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Local shooting highlights importance of gun safety

A near-tragedy took place in Ennis Friday morning when a junior high aged boy accidentally shot his little brother through the abdomen with his parent’s gun.
Det. Sgt. Mike Hopson said the bullet went all the way through the boy’s right side of his abdomen missing vital organs and bone. The youngster should have a full recovery.
“He is okay,” Hopson said. “He was taken to a doctor and the wound was cleaned and healed. He was extremely lucky because things could have been a lot worse.”
It’s estimated there are more than 200 million firearms in the United States and studies suggest about half of all households keep these weapons inside their homes. Another report states nearly 1.7 million American children live in homes with unlocked, loaded firearms. Even if your family doesn’t own a gun, chances are high neighbors and relatives do. This means although your child may not be sleeping in a home with a gun inside, they could spend time inside a house that does.
The National Rifle Association has launched a nationwide gun safety initiative – Eddie Eagle GunSafe Program. The program aims to educate children on what to do if they find a gun. It teaches pre-kindergartners through third-graders who see a gun to: “Stop! Don’t touch. Leave the area. Tell an adult.”
Families can take very different approaches to gun safety. One is a proactive stance that teaches children about guns and how they are not toys to be played with. This view gives children knowledge of what the weapon is and what it is capable of. The downfall of this idea is the child is now aware of where to find the weapon and if they decide to show it off to friends or – even worse – use the weapon, they are closer to getting their hands on the firearm.
The other attitude toward gun safety is to avoid the topic altogether. Some parents believe by not teaching their children about firearms they will be protected from the potential danger. The obvious disadvantage to this mentality is that if the uneducated child comes across a gun they may not understand its dangers.
There is no single correct answer to how parents should address gun safety with their children, but gun safety experts say parents should make sure they know which of their child’s friends’ parents have guns inside their homes. They say that just as parents feel obligated to ask about seatbelt usage and inappropriate movies, it is their responsibility to know who close to your children owns a firearm.
It may seem intimidating to ask family friends and neighbors about gun ownership, but few are ever offended by the questions, according to PAX, a nonprofit organization dedicated to ending gun violence. PAX reports 97 percent of parents, including gun owners, wouldn’t mind being asked whether they owned a firearm. Simple ways to approach the subject with another parent include stating, “I want you to know that I’ve spoken to my kids about not playing with guns. Is this an issue that you’ve thought about?” or “All of us in the PTA (or in our church group or some such) have committed to making sure our children are safe. So I’ve gotten in the habit of asking everyone…”
Experts say knowledge is key to helping avoid tragic accidents.

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Posted by on Sep 29 2008. Filed under News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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