Having a legal firearm within a home in North Carolina comes with responsibilities for the gun owner, especially if there are children in the home. Ensuring that all family members understand how the gun should and should not be used is vital in making sure no accidents occur. 

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Here are some ways you can have a conversation with your child about firearms and what they need to stay safe. Always invite your children to come to you whenever they have questions or concerns about guns.

  • Remind them never to touch any gun or bullets.
  • Explain the difference between toy guns and real ones.
  • Stress the fact that guns can kill and encourage them to make safe decisions.
  • Lead by example and demonstrate safe gun practices that your children can observe. 
  • Encourage children to tell you if they ever feel unsafe at home or at school.
  • Help choose programs, movies and games that are non-violent. Talk to them about violence in television, movies and videogames and prompt them to discuss their feelings.
  • Be on the lookout for signs of depression, since suicide is one of the common causes of youth handgun death.
  • Check with other parents to find out if they have a gun in their home before your children visit.

young boy wearing red shirt with white stripes shooting rubber-band gun

  • Keep all guns and ammunition out of the reach of children, untrained adults, and those who would use them improperly.
  • Always keep your guns locked in a gun safe that cannot be easily broken into or taken away. If one is not available, use a cable lock or trigger lock (one that goes behind the trigger is preferred) and store the guns out of the reach of those who should not have access to them.
  • Keep the keys to gun safes and gun locks hidden and out of the reach of those who should not have access to them.
  • Store your guns unloaded and with the safety on.
  • Keep the guns dry, cleaned and oiled while in storage.
  • Store guns and ammunition in a dry cool place and away from heat and fire.


  1. Always treat the gun as if it is loaded.
  2. Always keep the gun pointed in a safe direction.
  3. Always keep your finger straight and off the trigger until you are ready to shoot.
  4. Always keep the gun unloaded until you are ready to use it.
  5. Never point the gun at anything you don't intend to shoot.
  6. Be sure of your target and what is beyond it.
  7. Learn the mechanical and handling characteristics of the gun you are using.
  8. Always use proper ammunition.
  9. Be sure the barrel is clear of obstructions before loading and shooting.
  10. If your gun fails to fire when the trigger is pulled, hold your shooting position for several seconds; then with the muzzle pointed in a safe direction, carefully unload the gun.
  11. Don't rely on the gun's safety to keep it from firing.
  12. Be aware of your surroundings when handling guns so you don't trip or lose your balance and accidentally point and/or fire the gun at anyone or anything.