When Prevent Child Abuse Gaston decided to take on this topic, there was much discussion about from what perspective we would approach it. We decided to distribute information about the actual North Carolina law about maintaining firearms in a home with children. Our committee consisted of Captain Chris Lowrance, Gaston County Police Department; Erin Farmer, The Alliance for Children and Youth; Shannon Childress, Holy Angels; Gus Anthony, Attorney; Skip Norman, Gaston County Department of Health and Human Services and Sgt. Scott Norton, Gastonia Police Department. After reviewing several brochures, several gun safety programs and public service campaigns, we decided to use the same information developed by the North Carolina Child Fatality Task Force and Safe Kids North Carolina.
We do not advocate for or against the possession of guns, any kind of gun. What we want to make the public aware is there are laws to keep children safe in a home with a gun and those laws exist for a reason. The North Carolina law states:
“The owner or possessor of a gun must not store or leave the firearm in a condition that could be accessed and discharged by a minor who resides in the house of the gun owner. A minor is a person who is under 18 years of age. Make sure you understand and follows all laws regarding firearm safety.
(NC General Statute 14-315.1)
STORE ALL GUNS SAFELY – Store firearms out of the reach of children and other unauthorized users. Keep them unloaded and with the ammunition stored in a separate location.”
What we have found is at festivals and any event where we have our rack cards displayed and available for the general public, one of the first cards picked up and read right there in front of our booth is our rack card on gun safety – How Safe is Your Child Around Guns? The fact is, no child is safe around a gun unless they are supervised and educated on how to handle seeing a gun. Children should be taught to respect a firearm, tell an adult if they see one and to leave the firearm alone.
We call it the Three Ts:
When you see a gun –
- Turn around
- Tell an adult
- Talk about it
Communication and proper education are critical to the safety of children around guns.
Next month’s blog will be about the Gaston County ACES Coalition.