Mikey had told his dad that we had a gun hanging on the wall and his dad wanted to make sure everything was safe. He was hesitant in asking but I assured him that it was a great question.
Mikey was following the simple safety rules of the NRA's Eddie Eagle Gunsafe® Program designed to protect children who encounter firearms.
The rules are: STOP! Don't Touch. Run Away. Tell A Grown-up.
The NRA says that in its more than 30-year history, Eddie Eagle Gunsafe® has taught over 32 million children how to stay safe if they ever find a gun.
So I was happy to tell Mikey's dad that the pistol on the wall was a replica of a Colt 1851 Navy revolver, was not loaded, and that I had no powder, balls or percussion caps without which it could not be fired.
So while this was a good example of how the program should work, it made me realize the importance of teaching a child how to react when seeing or discovering a gun.
My children had also been instructed how to act but the call from Mikey's dad reminded me that there was more that I, as a parent, should be doing.
An additional vital and proactive step is for parents to inquire whether there were firearms in the home where their children would be playing.
The NRA addresses this, saying, "There are lots of questions when meeting new parents: Do you have a swimming pool? Will you be home? Any food allergies? But often it's not the norm to discuss if there are firearms in the home."
The issue has also been explored in mainstream media, with TODAY recently reporting on how to ask parents about guns in the house.
Parenting expert Jo Frost, formerly of the television series “Supernanny," recommended that parents be straightforward and honest.
"For example, they could say, 'I just want to ask if you if have guns; I’d just like to know the answer to that question.
"If the answer is yes, a good follow-up question might be: 'Is the gun safely locked away?' It’s then ultimately up to a parent to decide what to do with that information — and whether to allow their child to visit that friend’s home," Frost said.
Gatling Gun Rescue™ is all about gun safety. If you have a gun that is not stored safely or maintained properly, we will be glad to find it a new home.
- Dr. Gatling