ROSE NOLEN: Families should discuss gun safety

Tuesday, September 3, 2013 | 6:00 a.m. CDT; updated 7:53 p.m. CDT, Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Every day, the newspapers are filled with fresh stories about children and guns. And still parents seem to turn a deaf ear to the news. Children are harming themselves and others by finding guns that their parents have put aside and using them as toys.

Nobody seems to be listening. Children are curious. When parents leave little children at home alone they prowl, looking to find treasures to play with. They do not realize that guns are dangerous; they just know that they have stumbled onto something their parents have hidden away.

Parents claim to be surprised that children can find weapons which they are sure they have tucked away. But the truth is often children know where everything is in the house.

Nothing is more tragic than one child shooting another. Parents keeping weapons in their homes should make certain that they are kept locked up, out of sight. Really, there is hardly any point any longer to ask adults not to keep their weapons in their homes. People are terrified of home invasions and burglars breaking into their homes. Many families live in crime-ridden areas where robbing and stealing are common everyday occurrences. Many of them feel they need to have weapons to protect themselves and their families.

People should talk to members of their households about gun safety. Instead of just hiding guns away from children, as soon as they are old enough to understand about violence, they should be told about guns and that only adults are permitted to handle them. When people have weapons they need to be trained about how to use them safely.

Adults simply have to become more responsible about gun ownership. When children become old enough to go hunting with their parents they should be given a full course on gun ownership. They need to be taught how to shoot safely and how to put their weapons away when they are not in use. And above all, it should be emphasized to children that guns are not play toys and should never be used as such.

America has become such a dangerous place. Many Americans feel that their safety is at risk when gun laws are passed. But truly, people are not trying to do away with guns, they are simply searching for ways to do away with the violence. People should realize that the less security we provide for each other, the more violent our society becomes.

The children are innocent. Let us value their lives and not put them in jeopardy. Lock up your gun.

You can join the conversation with Rose M. Nolen by calling her at 882-5734 or emailing her at

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Ellis Smith September 3, 2013 | 10:43 a.m.

"...there is hardly any point any longer to ask adults not to keep their weapons in their homes." - Rose.

Such a "point" has historically never existed in the United States. The present debate is whether the right to privately own firearms should CONTINUE to exist, and, if so, under what if any limitations.

The premise of the article is excellent. All children should be taught firearms dangers and firearms safety, whether there are weapons in their own homes or not. For a variety of reasons, or for no good reason at all, a child might encounter a firearm somewhere outside their own home. Also, I agree that children are naturally curious, and don't always do as they're told (I definitely fitted that mold).

Previously I have pointed out that people for various reasons (gun collectors, for example) have firearms in their homes not intended for home security. In many cases those weapons can be made very safe by removing a key part of their firing mechanism (such as a firing pin), which then can be stored (preferably under lock) separately. Should ANYONE (child or adult) get their hands on both the gun and the ammunition for it, the gun still won't fire. If gun is occasionally used by its owner, the missing part can be restored, and then removed again after use.

I absolutely agree that adults must become more responsible when it comes to firearms ownership, regardless of their reason(s) for ownership (or even if they have no children). I's similar to other parent/child situations: it's fruitless to lecture children about doing the "right thing" if parents don't do what they say.

Violence is voilence, regardless of the mode employed. We need to keep that fact in mind.

(Report Comment)
Skip Yates September 4, 2013 | 10:31 a.m.

The National Rifle Association's "Eddie Eagle" gun safety program has reached an estimated 25 million children since the program was launched a couple of decades ago. Perhaps Rose should advertise that. Adult responsibility in ownership I am in agreement with.

(Report Comment)

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