The National Shooting Sports Foundation is pushing its Project ChildSafe campaign, a movement to promote safe firearms handling and storage practices for all current and prospective gun owners.
To help spread the word, the NSSF teamed up with Julie Golob, a veteran, competitive shooting sports champion, hunter and mom, to create a video that reminds parents about the need to have a conversation about firearms.
In the video above, Golob is joined by several children who help give advice on exactly how to start the discussion. While many within the gun community will likely find the video informative and helpful, at least one individual on the other side of the gun divide found it to be lacking in some ways.
Ladd Everitt, communications director for the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, said the video embraces a mentality of “risk-taking” that may lead to more accidental deaths.
Here’s Everitt’s response to the video:
It’s good to see NSSF addressing the topic of children and firearm safety, but disturbing that they only devote a total of about 8 seconds of this 5:37 video to safe storage practices (with no detail at to what that might involve). While frank discussions about firearms might be a good strategy with teenagers, NSSF continues to ignore studies that have shown that teaching young children about gun safety can have the unintended effect of enhancing their curiosity, making them more likely to seek firearms out and handle them when found. And studies have also shown that children frequently know where their parents’ guns are, even when their parents believe otherwise.
NSSF’s unwillingness to address the best strategy here–storing firearms unloaded, securely (locked up), and separately from ammunition–is the consequence of a modern gun culture that increasingly embraces risk-taking. So whereas previously the rule was “Never keep a firearm loaded when you are not using it,” that rule over time has morphed into “Never keep a firearm loaded when you are not using it, unless it’s one of your ‘personal self-defense firearms,’ in which case it’s OK.” The difference between the two can mean life or death for a child. Bottom Line: If you are a gun owner, the only way to keep your kids safe from unintended accidents with firearms is to make sure there is no way they can get to your guns when you are not physically in their presence, which means in the same space and actively supervising them.
NSSF’s continued silence on the near daily shootings we are seeing in this country involving children shooting themselves, children shooting children, children shooting parents, and parents shooting children is also of concern. Even post-Newtown, they have given America little reason to believe that they now value the safety of families over gun industry profits.
Those were Everitt’s thoughts. I watched the video and didn’t have a problem with it. I also don’t see it as a self-contained, all-encompassing instructional guide but more of a conversation starter on, well, how to get the conversation started.
For in-depth information on tips and safety suggestions it appears one can find free literature — a “ChildSafe Safety Kit” — on the website. I wanted to confirm this but the Project ChildSafe website was down for maintenance when I looked.
In any event, I think the success of the Project ChildSafe should be evaluated on all the materials and not just this one video. But everyone’s entitled to his/her opinion. What did you think of the video? Do believe Ladd Everitt has a point?
[H/T Daniel Terrill for bringing the video to our attention]