A Word to Parents about Airgun Safety

Monday, November 24, 2008

With the gift giving holidays soon to be upon us, here is what I hope is a word in due season.

If there is one thing that the folks at Airguns of Arizona, every dedicated airgunner, and I are serious about, it’s safety. None of us wants to see anyone get hurt with an airgun, and that goes double for kids.

I realize that most of the folks who read this blog already know what follows, but I also know that chances are good that you know someone who could benefit from this information.

So here are some things that every parent needs to know before his or her child gets involved with shooting an airgun:

Airguns are not toys. They are real air rifles and air pistols and can cause injury, destruction of property and even death if not handled properly. Your child needs to understand there is a very large difference between an airgun and a toy gun. It’s like the difference between a toy car and a real car.

Always observe the number one rule of airgun safety: never, ever point your airgun at anything you don’t want to see a hole in. That means you don’t point your airgun at another person, any animal (except for hunting) or someone else’s property. It also means that when the airgun is not aimed at an appropriate target, it should be pointed in a safe direction, such as at the ground.

If you have any doubt at all that your children will observe Rule One, you need to supervise them while they are shooting. You know your children and their level of responsibility and maturity. If you are not positive that they will always handle the airgun safely, supervise them, no matter how old they are.

(Note well: this also applies to any friends or playmates who may be on scene. For example, I have absolute confidence in my son’s commitment to safe airgun handling, but some of his friends have poor impulse control, and I would not allow them to shoot without my direct personal supervision.)

Supervision means being close enough to control or redirect the airgun if it is pointed in an unsafe direction. It only takes a moment for a child to turn while squeezing the trigger. Be close enough to prevent that from happening – no more than an arm’s length away.

Make sure that everyone wears eye protection while shooting.

Maintain control of the airgun when it is not being used, including at the beginning and end of each shooting session. Don’t load it and leave it unattended. Store your airgun, unloaded, where it cannot be used by curious youngsters or unauthorized persons. Store the ammunition separately.

Til next time, aim true and shoot straight.

Jock Elliott

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