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Updated: 07/25/2014 08:00:01AM

Teach your children

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Children should learn gun safety as soon as they're safely ready.

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Shooting range safety is everyone's responsibility.

By Billy Carl

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Teaching your kids about gun safety: Just the thought of it, and many parents shift into absolute terror mode. This isn’t necessarily the correct way to approach this subject. I run a column dealing with this issue every so often because it is so important. It’s a complex subject, but even if you don’t have any guns in your home the odds are very good that your child may come in contact with one at some time. Roughly three in five households in the U.S. have guns, so the chances of a child encountering one someday are pretty high.

In the old days, frequently Dad would say, “Don’t touch that gun or I’ll give you a beating that you will never forget.” Is this the right approach? Maybe — but let’s look at some alternatives. First of all, the threat of a beating isn’t really a deterrent because most kids think they are sly enough that you won’t catch them anyway. In a home where guns are kept, the degree of safety a child has depends completely on the child’s parents or guardians. Of course, all guns must be kept secure and not accessible to children. It is also a definite fact that many adults are also not capable of safely handling them due to no or improper training. An untrained adult can be just as dangerous as a curious child, perhaps more so. Every state imposes some form of legal duty on adult gun owners to take reasonable steps to secure their weapons. So again it is a law, as well as your duty as a parent, to make absolutely sure that your gun or guns are never left in a place that a child or an untrained adult can ever put their hands on them. The responsibility rests squarely on your shoulders.

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