Our country is currently engaged in a heated debate about firearms and their role in society. Regardless of where you stand in the debate we must all agree that guns do exist and that they present a danger to our children.
Children Will Learn About Guns With Or Without You
Today guns are everywhere. Disney movies, popular video games, commercials, TV shows, and cartoons contain guns. Regardless of any pro-activity (or lack thereof) your children will begin to establish belief systems around firearms at a very young age. The first step to teaching and protecting your children is accepting that guns do exist and that you are better off taking the reigns of your child's firearm education. Start early.
You Must be A Positive Role Model
Children are excellent mimics. They will follow your example in the words you say, the things you do, and the way you do things. This is also true with firearms. If you own guns practice what you preach. Even when you pick up or handle toy guns you need to demonstrate the proper safe handling that you want them to learn.
Gun Related Tools are Not Toys
Air-soft, BB, and pellet guns are marketed and sold to your children as toys. The display at the local discount store would suggest that its natural for kids to own these toys and to use them in play. These gun ways consist of neighborhood kids who wear masks and run around shooting each other with guns (mostly air-soft). This is not ok. As a parent you can not believe that allowing this behavior will not somehow affect their ability to learn proper gun handling, understand the real danger of firearms, and communicate the seriousness of professional training and education.
These types of “toys” are however very good tools. If you feel that you want your children to have some form of hands on training or experience you can start by allowing them to use these “non-lethal” weapons to demonstrate that they understand how they should be treated and used.
Eddie Eagle: What to Do if You See or Find a Gun
Perhaps the most established and highest quality gun education platform for young children is Eddie Eagle. The Eddie Eagle program doesn't promote gun ownership or handling. It only focuses on teaching young children what to do if they see or find a gun. The program is designed to take place in elementary skills with a volunteer and a member of local law enforcement working to teach the children about the danger of handling firearms.
If your child's school doesn't employee this program you should share it with them. If they don't feel it is feasible or they are not open to the suggestion you could use the program in your own home. Help your kids know what to do if they see or find a gun.