FARMINGTON DAILY TIMES: GUN OWNERSHIP CARRIES SERIOUS RESPONSIBILITY
Too often, reporters find themselves covering the same sad, senseless story. While the location and people change, many of the details are strikingly similar.
Here’s the gist: A young child somehow gets his or her hands on a loaded gun when an adult isn’t paying proper attention. The child accidentally discharges the weapon. Someone, usually a family member and often a sibling, is injured or worse, killed.
That’s what happened on Friday evening, when police say a 6-year-old shot her 8-year-old sister in the neck with a rifle while the family was cleaning their home in Flora Vista.
That family was lucky. Often, these stories end with an obituary in the newspaper. In this case, the 8-year-old was in stable condition earlier this week, and we hope she makes a full recovery. At this point, the father hasn’t been charged with anything, and the San Juan County Sheriff’s Office has referred the case to the San Juan County District Attorney’s Office. A decision is expected next week.
While we fully support citizens’ Second Amendment rights, those rights come with responsibilities. And now might be a good time to review the basics, which include gun safes and trigger locks.
Check out the safety tips offered by Project ChildSafe, a program of the National Shooting Sports Foundation. The foundation is the trade group for the firearms and ammunition industry. All of the project’s tips, which are available at projectchildsafe.org, are based on common sense. Point the muzzle in a safe direction. Don’t touch the trigger until you plan to fire. When it’s not being used, unload the firearm and store it in a locked vault or safe. Keep the ammo in a separate locked location. Invest in a gun-locking device for extra safety.
There’s even a pledge on the website that parents can have their children sign to vow they won’t touch an unattended firearm without express permission from an adult.
Most topics that even touch on gun rights — or limiting them — ignite emotional responses. But this isn’t an issue of gun ownership. It’s an issue of safety. In nearly every one of these tragic cases, there’s a common thread: somewhere along the line an adult messed up — by not properly storing a gun, by leaving it where a small child can reach it loaded with the safety off.
We can’t imagined the guilt and pain the father of the two young girls involved in Friday’s accident feels right now. Of course, he never wanted this to happen, and our thoughts are with the family as they recover — physically and emotionally.
But this incident can do some good. Let’s use this situation to educate children about gun safety. Let’s use this to spark a conversation about safe gun ownership. Let’s take responsibility for keeping children in our community safe.
We’d be happy to never have to report another one of these stories.
Original article from Farmington Daily Times (source no longer available)
MYTH-BUSTERS: DO YOU KNOW THE FACTS ON FIREARM SAFETY?
A MESSAGE TO GUN OWNERS FROM NSSF PRESIDENT STEVE SANETTI
Press play to hear Steve Sanetti, President of the National Shooting Sports Foundation, explain why gun owners should make safety their first priority:
INFOGRAPHIC: PROJECT CHILDSAFE BY THE NUMBERS
TEN TIPS FOR FIREARM SAFETY IN YOUR HOME
As part of its “S.A.F.E. Summer” campaign to focus attention on the importance of safe and responsible firearm handling and storage, the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) today announced its “Top Ten” list of safety tips firearm owners should remember to help ensure they are taking responsible precautions with firearms in their home.
“Nearly all firearm accidents in the home can be prevented when gun owners take simple precautions, and proper storage is the number one way to help prevent accidents” said Steve Sanetti, NSSF president and CEO. “Anyone who is going to own a firearm should respect it and secure it when not in use to help prevent firearm accidents and misuse.”
NSSF’s Top Ten Safety Tips include:
- Always keep the firearm’s muzzle pointed in a safe direction. A “safe direction” means that the gun is pointed so that even if an accidental discharge occurred, it would not result in injury.
- Always keep your finger off the trigger until you actually intend to shoot. When handling a gun, rest your finger outside the trigger guard or along the side of the gun. Don’t touch the trigger until you are actually ready to fire.
- Firearms should be unloaded when not actually in use. Whenever you pick up a gun, such as when removing it from or returning it to storage, remember to point it in a safe direction and make sure it is unloaded.
- Be sure you know how your firearm operates: read the manual on your firearm, know how to safely open and close the action of the firearm and know how to safely remove any ammunition from the firearm and its magazine.
- Store your firearms in a locked cabinet, safe, gun vault or storage case when not in use, ensuring they are in a location inaccessible by children and cannot be handled by anyone without your permission.
- Store your ammunition in a locked location separate from firearms.
- Use a gun locking device that renders the firearm inoperable when not in use. A gun lock should be used as an additional safety precaution and not as a substitute for secure storage.
- Make sure young people in your home are aware of and understand the safety guidelines concerning firearms. Have them sign the Project ChildSafe Pledge for young people—a reminder that if they find an unattended firearm in their home or a neighbor’s to not touch it, and tell an adult.
- Always unload, clean and place your firearms in their secure storage location immediately after returning from a hunting trip or a day at the range.
- Educate everyone in your family about firearms safety. Visit the Project ChildSafe website for safety information and to find out where to get a free firearm safety kit in your area.
The “SAFE” in “S.A.F.E. Summer” serves as an acronym for Secure your firearms when not in use; Be Aware of those around you who should not have unauthorized access to guns; Focus on your responsibility as a firearm owner; and Educate yourself and others about safe firearm handling and storage. The S.A.F.E. Summer campaign focuses on equipping gun owners take responsible action to help keep their families and communities safer, particularly while children are home from school and more likely to be unattended.
These tips and others tools and information about safe and responsible firearm storage are available at www.projectchildsafe.org.
NSSF launched Project ChildSafe in 1998 (prior to 2003 the program was called Project HomeSafe) as a nationwide initiative to promote firearms responsibility and provide safety education to all gun owners. While children are a focus, Project ChildSafe is intended to help young people and adults practice greater firearm safety in the home. The program has provided more than 36 million free firearm safety kits to gun owners in all 50 states and five U.S. territories. That’s in addition to the more than 60 million free locking devices manufacturers have included with new firearms sold since 1998 and continue to do so today.
Project ChildSafe was originally supported by federal grants provided by the U.S. Department of Justice. Since 2008, when this funding was cut, the firearms manufacturing industry has solely funded the Project ChildSafe program through the members of NSSF.
INFOGRAPHIC: A RANGE OF GUN STORAGE OPTIONS FOR YOUR LIFESTYLE
Firearms owners have multiple options to safely store their firearms when not in use. Please help us spread the word by sharing this infographic with others.
NSSF’S COMMITMENT TO FIREARM SAFETY
One of the questions I’m often asked in the course of the gun debate is, “Is there common ground and room for cooperation?” The answer I always give is “Absolutely,” because one thing all of us, especially gun owners, can agree on is the importance of firearm safety.
As the leading organization to promote firearm safety, the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) launched Project ChildSafe in 2003 specifically to educate gun owners on their responsibility to keep their guns out of the wrong hands, and provide the tools to help them do so. Through partnerships with law enforcement we have distributed more than 36 million free firearm safety kits and safety information to gun owners throughout the U.S. as part of this program, and between 2000 and 2010, fatal firearm accidents dropped 22 percent. Firearms accidents are now less than 1 percent of all fatal accidents in the United States.
Our efforts have made considerable strides in gun safety, prevented accidents and saved lives, and working together with you, we can do even more. As responsible firearm owners, we must all take steps to prevent firearm accidents, theft and misuse. Firearm accidents and misuse and the tragic consequences they have on families and whole communities should compel all of us to work even harder to practice and promote firearm safety.
This year NSSF has committed $1 million to provide free gun safety kits, including a lock, in partnership with law enforcement agencies across the country, to gun owners, and educate gun owners about responsible firearm handling and storage. With this effort we will continue to be a leading voice in the nation on firearm safety, but true success with this campaign relies on the participation of responsible firearm owners at the local level. Our website has several easy tips and information to help you prevent firearm accidents, secure your firearms against theft and misuse, and educate your families on proper firearm handling, storage and safety.
We encourage you to use these resources in your home, and to share them with your friends and neighbors who own firearms. It only takes a few seconds for an accident to happen, and it takes just as few seconds to prevent one. Please join us in this important work.