CLEARWATER – The Clearwater police have issued gun safety tips for parents on its Facebook page. They encourage all parents to follow the following rules about guns: Lock it up, teach that guns kill, and explain how to act around guns.
Lock it up
People who own guns are advised to keep it locked up, unloaded, and out of reach of children. Store the ammunition separately and keep the ammunition locked up, too, and invest in a trigger lock for the gun, the report said.
Teach that guns kill
Kids may not realize that guns can be deadly. In television shows, movies and video games, violence doesn’t often have consequences. After being shot, a cartoon character may have a hole in his stomach, but it disappears in the next scene, the report said. The leading characters in movies hardly ever die – only the bad guys do. In video games, characters have many lives.
Parents can use these media as a way to teach their children about real life impacts of guns. If you see an example of violence, ask your children what the consequences would be if it happened outside a Hollywood production, the report said. Talk about everyone who is affected by gun violence, such as the victim’s children, parents, friends and community. Discuss the consequences for the shooter and the shooter’s family, such as jail time and guilt.
Explain how to act around guns
Even if you don’t own a gun, it’s likely one of your neighbors does. About 35 percent of adults live in a home with at least one gun, according to the John Hopkins University’s Center for Gun Policy and Research. If children know how you want them to act around guns, they’ll more likely act in a safe manner. Teach kids four steps to gun safety: Stop, don’t touch, get away, tell an adult.
Talk about specific examples of places your children may see a gun, and have your children tell you what they would do. You could talk about the following examples:
• A friend shows the child his dad’s gun
• The child sees a gun in a classmate’s locker or backpack
• The child overhears a classmate talking about bringing a gun to school
• The child sees a person walk into a store holding a gun
• The child finds a gun while playing outdoors
Visit www.mcgruff.org for interactive ways to teach children about gun safety and other crime, safety and bully issues.