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NSSF’s Project ChildSafe program is the nation’s largest and most comprehensive firearms safety education program, having partnered with more than 15,000 law enforcement departments to distribute more than 37-million free firearm safety kits that include a cable-style gun lock in all 50 states. The cable lock fits most types of firearms and adds an extra level of safety because firearms must be unloaded in order to install it. The lock comes with a brochure that shows how to use the lock on various firearms, discusses safe handling and storage, as well as considerations when keeping a firearm for home and personal protection, and illustrates various storage options in addition to the free lock, such as lockable gun cases, quick-access lock boxes, and full-size gun safes. Any community in the country can request free gun locks through its law enforcement department at the program’s website.
Project ChildSafe reminds parents, whether they’re gun owners or not, to talk to their children on a regular basis (not just once) about how to react if they should encounter an unsecured firearm anywhere. For young children, the warning is: Stop, Don’t Touch, Get Away, Tell an Adult.
For older children, the warning is the same, though they also may want an introduction to firearm use. In that case, the warning is that you need a supervised introduction to firearms, with your parents’ permission. There’s a longstanding tradition of youth involved in the target shooting sports through Boy Scouts, 4-H, the Scholastic Clay Target Program, Amateur Trapshooting Association, and other groups. Recreational target shooting is a safe activity and enjoyed by millions. Similarly, so is hunting. Youth interested in hunting might want to take a state hunter education class or try hunting through an apprentice hunting license, if offered by their state. Visit www.projectchildsafe.org for more info.
Senior Director, Communications
National Shooting Sports Foundation
OPSEC/PERSEC (operation security/personal security): Teaching your kids what is and is not OK to say to others. For example, we are preppers, we have guns, etc. All information is private unless it’s a teacher or law enforcement officer. We need to teach our kids their home address and mom and dad’s phone number, but also that not everyone needs that information.
Communication: A Gizmo Gadget watch is a great device that can aid in communication with your child. You have the ability to call or text them and know where they are physically via a GPS mapping system. In our home, this device is often used to call grandparents, but it’s a backup system to communicate vital information and to find them if they go missing.
When kids are alone: My kids are too young to leave alone (8 and 2), but even if your kids are old enough to be left alone they need to know what to do. Having age appropriate sand table/rock drills/role playing discussions is a great place to start. These exercises serve as glorified pretending to walk the kids through the physical movements as practice so when it comes time to utilize them in real life they understand what’s necessary. Essentially a “dry run.”
Acting out these scenarios can also help solidify the necessary steps for an intruder. “Son, grab your brother and go hide in mommy’s closet!” Something as simple as that, and having them act it out, can aid in their attention to the situation and following the necessary steps to stay safe at home. Again, being age appropriate is key here; you don’t want to instill an unhealthy fear into your kids, but a healthy respect for their environment.