Gun Movement Blocks Gun Safety Education

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[Op-Ed: Need For Gun Safety Education]

I hope the distressing story below is part of your concern about firearm accidents.

"Boy, 12, accidentally shot in head after gun discharges"

A 12-year-old boy was accidentally shot and critically injured at the home of a relative in Bartlett just before noon Saturday.

The boy, whose identity was not released, was taken to Le Bonheur Children's Medical Center in critical condition.

A 16-year-old boy, a relative of the victim, was charged with juvenile in possession of a handgun and taken to Juvenile Court.

About 11:50 a.m. Saturday, Bartlett police and paramedics responded to a report of a shooting at 6747 Kirby Lakes. Police determined the victim, the 16-year-old, and a 13-year-old friend were upstairs in the residence on Kirby Lakes where the 16-year-old was showing a handgun to the other juveniles.

After the older boy laid the gun down, the 12-year-old victim picked it up. It somehow discharged, police said, striking him in the head. A 9-millimeter handgun was taken from the residence.

Police said Sunday the investigation was continuing, and that further information would be released when it becomes available. They did not say who the handgun belonged to.

I am a firearm safety instructor and also teach conceal carry for the states of Utah and Arizona and consider myself well-versed in this subject. "Accidents" like this do not happen when safe firearm discipline is used. These are not accidents, they are negligent acts. But negligent on the part of the person handling the gun and not necessarily the owner of the gun. Once a gun ends up in the hands of an unauthorized person, for whatever reason, common sense and education must take over.

Would a person educated in firearm safety pick up a firearm, point it at himself and then pull the trigger?

It is insane to assume that the gun "somehow discharged". It discharged and someone was shot because firearm safety rules were not followed.

I place full blame and responsibility for firearm accidents, especially against children, on the shoulders of the gun control movement who have taken firearm safety education out of the realm of public discourse.

When I was 12 years old I knew that I should treat all guns as if they are loaded, and not to point the weapon at anyone, including myself. This is fundamental.

These are only two of the basic rules that anyone can learn. Since most parents don't own guns firearm safety should be taught in all schools that teach health related subjects. Arizona has had this as part of state law for 2 years now.

Of course, in the story above, the 16 year old was in violation of federal law by possessing a firearm, but in any event both boys should have been armed with the knowledge of firearm safety rules. Whether it is a handgun or a BB gun the same rules apply.

Society has a responsibility to encourage education as much as each gun owner needs to secure their firearms from unauthorized access.

I got into the business of firearm safety education because something needed to be done that is effective in saving lives from firearm misuse and ignorance. Reading the stories like the one above is heartbreaking to me when I know how easily it could have been prevented.

There has never been a case in the news where someone died from an "accidental" gun shot that was not a violation of safety rules. Please consider pointing this out in future articles.

Capt. Dennis Jackson

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