Gun ownership opens up many avenues for activities and hobbies, but it also comes with significant responsibility. Gun safety is a top priority for every gun owner, and every member of their family. Roughly 30% of adult Americans own a gun, and 60% of adult Americans say they have friends who keep a gun in their home. The responsibility to keep ourselves and children safe around firearms belongs to all of us.

Top tips for gun safety in the home:

  1. Talk to kids about gun safety early. With so many gun owners, your child may encounter a gun in a friend or family member’s house. You can remove some of the mystery a gun may have by explaining to kids what a gun is, how it works, and how to stay safe. One critical message for all children is that guns are not toys and they can hurt people.
  2. Invest in a safe storage place. Hiding a gun in a closet or drawer doesn’t make it safe. Use a locked cabinet, safe, or storage case, to ensure children and others cannot accidentally come in contact with the gun. Ammunition should also be stored in a secured location, separate from the gun.
  3. Treat every gun like it is a loaded gun. That means keeping the muzzle pointed down or in a safe direction, keep your finger off of the trigger and outside of the trigger guard. Always use caution when handling a gun, and wear appropriate ear and eye protection.

Most gun-related accidents occur at home, and are usually the result of improper storage of the gun(s). Firearms are the second leading cause of injury-related deaths in children; every gun owner can help reduce that statistic by making sure their gun is secured properly when not in use.

No matter what activity you use your gun for, personal safety should be prioritized at all times. Gun owners, homeowners, and landowners can all be held liable for firearms injuries. Some insurance (such as liability insurance) are designed to cover firearm use, theft of a personal firearm, or accidental discharge of a firearm.

As a personal injury lawyer with more than 38 years of experience, I have seen the consequences of guns that are improperly stored or secured. If you keep a gun at home, take the right steps to safely store yet accessible when you need it. If you’re a parent, whether or not you choose to keep a gun in your home, talk to your kids about gun safety today.