*Image courtesy of Kelly Sikkema

 It’s a question we get asked on a regular basis, “how can I raise my daughter tactfully?” Introducing your children to firearms and raising them to be invested is no simple task, but our first bit of advice is to implement safety. According to a Gallup study, 31% of Americans who have guns in their home also have children under the age of 18 living with them. Whether or not you are just expecting your first child, or have multiple of all ages, keep in mind that it is never too late to begin the process of firearm safety education and safe firearm handling. 

The first step to raising a daughter (or son) tactfully, is to give them the tools that they need to view a firearm as a tool, and not a toy. It is also important as a parent and role model to make sure that you are setting an example and being safe and smart with the firearms in your home. Finally, teach your children that it’s okay to enjoy the leisure of firearms and how they can be used not only for personal protection, but for hunting and shooting sports alike. Below are tips and tricks that will not only help teach your child how to be smart around firearms, but also encourage them to follow safety precautions as they grow up, ultimately gaining an interest in guns along the way.

Make sure your child knows what a firearm is. This is a crucial first step, especially at a young age. Take the time to sit down with your child and allow them the knowledge of knowing what your gun is, and that it is not something that should be played with. This is much easier said than done as there are a lot of components and
it is important to approach this information in a positive light. One way to begin this step is introducing them to child-based education that can make sure they know that mom or dad’s firearm is not a toy.

A great source for this is​ ​Eddie Eagle ​, the National Rifle Association's mascot for teaching children about firearm safety. According to the NRA website, “The Eddie Eagle GunSafe® program is a gun accident prevention program that seeks to help parents, law enforcement, community groups and educators navigate a topic paramount to our children’s safety. Eddie and his Wing Team are on a mission to help you teach Pre-K through 4th graders what to do if they ever come across a gun…” Eddie Eagle provides four crucial steps to teach a child what they should do if they come across a firearm.

The first step is to STOP, and take the time to remember the next steps. Step two is DON’T TOUCH, because it is something not made for children. Step three is to RUN AWAY, and remove the temptation to touch something that is not a toy. And the fourth and final step is to TELL A GROWN UP they trust about what they found. Following these steps and implementing safety will ultimately instill in a child’s mind that firearms are not to be touched unless you’re an adult. You can learn more about Eddie Eagle and other resources for parents, as well as show your child the interactive video of what to do when they come into contact with a gun at the ​NRA Website.

NRA Eagle

*Image Courtesy of NRA

Lock up your firearms. A child cannot touch or play with a firearm if they are safely locked away. While this is a given, this can sometimes be overlooked. Make sure that your guns are locked in a safe and unloaded. If it is your concealed carry gun, ensure that it is a safe place away from children but also is quickly accessible for you. This will not only keep them out of sight and out of mind, but protect them if anyone were to come into your home while you are gone. Besides the classic gun safe,
you can also invest in locks and trigger tools for even more protection that will make sure if your child were to accidentally get their hand on a gun. One product in particular that we recommend is the Triggersafe, a guard that locks over the trigger to provide an extra layer of safety and prevents accidental fire.

Green TriggerSafe

Explain Home and Self Defense to Your Children. As mentioned above, it is important to know that a gun is not a toy, but a tool. And every tool has a purpose. The purpose of having a firearm in the home is to defend yourself against any “bad guys” that may try to come into your home or hurt you. You can explain it as simply as a gun is to protect your family like soap is to protect you from germs when you wash your hands. While this is an important tactic, make sure that children know that only mom or dad will use this tool if something happens. Teach your children basic steps of what to do if there is a break in, including locking themselves in a room, or heading outside to the neighbors to call 911 if possible. Talking to your child about what to do in the case of a home invasion should be a conversation as common and as often as you would tell them what to do if there was a tornado or a fire.

Father and daughter cooking

*image courtesy of CDC

Introduce them to their first firearm. This step is a true gauge of maturity, but important when you think your child is ready to begin learning about how to maneuver a firearm. Whether you start with a BB gun or basic .22, this can give you the opportunity to teach your skills to your child including knowing where you are pointing, trigger discipline, shooting safety, and more. This is also a great time to teach them fundamentals such as looking down the site, target and sight alignment, stance, trigger squeeze, and more. To learn these safety tips and fundamentals takes time, but taking the quality time to introduce them and encourage a passion for firearms will go a long way.

Father Teaching son how to shoot

*image courtesy of

Have your child take their firearm safety. While each state is different, when your child is old enough have them take their hunters/firearm safety course. Whether your purpose behind owning a firearm is shooting sports, hunting, or simply just for protection, this class can provide ample amounts of information and safety tips for children and teens to handle firearms. Find your state ​here​ to find your local DNR hunter safety courses.

 Instructor teaching firearm safety to crowd

*image courtesy of parentmap

Take them shooting often. Finally, when it comes to firearms, practice makes perfect. Once the above steps are met, make it a point to take your knowledgeable child shooting on a regular basis and keep up their skills. The more they are exposed, the more they will know a firearms purpose. Plus, it is a fun way to bond with your kids and spend quality time with them teaching them new things. If you don’t have a place of your own to take your child shooting, use the National Shooting Sports ​“Where to Shoot”​ finder to find the closest shooting ranges near where you live.


Man Kneeling while Aim down the sights of AR15


Written by: Molly Kwakenat