2010-08-20 / Editorials

The importance of gun safety

It’s a horror story no parent wants to consider, but the accidental shooting of a 9-year-old boy in Camarillo on Aug. 18 while playing with his 13-year-old brother is a reminder of the immense responsibility that people must exercise when it comes to gun safety.

Luckily, the boy was not killed and is now recovering back at home (see page 1).

While all Americans are ensured the right to keep and bear arms under the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, California law requires gun owners keep firearms locked and out of the hands of children unless supervised by an adult.

Capt. Ross Bonfiglio with the Ventura County Sheriff’s Department said accidental shootings by children are uncommon, but he also said there are likely many instances of unsupervised children gaining access to a weapons that go unreported.

The National Rifle Association of America, the Virginia-based gun advocacy group, offers a few basic safety tips to gun owners who have children in the home.

The NRA says it’s important that parents talk to their children about gun safety. Children need to know the serious consequences of playing with a gun. It’s best to talk to children even at a young age, especially if they show an interest in toy pistols and rifles.

Parents should tell children that despite the carelessness in which guns are often handled on television and in movies, there is a very real difference between being shot on TV and in real life.

Parents should also explain that the rules regarding gun safety apply both to their child and any friends or relatives who visit the house.

Stop; don’t touch; leave the area and tell an adult. That’s a good starting point when explaining the steps a child should take if they encounter a firearm while adults are away, the NRA says.

Police say gun owners should use a California-approved firearms safety device on a gun, such as a trigger lock or cable lock, so it cannot be fired. The gun should be stored unloaded in a locked container such as a lock box or a gun safe. Also, store guns and ammunition in separate locations. For maximum safety use both a locking device and a storage container.

Free U.S. Dept. of Justice-approved gun locks are available at the Camarillo Police Station. For details, call (805) 388-5100.

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