Why Gun Safety is More Important than Gun Control

Trevor Wickstrom, Staff Reporter

Inadequate parents and unobservant people give guns a bad reputation.

For example, in recent news, a elementary child was carrying a gun, when it fell out of their backpack.  Another child discharged the firearm, causing a bullet to strike the child who brought the weapon.  The kid survived, but may have lifelong complications.

If this was an isolated incident, it would be bad enough.  But news stories about small kids getting a hold of handguns especially reached double digits in both 2015 and 2016, and many of those stories involved family members or the child themselves being wounded or killed.

Any reasonable person can agree that kids should not be playing with loose firearms; but more kids actually die every year in America by drowning (sometimes in as little water as a 5 gallon bucket), often because nobody is supervising them properly.

Why does any elementary student have access to a gun?  If the parents had been more observant and cautious about their children being around weapons, there would have been a much better chance of this not happening.

And because stories like this get a lot of play in the media, responsible gun owners once again look bad.  Because while this has to do with a child getting a hold of a gun and another child getting injured, most of the pro-gun control advocates will blame the gun, and only focus on the fact that the child has a gun. Not the fact that the parents weren’t cautious enough about their weapons.

In other words, this is not about gun control–it is more about poor parenting.

A child that has been taught the responsibility that goes along with firearms and the seriousness of weapons, SHOULD know that they’re not a toy. 

If a child has mental disorders, parents or family members should be especially careful and observant of the child or adult around weapons of any kind. Guns getting into the hands of school shooters and children is frequently due to inadequate safety precautions-they aren’t buying them on the black market, they are bringing them from home (as we have seen here at Indian River, in fact).

Although I’m not in favor of more gun control laws (especially here in NY, which has the longest list of restrictions in the nation), I believe there needs to be more seminars or training sessions for gun owners and their children, due to the sole fact that apparently a lot of parents do not teach proper gun safety.

Guns are not the real issue when a child brings a gun to school. The issue is people that fail to respect the tool for what it is. A very dangerous thing that can take a life in an instant, before you even realize.

Personally, I think everyone should have to go through a gun safety class, whether there are guns in their family or not–but especially if there are. Maybe through school or a youth group, to teach responsibility and respect of firearms.

It is tragic to see children not knowing the seriousness of firearms and the damage they can cause If not respected. And it’s up to adults to teach how great and fun guns can be but with the respect that it needs.

*The above is the opinion of the author and does not necessarily represent any other students, staff, or administrators at Indian River High School.*