7 Places to Find Gun Safety Training for Yourself and the Kids
Terry Nelson 09.27.18
How often do we need to revisit the topic of gun safety, especially when it comes to our kids? By the looks of weekly headlines from across the nation it appears the topic should never be put on the back burner. I provide training to adults on a regular basis including law enforcement and security. Even with the extensive level of training many of these officers have, I never fail to review gun safety at the onset of classes. Despite this, it is not uncommon to see safety violations of even the most basic rules. Fingers on triggers and poor muzzle control are the most commonly violated. How then can we as competent gun handlers pass the safety message along to kids if we cannot lead by example? Aside from keeping firearms out of the hands of those not authorized, especially children, we need to be good mentors for the younger generation.
So just to be clear, the cardinal rules are as follows;
- Treat every gun as if it were loaded
- Don’t let the muzzle cover anything you do not intend to destroy
- Keep your finger off the trigger until sights are on target and you are ready to shoot
- Be aware of your target and what lies beyond and around it.
Even though most of you reading this have a good understanding of gun safety and responsibility, the topic can never be overemphasized. Many times complacency and apathy are our worst enemies when it comes to responsible gun safety. Where can adults and kids that are new to shooting or are looking to obtain proper instruction find training on firearms safety, handling and marksmanship? The following resources will give you a starting point and are listed in no particular order;
Civilian Marksmanship Program:
The Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP) is a national organization and was created in 1903. It is dedicated to training and educating U.S. citizens in responsible uses of firearms and airguns through gun safety training, marksmanship training and competitions. The CMP organization places a high priority on youth programs as well as those for adults.
National Rifle Association:
The NRA has been around since 1871 and can provide a wide range of training opportunities for adults and youth when it comes to gun safety and beyond. For youth a good place to start is the “Eddie Eagle Gunsafe Program.”
Project Appleseed is yet another great organization dedicated to shooting, marksmanship and education that was founded in 2006. It offers many educational programs, the crown jewel of which is a two-day shooting course for both adults and youth with the unique twist of American heritage all rolled into one program.
National Shooting Sports Foundation:
Formed in 1961 this national organization is dedicated to “Promotion, Protection and Preserving” the shooting sports. They have an excellent program, “Project Child Safe” that is dedicated to children and firearms safety. Check it out at http://www.nssf.org/ http://www.projectchildsafe.org/safety/find-a-safety-kit
Hunter Education Programs:
These state-run programs are an excellent way to get the gun safety message across to kids, and most allow for parents or guardians to take the course along with the child. Even if you or the children are not hunters, the overlying theme of these programs is firearms safety. Check with your local State Game & Fish agencies or your county Cooperative Extension Service.
Concealed Carry Courses:
Most concealed carry licensing programs are overseen by individual states and carried out by permitted instructors. Although these courses are primarily designed for adults many will allow youth to attend with a guardian for educational purposes. The foundation of any viable cc course is gun safety. Check with your individual state to determine where and how these courses are available.
Private Training Companies:
There are hundreds of these across the nation. Gunsite Academy (Arizona), Sig Sauer Academy (New Hampshire) and Front Sight (Nevada) are but a few of the credible gun training facilities but may be problematic for some in that extensive travel and tuition are required. In reality there is most likely a small gun training company right in your area, check your local gun shop, they will often have a list of local trainers that are both credible and licensed.
These are but a few of the programs available to you and your children. I mention these only because I have had hands-on experience with them throughout my career. There are no doubt others in your local area. Some 4-H and Scouting programs also have shooting and gun safety training.
Please take gun safety and training seriously, for your sake and for those whom you are responsible. Safe gun handling, storage, training and education are responsibilities that we must never take for granted.