Rights and responsibilities

Published 9:48 pm Thursday, March 31, 2016

Every right recognized by the U.S. Constitution also comes with some responsibility.

The right to free speech, in an example that’s familiar to just about everyone, comes with the responsibility of not shouting “Fire!” in a crowded theater when there is no threat. The right of free assembly comes with the responsibility of maintaining peace within that gathering.

Similarly, the right to bear arms comes with the responsibility of doing so safely. That responsibility is doubly important in homes of firearms owners where there are children present.

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Keeping children safe from firearms in the home can mean keeping the guns and ammo in separate locations. It surely involves keeping guns out of sight and reach of the children. And it might even mean locking them away from curious kids.

Responsible gun owners with children in the home will also take age-appropriate steps to educate those children about gun safety.

The Suffolk Sheriff’s Department will help with that part of the process during an event from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. today at the Farm Fresh supermarket on Bridge Road.

As part of Project ChildSafe, deputies will be on hand with free activity books designed to help parents teach firearm safety to their children.

During the event, they will also give away trigger locks for firearms of all types. The locks are designed to keep children from accidentally firing the weapons if they get their hands on them.

“Children are so curious … and there are no do-overs if they get their hands on a gun and something goes wrong,” Maj. E.C. Harris said this week.

Everyone is familiar by now with the devastating consequences of guns getting into tiny hands when parents are not watching — or even when they’re distracted for a moment.

If you want to exercise your right to bear arms, do the responsible thing, and make sure your children — and any others that might visit your home — are safe. Stop by Friday and get a gun lock. You’ll never be sorry you did.