Gun safety advocates urging parents to take caution with firearms - KYTX CBS 19 Tyler Longview News Weather Sports

Gun safety advocates urging parents to take caution with firearms around kids

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TYLER (KYTX) - Gun safety advocates are urging you not to leave your guns out, and to take proper precautions. The warning comes after an East Texas toddler found a pistol and accidentally shot himself. Safety experts are now reminding gun owners that they must keep their weapons from falling into the wrong hands.
It's more than just keeping the gun in a secure place. It's also about education, chuck. Experts say there is no particular age of a child for you to talk with him or her about gun safety. A good time to introduce the subject is the first time your child shows interest in a firearm, or even a toy gun.

Two-year-old Jaden McLean found a loaded gun sitting unattended in his grandparent's Tyler Sports Club on Wednesday. Within a matter of minutes, the boy took the unsecured gun and accidentally shot himself in the head.

It can be used for protection or recreation, but without the proper education, a gun is a dangerous object.

"Guns are not inherently dangerous, they are only dangerous if they are misused," said Mack Woods.

Mack Woods owns a gun shop in Tyler. The law enforcement veteran says firearms in the home should be kept secure, especially around children. "Some people have gun safes and that's fine, some people locks on their guns, some people have guns that are keyed and that's fine too."

But most of all, Woods says gun owners should talk open and honestly with their kids. Statistics show that guns are in half of all U.S. households. Even if no one in your family owns a gun, chances are that you know someone who does. 

When kids see cartoon characters shoot other characters with no consequence, experts say it creates an idea that guns are just toys. That's why it's up to parents to teach their children that a gun can cause injury and even death. "If they access a gun on their own, without an education and the pros and cons of it, frequently bad things do happen."

Bad things that possibly could have been prevented with a simple conversation. The National Rifle Association has come up with a way to teach kids what to do when they come across a gun at home, a friend's house, or even school. First, kids should stop, don't touch, leave the area, and tell an adult. 
Because lessons can be quickly forgotten by children, experts say repetition will help children remember safety procedures.

Gun safety classes are offered at the Tyler Police Department. Parents can receive a gun lock, free of charge, and information on how to store weapons.

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