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Gun Safety With Kids

The Problem

Years ago, I dug deep into the plethora of articles that surrounded “Children and Gun Safety” as I prepared to teach a local class to our community-and the results were grim. Words like “do not reduce the likelihood that children will handle guns when they are unsupervised,” jumped out at me as I read. I perused the data trying to understand the dichotomy between the many writings bordering on negative feelings of unlikely progress on this topic and my own experiences being raised around guns as well as raising my own children in a similar manner.

The answer was clear to me-the ability for progression obvious. why wasn’t anyone talking about that?







The Solution

The answer to raising a safe household that involves guns is a continuum of the education and exposure. What I found in every study was an initial education with the child – a testing of the child – a failing of the child. Teaching children something one time with no real world engagement and repetition is a futile endeavor and a sad excuse for something considered such a danger.

As both a nurse and a home educator I have never shown a patient or my children something one time and expect them to perform to satisfactory standards from that day forward. There is not a singular block of education that you can offer a child in one sitting to fully protect them in every aspect of firearm safety. It is an ever evolving curriculum that encompasses your children’s own understandings, dispositions, mental capacity, friends, community, physical skillsets, social factors, geography, decision making skills, etc. This is a conversation that you begin promptly, and one that you never actually end.

The Reality

If 2020 saw 8.4 million (est.) first time gun owners we must put into perspective that our children are visiting homes/businesses and facilities where guns most likely reside. Rather than expecting the owner of that gun to know proper and safe storage and handling, we equip our children to handle whatever may come their way- that’s self reliance, and that’s how we change the stats.

To begin this with your children or the children in your life:

  • Evaluate their baseline understanding of firearms, their use, where they may often encounter, etc. Start by asking them questions in a safe space. The best places for uninhibited conversation include: in the car during a drive, while eating around the table, while playing a game, or laying down before bedtime.

  • Help to redirect any misconceptions or false beliefs that they expressed to help develop their baselines using accurate and direct information. “A gun will not accidentally shoot, the trigger must be pulled”, “You cannot tell if a gun is unloaded just by looking at it”.

  • Show them diagrams of guns and explain the parts to them. Ensure that they know that guns break all stereotypes they never suspect may carry them, and they can be left or misplaced anywhere: parks, churches, cars, buses, etc.)

  • If you choose to use a gun as an example, be sure to clear the gun (remove all ammunition from the body of the gun and relocate to a secure location).

  • If you have younger children have them watch this Eddie Eagle video (8 minutes).

  • Teach them the 4 Rules Of Gun Safety, and explain their meaning. Watch our short video where we outline what the rules are, and their meaning.

  • If you begin to teach safe gun handling using live guns (we start with dummy guns, BB guns, and pellet guns) be sure to take the time to be REDUNDANT. Go over the 4 rules again and again, reminding them of their importance, and eventually having them repeat them to you. Make them into a song, chant, competition, quiz-make it fun!

  • Discuss “what if ” scenarios during safe conversation and allow them to respond honestly. Offer suggestions or feedback on how to increase safety during these instances.

  • Use my Firearm Safety PDF below to implement fun games and structured conversation and GET CONSISTENT. Put a date on your calendar if you need help remembering, but true and lasting respect of firearms and the security that comes with that is only possible through repetition and evolution as your littles grow into leaders.

4 Rules of Gun Safety
Download PDF • 580KB


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