Ending The Tragedy Of 'Family Fire'
North American Precis Syndicate
Proper precautions and gun safety smarts can prevent the tragedy of family fire accidents. (NAPS)
(NAPSI)—On the battlefield, one of the greatest tragedies is
“friendly fire,” and the military does everything in its power to
avoid these incidents through rigorous training, constant communication, and
a deadly serious focus on the safe use of weapons. All Americans would be
wise to look to our military professionals as an example of how to solve the
tragedy of “family fire” in this country.
Nearly 3,000 kids are shot every year by guns that come from within our
homes. While these tragedies are hard to think about, there is much we can do
to keep our families safe.
As a Marine Corps combat veteran and lifelong gun owner, I enjoy firearms
and marksmanship. Guns are a big part of military culture. Many of my
civilian friends also enjoy shooting, and all of us are alarmed by the number
of gun deaths each year in America. What is especially hard for me to
understand are the preventable deaths caused by negligent gun owners who
improperly store their firearms. Family fire rips apart families and shatters
whole communities, and so much more can be done to stop it.
We shouldn’t need legislation to know what’s sensible to keep
our families and loved ones safe. Responsible gun owners realize that proper
storage of weapons saves lives and it’s our duty to keep firearms out
of the wrong hands. Can we agree it’s our job to do everything we can
to keep kids safe?
Ending “Family Fire”
Eight kids are unintentionally shot by a gun every day. Since September
11, 2001, nearly 57,000 kids have been killed or injured by firearms. This is
almost the same number as servicemembers who have been killed and wounded in
action in Iraq and Afghanistan over the past 17 years of war.
Gun owners who don’t properly secure their weapons cause those
incidents. As someone who has undergone extensive weapons and safety training
while in the military, I’m shocked and appalled that today there are
1.7 million American homes with kids living with unsecured, loaded guns. Each
of these families is living a hair’s breadth away from tragedy.
What Every Gun Owner Can Do
Fortunately, unintentional shootings in the home are largely preventable
through safe gun storage. Parents, veterans and all gun owners can do our
part to keep families and communities safe. Here are some proven ways we can
1. Just as in the military, our guns should be unloaded when not in use
and locked up in a safe, gun vault or storage case that’s inaccessible
2. Store ammunition in a secure location away from your firearms.
3. Ensure you also secure the combination or keys to your safe(s),
vault(s) or case(s).
4. Teach kids firearm responsibility and safety. Guns are not toys. They
are deadly weapons designed to stop beating hearts. If your kids see a gun
lying around, teach them not to touch it and to tell an adult.
5. Kids should never use a gun without adult supervision. (If your child
has friends visiting, it’s always best to get their parents’
6. If your child is visiting a friend’s home, ask the parent(s) if
they have guns in the home and how they are stored.
7. Never assume kids don’t know where guns are stored in the home.
They always do.
In the Marine Corps, we had a saying that every time we lost a Marine to a
preventable incident, we did the enemies’ job for them. Remember, there
are no “accidents” with firearms—there is only negligence.
Keep your families safe by keeping your guns secure.
You can learn more about preventing gun accidents from the experts at www.EndFamilyFire.org.
Joe Plenzler is a retired Marine
Corps lieutenant colonel and combat veteran of the wars in Iraq and
Afghanistan. He is a gun owner and avid shooter.
“Nearly 3,000 kids are shot every
year by guns that come from our homes. To keep American families safe, say
veterans, hunters, law enforcement, clergy and parents, keep guns
secured—unloaded and locked up safely. www.EndFamilyFire.org.
On the Net:North American Precis Syndicate, Inc.(NAPSI)