2009-05-27 / Top News

Gun safety emphasized by local trauma doctors

SPECIAL TO FLORIDA WEEKLY

COURTESY PHOTO A father teaching his son at a gun range how to handle a pistol safely and shoot accurately. COURTESY PHOTO A father teaching his son at a gun range how to handle a pistol safely and shoot accurately. With the recent shooting of a young child, surgeons from Lee Memorial Trauma Center want to remind parents about gun safety.

Between April 2008 and April 2009, the trauma team has treated 16 gunshot injuries of children between the ages of 2 and 18. With school coming to a close for the summer break, children will be at home and going over to friends' homes. According to federal statistics, there are guns in approximately half of all households. Even if you do not own a gun, it is possible that your child will come into contact with a gun at a neighbor's house, when playing with friends, or under other circumstances outside your home.

Talking openly and honestly with your child regarding gun safety is usually more effective than just ordering him or her to "Stay out of the gun closet." Explaining the rules and answering your child's questions will help remove the mystery surrounding guns. Any rules set for your child should also apply to friends who visit the home.

Teach children if they find a gun: stop, don't touch, leave the area, and tell an adult.

To ensure a safe home environment for your family:

• Store the gun unloaded. This includes the chamber, so look twice and make sure it is unloaded. Most accidental shootings occur because the person involved thought the gun was unloaded.

• Lock the gun and keep it out of reach of children

• Lock the ammunition and store it apart from the gun

• Store keys that you use to lock up the gun separately from household keys

• Make sure keys are kept out of the reach of children

BB guns are not toys and it is very easy to injure or even kill. Here are some important BB gun safety rules:

• Treat all guns as though they are loaded

• Never point your BB gun at anyone

• Check out local and federal laws and regulations

• Keep your finger off the trigger until you are ready to fire

• Do not fire the gun unless you know everything around the target

• BBs can ricochet. Be aware of the type of surface at which you are shooting. BBs can ricochet off of flat surfaces, hard surfaces and water.

• Do not allow minors to shoot any type of gun without direct adult supervision.

• Take a gun safety class.

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