Tragic shooting illustrates importance of gun safety fundamentals
Few three-letter words can cause this much debate in the midst of horrible tragedy.
From rural Burkesville, Ky., comes the gut-wrenching story of an accident that took the life of a 2-year-old girl. While walking out to her porch, Stephanie Sparks left her 5-year-old son, Kristian, and his sister in a room alone. One fateful moment later, tragedy struck.What propels this story into the national spotlight are three simple letters: G-U-N.
Kristian was playing with a youth model .22 rifle that accidently discharged, shooting his sister in the chest.
As with any shocking story, we are quick to react. How could this happen? Who is to blame? We struggle to make sense of a senseless tragedy.
In the midst of that chaos, it can be easy to blame the gun – and there are many who are using the tragedy to advance their political viewpoints and enhance gun control measures. In fact, locally based Keystone Sporting Arms has come under fire for selling youth-model rifles. One blog blasts the company, suggesting that the concept of kids shooting guns is “chilling.”
But was the tragic shooting in Kentucky really the fault of Keystone Sporting Arms?
If Stephanie Sparks had left her children play in traffic and one of them were injured, would we blame General Motors or Ford? Of course not.
Do we blame the pool manufacturer when someone tragically drowns while swimming? Or Planters when someone chokes on a peanut?
Unfortunately, the whole scenario illustrates the importance of following simple gun safety fundamentals. In hunter education courses, young shooters are taught over and over the basics – things such as always keeping the barrel pointed in a safe direction, to always completely identify your target before shooting and to wear proper eye and ear protection when using firearms.
When it comes to guns around young people, those fundamentals are critical. You should always keep firearms and ammunition stored in separate areas and locked out of the reach of children. Gun chambers should always remain empty until just before shooting and no child should ever operate or even hold a real gun without direct responsible adult supervision.
Teaching these and other core safety techniques is imperative to avoid tragedies like this. The earlier these lessons are taught and repeated, the better the chances they’ll be remembered when it matters most.
We may not be able to make sense of the tragedy in Burkesville, but let it be a reminder to be extra cautious when it comes to applying the fundamentals of gun safety.