By Terry Allison, Arizona Firearm Injury Prevention Coalition
DSC Gun Violence Awareness Task Force Member
Statistics tell us that 40% of our teenagers become severely depressed during periods of stress. Sadly, some of these children may have suicidal impulses. Most teenage suicides involve guns; frequently weapons found in their home.
As family members, as members of the faith community, we can help our young people. If a teen has signs of depression, don’t hesitate to see your family physician, pediatrician, or psychologist. As youth leaders, be on the lookout and reach out to teens in need. Talk to them, talk to their parents.
If you have a gun at home, prevent your teenager from using it. Secure your weapons from misuse. While it may feel secure to have your arms in display cabinets, locked desk drawers, or glove compartments, this may not work. Gun safes and trigger locks are more efficient and designed to protect children. These can provide security, yet allow owners access in seconds.
Keeping a gun to defend your family does not make sense if that gun puts your family members or visitors in danger. Ammunition can be just as deadly as a weapon, so store it with the same care you do your gun.
Remove the mystery of guns. Answer your son or daughter’s questions openly and honestly. Take a gun safety class with your child. As the leader in your family, teach your child that he or she should not touch a gun unless you are present and give your permission.
For more information visit www.afipc.org.
The Conference Gun Violence Awareness Task Force seeks to promote dialogue, share information, and education about gun violence among the people of God. Members are available to come to your church to present on current issues, and what our churches can do to respond to such matters as gun safety and suicide. Task Force Chairperson, Howard Moses, can be reached at email@example.com.