Most everyone who has gone through their PAL Restricted and Non-Restricted is familiar with the vital A.C.T.S. of firearms safety.
Step 2 is to PROVE it is safe
- Point the firearm in the safest available direction.
- Remove all cartridges.
- Observe the chamber.
- Verify the feeding path.
- Examine the bore.
If you have had your PAL training here in Canada, this will sound very familiar. This simple acronym has been taught to responsible firearm owners for many years. I have a slightly different take on it, not for PAL holders, but for future PAL holders. I am talking about my child.
Many years ago when I first qualified for my PAL, the instructor told the class about firearms safety and children. It was an interesting theory about children and firearms. The instructor said that if you satisfy the curiosity and teach them at an early age, you will raise a child to respect firearms. This instruction really stuck with me because I have a household with children in it. I don’t allow my son to play with toy firearms, but he is very curious little guy and like any parent out there, I am always worried about his safety. Not to say that I’m an irresponsible firearms owner, quite the opposite, I keep everything double locked, restricted or not. You can also catch my little guy running around the backyard with a stick as a pretend rifle yelling “Pew, Pew, Pew”. I don’t pretend to think I can protect him from the exposure of desensitized violence. My extent is to limit his exposure to foam dart guns and video game/movie violence.
The acronyms of A.C.T.S. and P.R.O.V.E. are effective when your an adult. But as a child, it can be a bit much if your around grade 1. So I decided to make a little acronym that my little guy would understand.
As with many parents I’m sure, you start teaching your child about love. So I decided, why not start there. LOVE is something my little guy understands and is easy to spell. So here is my interpretation with regards to firearms safety:
L: Leave it (firearms) alone, treat it as if its Loaded, Look with your eyes only!
O: Observe and watch your parent prove to you that it is safe to touch and handle
V: Verify that the firearm is safe and unloaded with your parents help
E: Everyone is safe that you Love when you follow the rules
We start with this little mantra before I allow him to touch any of the firearms I have on my work bench. I answer his questions and allow him to help me clean the firearms before locking them away in the safe. His curiosity is satisfied and he comes away with a basic understanding and respect for firearms.
It really opened my eyes when we were in the garage setting up the Laser Simulation Range for some simulation firearms practice when I my little guy started repeating the L.O.V.E. speech. I stopped what I was doing and repeated with him as we set up the SIRT pistols. A little bit of wisdom shared and practiced.