NORTHWEST ARKANSAS, (KNWA/KFTA) — The Academy of Pistol says that gun ownership is at an all-time high. Moreover, if you are going to own a gun take the responsibility to get the safety training and skills you need to learn how to properly use, store and maintain your weapon.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, last year there were at least about 370 unintended shootings by children in the United States. Those shootings caused more than 100 deaths. During the pandemic, from March to December of 2020, unintended shooting deaths by kids went up 30% compared to the same time the previous year.
Chief Instructor at the Academy of Pistol, Zak Petersen says a child as young as three years old is strong enough to pull a trigger and make a firearm go off. That’s why he stresses the importance of proper storage. He adds that parents should never leave loaded guns hanging around and it’s not enough to just hide them.
“A lot of times, it’s not just accidents per se but plain negligence, because of a lack of education. Insecure storage… that’s where most of the kids get into trouble… parents not locking their firearms up,” said Petersen.
He says guns should be unloaded and locked up in a safe or vault. As an added safety measure he recommends using a gun lock. He adds this should be used in addition to the locked storage and not as a substitute.
Remind your kids if they ever come across a gun not to touch it and to tell an adult right away.
Petersen says there are some universal rules all gun owners or anyone who should come in contact with a firearm should know.
- You want to treat a firearm like it is always loaded – so that means do not point the gun at anything you are not willing to destroy.
- You want to keep your finger off the trigger and trigger guard until you are ready to shoot.
- Be sure of your target, what is behind and around it
“You might have been told in the past to fire one up in the air… Not a good idea. That bullet is going to land somewhere. As far as a defensive shotgun, an intruder enters your home and they hear the racking of a shotgun that is a good sign that the homeowner is armed and ready,” said Petersen.
When it comes to training with targets, he recommends going to a professional gun range because it’s a controlled environment, and it’s generally safer than target shooting on your own.
This also gives you an opportunity to sharpen your skills and to teach your kids and family about gun safety.