Gun Safety: keeping Georgia's children safe

Published: Oct. 10, 2012 at 7:32 PM EDT|Updated: Oct. 11, 2012 at 5:32 AM EDT
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(WTVM) - By Ron Scroggy, Director of DHS' Division of Family & Children Services

Each year, Georgia's hunters look forward to the cooler weather and turning leaves of the fall as they mark the opening days of dove, deer and duck season.

While guns are an integral part of game hunting, unless managed safely, guns can present dangers to children. Adults can follow a few important safety guidelines to prevent unintentional injuries and even death for children in Georgia.

The best way to prevent unintentional firearm injuries to a child is to not have a gun in a home where a child lives or plays. If this is not possible, the following precautions should be followed:

Make Sure Guns are Locked Away From Children

Ammunition should be removed from guns before putting them away. Unloaded guns should be locked in a location that is not easily accessible to children.

Store Guns and Ammunition Separately

In addition to locking guns in a secured location, ammunition should also be locked in a secured location and the two should be stored in separate place. Separating them reduces the likelihood a child could find both and load the weapon.

Hide the Keys

Children can be curious about guns and want to look at them or hold them when an adult is not present. The best way to prevent this is to hide the keys in a locked safe or in a location inaccessible to the child.

Teach Children that Guns are "Hands Off"

Teach children not to touch a gun starting at the youngest age possible. As children mature into young adults, gun safety and hunter safety classes can be accessed to teach age-appropriate youth about operating a gun responsibly.

Until that time, children should be taught to tell an adult if they see a gun and to never touch a gun.

Unintentional injuries account for a large percentage of injuries and deaths to Georgia's children. Encourage conversation with your neighbors so that every Georgian knows what s/he can do to keep our children safe. Let's do all we can to prevent these unintentional injuries and deaths. It is our responsibility.