Yes, another IGOTD prison guard story. This time out, it’s her indoors: the correction officer’s wife. “The 15-year-old son of a correction officer is facing charges after he accidently shot his friend in the stomach with his mother’s gun in Brooklyn Saturday,” nydailynews.com reports. “The teen was hosting friends inside his Flatlands home when he cracked the safe that housed his mother’s 9-mm. pistol . . . The young man was taken to Kings County Hospital, where he is in critical condition. ‘There was blood flowing all over his stomach,’ said a neighbor. ‘It was terrible.'” Yes, it is. Terrible that a member of law enforcement and/or his better half didn’t think to teach their teenage son about gun safety. A failure which highlights a common yet fundamentally flawed firearms safety philosophy: a locked gun is a safe gun. Hint: there’s no such thing as a safe gun . . .
Locking guns away is an excellent idea. It greatly reduces the chances of a negligent discharge by an “unauthorized” person, including children and criminals. But it doesn’t remove the possibility that a tragedy can occur. The only way to do that: remove firearms from the house entirely. Only not really, as there are firearms in other people’s houses. And elsewhere.
Worse, locking up a gun can be an incentive to children to play with them; a challenge not entirely dissimilar to unlocking a secret level in a video game. And kids are clever. (Genetics alone tells us they’re likely to be at least as smart as you are.) They will find a way to “crack” a safe or copy a key. And, lest we forget, it’s also possible that you will forget to secure the safe.
The only reliable firearms safety system sits between the ears of anyone who comes into contact with a firearm. Time and time again, a negligent discharge by a child—leading to serious injury or death—could have been avoided if they’d known they had to remove the magazine and clear the chamber to make it safe. As well as never pointing the gun at anyone ever. And keeping their finger off the trigger until it’s time to shoot.
But no, it’s Eddy the Eagle (don’t touch a gun ever) or nothing.
SHOCK! HORROR! Teaching a child proper gun handling skills! Won’t that encourage them to play with guns? Maybe. Maybe not. I have two children who know gun handling skills and safety who want nothing to do with them (and two that do). But if they were somewhere where firearms horseplay began, they’d know what to do. Isn’t that the best possible safety system?