The constitution gives Americans a right to own guns, according to the Second Amendment, with four in ten adults admitting to living in a house with a gun. The federal laws don’t provide a guide on the safe storage of guns at home but require that firearms importers and manufacturers provide secure gun storage or safety devices.

Public health reports that firearm injury increased tremendously in 2017, with more than 39000 deaths attributed to firearms. These injuries result from unintended shooting.

While having a gun in the house is justified, findings from experts indicate there’s a need for effective and preventive measures in every household due to the rise in incidents of suicide, mass shootings, and unintentional shooting among teenagers and children. These measures are:

1. Take Responsibility

The decision to have a gun at home comes with other parenting responsibilities of ensuring the gun is kept out of reach of small children, always unloading the guns when not in use, and locking the ammunition in a separate location.

2. Use Trigger Locks

A trigger lock is a device that snaps over a gun’s trigger guard and keeps the weapon from firing. A strong cylinder is typically inserted in front of the trigger on a two-piece lock to prevent the pistol from being fired. Additionally, because it touches the trigger directly, the trigger lock is not intended for use with loaded weapons. In fact, before locking it, you should empty your gun.

Keep guns out of children’s reach as incidents of children shooting themselves or other children while playing have been reported in health facilities, with findings from HealthyChildren.org indicating that around 4.6 million children live in homes with loaded, unlocked guns.

If you keep a gun in the house, it’s paramount that small children cannot access it either by ladders or stools and that the gun is kept unloaded and the ammunition in a different safe location, and never leave the key on the lock.

3. Educate Yourself

Take time to know your gun and how it works. Injuries have been occasioned by someone cleaning a gun or reloading and it discharges accidentally. Some unintended discharges have resulted in stray bullets hitting children at home. Parenting adults should be proactive in handling guns, especially in the presence of their children.

4. Teach Children About Gun Safety

Safety is a concern for every homeowner in the United States, with reports from the Huston police showing that, in January 2019, 90,916 crimes were registered. There have been increased mass killings of teenagers in the U.S. Experts like Stephanie Himel Nelson, a Navy spouse and the director of communication at Blue star families, agree that the parenting role includes talking and teaching children about gun safety and that it’s okay to take them out and let them fire the gun. The loud bang, they contend, should teach them that a gun is not a toy to play with. Children are also encouraged not to touch a gun should they find a misplaced one. Instead, they’ll call a neighbor or an adult to handle it.

5. Awareness of a Gun in the House

Parenting should also involve letting your children, whether adopted or biological, know that you keep a gun in the house for their safety and its exact location as long as it’s under lock and key. The U.S. Census reveals that one in every 25 American households with children has an adopted child. Nearly half of these households have adopted and biological children.

It’s important to consider the larger context of gun ownership in homes. Families must ensure proper storage and strict safety precautions and be educated to protect adopted and biological children when they finally own firearms.

To protect your family, store guns safely. For households with children or adoptive family members, implementing secure storage solutions like gun safes, trigger locks, or lockboxes can significantly lower the risk of an unintended discharge. American homes will be safer for everyone if we promote a culture of responsible gun ownership, where the right to keep and own guns is balanced with the responsibility to protect loved ones.