Talking gun safety with your kids

Published: Mar. 30, 2023 at 6:21 PM CDT
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FARGO, N.D. (Valley News Live) - Experts in the Valley are urging gun safety and storage tonight after a one-year-old Indiana boy was shot and killed earlier this week by his five-year-old brother.

Statistics show about one-third of children in the U.S. live in a home that also has a gun, and more than half of those kids know where that weapon is kept. That’s why experts say it’s vital to ensure those firearms are safely locked and stored.

“Safe storage of the weapon is our frontline saving grace,” Teresa Haider, the Outreach Educator with Sanford Health’s Safe Kids said.

14 states and Washington DC make unsafe storage a crime. Some of those states also require trigger locks accompany firearm purchases.

“You see it goes through the chamber where the ammunition or bullets would be so it can’t be fired,” Haider said as she showed off a trigger lock.

A Harvard study estimates more than 30 percent of unintentional firearm deaths and suicides in young people could have been prevented if guns were properly locked with the ammunition kept separately. Haider emphasizes only you should have access to the codes and keys to your safe.

“Children when they find a gun, they’re curious. They’re going to pick it up, and if it’s loaded, someone is going to get hurt,” Haider said. “Teenagers may be depressed. They may be under the influence of drugs or alcohol, and they may pick up the gun and use it in the wrong way.”

Haider adds it’s important to make sure your child is safe when outside of your home as well, and advises when your child goes to a friend’s house you should ask the parents if weapons are in the home and if they are stored safely.