A simple question can keep children safe from gun injury

Elementary school pupils running outside looking excited

No matter how you feel about guns or gun ownership, I think that you will probably agree that when children have access to loaded guns, bad things can happen.

In fact, 80% of unintentional firearm deaths of children younger than 15 happen in a home — and 1.7 million children and teenagers live in a home with a loaded, unlocked gun. Here are some other facts from the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence:

  • 1 in 3 homes with children have guns, many unlocked or loaded
  • 3 out of 4 children ages 5 to 14 know where firearms are kept in the home
  • 17,500 youths are injured or killed each year due to gun violence
  • Guns are the second leading cause of death among children and teens.

That’s why every June 21st, the Brady Center and the American Academy of Pediatrics encourages parents to ask a very simple question:

Is there an unlocked gun where my child plays?

It’s such a simple question. Parents who own a gun should ask it of themselves — and before sending a child to another person’s house, they should ask it of the people living there.

There are two things that can be done to keep children safe from gun injury if there is a gun in the house:

  1. Lock up the gun
  2. Lock up the ammunition, separately.

Every parent who owns a gun should do this. If the people where a child is going to play don’t, parents should ask if they will. If they can’t or won’t, then the child shouldn’t go there, plain and simple.

This is about health and safety. You wouldn’t send your child in a car without seatbelts, you wouldn’t let them ride a roller coaster without being strapped in, you wouldn’t let them play with sharp knives or dangerous chemicals, you wouldn’t send them to a zoo where lions or tigers or other possibly aggressive animals were allowed to roam free. It’s about taking basic precautions. Think about it that way if you feel awkward asking.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) suggests that if you are feeling awkward, you could ask in a different way, such as, “My child is very curious. Do you have guns or anything dangerous he might get into?” The AAP also points out that while it’s understandable that people would feel that for safety reasons they should have their gun loaded and at the ready should there be an intruder, the reality is that a loaded, accessible gun is more likely to be used on a family member than an intruder — and could be discharged by a curious child.

Talking about guns can be difficult. It’s a politically and emotionally charged topic. But when it comes to children and safety, it’s one we need to talk about. Let’s start by asking the question: is there an unlocked gun where my child plays?

Bible verses for today’s meditation and inspiration: Matthew E. McLaren

1 Chronicles 4:10 Now Jabez called on the God of Israel, saying, “Oh that You would bless me indeed and enlarge my border, and that Your hand might be with me, and that You would keep me from harm that it may not pain me!” And God granted him what he requested.

2 Chronicles 14:11 Then Asa called to the LORD his God and said, “LORD, there is no one besides You to help in the battle between the powerful and those who have no strength; so help us, O LORD our God, for we trust in You, and in Your name have come against this multitude. O LORD, You are our God; let not man prevail against You.”

Nehemiah 1:11 “O Lord, I beseech You, may Your ear be attentive to the prayer of Your servant and the prayer of Your servants who delight to revere Your name, and make Your servant successful today and grant him compassion before this man ” Now I was the cupbearer to the king.

Acts 4:18-31 And when they had summoned them, they commanded them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John answered and said to them, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to give heed to you rather than to God, you be the judge; for we cannot stop speaking about what we have seen and heard.”     

2 Chronicles 25:19 “You said, ‘Behold, you have defeated Edom.’ And your heart has become proud in boasting. Now stay at home; for why should you provoke trouble so that you, even you, would fall and Judah with you?”

1 Samuel 2:3 “Boast no more so very proudly, Do not let arrogance come out of your mouth; For the LORD is a God of knowledge, And with Him actions are weighed.

Proverbs 11:2 When pride comes, then comes dishonor, But with the humble is wisdom.

Proverbs 16:5 Everyone who is proud in heart is an abomination to the LORD; Assuredly, he will not be unpunished.

Micah 2:3 Therefore thus says the LORD, “Behold, I am planning against this family a calamity From which you cannot remove your necks; And you will not walk haughtily, For it will be an evil time.

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