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All children should be taught The Four Rules of Gun Safety as soon as possible. If sprogs understand and appreciate the One Rule to Rule Them All — keep all guns pointed in a safe direction — they stand an excellent chance of avoiding firearms-related injury. And death. This lad did not . . .

A 10-year-old Wisconsin boy shot and killed his brother while playing “cops and robbers” with his father’s loaded rifle, according to police.

The unidentified boy in rural Loganville and two other kids were playing around on Tuesday morning before their game turned deadly, Sauk County Sheriff Chip Meister said.

He said the playmates thought the weapon was unloaded when the 10-year-old pointed at his 14-year-old brother and fired.

The gun’s magazine was removed, but a bullet left in the chamber struck the brother in the chest. He died at the scene.

The piece ends by quoting stats from their anti-ballistic brethren at Everytown for Gun Safety. I’ll end this piece by saying that the Four Rules are not enough. All due respect to Eddie Eagle’s lessons for smaller kids, children of a certain age should be taught how to check a firearm ASAP to make sure it’s clear and safe.

Because you can’t be too careful with a gun. And competent gun handling begins with safety checking a firearm. It’s the first thing you should do when you pick up a gun. And the last thing you should do before you store it. Lest something like this happens.

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  1. Gus for beginners? I didn’t begin with Gus, that’s for damned sure, although there was this time at Band Camp…….

  2. Uh, no. My kids know not to touch a gun that they happen across, but to tell an adult. Or if there are littler kids around, to put it on a high shelf and leave it alone. Even adults, competent gun handlers have ND’s, often while unloading. Best for kids to just stay hands off.

    • If a kid managed to disarm a gunman it would be good to know how to unload it so that if the gunman manages to reacquire it the gun would be useless.

      • Point it at the bad guy, pull the trigger until it clicks, then give it back to him and leave the area.

  3. Damn. What a tragedy.

    It’s easy to say in hindsight that the gun should have been either unloaded or locked up. Apparently those boys weren’t as mature as Mom and Dad thought they were.

  4. My wife shoots. Not nearly as much as I’d like and she doesn’t train manipulation like I’d like but whenever we do head to the range or she goes to retrieve a firearm for whatever reason she always asks “I this one loaded?” My response: “you tell me.”

    It should be second nature for everyone to check the status of a firearm you’re about to handle. Picking up a gun? Check its status. Somebody hands you a gun? Check it’s status. About to clean a gun? Check its status. Holstering at the start of your day? Check its status. Removing at the end of the day? Check its status. On the line about to fire? Check your weapons status. Don’t ask if it’s loaded. Don’t think back and try to recall if it’s loaded. Right now take .75 seconds out of your life and check its status.


      • This! I’ve taught my kids how to check the firearms they use, but I don’t expect them to know how on every firearm in existence. They need to know not to mess around with guns when an adult isn’t supervising them on a range or out hunting. I still review the Stop, Don’t Touch, Run Away, Tell a Grown Up with them regularly. Besides, it IS a catchy tune!

        • Stop, Don’t Touch, Run Away (from the gun, not home, you FLAME DELETED), Tell a Grown Up (as in me or my wife). How hard is that to comprehend?

    • Okay.
      Just to make you happy, I checked my EDCs status : fully loaded and holstered. We’re golden.

    • Assume every gun is ALWAYS loaded – no need to check because it IS loaded, even if it’s not. It’s one of the safety rules. I obviously check each gun multiple times (empty mag, rack rack rack, double check empty mag and look into chamber, rack rack rack inspect chamber again, rack rack rack, then clean) before cleaning, multiple times when finished at the range (same process), etc. I don’t check my EDC every morning before strapping up because it was definitely loaded when I put it in the safe the night before. I do check my EDC guns periodically, though, just in case.

  5. Tough situation. Something not quite right about teaching young kids how to unload every gun in the household. Here is my take. Junior: You don’t touch any gun in the house until you’re old enough to learn to check to see whether it’s loaded. If you are ready to learn now I’ll teach you. If next year, I’ll teach you then.

    In any case, you must not “play” with real guns. You don’t handle a real gun until you have learned the 4 rules. Then, you can shoot, clean and practice dry-fire. Always observing the 4 rules. Real guns are not for “play” such as cops & robbers or cowboys & Indians.

    You can play with toy guns all you like. We’ll buy you all the toy guns you really need for play. NEVER “play” with a real gun.

    That’s the distinction. Real guns are in the world of the 4 rules. Toy guns are for play including pointing at your playmates.

    • I was thinking the same thing. Why were they playing with real guns???
      My nightstand gun is always loaded. But not my long guns. Please, everyone be safe out there.

      • Children are a problem; one that I think we ought to collectively think about to try to find the best strategies.

        I regret how I handled the problem with my kids. While I took them to the range a very few times, I kept my guns locked or disassembled and out-of-sight. I didn’t want an accident. (When the kids were young I was too busy earning a living to do any shooting; and, I wasn’t really as worried as I should have been about self-defense.) Well, now, my kids are grown-up and NOT interested or knowledgeable about guns. I reaped what I sowed. Daughter has a negative attitude toward guns; son a neutral attitude.

        Somehow, we have to find a safe way to rear-up each new generation of kids with a continual and positive exposure to guns. Safe – to keep them alive. Positive – to sustain the 2A. I achieved one but not both.

        When we have young kids we are often too busy to take them to the range regularly. Most of us live in urban/suburban areas where shooting space just isn’t off the back porch. Even if we could take our kids to the range 4 days per year, it probably wouldn’t be enough continuous exposure.

        As an illustration of my idea, we could keep a long-gun or hand-gun out in a conspicuous place where the kids would see it as an everyday part of their environment. Remove the firing pin (or, disable it in some other way). On a very regular schedule – e.g., once a week – do dry-fire exercise for a few minutes when the kids can observe. By example, demonstrate the 4 rules. Teach the children when they are little that they are not to touch these guns without permission and supervision. By practice, teach the 4 rules when they are ready. At the appropriate point, teach them Eddie-Eagle. Explain that the continuously-displayed guns have been disabled so they don’t shoot; however, ANY OTHER gun they might happen upon is dangerous.

  6. Ah, no. Kids should just leave a found gun alone. Or pick it up and put it on a high shelf. But no kid should be instructed to manipulate a gun, especially one unknown to them, unless absolutely necessary. And its never necessary. Just put it down, or put it on a shelf, and leave it alone.

    Even adults have ND’s while unloading guns. Best to just leave it for its owner to deal with.

    • What if the gun is dropped by someone that broke in their house? Should they let the invader reclaim the loaded gun?

  7. After a while, it’s easy to believe that more people have been shot with unloaded guns than with loaded ones. Jeff Cooper was right — all guns are loaded. It’s Rule #1 for a reason.

  8. The oldest child I have living at home is 12. My rules are pretty simple. Unless one of the family members or livestock is in immediate danger do not touch a gun without me present. For the boys I have made it clear, if you violate that rule I will beat you until you are so ugly no woman will ever want you. The girl is already too smart for that crap.

  9. When I’m performing safety officer duties at my range, I often have my son with me so he understands the clearing process. Everyone on the firing point is cleared twice.

    He knows why I check the magazine AND the chamber. Learning by experience is helpful.

  10. So, teach your kids how to unload a firearm so that they can make sure the guns they use to play cops and robbers aren’t loaded?

    How about, teach your kids not to play cops and robbers with real fucking guns?

  11. I pack my guns for the range, unpack and clean my guns in front of my kids ages 2 and 4. I give them a combination of the Eddie Eagle rules and the 4 golden rules. Most importantly is that they never touch a gun without permission and I have yet to give them permission. As they understand more, I continue to expand how much I explain.

    When I feel they sufficiently understand the meaning and reasoning of those rules, I’ll let them come shooting with me. When I feel they have the responsibility to follow the rules when I’m not around, I’ll buy them a rifle or shotgun.

    I have a hoplophobic friend who once said to me “Don’t you know that if you didn’t have guns in the house, it would be impossible for your kids to get a gun at home and shoot themselves?”

    I called my 4 year old over and asked her what the gun rules are. She said “Never touch a gun without adult permission. If you do touch a gun, keep your finger off the trigger. If you do touch a gun, never point it at anyone else. Never let anyone else break those rules either.”

    I turned to my hoplophobe friend and said “Somewhere between a third and half of all households have guns in them. So here’s a likely scenario. Your kid is at someone else’s house where someone else’s kid gets a gun. Would you A, rather my daughter be there as well or B, only have kids around who learned gun abstinence like your kids and have no idea about gun safety?”

    Abstinence doesn’t work. Your kids will have the opportunity to get drugs, get alcohol, get laid, get their hands on guns and any number of potentially harmful and lethal activities no matter what you do as parents. You can stick your head in the sand or up your ass, it won’t change the facts.

    Teach your kids and educate your hoplophibic friends so that maybe their kids will learn at least some of the rules.

    • It’s interesting that you mention this. A childhood friend’s mom was adamantly anti-gun, wouldn’t have one in the house, and truly thought she was “saving” her precious child from danger. There were guns in our house and, from the time I was a toddler, my father instructed me as to their proper and safe use. They were not a tabu item, they just dangerous and he made sure I knew it. The result: whenever my friend came over he was absolutely dangerous around guns—dangerous to himself and dangerous to others. His mother had instilled the kind of ignorance that gets people killed.

  12. number of violations here, not least is teaching all kid the basics of gun safety! now this child will suffer PTSD and be stigmatized for life because of his Parents F**K up. from this point on neither parent will treat him fairly and neither will society, there will be a lot of two faced people in this kids immediate life!

  13. The rifle (and all guns) should have been locked away inaccessible to the kids. If it wasn’t, shame on the parents. Kids are impulsive. No matter how much you think you know them, they act on impulse and will always do things you don’t think they will do. You can’t trust a child to do the right thing 100% of the time. Even 99% isn’t good enough, obviously.

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