Lock it up

Published 7:25 pm Tuesday, January 29, 2019

A sad story came out of La Grange last weekend. According to investigators, a mother was watching a child in her living room, while her 3-year-old watched television and played in the parents’ bedroom. All seemed to be fine, but then the mother heard a loud noise and found her child with a gunshot wound and a small-caliber handgun on the bed. The child was taken to a local hospital before being airlifted to a Greenville hospital with a life-threatening injury. An investigation is ongoing and no updates on the child’s condition have been released.

This is a terrible story to read about. It is every American’s right to possess a firearm, if they so choose, but it is also their duty to use their guns safely and properly store them in a safe location so things like this can’t happen. And no, hiding a gun in a drawer, a shoebox in the back of the closet or any similar location is not safe storage.

Project Child Safe, a program of the National Shooting Sports Foundation, provides some guidelines for the safe storage of guns:

  • Unloaded firearms should be stored in a locked cabinet, safe, gun vault or storage case. The storage location should be inaccessible to children.
  • Gun-locking devices render firearms inoperable and can be used in addition to locked storage. If firearms are disassembled, parts should be securely stored in separate locations.
  • Ammunition should be stored in a locked location separate from firearms.
  • Thoroughly double-check firearms to confirm that they are unloaded when you remove them from storage. Accidents could occur if a family member borrows a gun and returns it to storage while still loaded.

Children are naturally curious and may be tempted to play with a firearm they find. Along with storing a firearm in a safe location, Project Child Safe suggests sharing these safety guidelines with kids in your home:

  • Don’t go snooping, or allow other kids to go snooping, for guns in the house.
  • If you find a gun in your house, or anywhere else, STOP! Do not touch it or allow anyone else to. Leave the area and be sure to immediately tell an adult.
  • Even if a gun looks like a toy, don’t touch it. Some real guns look like toy guns, so don’t take a chance. Leave the area and immediately tell an adult.

Safely securing a firearm doesn’t just keep any children in the house safe from finding, playing with and accidentally shooting the gun. Properly storing firearms can also prevent them from getting into the wrong hands if someone breaks into a house and steals it. Please be a responsible gun owner and store any firearms in a safe and secure location. It can go a long way in preventing a tragic story.