In a one-hour special, hidden cameras reveal shocking examples of what children do when left alone with a gun in the house. “Young Guns,” a “20/20″ report, airs Friday, January 31 at 10:00 p.m., ET on the ABC Television Network. ABC Anchors Diane Sawyer and David Muir explore the issue of kids and guns in interviews across America with parents who expose their young children to guns to demystify them, and parents who believe a gun is only secure from kids when it is in a safe.
Sawyer goes to a New Jersey neighborhood to talk to families about their attitudes on gun safety in the home. She also finds out whether or not they know if their neighbors have any unsecured guns and if this factor could pose a risk to their child during play dates.
The special includes interviews with parents who have lost their children to unsecured guns in their own home or at their neighbor’s house, and kids who surprise their parents by showing them where guns are “hidden.”
I do not currently own any guns, but for most of my adult life I kept a loaded gun in my house. This includes those times that my kids were either living or visiting with me. I owned at least one firearm from the age of 14 until a few years ago. The sole exception was the period of time when I live in Germany. I was never really a hunter, but at various times I owned a shotgun, a hunting rifle, a couple .22 rifles and three pistols. I even carried guns legally as part of my employment.
I taught my kids about gun safety. I told them if they saw a gun they should not touch it and tell an adult. But they knew I owned guns because I showed my guns to them.
I let them handle my guns (under my supervision) and took them to the range and let them fire them. I didn’t tell them where I kept them but I told them if they ever wanted to see my guns, hold them or shoot them, all they had to do was ask.
There was never any problem.
Like I said, I don’t currently own any guns. But both now and in the past I have possessed many dangerous things. Right now in my garage there is gasoline, pesticides, bleach, cleaning products and many other toxic substances. In my kitchen I have a wooden block filled with very sharp Cutco knives sitting openly on the counter.
I also have matches, liquor, power tools, prescription and OTC medications, electrical outlets, stove burners, electrical appliances, as well as a large assortment of other potentially dangerous objects. I don’t own a pool, which is one of the few hazards I have never owned. I currently live on a cul-de-sac, but there have always been moving vehicles passing by or near my children on a regular basis their entire lives.
I guess I am an unfit parent, but luckily my children survived to adulthood with only minimal injuries and a few minor scars.
The National Rifle Association (NRA) is the largest organization of gun owners in the world. You wouldn’t know it from ABC News but the NRA emphasizes gun safety. They even sponsor classes on the subject, for both adults and children.
Here are the NRA’s three fundamental rules of safe gun handling:
1. ALWAYS keep the gun pointed in a safe direction.
This is the primary rule of gun safety. A safe direction means that the gun is pointed so that even if it were to go off it would not cause injury or damage. The key to this rule is to control where the muzzle or front end of the barrel is pointed at all times. Common sense dictates the safest direction, depending on different circumstances.
2. ALWAYS keep your finger off the trigger until ready to shoot.
When holding a gun, rest your finger on the trigger guard or along the side of the gun. Until you are actually ready to fire, do not touch the trigger.
3. ALWAYS keep the gun unloaded until ready to use.
Whenever you pick up a gun, immediately engage the safety device if possible, and, if the gun has a magazine, remove it before opening the action and looking into the chamber(s) which should be clear of ammunition. If you do not know how to open the action or inspect the chamber(s), leave the gun alone and get help from someone who does.
I’ll give the final word to Dana Loesch: