-273-8255 or 1-866-488-7386). These calls are confidential and run by people who are happy to talk to you to help you figure out what to do.
Sometimes, teens who make a suicide attempt or who die from suicide seem to give no clue beforehand. This can leave loved ones feeling not only grief stricken but guilty and wondering if they missed something. It is important for their family members and friends to know that sometimes there is no warning and they should not blame themselves.
When someone dies by suicide, the people left behind can wrestle with a terrible emotional pain. Teens who have had a recent loss or crisis or who had a family member or classmate who died by suicide may be at risk for suicidal thinking and behavior themselves.
If you've been close to someone who
has attempted or committed suicide, it can help to talk with
a therapist or counselor someone who is trained in
dealing with this complex issue. Or, you could join a group
for survivors where you can share your feelings and get the
support of people who have been in the same situation as
you. Christina M. Cammarata, PhD
Safety: A Smart Parent's Guide to Keeping Kids
Safe - 5/29/20
Being a responsible gun owner goes beyond the individual as well. Children are naturally curious, and if left alone in the home, they may want to learn more about the pistol or rifle on their own. As a parent and a gun owner, its up to you to make sure your children understand the importance of treating a gun with respect.
Open Lines of Communication
With a little online research, there are plenty of firearm safety programs and other resources to be found. Although these tutorials are designed to help teach your child about gun safety, there is one aspect you need to find out on your own.
When your child goes to another house or their friends come to your house do parents or guardians know there is a gun in a home? Even if your gun is unloaded and locked away safely, its still advisable to let visiting families know there is a gun on the premises.
After all, wouldnt you want to know if any firearms were accessible when you send your child somewhere for a party or sleepover? Youll want to know how the firearm is secured, if their child knows where the gun is, and is the gun unloaded when not in use.
Dont ask where the gun is stored, just that it is stored responsibly. Children (and some adults) are masters at convincing themselves and each other something is a good idea. However, if you feel confident the firearm is safe and secure, its one less thing you have to worry about during a sleepover.
Communication also extends to your child. Talking about what to do when they see an unattended gun is the first priority. Discuss uses, why owning a gun is important, but also the dangers of mishandling a gun. Keep the conversation age-appropriate of course.
Gun Safety Basics
Depending on what kind of video games they play or what they watch on television, your kid may be very interested in learning more about guns. Explain what they see in the movies is fantasy that using a gun in real life is quite different.
At an appropriate age, discuss how to handle a gun, how theyre used by police officers, and how theyre needed for family protection. Its also important to talk about gun violence, how its reported in the media, and common myths about guns.
These conversations may have to be repeated through the years, adding new information as the child gets older. When you feel theyre old enough, invite them to go hunting with you or bring them to a firing range. Show them all of the safety protocols you use when handling a gun, including:
Its important that children understand everything that goes into being a responsible gun owner. While firing guns can be a great sport, hobby, or provide food for the family, they can also be dangerous when handled improperly.
Practice What You Preach
Theres an old saying that goes Do as I say, not as I do. That wont work when teaching your children about guns and gun safety. When it comes to gun handling, sending mixed messages will only confuse the child. If you tell them one thing, then do exactly the opposite, thats which example do you think theyll follow?
As a responsible gun owner, you should be following all of these precautions anyway. When going to the range, make sure the gun is safely stored in the car. At home, dont leave the gun on a table while you unload other gear. Unload the gun before putting it away and always treat the gun as if its loaded.
While its important to be honest about guns, transparency should only go so far. Your child doesnt need to know where the ammunition is or where you store your gun. If you have a safe, wait until you feel confident with your child having access to the gun before letting them have the combination.
While it is your right as an American to own a gun, its just as important you do so responsibly. That includes raising children that have a healthy respect for guns and understand what to do in certain situations. This may be when they see a pistol or rifle unattended at a friends house or if they see someone with a gun drawn. Eddie Eagle and the NRA are great resources for parents and children and offer some great advice as part of their accident prevention program.
When its time to get your child a gun of their own, Sporting Systems offers a wide variety of pistols, rifles, and accessories to make sure they have what they need to exercise their second amendment rights. We also offer courses, a place for enthusiasts to discuss issues of the day, and talks throughout the year.
Keeping your children safe is the
biggest responsibility a parent has that includes
when theyre at home. By following the steps above,
youll give your children a strong foundation for
feeling comfortable around a gun while treating it with the
respect it deserves.
Youth Gun Safety:
A Smart Parent's Guide to Keeping Kids Safe
Children are naturally curious. To learn about the world, they gravitate toward the new and interesting, especially things that often get portrayed as "taboo" like drugs, alcohol and guns. Though it can be a nerve-racking discussion, an important part of preparing your child to be an adult is teaching them how to think about guns when they do encounter one, whether its in your home or someone elses. The ASK campaign promotes one simple idea to help with this conversation, which is to ask one very critical question: "Is there an unlocked gun in your house?
Parents and caregivers need to ask this important question before deciding whether to send a child to someones house to play. Conversely, if children are coming over to your house, its also important to tell the childs parents that you keep a gun in the home. Keeping kids safe takes communication by everyone involved.
But what if you want a gun-free household? Your child will see guns in the movies and on TV, and they'll likely come into contact with one at a friend or relatives house, given the statistics. Thats why properly educating your child on gun safety is a lifesaving skill for all children. This guide shares the best ways to ensure your family knows how to properly handle guns, whether you keep them in your house or not.
Safety Starts at Home
If you choose to keep a firearm in your home, you need to keep it in a securely locked location only you can access. Here are three tips on how to do this:
If you choose not to have firearms in the house, your child will likely come into contact with a gun at someone elses house which is why you still need to educate them on proper gun safety. Guns are like alcohol or drugs. As a responsible parent, you need to educate your child before they come into contact with a firearm when youre not around. If they know exactly what to do, their chances of acting safe and responsible go up considerably.
Thanks to modern innovation, there are many safe and secure ways to store your firearms and ammunition.
Biometric gun safes utilize fingerprints, a uniquely identifying feature of an individual, to lock and protect firearms and ammunition. They provide the highest level of protection, prevent unauthorized entry, and are designed to enable only those with stored fingerprints in its database to gain access. Because all you need are your fingerprints, you dont have to carry a key, recall a code or try to nervously key a combination in an emergency making them quick, reliable, accurate and easy to use.
You can find a variety of multi-gun safes on the market. However, Stack-On gun safes are considered the best out there. They are affordable, well built and meet all the government regulations and certifications you need to securely store all of your guns. All Stack-On multi-gun safes are tested to withstand fires up to 1,400 degrees (Farenheit) and they are sturdy enough to handle falls and bumps.
The Paragon 7550 8 Safe for Gun Rifles is the top gun cabinet under $500, because it comes with an ample amount of security and space for storing up to eight guns. It can also anchor to the wall or floor. Two other affordable models that are high-quality include the Stack-On GCDB-924 10-Gun Double-Door Steel Security Cabinet and the Homak HS30003630 12-Gun Security Cabinet, Silver Vein.
Most gun cabinets of yesteryear dont come with locks and other security features, but the new, modern ones do. Opt to buy a recent model for better security and safety. If you must go for an antique model, be sure to equip it with the best locking mechanism you can find.
If you want to keep your gun loaded and in an easily-accessible place, yet you also want to keep it secure, the Safety Bullet is a great tool. It allows you to keep a custom-made "dummy bullet" chambered first that makes your gun unusable if accidentally fired. All you have to do is cycle your gun to remove the Safety Bullet, and then it's ready for live action. Watch this short educational video from Safety Bullet's creator to learn more.
No matter what type of gun safe you opt for, consider anchoring. Every safe comes with a hole on the bottom to easily anchor into concrete or wooden floors. This safety step keeps your safe secured in place, preventing theft or relocation for easier access. It's important to also ensure that your safe is well hidden and not easy to find.
Have the "Gun Talk" Often
Smart Parent's Guide to Youth Gun SafetySit down with your children and have multiple conversations on guns and gun safety. Establish family rules for how to handle the presence of guns in any situation. How soon should you start? The answer depends on the comprehension and maturity level of your child.
Here are some guidelines for discussing firearms:
There are a number of youth firearm safety programs available that take a bipartisan approach to guns and the related laws. Rather than get political, these programs focus on safety. For example, the Eddie Eagle GunSafe Program teaches children that if they see a gun, they need to do these four things:
Ensuring your child remembers these four things can help protect them if there is a gun present without proper adult supervision.
Learn About Gun Safety Together
Take time as a family to learn gun safety together whether or not you choose to keep guns in your home. There are a number of programs designed for families and children, so take advantage of what they have to offer. Here are some of the top programs out there today:
Field & Stream provides practical insight, suggesting a bucket list of ideas such as training at the range and shadowing seasoned gunmen first before children use guns on their own.
For a woman's point of view on gun instruction, read what The Well-Armed Woman has to say about introducing children to guns.
The NRA, along with "Eddie the Eagle," give parents advice on discussing firearms and the need for respect and safety when around and using guns.
The Kids Health site gives insight on diet, exercise, and domestic security. Read what you should do if you have guns in the home, how to discuss firearms and home protection with kids, etc.
At first glance, guns can be a scary topic for many parents. But with knowledge and discussion among your family, you can keep everyone safe. Common sense, a bit of gun safety know-how, and an open conversation with your children can create a lifetime of respect for firearms.
Just remember keep your guns
locked up and always ask: "Is there an unlocked gun in
unlocked or loaded guns in the home to prevent family fire.
ASK (Asking Saves Kids) is a simple way to help keep kids safe and a fundamental part of our End Family Fire campaign. Parents and guardians ask all sorts of questions before they allow their children to visit other homes; they ask about pets in the house, discuss allergies and Internet access, and ask questions about supervision. Our End Family Fire campaign encourages parents and guardians to add one more question to this conversation: Is there an unlocked gun in your house?
Its a simple question, but it has the power to save a childs life. Read about how one hunter, farmer, and father approaches this conversation to ensure that others in his community are aware of family fire and the importance of safe gun storage.
As families grow and circumstances expand, here are other questions to ASK to prevent family fire:
ASK, Is there an unlocked gun in your house? before sending your child to a playdate, caretaker, or relatives home. Have your teens ask about guns in the home before going on a babysitting job or entering a new group housing situation. And especially ask about guns in the home if you know someone is in crisis and at risk of harming themselves or others. Doing so can help prevent family fire and save lives.
A Mother's Story
I think about my life in two parts now: before the tragedy and after it.
History of Asking Saves Kids
For more than a decade, supporters of ASKING SAVES KIDS (ASK) have partnered with over 400 grassroots organizations to spread its message in neighborhoods nationwide. Beginning as a collaboration between Brady and the American Academy of Pediatrics, the ASK Campaign has successfully inspired 19 million households to ask if there are guns where their children play. Brady has since expanded upon this question and created the End Family Fire campaign to ensure that families with firearms in the home store them locked and unloaded and, most important, revisit what constitutes safe storage as their families or household circumstances change.
"Hi Sarah! Sam is so excited to come over to your house for a playdate with Oliver. I wanted to let you know that Sam has a peanut allergy so Ive packed a snack for him. Also, he isnt yet a confident swimmer, do you have a pool? And, given the recent campaigns around family fire, we always ask if there are any unlocked guns in the home."
Babysitter to Parent
"Hi Mrs. Hunter, this is Kelsey. Im looking forward to babysitting Mark and Dylan tonight! I wanted to ask a few safety questions in preparation. Do the kids have any allergies? Who is the best person to contact in case of emergency? And given the recent campaigns around ending family fire, I always ask if are there any unlocked guns in your home which I should be aware of."
Adult Daughter to Father
"Hi Dad, were setting up your room and looking forward to having you move in with us. Before you get here well need to discuss some things, specifically around safety. I know youve owned guns in the past, do you currently? If so, well need to discuss how we can safely store these so the kids cannot gain access."
Roommte to Roommate
"Hey guys! Its Steph, your soon to be new roomie. Before we move in, there are a few things Id like to discuss safety-wise. What are your rules about allowing visitors to stay over? How about having my young niece and nephew over? Also, does anyone own a gun and plan on storing it at our place? If so, can we discuss how the gun will be safely stored?"