Gun safety is no accident

Published 12:00 am Thursday, October 20, 2005

The recent accidental shooting of a child in the Whaleyville area should be an eye opener for everybody who owns a gun.

Apparently this child was target practicing with his father when he was accidentally shot in the foot.

Few details are known about this incident, and we can only assume that the father had taken all of the appropriate precautions to avoid such an incident. However, even if he had, the child was still hurt.

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When it comes to guns, one can never practice too much safety.

It is imperative that everybody handling these weapons or anywhere near where they are being used knows the rules and how to apply them.

Never assume everybody else is doing what they need to do to be safe, or it might be a fatal assumption on your part.

As we get closer to hunting season everybody needs to take a few minutes and do a safety inventory of themselves and their equipment.

Nobody should ever enter into the woods with a loaded gun unless they have had the proper training. And it doesn’t matter how old you are n you need to know the rules and how to apply them.

As for guns in the home, they should never be left loaded and never placed where youngsters can get their hands on them. A child doesn’t realize the serious consequences of mishandling a weapon and sees it only as another toy. We have all heard the horror stories of children injuring or even killing siblings or friends because they were playing with a loaded gun.

Every gun should be treated as though it were loaded and every gun in the home should be equipped with a child-proof lock.

Every child, whether there is a gun in their home or not, should be taught the following basic rules:

nIf you see a gun, never touch it.

nLeave immediately.

n Tell an adult.

They should know these rules for those times they might be visiting a friend whose family owns guns.

Just like drinking and driving don’t mix, guns and alcohol are a deadly combination. If you are going to use one, stay away from the other.

As the headline of this article states, gun safety is no accident. But gun safety will also not occur on its own.

Take responsibility to know your guns and know how to treat them with the necessary respect.

Practice all the safety rules; and if you aren’t sure what those are, find out before it is too late.

For information on firearms training near you contact your local law enforcement agency or the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries.