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RPD: Gun safety tips

Talking to Children About Gun Safety

 Teach kids to follow these basic rules if they come into contact with a gun:

  • STOP!
  • Don't touch! 
  •  Remove yourself from the area 
  • Tell an adult 

Children must leave the area of where the gun is to avoid being harmed by someone who does not know to not handle it. A child as young as three years old may have enough finger strength to pull a trigger. 

Kids need to tell a trusted adult about a gun that has been found.

If You Have a Gun in Your Home

Many kids are raised with guns in their homes, particularly if hunting is part of family recreation. If you keep a gun in the home, it is important to teach your kids to act in a safe, responsible manner around the firearm. Talk openly and honestly about firearm safety with your children. 

The discussion must be age-appropriate and offer the child clear instructions about avoiding guns without adult supervision. Establishing rules and answering a child's questions helps remove the mystery surrounding guns. 

To ensure the safest environment for your family: 

  • Take ammunition out of the gun. 
  •  Lock the gun and keep it out of reach of children. 
  • Lock the ammunition and store it apart from the gun. 
  • Store the keys for the gun and the ammunition in a different area from where you store household keys and keep keys out of the reach of children. 
  • Lock up gun-cleaning supplies, which may be poisonous. 

If you own a gun or have one in your home that you want to dispose of, call 911 to voluntarily surrender the firearm to the Rochester Police Department (RPD). 

Gun safety does not end when your child leaves your home. Kids can still come in contact with a gun at a neighbor's house, when playing with friends or under other circumstances when away from home. 

Discuss gun safety with other family members or parents of friends if your child spends time in their homes. It may feel like an awkward conversation, but the person you ask will likely understand that you only have your child's best interests and safety in mind.