South Carolina Concealed Weapons Permit SC CWP

Gun Safety for Children:
Information for Parents

Children should learn that guns are not toys.As parents we've been involved with gun safety for children far longer than most other people. As gun owners and teachers safety is our own foremost concern. We think that safety should be your primary concern too—especially if you're the parent, grandparent, or relative of a young child—even if you are not a gun owner or don't shoot.

We start every class we teach with a focused review of gun safety rules. We're serious about what we do, and what we do is help people learn to protect themselves and their families, which brings us back to safety once again.

Common sense should make it obvious that people who know and use firearms are those most committed to gun safety and most capable of practicing it. Americans have used firearms safely since before this country was founded. We really don't need direction from people who know little more about guns than what they see on television or hear from politicians. The NRA and its members have always been the leaders in ensuring the safety of children around guns. We continue that tradition in every class we teach.

And so we've adapted this page of "Information for Parents" from the NRA's "Parents' Guide to Gun Safety." As the NRA states about the original page, it "is not intended as a complete course in gun safety and is not a substitute for formal, qualified instruction in the handling, use, or storage of firearms. The guidelines herein should be considered options to minimize the chance of an accident occurring in the home." (Now is a good time to join the NRA or to renew your annual membership through us at a substantial discount. Join or renew your NRA membership at a substantial discount now.)

Keep in mind that it is your responsibility--not ours or anyone else's--to determine the best gun safety practices for your family situation: we can't know your situation as well as you. We therefore can only present information, not endorse it for your situation. The following overview can help you make a good start on understanding your needs. See how the NRA's Eddie Eagle program can help you teach very young children real gun safety in the real world.

Parents Guide to Gun Safety

Parents play a key role in developing safe practices and are ultimately responsible for the behavior and safety of their children. Because isolated lessons and concepts can be quickly forgotten, repetition will help children remember standard safety procedures.

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The Parents' Responsibility

We've helped parents keep kids safe for many decades.In a home where guns are kept, the degree of safety a child has rests squarely on the child's parents.

Parents who accept the responsibility to learn, practice and teach gun safety rules will ensure their child's safety to a much greater extent than those who do not. Parental responsibility does not end, however, when the child leaves the home.

According to federal statistics, there are guns in approximately half of all U.S. households. Even if no one in your family owns a gun, chances are that someone you know does. Your child could come in contact with a gun at a neighbor's house, when playing with friends, or under other circumstances outside your home.

It is critical for your child to know what to do if he or she encounters a firearm anywhere, and it is the parents' responsibility to provide that training.

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Talking With Your Child About Gun Safety Not all kids are the same. Help your children learn at the best pace for them and you.

There is no particular age to talk with your child about gun safety. A good time to introduce the subject is the first time he or she shows an interest in firearms, even toy pistols or rifles. Talking openly and honestly about gun safety with your child is usually more effective than just ordering him or her to "Stay out of the gun closet," and leaving it at that. Such statements may just stimulate a child's natural curiosity to investigate further.

As with any safety lesson, explaining the rules and answering a child's questions help remove the mystery surrounding guns. Any rules set for your own child should also apply to friends who visit the home. This will help keep your child from being pressured into showing a gun to a friend.

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Toy Guns vs. Real Guns

Teach children to separate real life from the violent fantasies offered by movies and television and music.It is also advisable, particularly with very young children, to discuss gun use on television as opposed to gun use in real life. Firearms are often handled carelessly in movies and on TV. Additionally, children see TV and movie characters shot and "killed" with well-documented frequency. When a young child sees that same actor appear in another movie or TV show, confusion between entertainment and real life may result. It may be a mistake to assume that your child knows the difference between being "killed" on TV and in reality.

If your child has toy guns, you may want to use them to demonstrate safe gun handling and to explain how they differ from genuine firearms. Even though an unsupervised child should not have access to a gun, there should be no chance that he or she could mistake a real gun for a toy.

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What Should You Teach Your Child About Gun Safety?

If you have decided that your child is not ready to be trained in a gun's handling and use, teach him or her to follow the instructions of NRA's Eddie Eagle GunSafe® Program.

If you find a gun:
     Don't Touch.
     Leave the Area.
     Tell an Adult.

The initial steps of "Stop" and "Don't Touch" are the most important. To counter the natural impulse to touch a gun, it is imperative that you impress these steps of the safety message upon your child.

Let Eddie Eagle teach your kids what to do if they find an unattended gun.In today's society, where adult supervision is not always possible, the direction to "Leave the Area" is also essential. Under some circumstances, area may be understood to be a room if your child cannot physically leave the apartment or house. "Tell an Adult" emphasizes that children should seek a trustworthy adult, neighbor, relative or teacher -- if a parent or guardian is not available.

The NRA's Eddie Eagle GunSafe Program includes an instructor guide, activity books, poster, and an animated video to explain its four-step safety message. Preview the Eddie Eagle animated video and gun safety information for very young children. For how to get the Eddie Eagle program visit http:// or call (800) 231-0752.

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Basic Gun Safety Rules Parents should teach young children that real life violence is not funny.

Although the NRA has complete gun safety rules available for specific types of firearm use (hunting and competition, for example, the following three rules are fundamental in any situation. Whether or not you own a gun, it is important to know these rules so that you may insist that others follow them.

  • Always keep the gun pointed in a safe direction. Whether you are shooting or simply handling a gun, never point it at yourself or others. Common sense will tell you which direction is the safest. Outdoors, it is generally safe to point the gun toward the ground, or, if you are at a shooting range, toward the target. Indoors, be mindful of the fact that a bullet can penetrate ceilings, floors, walls, windows, and doors.
  • Always keep your finger off the trigger until ready to shoot. When holding a gun, rest your trigger finger outside the trigger guard alongside the gun. Until you are actually ready to fire, do not touch the trigger.
  • Always keep the gun unloaded until ready to use. If you do not know how to check to see if a gun is unloaded, leave it alone. Carefully secure it, being certain to point it safely and to keep your finger off the trigger, and seek competent assistance.

Click here for the NRA's complete gun safety rules. In South Carolina the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED) requires CWP (Concealed Weapons Permit) applicants to know its gun safety rules too. Click here for SLED's gun safety rules.

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Where to Get Training

Parents who learn gun safety can protect their kids better than parents who don't.The time may come when you or your family members want to learn how to handle and shoot a gun safely. In the case of a child, his or her attitude, learning ability, and physical and emotional maturity are some of the factors to be weighed before allowing formal instruction to begin.

Providing instruction in the safe handling, use, and storage of firearms is one of the NRA's most important functions. Basic Firearm Training Courses, taught by over 54,000 NRA Certified Instructors, are offered in every state.

We at Paladin Services offer that Basic Firearm Training Course—our CWP/Basic Pistol course—for South Carolina. Qualified adults can use our class to meet firearms safety and concealed weapons permit requirements for South Carolina, Florida, and other states. You also can take our course for NRA Basic Pistol credit only and without applying for a CWP. We may accept responsible young people qualified under state law, accompanied by a parent, and with written parental permission. Click here for information about our combined CWP and Basic Pistol course, which is a firearms safety class.

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Gun Owners' Responsibilities

Most states impose some form of legal duty on adults to take reasonable steps to deny access by children to dangerous substances or instruments. It is the individual gun owner's responsibility to understand and follow all laws regarding gun purchase, ownership, storage, transport, etc. Contact your state police and/or local police for information regarding such laws. If you own a gun and do not know how to operate it, do not experiment with it. Point it in a safe direction, keep your finger off the trigger, and store it securely. Seek competent assistance and instruction at once. An untrained adult can be as dangerous as a curious child.

Store guns so that they are inaccessible to children and other unauthorized users. Gun shops sell a wide variety of safes, cases, and other security devices. While specific security measures may vary, a parent must, in every case, assess the exposure of the firearm and absolutely ensure that it is inaccessible to a child.


Janet's useful techniques work well for women in the Basic Pistol classes held by Paladin Services in the Columbia, SC, area.E-mail us about taking our NRA Basic Pistol class. We include it in our CWP class at no extra cost. It is a recognized firearms safety class. (Many people who already have their CWP after other instructors' classes eventually take our class too.) Please be sure to include your local telephone number(s) so we can call to determine your needs and answer your questions. We hope you won't procrastinate.


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