Teaching Kids Gun Safety with Air Rifles

Shooting enthusiasts of all ages recently came to Newton, North Carolina, for the 3rd Annual North Carolina Air Gun Show. Forty vendors set up 80 tables, testifying to the enduring popularity of air guns. American Legion Post 48 Air Rifle Team president Harry P. Flynn, Jr. told the Hickory Daily Record that the show serves an important role in teaching kids about gun responsibility and safety.

A new air rifle or BB gun gives parents an opportunity to teach children some basic lessons about firearm safety and responsible gun handling.

Know Your Gun Before You Buy Your Kid One

Air gun safety for kids starts with parents. Before you teach your child gun safety principles, you should refresh your memory and review firearm handling basics. Learning how to handle the specific model your child will be using will help you be a more effective teacher.

Suppliers such as Cabela’s offer a wide variety of air gun models from pistols to rifles that you can select from. Decide which type of gun you want your child to learn from, and then invest some time reviewing the safety basics and shooting mechanics with your selected model.

Always Point the Muzzle in a Safe Direction

Leading manufacturer Daisy says the first air gun safety rule is to always keep the muzzle of a gun pointed in a safe direction. What constitutes a safe direction varies with the situation, but a few basic principles are universal.

First, the person holding the gun should always make sure it’s not pointing at their own feet or another part of their body. The gun holder should normally hold the gun pointed at the ground slightly to their side so it’s not aimed at their feet.

Second, never point the gun in the direction of another person. This includes pointing in a direction where you suspect someone might be but aren’t sure. When in doubt, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Following this rule will prevent a large percentage of gun accidents, so make sure children learn this rule first.

Assume All Guns Are Loaded

A second important safety principle children should learn is to always treat guns as if they are loaded. Never assume a gun is empty when you first receive it from another person or take it out of storage. You never know who might have been handling a gun before you.

Never take someone else’s word for it that a gun is empty. Even if you’ve fired a gun and the barrel hasn’t discharged any pellets or BBs, the gun may have failed to feed, and there may be more ammunition in the magazine. Always check for yourself to see if a gun is loaded.

Only Load or Cock a Gun When You’re Ready to Shoot

A third safety rule children should learn is that a gun should only be loaded or cocked when it’s ready to shoot. Leaving a loaded gun around increases the risk of accidents and injuries.

Touching the trigger of a gun unnecessarily also increases safety risks. Teach children to pick up a gun with their finger outside the trigger guard instead of on the trigger. When you notice an actor in a movie doing this incorrectly, point it out and ask your child which safety rule the actor violated.

Check Your Target and Beyond

A fourth important rule children should learn is to always check their target as well as beyond their target. Make sure no persons are in the target area. Check behind the target area as well to make sure there are no people or objects that could be hurt or damaged by a stray shot.