Safety is always at the forefront of my mind when it comes to my kids. If you're like me, you want to ensure that your child(ren) are as safe as possible in and out of your presence. Am I right?
Today and for the next few weeks, gun safety will be a topic on the blog. There will be a guest post here by the fabulous Misty. You may remember her from the last Rock Your Confidence feature (find it here). She's a mom who has experienced the terror of her child playing at a neighbor's home when an UNSECURED AND LOADED gun fired. Unfortunately, a kid was shot . Fortunately for Misty, it wasn't hers.
Now she's on a mission to do something about this problem that has reached epidemic proportions in our country. Thrillermom.com is giving Misty another platform to spread her message. Be sure to find her here for the weeks to come and share her message. It may save a child's life and that child could be yours. Read the first post below.
Class is in session! I’m sure many of us parents, me included, cringe when school has to start. You deal with trying to wake the kids up, fighting about what to wear and just as you get to the bus stop, the bus is pulling away. At least that’s how it is in my house. My life like many American parents is the same, except for one thing, my child had to witness his friend get shot by a loaded and unsecure weapon when playing at the neighbor’s house. After that day the way I view school, sleep overs and even playdates changed.
Let’s start with a little quiz to take us back to our school days.
1. TRUE OR FALSE: More American children live in homes with guns that are unlocked and loaded than kids who play high school football each year.
2. TRUE OR FALSE: A child is most likely to be involved in a fatal unintentional shooting at home?
3. TRUE OR FALSE: More states require children to ride in safety seats in cars than require parents to secure guns at home.
If you answered TRUE to all 3 questions you get a 100%. Sadly, Americans have to think about questions like these, BUT! I have a way we can all change that!
After my son witnessed the shooting of his friend I quickly learned that unintentional child shootings happen every single day all over America. Around 100 children 17 and under die from unintentional shootings every year. This was NOT OK with me and I knew I had to do something to change this and be the voice for my children. I joined the leading gun violence prevention group, Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America. I became the North Carolina state lead for the Be SMART campaign, a campaign where we teach adults how we as parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and friends can work together to keep guns out of the hands of children.
Many of the unintentional shooting deaths are entirely preventable with responsible gun storage. We know we can keep our kids safer by introducing these five easy steps to parenting and everyday life:
S: Secure guns in homes and vehicles
M: Model responsible behavior
A: Ask about unsecured guns in homes
R: Recognize the risks of teen suicide
T: Tell your peers to Be SMART.
With those five easy steps you are sure to save children’s lives. In the next couple weeks we will look at each step in detail so we can all understand the importance in preventing unintentional child shootings.
Owning a gun is a personal decision, but responsible storage is a public safety issue. Kids and unsecured guns are a potentially lethal combination. That is why we are going to start with S: Secure guns in homes and vehicles. It disturbed me to find out that 1.7 million kids in American live in homes where guns are both loaded and unsecured. 1.7 MILLION CHILDREN!!!
So, what is the proper way to lock up a firearm? This is an important question because many gun owners believe that storing their gun in the top drawer of their night stand or on top of the fridge where the gun is out of reach is responsible storage. My son and his friends are living proof this is NOT safe storage. The rifle my son’s friend got ahold of was above a couch in the shed. All his friend did was climb his little body up on that couch and was gain access to it. Let’s face it, kids will be kids, if they are going to get into the candy we try to hide for ourselves they are going to get that gun you put on the top of the fridge. Your firearms should be stored in a locked cabinet, safe, gun vault or storage case. You also need to make sure that the safe you keep your firearm in is not accessible to children and cannot be handled by anyone except you. Store your ammunition in a locked location separate from firearms. Using a gun locking device is another option but it should be used as an additional safety precaution and is not substitute for secure storage alone. Being a responsible gun owner is key to keeping guns out of the hands of children. We can do this! Together we CAN end unintentional child shootings, one step at a time. Stay tuned next week as we talk about M: Model responsible behavior.
181 unintentional child shootings have happened in 2016 alone, if you are interested in taking a stand against gun violence please visit www.momsdemandaction.org If you or someone you know is a survivor of gun violence please visit www.everytown.org