The Herald Bulletin

August 10, 2013

Editorial: Firearm safety can start at home


The Herald Bulletin

---- — A death as a result of a shooting -- no matter the setting -- is a jolt to family and friends. The tragedy is unexpected, leading to emotions that include anger, confusion and grief.

The accidental death of 13-year-old Logan Armendariz, who had lived in Middletown and Anderson, is taking family and his nearby community through those emotions. He was shot in the chest by a younger family member as the two were looking at a .22-caliber handgun; they had found access to a locked gun safe. Among those mourning were friends at his Daleville school and sports teams.

His death, however, can serve as a reminder that gun owners need to secure their firearms properly inside their homes, and reinforce the danger that they can become for those untrained to handle guns.

In 2010, an average of 13 young people, between the ages of 10 to 24, were killed each day in homicides. Among those victims, 82.8 percent were killed with a firearm. Of course, many of these are intended actions, not accidental shootings.

According to the Centerts for Disease Control and Prevention, there are about 14,000 to 19,000 nonfatal injuries stemming from accidental shootings per year in the U.S., with about 600 people killed in such shootings.

The Anderson Police Department, which investigated the 13-year-old’s death, urged residents in a timely, proactive note to see Armendariz’s death as a “sober reminder of how fragile life can be.”

To promote firearm safety awareness, the department offers gun locks through Project Childsafe. Anyone wanting a gun lock from the Anderson Police Department may get it, free of charge, by dropping by the police office.

But much of firearm safety in a home comes down to some basic questions. Are your security concerns realistic? Will the other adults in a household take a firearms training program? Are there risk factors in the home involving mental illness or drug or alcohol abuse? And what precautions can a family take to protect children in the home?

As most of us should know, unloaded firearms should be stored in a locked cabinet, safe, gun vault or storage case. The location should be inaccessible to children. Ammunition should be stored, also in a locked location and separate from firearms.

Other tips can be found at www.projectchildsafe.org

Youth are naturally curious about firearms. If one is within reach or accessible, children and adolescents may be tempted to “play” with the firearm. It is the duty of parents, family members, even friends, to be sure that firearms are stored safely away from youth.

In summary The tragic accidental shooting death of 13-year-old Logan Armendariz points to the need for gun safety. Poll question Should doctors ask patients if they own firearms? Yes No Not sure