Gun safety is vital whether or not you have guns in your home

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So far in 2021, around 272 unintentional shootings by children have been reported, killing 111 and injuring many more, according to Everytown for Gun Safety Support Fund. Of these, 16 were in Louisiana.

Considering that about 40 percent of American adults say they live in a home with guns, these overall numbers may seem low. But even one is too many when it is likely that it could have been avoided.

Even if you live in a home without a gun, educating young people about gun safety is vital as your child may be visiting a friend’s house where the guns are stored. Children should be taught not to touch firearms, but parents and guardians should not be counted on to always resist temptation. Therefore, proper storage is essential to avoid unintentional shots.

Firearms should be unloaded and secured with a locking device or stored in a locked cabinet, safe or box. Ammunition should be stored in a separate locked container. Keys or access codes should be stored where children cannot access them.

Those who want their children to engage in the sport of hunting have an even greater responsibility to teach minors about gun safety.

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries offers hunter training courses for ages 10 and up. Classes are offered both in state classrooms and online.

Here is a list of gun safety rules suitable for all age groups:

  • Look at the muzzle. Keep it pointed in a safe direction at all times.
  • Treat every firearm with the respect due to a loaded weapon. It can be charged, even if you think it isn’t.
  • Be sure of the target and what is ahead and beyond. Know the identifying characteristics of the game you are hunting. Make sure you have a proper backstop – do not pull on a hard, level surface or on water.
  • Keep your finger on the outside of the trigger guard until you are ready to shoot. This is the best way to avoid accidental discharge.
  • Check your cannon and ammo. Make sure the barrel and action are unobstructed and only carry the correct ammo for your gun.
  • Unload firearms when not in use. Leave the actions open; carry firearms in holsters and unloaded to and from the firing range.
  • Point a gun only at something you intend to shoot. Avoid heckling with a gun.
  • Do not run, jump or climb with a loaded gun. Unload a gun before climbing a fence or tree or jumping a ditch. Shoot a gun at you from the butt, not the barrel.
  • Store firearms and ammunition separately and securely. Store each in secure places out of the reach of children and careless adults.
  • Avoid alcoholic drinks before or during filming. Also avoid medications or drugs that alter the mind or behavior.

Following these guidelines will go a long way in avoiding unnecessary heartache.

For more information on Ark-La-Tex’s ThinkFirst, visit www.thinkfirstlouisiana.org, call 318-226-0066 or visit www.facebook.com/arklatexthinkfirst or www.instagram.com/thinkfirst_arklatex .

Information on hunter education

Learn more about the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries hunter education courses at www.wlf.louisiana.gov/page/hunter-and-trapper-education.



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