Firearms safety education: Never too soon to start, never too late to learn

By Jim Irvine

On Saturday, January 10, I was honored to be a guest speaker for a meeting of the Medina County Friends and Neighbors ( The topic was firearms - and despite heavy snow, icy roads and winter storm warnings, the group had a very healthy turnout.

I started by having my 3 year-old son join me for a safety discussion. I asked him what he would do if he found a gun.


Then what?

"Don't Touch."

Then what?

"Leave the area."

Then what?

"Tell and adult."

I had him "give me five" for reciting the "Eddie Eagle" rules of gun safety perfectly for the crowd. He got a much appreciated round of applause.

I started with this because safety is where all activities with a gun should start. It should be on your mind every time you pick up a gun. It is not just for new shooters, but for every gun owner every day. And even those who don't own a gun should know some basic firearms safety rules. If you don't teach your children about firearm safety, who will?

When is a child too young to learn about gun safety? When is a child too young for a car seat? When is a child too young for parents to be concerned about drowning or fire safety? The answer is, "Never." Safety is a parent's job. It is never too soon to start, never too late to learn.

Next we talked about why I carry a gun. Safety. My own safety. The safety of my wife and kids. And the safety of my community and Country. It's the same reason a police officer carries a gun. On a personal basis, it's the same reason I wear a seatbelt. Safety.

Do I expect to "get in a car accident" when I put on the safety belt? Of course not. Are my looking to go "crash up some cars?" That would be nonsense. But strap on a gun and many people make fun of you for "being paranoid" or wanting to go shoot someone. It's silly when you think about it. The only way the comparison works is because of ignorance, or worse, "knowing" something that is false.

Knowledge of a subject allows us to see through the nonsense and make a rational decision. Without a basic understanding we can fall prey to emotion and rhetoric, the prime weapons of the anti-freedom groups.

Of course many readers on this site know this. But we all know someone who is ignorant about guns. Their vote counts just as much as yours. Gun owners must work to reach out to non-gun owners and educate them about firearms and safety. By doing so, we will protect our rights by enabling others to see the truth when presented with biased stories in the paper or on TV.

Education is why I love the chance to talk to groups like the Medina County Friends and Neighbors. It is why we have "Buckeye Firearms Foundation," a not-for-profit educational corporation that sponsors the Firearms Forum radio show and many other educational activities that help protect your right to own and shoot firearms.

There are many grassroots groups like MCFAN starting up around the country. It seems that more and more, people are tired of politics as usual and want to see real change. The only we can remake our government into one that is truly "for the people, by the people" is for us to get involved. Not just at election time, but anytime we want our government to work for "we the people."

The ability of locally active groups to effect change by learning about topics that affect them and presenting a unified voice to help legislators understand issues important to their constituents can not be understated.

Jim Irvine is the Buckeye Firearms Association Chairman, and the host of Firearms Forum, Ohio's first talk radio show about guns and gun rights.

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