Safety and Education

CRPA emphasizes firearm safety fundamentals in many ways.

The safety programs of CRPA and like minded groups have proven successful across the nation, including many cities in California where they are currently used. These efforts have been instrumental in bringing the firearm accident rate in America down to its lowest level ever.

CRPA publicizes a variety of effective violence prevention and gun safety programs that are available to local officials. These include…

  • informational brochures, safety guidelines, civilian gun safety and firearm education classes;
  • the award-winning Eddie Eagle GunSafe®program, which teaches kids to stay away from guns;
  • Project HomeSafe , which distributes free gun safety locks;
  • “Don’t Lie for the Other Guy,” which enlists firearm dealers to fight illegal gun purchases and “straw purchases”;
  • “Refuse To Be A Victim,” which teaches a variety of personal safety techniques;
  • Operation Ceasefire, a strategic crime fighting alliance between police and gun dealers;

…and a host of other programs. Please see our Safety & Education Links page for links to these resources.

All gun safety programs emphasize the four cardinal rules of firearm safety:

  1. Always treat all firearms as if they were loaded.
  2. Never allow the muzzle of your firearm to point at anything you do not intend to shoot.
  3. Keep your finger off the trigger until your sights are aligned with the target and you are ready to shoot.
  4. Be sure of your target and its surroundings.

If schools taught the four basic rules of firearm safety, and everyone obeyed those simple rules, accidents would be nil.

Tragically, gun accidents do claim some children’s lives, though fortunately far less than most people think. During 2000 there were 37 accidental gun deaths for children under 10 in the U.S. In 1999 there were 31, and only six of these cases actually involved a child firing the gun. Indeed from 1995 to 1999 the entire United States saw only between five and nine cases a year where a child under ten either accidentally shot themselves or another child.

In relative terms, with over 90 million adults owning a gun and almost 40 million children under 10, it is hard to think of almost any other potentially dangerous products kept in American homes that have as few accidental deaths associated with them. Over 1,260 children under ten died in cars in 1999. Another 370 died as pedestrians hit by cars. Accidents involving residential fires took 484 children’s lives. Even 92 children under the age of five drowned accidentally in bathtubs.

The overwhelming majority of gun owners then, are extremely careful. In fact, homes where gun accidents occur are not typical homes. Alcoholism and criminal histories are common, as is disproportionate involvement in automobile accidents and driver’s license suspensions. Nonetheless, every death is a tragedy we all hope to avoid. Education is the key to reducing these accidents further.

Counterproductive mechanically based legislative gun safety mandates have been tried and are largely unsuccessful. Although mechanical locks and gun safes are one part of a firearm safety plan, they are not a panacea. Unlike largely counterproductive laws mandating the sale of gun locks or incomprehensible warnings, gun safety education actually saves lives.

A 1999 law requires state approved gun-locks to be sold with all firearms. While that bill has resulted in increased red-tape when buying a gun, some of these “state approved” and supposedly tamper proof locks can be defeated with nothing more than a simple screwdriver. And gun locks cause problems. Locked guns are not as readily accessible for defensive gun uses. If criminals are deterred from attacking victims because they fear people might defend themselves, gun locks may therefore increase crime. Exacerbating this problem, many mechanical locks also require that the gun be stored unloaded. Loading a gun obviously requires yet more time to respond to a criminal.

A 2003 law requires that firearms come equipped a “loaded chamber indicator” and a “magazine disconnect” device with the next few years. A “loaded chamber indicator” typically consists of a red warning marker that, to those familiar with it’s meaning, signifies that there is a round of ammunition in the “chamber” of the firearm. If you understand how a gun works, you know this means that if the trigger is pulled, the gun will fire. But, in order for the gun user to understand what the red marker signifies, they must understand what the “chamber” is in the first place, and how a chamber becomes “loaded” in the second place. Ironically, once the user understands those concepts they understand enough about the gun to know if its loaded without the red flag.

These quick-fix laws ignore the realities of firearm technology and practical usage, and inadvertently sometimes actually increase the risk of accidents. None of these devices make a gun fool proof, though they do often create a false sense of security among gun owners, lulling them into believing the problem has been solved mechanically, without the need for them to think things through or take additional precautions. As any experienced and certified firearm safety instructor will warn, the alluring panacea of mechanical devices leads to carelessness. Carelessness breeds more accidents, not less. Even the anti-gun-owner Americans for Gun Safety in its publication Universal Firearm Safety Rules, cautions people to “never rely on a mechanical safety.”

Legislators should not presume to know better than the over 35,000 certified gun safety instructors who teach gun safety to law enforcement and civilians across the country. Collectively, they have millions of trained students and hundreds of years of experience behind them. Experience proves that in the end, the only foolproof way to avoid gun accidents is to educate the “fool.”

Anti-gun groups have spent millions of dollars on public relations efforts to demonize guns and to make it politically incorrect to choose to own one. So gun control advocates typically fiercely resist any effort to promote real gun safety training, fearing that merely mentioning a firearm in an educational context could tacitly endorse the concept of firearm ownership. Even programs endorsed by the FBI or the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms are rejected for fear of implicitly acknowledging that firearms, used four times more often to prevent a crime than to commit one, have social utility as self-defense tools.

But like the beer in the refrigerator and other taboos, children are also curious about guns. That curiosity is not addressed by pretending that firearms do not exist. Acknowledging and demystifying guns to students will save lives. And as the gun-ban lobby always says, if it saves one life, it’s worth it. Right?

Please help CRPA to promote gun safety and education programs throughout California.

This information is listed for CRPA members’ convenience through websites not operated or maintained by CRPA. CRPA cannot vouch for the continued existence, business practices, or legitimacy of the listed businesses. Members are advised to contact the business to confirm hours of operation, locations, admittance policies, etc. before traveling to the location. — Always Use Firearms Responsibly —