Firearms and Your Child: Safety Tips When You Have a New Firearm in the Home

Recreation & Sports Blog

With around 2.6 million registered firearms throughout Australia, there's no doubt that many homes have both firearms and children. Whilst many children have grown up with firearms in the home and have been taught all about safety around firearms, parents with new firearms in the home may not have put these practises into effect yet. When it comes to firearm safety with children, the right time to start is right now. Here's what you should know about keeping your children safe whilst a firearm is in the home.

When Your Child Sees a Firearm: The Rule of Three

Whilst the firearm should always be locked away well out of your child's reach, it's always best to prepare for emergency situations in which your child comes in contact with it unsupervised. Teach your children that when they see a firearm, they should follow the rule of three: 

  1. Don't touch or handle the firearm in any way
  2. Leave the room straight away
  3. Tell a parent or another adult where the firearm is located

Rehearse this rule of three with your child repeatedly until they can recite it to you. In the unlikely event that they come in contact with your firearm whilst you're not there, their training will take over and they won't be tempted to play with it.

Simple Safety Tips 

The following safety tips are important for anyone who keeps firearms in the home, but they take on extra importance when it comes to protecting your children's safety. Always do the following for both safety and peace of mind. 

  • Always remove ammunition from firearms after use
  • Don't just hide the firearm away, lock it away well out of reach
  • Store ammunition in a separate area from the firearm
  • Hide the keys that unlock the firearm and the ammunition in an area that your children can't reach

If Your Child is Learning to Use Firearms 

If you plan to teach your child to use the new firearm -- for example, if you enjoy target practise or hunting and want to share that with your child -- it's important to start with safety education before a gun is ever fired. Make certain that your child has a healthy respect for firearms, and that they understand the firearm is something that's only to be handled whilst you're with them -- no exceptions. 

Firearms and children can go together more easily than many people imagine -- as long as parents are responsible and diligent about safety. When you bring your new firearms into the home, start with safety first and you'll have a great beginning!


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