Talking To Your Children

It is important to start a dialogue with your children about what to do if they find a gun. The following is suggested language for talking to your kids about firearms.

Guns are very serious. An accident involving a gun can hurt or even kill you or someone you know. Most adults are allowed to own a gun by law, and many have one. This means that even if there isn’t a gun in your house, you need to know what to do if you see a gun.

  • If you see a gun, follow these four steps: 1. Stop. 2. Don’t touch. 3. Get away. 4. Tell an adult.
  • When you follow these steps, you’re protecting yourself and helping to keep other people safe.

Here are some tips about what to do in specific circumstances:

  • Walk away and tell a parent if your friend shows you his parent’s gun.
  • Tell an adult immediately if you see a gun in someone’s backpack at school.
  • Tell a trusted adult if you hear a girl or boy say that she or he is going to bring a gun to school.
  • Follow the four steps if you find a gun in the park by your house.
  • If you’re not sure why a gun is dangerous, talk to a parent about it.

Tips For Talking To Parents Before Play Dates

The Center to Prevent Youth Violence has created a resource for parents who want to inquire if there are firearms where their children play. Its ASK campaign, created in collaboration with the American Academy of Pediatrics, suggests it may be easier to open the dialogue by following these four tips.

  • ASK with other questions. Include the question along with other things you might normally discuss before sending your child to someone’s house –such as seat belts, animals, or allergies.
  • Use the facts. Over one-third of homes with children have a gun. Many of those guns are left unlocked and loaded. That iswhy you are asking — you just want to make sure that your child is safe.
  • Work through groups. Introduce the ASK concept through a group or community effort such as a religious organization or PTA.
  • Don’t be confrontational. Present your concerns in a respectful manner. You are simply trying to make sure your child is in asafe environment. Use the ASK brochure to open the dialogue.

You can learn more about the ASK campaign and how to discuss firearm safety and safe storage in homes where your child plays by visiting