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A Yuletide Reminder: Kids, Guns and Eggnog

With visitors, parties, and the general chaos that comes with the holiday season, it’s time to revisit a subject dear to the hearts of the Guns & Tactics team – firearm safety with children.

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few people recently asked me to write an article about the holidays, guns, parties, safety, and children. My sincere hope is that it might save the life of a child and/or incrementally increase firearm safety for kids. Please share this article with your friends and family, and include your own encouragement for them to adopt the policy of: Every firearm, regardless of condition, is either under a responsible adult’s direct and active control or has been secured in a locked safe, inaccessible to children.

If your family is anything like mine, you’re gearing up for Christmas and are either traveling to be with loved ones or are hosting them in your home. There are festive cookies everywhere, there is a tree in your living room, and there are sugar-laden children running around doing what sugar-laden children do… like trying to get the dog to wear a Santa hat, (which is happening in my house as I sit here writing).

"If we can even save just one life, it’s worth whatever it takes."

Sure, we’ve heard this before… and it’s usually followed almost immediately with feeble justifications of why infringement on a Constitutional Right is ok if it "saves even just one life." Well, if you’ve read any of my previous columns you already know my opinion on that… however, if we dive a little deeper, we will find that we can quite realistically save lives without infringing on anyone’s Rights at all. At the same time, the demonstration of this commitment to safety goes to the "actions speak louder than words" philosophy in showing that, as responsible gun owners, we are all taking the steps necessary to protect our little ones… and, all the while, we’re taking the wind out of the sails of those who wish to infringe upon the Right we hold dear.

Shootings involving children accessing firearms are completely preventable and there is absolutely no reason why they should happen. Every time I wake up to hear the news of another tragedy resulting from an unsecured firearm by an irresponsible gun owner, it absolutely breaks my heart in several ways. First, and foremost, an innocent life is unnecessarily lost. Next comes the anger with the gun-owner for allowing that firearm to be unsecured – and nobody is immune from this, even police officers. Then finally, I find myself on the defensive as the infringers try to capitalize on the tragedy in a disgusting manner. Then I return to my thought of the child, the grieving parents, and I hug my own children while renewing my vow to never allow a firearm to be unsecured.

If you can’t afford a way to secure the gun, you can’t afford the gun.

If you are giving or receiving a firearm this season, you should absolutely be giving the means of securing that firearm as well – whether you’re giving or getting, if there is a firearm involved there must be a conscious means of securing it. Further, consider giving a means of securing a firearm instead of giving a firearm itself and carry this into 2014. My brother and his wife are expecting their first child this summer… and, while my wife’s gift to them will consist of over-priced baby gear, for the "man-shower" I will be presenting him with a closet safe for two long guns and a drawer-based lock box for a pistol. If you know someone who has recently seen two lines, give them the gift that will keep giving… give them the means to secure a firearm from children while keeping it readily available if needed.

This season please make sure your firearms are secured. Putting them out-of-sight or having a strict "don’t-touch policy" in your house is simply not enough… they need to be secured from the curious, explorative, and resourceful children in your life. Many people I know had "a healthy respect for firearms as children and knew never to touch them" but I’m not willing to solely rely on my children complying with a strict "don’t-touch policy" as my means of keeping them safe.

There are so many great quick-access lockboxes on the market that there is no excuse not to have one. Make a resolution that 2014 will be the year that you add lock boxes for your quick-access firearms and maintain the policy of "every firearm is under the active and direct control of a responsible adult or is actively secured in a safe or lockbox."

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