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We received this question on our message board recently:

I'm new to handguns.  I went to a gun store and took a class on basic handgun safety last week.  Still confused about the Glock trigger safety.  How safe do you think the Glock is around kids with no separate safety? 

Here was my reply:

The truth here is that even an external safety is absolutely NOT enough to keep the handgun safe around kids. Gun safety around kids, however, is not complicated. Here's the accepted, rational approach.

When they are babies, then toddlers, the guns simply must be locked up and kept inaccessible to them. If you feel you need to have a loaded gun accessible to the responsible adults in the family, as many of us do, a locked pistol safe is a good answer (see photos). This will be a steel box that can only be open with a key kept on you at ALL times, or with a combination lock that is far too complex for children to figure out, or with a biometric lock that reads your fingerprints, allowing only your fingers (and others that have been programmed into the safe) to open it. This is a win-win, as children will have zero access, and you will have near instant access. Additionally the box can be bolted down, say inside a nightstand drawer, and this serves as a theft deterrent as well.

As children reach school age and become curious, and you must be the judge of their maturity here, you can show them unloaded guns, let them touch them, and explain that they are not toys, but very dangerous if mis-used. Then you can explain to them the uses you have for them, be it target shooting, self-defense, competition, etc.

When they are old enough, take them to the range to watch you shoot, and eventually, if they are interested, let them shoot a .22 with you assisting. Over time they can shoot on their own, and if they continue to be interested, follow on with whatever types of guns interest you and them both. This may or may not happen. Many of us here who are gun enthusiasts have children. Some of them grew up to have strong interests in guns and shooting, some only a casual interest, and some no interest at all. Sometimes among brothers and sisters it varies within the same family--and it isn't sex-based. Sometimes a girl will show more interest than a boy.

The bottom line however is to keep ALL guns SECURED away from children when they are too young to know better. KEEP them secured as long as children remain in the household, but do NOT keep your guns a mystery from your children, because this breeds the wrong kind of curiosity that leads to mischief at the least, and tragedy at worst. If guns are part of your life, let children see--when the time is ripe and they are ready (meaning they begin to ask questions), that there is nothing mysterious about firearms. But keep them locked up when you are not around.

Even when your kids are older and have engendered your trust, remember there will be other kids not your own in the house, and you will not know their background or maturity. You must keep your guns away from them. And speaking of other families, all parents should talk to their children about guns even if they don't have guns of their own, because neighbors will have guns, and you will not know how the neighbors have raised their children, nor how they store their firearms.

All responsible gun owners lock up their guns, children or not, because it prevents unauthorized people in the home--tradesmen, guests--from accessing their guns, and it can help to prevent burglary. Good safes can save our guns in case of a house fire as well.

So--returning the long way around to the Glock. The Glock is a safe gun. It will not fire if dropped or jarred. It will only fire if the trigger is deliberately pulled. There are four primary rules of gun safety. When accidents happen, one or more of these rules are broken:

  1. Treat ALL guns as if they are loaded
  2. Never point the muzzle of a firearm at anything you are not willing to destroy.
  3. Keep your finger OFF the trigger (think Glock) until you are ready to shoot
  4. Be sure of your target and everything beyond it.

If we never violate those rules, we should never have an accident--a negligent discharge of a firearm.

mark e freburg 

Copyright 2012 by the author and, all rights reserved.

Uploaded: 11/20/2012