Gun violence is not always intentional, as numerous deaths have occurred due to negligence or lack of gun safety knowledge. That was a topic of discussion before a shooting competition in Correctionville on Sunday.
“[It] breaks my heart to know that people can spend that kind of money on a firearm, but they can’t spend $100 on a safe,” says Chris Birdsell of the Tri-State Public Range Association.
The Tri-State Public Range Association has beefed up it’s gun safety teachings amidst of the negligent or accidental shootings that happen too often.
Birdsell says,”We’re trying to step it up and teach more people about firearm safety which is a lot of what this day’s about. Both kids and adults.”
No matter if you’re a first-time firearm shooter or you have years of experience under your belt at the gun range. Birdsell, a range safety officer, says you can never learn enough about proper gun safety.
“Avid shooters to people that have never even held a pistol, but they want to know if ‘Hey if I ever see [a gun], what do I do with this?'”
Hundreds of people die yearly because of mishandled guns.
“There’s no reason for that.”
And Birdsell says sometimes it’s not the lack of safety knowledge, but that “they don’t practice [the safety].”
Eric Lawson takes his nine-year-old daughter, Layla, to the range as a fun way to spend quality time. He believes the preventable shootings, due to lack of knowledge, stems from fear.
“Everybody is afraid of guns. They don’t teach gun safety in schools. There’s no education, that’s where I think the major problems lie,” says Lawson.
And for some kids who are exposed to guns at a young age, conversations about the “do’s and don’ts’ of firearms continue at home with Mom and Dad.
“They told me not to point it at anything I’m not going to shoot,” says 10-year-old Robby Ikerd.
“If you’re going to be a responsible gun owner, you should be responsible take safety courses and know the safety of all your weapons,” says Birdsell.