Gun Safety is EVERYONE’S Responsibility

Gun Owners Must Be Responsible for Gun Safety!

Another day, another tragic story in the news.  This morning I was saddened to read the story of a 2-year-old shooting and killing his father.  Not long ago a child shot himself after finding his father’s gun in the car that the father had left him while he (the father) ran into the grocery store.  Earlier this week, the guns belonging to a principal of a school in Florida were accidentally brought into the school and left unattended when she had others bring in boxes from her car.

Gun Safety starts with knowing where your firearms are!

We have written numerous articles on properly storing your firearms when minors are present.  Unfortunately, many gun owners do not keep close enough track of their firearms.  This lack of responsibility may lead to all of us losing some of our rights.  Hopefully, this article will help keep these instances from occurring in the future. From gun owners unknowingly placing a bag containing a firearm through TSA security, or trying to enter Disney parks with a gun in their bag they forgot was there, we hear all to often the words, “I forgot I put my gun in that bag.” We have also received numerous calls from gun owners who left their gun in a public restroom having taken it off to use the toilet. It is not a crime in Florida to forget your gun in a public bathroom, but it can be a very dangerous situation.

Teaching your children about firearms is vital to Gun Safety!

We live in Florida.  If you do not have a gun in your home, you are likely in the minority.  Even if you do not believe in the 2nd Amendment and think that no one should own a firearm, you MUST teach your children what to do if they come across a firearm.  The NRA offers advice on talking to your children about guns.  Your personal feelings about guns and the NRA don’t matter.  Speaking with your children about guns, and gun safety removes the mystery surrounding guns.  This will make your child less curious and more likely to follow the 4 basic rules below. If you want to keep your kids safe, you must educate them about what to do if they come across a gun at a friend’s house, in the playground, or anywhere else they may be.  The four steps recommended by the NRA are:

  1. Stop! (Take a moment to think about what you should do)
  2. Don’t Touch (Even if you think it may be a toy)
  3. Run Away (This removes the temptation to touch it and keeps you safe if someone else touches it.)
  4. Tell a Grown-up (Seek a trustworthy adult, neighbor, relative, teacher if your parent is not available)

Gun Safety Means Storing Your Firearms So Young Children Cannot Access Them!

Firearms must also be inaccessible to minors, not just for safety, but because it is the law.  Florida Statute § 790.174 requires that

(1) A person who stores or leaves, on a premise under his or her control, a loaded firearm, as defined in s. 790.001, and who knows or reasonably should know that a minor is likely to gain access to the firearm without the lawful permission of the minor’s parent or the person having charge of the minor, or without the supervision required by law, shall keep the firearm in a securely locked box or container or in a location which a reasonable person would believe to be secure or shall secure it with a trigger lock, except when the person is carrying the firearm on his or her body or within such close proximity thereto that he or she can retrieve and use it as easily and quickly as if he or she carried it on his or her body.

(2) It is a misdemeanor of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083, if a person violates subsection (1) by failing to store or leave a firearm in the required manner and as a result thereof a minor gains access to the firearm, without the lawful permission of the minor’s parent or the person having charge of the minor, and possesses or exhibits it, without the supervision required by law:

(a) In a public place; or

(b) In a rude, careless, angry, or threatening manner in violation of s. 790.10.

This subsection does not apply if the minor obtains the firearm as a result of an unlawful entry by any person.

1(3) As used in this act, the term “minor” means any person under the age of 16.

Gun Safety Also Means Keeping Firearms Out of the Hands of Criminals!

Firearm owners should also be concerned about their firearms being stolen.  Again, this is Florida.  Most Floridians have a gun in their car.  Thieves know that.  Cars are frequently broken into so that the thief can get their hands on a firearm.  Most people who have a firearm in their car leave the firearm in the unlocked glove box or center console when they leave their car in a parking lot, often failing to lock their car doors as well.  It is very easy to secure a firearm in a car.  There are companies that make center console safes, such as Console Vault, who even make a safe for motorcycles.  Thieves will typically just move on if you make it difficult to access your valuables, since most people leave these items easily accessible.  Further, it will be safe to leave your children in the car while you run into a store or safe to have others grab stuff from your car.  Finally, if you valet park, or bring your car in for repair, your firearm will remain safely inaccessible.

Owning a gun is a right, but it is also a responsibility. 

Those of us who choose to exercise our right to keep and bear arms need to do a better job being responsible with those firearms or we could all have our rights taken from us. The responsibility for gun safety lies with all of us who choose to carry a firearm. If it is not in your direct control, you are responsible to ensure it does not fall into the hands of a child who may accidently hurt themselves or other, or into the hands of a criminal who may commit crimes and intentionally injure others with the gun you failed to secure.

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