Talking to children about gun safety

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Local authorities say events like Thursday night’s shooting involving two children serve as a reminder to parents to have a discussion about gun safety with their children. Know More about when and how to have this talk with kids.

More and more guns are being bought in Colorado and across the country following the tragedy in Connecticut. Regardless if it's your first gun or 15th, authorities say it's important gun owners sit down and set rules with their children when it comes to firearms.

For some, growing up with guns in the household is the norm.

"I was taught at a young age that they're not toys," 18-year old Alyssa Davis said.

For Davis, gun safety was a lesson she learned at a very young age.

"Even as a kid with toy guns, I was taught you don't point them at people," she said.

Davis and her siblings go to the shooting range with their dad every now and then, but she says they have no need to go near the guns in their home any other time.

"I find them safe, and I find it more reassuring to have a house with a loaded gun," Davis said.

Local law enforcement says most people understand there is a responsibility that comes with owning a gun.

"In their own homes, everyone is going to do things a little different to include parenting [and] supervision," Mesa County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Heather Benjamin said.

Thursday night's shooting involving two children was unintentional, but authorities say it could've been tragic.

"I think there's a lesson here for every parent to just be vigilant with their guns," Benjamin said.

Linn Armstrong agrees. Armstrong has been teaching firearm safety in the Valley for 17 years.

"Everybody should be aware of the fact that they need to keep firearms away from unauthorized people," he said.

Armstrong says it's a lesson parents should address as soon as children are able to start learning about safety in general.

“Just like when we start teaching children the correct way to cross the street, there's not an age too young to do that, there's not an age too young to start talking about firearm safety," he said.

His lessons for children go like this: Stop, don't touch, leave the area and tell an adult. It's a discussion Armstrong says falls on parents to have with their kids so accidents involving firearms can be avoided.

"You just need to be able to teach your kids right from wrong," Davis added.

Armstrong says there are many different programs offered in the Valley which teach children safety with firearms, including the Eddie Eagle program, boy scouts and 4-H programs.

A two year old in South Carolina accidentally shot and killed himself on Christmas day after his father's gun was left on a table where the toddler was able to access it.

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