By Sam Hoober, Alien Gear Holsters
There are a few constants when it comes to gun safety. Obviously, the 4 Rules of Gun Safety are paramount when it comes to handling and for shooting. Carrying in an appropriate concealed carry holster is another.
Another is that you need a gun safe for storing firearms, whether you use or carry it on a regular basis or not. This is especially important if you have children in the house, and I don’t just mean toddlers.
In point of fact, the 4 years and under crowd are at less risk than you might think or that some people might purport. While accidental shootings and homicides of the very young are certainly heinous, it’s actually teenagers that are the highest risk.
The most recent National Vital Statistics Survey on mortality from the CDC (the most recent data is from 2014; it’s here in PDF) indicate that accidental shootings only accounted for a few dozen deaths of those 14 years of age or younger. (Scroll down to page 44.) Fewer than 50 occurred in the 0-1, 1-4 and 5-14 age groups died to accidental gunshot in that year; overall, only 6 occurred in the 0-1 age group and 71 in the 1-4 age group. No suicides by firearm were recorded for the 0-1 and 1-4 age groups.
However, the 5-14 age group recorded 26 accidental deaths by gunshot, 173 homicides by gunshot and 174 suicides by firearm. The 15-24 age group accounted for 109 accidental fatal shootings, 2,280 suicides by firearm and 3,614 homicides by firearm.
Why am I bringing this up? (I’ve certainly written about it before.) Well, it’s actually topical.
You may have heard/seen/read about a school shooting committed a day or two ago in Rockford, Washington. It’s a tiny farm town (I’ve passed through once or twice; I live about 30 miles away) in dryland wheat country. While this incident too shall pass from the national consciousness – all but the most heinous of school shootings eventually do, rightly or wrongly – its shaken a lot of people out here.
The shooter – I won’t write his name – had multiple firearms on him when he committed his crimes. Where did he get them? According to ABC, from home. Specifically, from his father’s safe, which leads to the next point:
You should err on the side of caution regarding access. This is also why it’s recommended guns not be stored loaded and ammunition be locked away separately. In case someone can get to the one, they can’t get to the other.
If there’s one thing I happen to agree with the Everytown foundation on, it’s that safe storage and otherwise barring children from accessing guns and ammunition – unless they’ve received adequate instruction or only do so with adult supervision – can save lives, both in terms of accidental shootings and school shootings.
What’s already happened on social media and in comments sections around the internet is the “if it wasn’t a gun-free zone” argument. Perhaps that misses the bigger picture.
It would seem more prudent to determine what can stop such an event before it happens. The historical record indicates there’s no way to do so completely; acts of this nature have been happening for much longer than the news media would indicate as records of school shootings in this country go back to the early 19th century. What, then, can reduce the numbers of such incidents that do happen?
Whether allowing teachers to carry would have prevented the incident…I don’t think I or anyone else can say to a certainty that it would. It might stop an incident in its tracks, but just like a fire extinguisher, a carry gun stops an event in-progress; it doesn’t keep one from happening.
However, what’s a good first step? Guns that are securely locked away when not in use, and access to them being as restricted as possible.
Sam Hoober is Contributing Editor for AlienGearHolsters.com, a subsidiary of Hayden, ID, based Tedder Industries, where he writes about gun accessories, gun safety, open and concealed carry tips. Click here to visit aliengearholsters.com.