The holidays are here, and family and friends across the country will soon gather in celebration of the season. December comes with an added focus on safety, as children spend more time at home and families prepare to host guests or visit loved ones. Fire prevention and travel safety are usually top-of-mind during this time of year, but it’s equally important to practice firearms safety.
“As more children are home over the holidays, there’s a greater chance they may encounter or handle a gun without supervision, posing a risk of accidental harm to themselves or others,” said National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) CEO Steve Sanetti. “The holidays are an important time to emphasize responsible firearms storage, and Project ChildSafe has a wealth of educational materials available to help gun owners and their families practice firearms safety during the holiday season.”
This year, consider adding a new tradition to your safety checklist with a review of firearms safety practices:
1) Store firearms unloaded when not in use and secure from unauthorized access in the home or while traveling. Thoroughly double check firearms to confirm they are unloaded. Gun locking devices, when used in conjunction with secure storage systems such as lock boxes and gun safes can provide a double measure of safety and security. Click here to find out where you can pick up a free Project ChildSafe Safety Kit, which includes a cable-style gun lock and safety instructions. You can also check out Project ChildSafe’s gun storage options to find one that is best suited to your lifestyle.
2) Store firearms and ammunition separately and out of sight. Separate storage provides another level of security against accidents, and it’s well known that a visible firearm is often a temptation, for children or for thieves. If you are hosting for the holidays, review the ten tips for firearms safety as a refresher on safe storage fundamentals for firearms in the home.
3) Firearms in vehicles require proper storage too. If you are traveling for the holidays, or enjoying time off for a hunting trip, your firearm may be in your vehicle. Take a look at Project ChildSafe’s brochure about firearms safety in vehicles.
4) Talk to your kids about firearms safety. It is important that children become familiar with the rules of firearms safety and practice them whether in their homes or the homes of others. Learn from competitive shooting sports champion Julie Golob as she discusses the sometimes challenging conversation of firearms safety with children, and start by teaching them what to do if they find a gun with the help of McGruff the Crime Dog. Once your kids understand the rules of firearms safety, have them sign the pledge promising to stay safe around firearms.
5) Test your knowledge of firearms safety. While your current storage method and safety practices may be suitable for your current lifestyle, it is important to remember that environments and situations change while hosting or visiting friends and family. Discern fact from fiction with Project ChildSafe’s Myth Busters Quiz.