Children and gun safety: What to know and do

Stories about shootings are becoming far too common. The news is full of stories of shootings at schools, workplaces, and other public places. While stories of mass shootings get the headlines, guns kill people every day. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), guns killed almost 40,000 people in 2017, the highest amount in the nearly 50 years since the CDC started their electronic database.

Here are some other important facts:

  • Firearm injury is the cause of death in 74% of all homicides and 87% of all youth homicides.
  • Every day, 78 children, teens, and young adults are injured or killed by guns in the US.
  • The risk of death by suicide is four to 10 times higher in homes with guns. Firearms are used in 50% of all suicides, and 42% of youth suicides.
  • One in three homes with children in the US has a gun.
  • Children as young as 3 years old may be strong enough to pull the trigger on a handgun.
  • Three out of four children (including children less than 10 years old) living in a house with a gun know where the gun is, even when their parents think they don’t.
  • While many people feel that having a gun keeps them safer, the research suggests that the opposite is true.

Three ways to keep everyone safer

Gun ownership is a polarizing issue here in the US. But whatever anyone thinks about gun ownership, all can agree that we need to work to keep people safe — particularly our children. Here are three things all parents can do:

  • If you own a gun, lock it up, unloaded. Keep ammunition locked up separately.
  • Ask if there is an unlocked gun where your child plays. This simple question can save your child’s life. If the answer is yes, ask if it can be locked up (unloaded, with the ammunition locked separately). If the gun isn’t stored safely, your child shouldn’t play there.
  • If your child has a history of depression or other mental health problems, don’t keep a gun at home. Locking it up may not be enough to keep your child safe.

Somehow, we need to come together to put some common sense laws to keep people safe. As a country, we have a very high rate of gun deaths compared to other developed countries. That’s something that should alarm us. Background checks and waiting periods make good sense, as do measures that work to make guns less available to people with mental health problems.

Our children rely on us to keep them safe — including from gun injury.

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

Psalm 22:10 On you was I cast from my birth, and from my mother’s womb you have been my God.

Isaiah 49:15 “Can a woman forget her nursing child, that she should have no compassion on the son of her womb? Even these may forget, yet I will not forget you.

1 Peter 1:4-7 To an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.

Hebrews 1:2-7 But in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, having become as much superior to angels as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs. For to which of the angels did God ever say, “You are my Son, today I have begotten you”? Or again, “I will be to him a father, and he shall be to me a son”? And again, when he brings the firstborn into the world, he says, “Let all God’s angels worship him.” …

1 Peter 1:8-10 Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls. Concerning this salvation, the prophets who prophesied about the grace that was to be yours searched and inquired carefully,

Luke 5:15-17 But now even more the report about him went abroad, and great crowds gathered to hear him and to be healed of their infirmities. But he would withdraw to desolate places and pray. On one of those days, as he was teaching, Pharisees and teachers of the law were sitting there, who had come from every village of Galilee and Judea and from Jerusalem. And the power of the Lord was with him to heal.

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