Briefing Room: Forbidden Fruit

I grew up in a home where firearms were readily accessible. Some were always loaded, some were not. Indeed, my bedroom was where Dad kept all the firearms, with the exception of his pistols. I never felt any unusual fascination with them. They were just there.

However, I knew exactly what was in the drawers of Dad’s dresser. Chances are you did too. All youngsters are naturally inquisitive—especially about things that are hidden.

Although unaware of it, three-year-old Austin Hansen has already learned and practices Rule Three.

Today, we live in a world where guns are hidden, locked up or both. It is my belief that this attitude may contribute to tragic accidents with firearms. I liken it to the Forbidden Fruti, because kids naturally want to see and touch things they have been told they cannot see or touch—kids will find it!

If a firearm has been strictly off limits, it only takes one negligent moment to cause a tragedy.

Let’s say you have just come home from the range. Your wife tells you dinner is waiting and getting cold. You place your carry piece on the bed—fully intending to secure it in the safe in a few minutes—and go into the bathroom to wash up. You’re barely aware of the fact that Little Johnny has followed you. Of course, since you always keep your guns hidden, Little Johnny has never seen—except on TV—the strange-looking piece of black plastic and metal.

When a sudden loud “BANG!” comes from the bedroom, the blood drains from your face and your heart stops beating.

Fortunately, the only thing that has been irreparably harmed is your flatscreen TV.

Instead of keeping guns a mystery, I think all firearms owners who live with children should make them aware of a firearm’s intrinsic power. When quite young, I demonstrated this to my kids using overripe watermelons and a shotgun.

I also started teaching my children and grandchildren firearms safety as soon as they were old enough to hold a firearm. In the accompanying un-posed photo of my grandson Austin when he was three years old, his little trigger finger is straight and outside the trigger of his toy gun.

When old enough and if they show interest, take your kids to the range and let them shoot a .22. You will not only have some quality time away from the TV, but you’ll also be taking the mystery out of one of our favorite pastimes.

Until next time, stay low and watch your back.

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