Training is a great way to have fun, vent some stress and stay sharp, but underneath it all, most of us train to stay safe. While committing to a life long journey of learning is commendable, we often forget about others in our family when it comes to firearms training.
Please don’t misunderstand what I am saying. I am not advocating sending your five year old to SWAT School, What I am saying is whether or not you keep firearms in your home, your entire family should be trained in firearms safety. In my opinion, your family should be trained at a minimum of two areas. The first is how firearms operate, how to handle firearms safely and what to do should you come across one. The second area is especially important for persons who carry a concealed firearm. Your family needs a plan on what to do should you get into a situation where you draw your weapon to engage a threat. Let’s look at issue each further.
“Child find hidden guns and accidentally shoots friend”. We have all read headlines like this. The real tragedy of this is it is very preventable through education. When I speak with people about the concept of teaching kids about firearms, I often see a grimace on their face. The reality is that you cannot eliminate the chance your child will come into contact with a firearm. You can however teach them what to do in the event they come across one.
I want to share a story with you. When I was a child, I was out running around the neighborhood with a friend. The city was doing some heavy construction on the roadway and there were lots of cool equipment around with no adults watching it. There was a huge backhoe with an open cab sitting right there. What kid could resist that temptation? Without a second thought, I climbed into the operator’s seat and started looking at all of the controls. With no motivation other then curiosity, I pulled one of the levers and the bucket came slamming down to the ground. Scared didn’t cover how I felt. I jumped out of that backhoe and ran so fast my sneakers nearly came off. That situation ended fine. There was no damage to person or property, but there very easily could have been. When I look back, I wonder why I pulled that lever. The truth is I wanted to know what it would do. The same very situation is what gets kids hurt and killed every year. If I had known that the machine’s massive arm would move so fast and hit the ground, I would not have touched it.
Growing up, my father taught me about guns. I knew how they worked. I was able to field strip, clean and put them back together faster them most adults. He also taught me have dangerous they could be in the hands of someone careless or inexperienced. Had I come across a firearm as a kid, there would not be a mystery to solve, or desire to play with it. I would get away and call an adult. That was my father’s goal and it, in addition to storing firearms properly; it should be everyone’s. 50% of households in the United States have firearms in them, not all of those households are responsible gun owners. So teaching your children firearm safety takes care of two things, taking the “Curiosity That Killed The Cat” out of the equation and keeps them safe. You teach your children how to look both ways before crossing a street so a car doesn’t hit them, so then why not teach firearm safety?
We offer a free "Childrens Firearms Safety Course" a couple of times during the year. There are also many sources such as the NRA that have kids training programs available. You can also ask the Police Department of the twon you live in if they have a program for kids. You should take this course along with your kids because it is important to learn yourself so you can take this knowledge and reinforce it at home.
If you have questions, please contact me or another staff member. We will be glad to help provide you with more information.
Now let’s set the stage for the next, family concern. You are out an about with your family. You come across a situation that forces you to take action. There is no chance of avoiding it or running away. You draw your firearm and start engaging the threat as you were trained. In the meantime, your wife (or husband) and children are standing next to you in complete shock, frozen solid with fear.
Your family just reacted the same as anyone would without training. They did nothing. In this situation, nothing could get them killed. We should all take a look at our family situation, and our level of training. Then make a plan for a coordinated response to a threat. Share that plan with your family and practice it until it is reflexive. I would love to provide you with that plan, but everyone’s situation will call for different action.
As you are training with our instructors feel free to engage them with this question. Dynamics such as physical or mental disabilities of yourself or family members, age of family members and level of training and equipment will all help you form a solid plan. For instance, I know all of my students always carry a light. But do your other family members? How are they going to run away or navigate a dark unknown area if you get separated? Where would you meet? If your family calls 911, do they know to tell them you are armed and provide your clothing description to avoid friendly fire by responding police?
I strongly believe these concepts are important to the overall safety of your family. I encourage all of you to take on the responsibility to ensure they are ready. As always, Applied Protection Concepts and Bridgeport shooting Range is here to help.