Training is key when owning a gun

The Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution guarantees the right of the people to keep and bear arms. But far too many gun owners are ignoring basic tenets of responsibility and safety, some of which are set out by the National Rifle Association.

In Cincinnati this summer, a mother faced the horror of calling 911 to report her 3-year-old son had shot himself in the chest while playing with a handgun he found in her unattended purse. Though her grief is unimaginable, it serves as a lesson to remember important rules, such as always keeping a gun unloaded until ready to use, and storing guns so they are not accessible to unauthorized people.

Of course hers is not the only tragedy to stem from a loaded handgun kept in an easily accessible purse or somewhere in the house. Last year, a mother shopping in an Idaho store was killed when her toddler reached into her purse and pulled out a loaded gun, which fired.

Recently a fatal shooting in Paden City suggested a shooting was fueled by fear and mistaken identity. The mayor there was absolutely right to remind residents of other NRA rules – do not put your finger on the trigger, do not keep the gun loaded, keep the gun pointed in a safe direction and know your target and what is beyond.

With rights comes responsibility. The NRA’s principals of education and training are just a starting point – perhaps even more so if a gun owner is living in an environment that has made him or her believe it is necessary to keep a gun for defense.

And remember that if you have firearms, everyone in your family – especially children – need to understand how to treat them carefully. For very small children, they means not touching them at all.

If you own a gun, get the training you need and abide by it. Be certain your family members do, too. Failing to do so could be deadly.