In the last blog (Part 2: “What Steps Must I Take to Become Properly Trained and Proficient in the Use of My New Firearm?") I spoke about all the available options for firearms training an individual has access to and suggested that you seek out one or more of those training options. Here’s the great part, all of the options are the same for the members of your household as well. As a matter of fact shooting sports, and training for shooting sports, is a great family activity that helps strengthen family bonds and builds confidence and personal responsibility in each family member. More important than family comradery, getting training together as a family creates a safe home where each and every person knows, and is comfortable with, the firearm that resides in the home with them.
The NSSF (National Shooting Sports Foundation) created the Project ChildSafe Program that helps parents understand their gun ownership responsibilities if there are children in the home. When a gun is brought into a home with children proper storage of the firearm is essential (for the safety and protection of your children, their friends, and yourself) and some basic house rules need to be established. Project ChildSafe has a ton a great information on this very subject, but let me at least relay some quick information. According to the NSSF:
“Children and teens are naturally curious about firearms and, as a result, may be tempted to "play" with a firearm they find. Make sure young people in your home are aware of and understand these safety guidelines:
- Don't go snooping, or allow other kids to go snooping, for guns in the house.
- If you find a gun in your house, or anywhere else, STOP! Do not touch it or allow anyone else to. Leave the area and be sure to immediately tell an adult.
- Even if a gun looks like a toy, don't touch it. Some real guns look like toy guns, so don't take a chance. Leave the area and immediately tell an adult.”
The best advice I can give beyond using your common sense (which nowadays seems less and less common) is to get as much training as you can. Ask your family members (spouses, adult children living in the home, senior parents living in the home, and children) to go with you to training, get them specialized training if necessary, create house rules regarding your firearm and strictly enforce them, and do the research - as much as you and they possibly can - that will create a safe and enjoyable home environment for everyone.
When participating in any type of shooting sports always remember the acronym T.A.S.K.:
A: Attention to your Surroundings
S: Safety First
K: Know your Target