With two accidental shootings within the last month in our region, KX News is putting the safety of North Dakotans first. We sought out gun safety and storage tips from experts to help prevent accidents from happening to you.
“The more you know about an item, guns, the more your kids know about them, the better off you’ll be,” said Rob Fuller, owner of Spartan Firearms.
Fuller and the other gun owners we spoke to grew up around guns. They say when it comes to storage, safekeeping has come a long way over the years — but safety had always been a top priority.
“They were locked and you knew not to go over there and mess with them,” Fuller said.
“Back in that day, you just didn’t touch guns. It wasn’t an option unless you were an adult or had taken hunter safety,” said Renee Jones.
Three main safety tips when handling a firearm: Make sure it’s empty, don’t put your finger on the trigger unless you plan to shoot it and don’t point it at anything you don’t intend to shoot.
“You don’t point it at houses and you don’t point it at people,” Fuller said.
Treat every gun as if it’s loaded and make sure the safety is on until you’re ready to shoot.
“With accidental shootings, most of the time, I think, what you find is the kids haven’t been told anything about firearms. They haven’t been told, ‘Hey, this is dangerous. You don’t play with this,'” Fuller said.
We asked a few customers what they do with their guns to keep them safe. There are a few storage options like a gun safe, a hard shell box and on a gun rack.
“They’re locked up in a gun vault,” said Jonathan Hughes.
“If it is not on my hip though, it is locked up in a safe because I have small children at home,” Jones said.
“They’re in areas where the kids couldn’t get to them. I could get to them if I needed to and in a hurry, but the kids either can’t reach them or don’t know they’re there,” Fuller said.
“I raised my kids and grandkids they can’t touch a gun unless an adults around,” Hughes added.
However, they say they all know someone who’s been involved in an accidental shooting.
“My brother was shot. He was shot on his own property. I’m not quite sure if it was an accident. I was not there. But he was shot in the left shoulder and it passed through his body and lodged in his right shoulder and he was paralyzed from his mid-chest down for 11 years before he passed away,” Jones said.
“They were playing with guns and shot somebody,” Hughes said.
“A couple people that have had accidental shootings, not where anybody was killed, but both of them ending up shooting themselves. Both of them were actually quite proficient with a firearm,” Fuller said.
These safety reminders come after a 15-year-old in Dickinson was accidentally shot and killed and another 15-year-old in Minot was injured in a separate incident.
Spartan Firearms in Minot does offer gun safety classes for kids and adults.