When it comes to talking to your children about gun safety.... How young is too young?
KMPH News reporter Norma Yuriar spoke to gun safety instructor. He says some of his clients are as young as five. Ken Zachary also says some parents sign up for gun safety classes after they were accidentally shot at by their own children.
By Norma Yuriar
Fresno, Calif. (KMPH News) – Could the sound of a firearm going off make the difference between life and death for a child who finds a gun in the home?
A former U.S. Marine and retired sheriff's deputy says when children hear and see the boom! It leaves an impression on them.
"In video games where they are shooting these guns – it's theatrical," Ken Zachary said. "There's music and there's no reaction and there's no end result but when that gun goes bang... they feel the vibration."
"It's very, very loud... surprisingly so," Parent Margo Smith added.
At The Range Pistol Club in northwest Fresno gun safety instructor Ken Zachary teaches children what happens when a gun goes off.
He says three to four children attend each of his classes.
"Yes, they shoot in my classes... we sit them down in a chair, we put a little bench rest, we put the riffle there, we load it and we talk about how to pull the trigger," Zachary said.
Smith recommends the class.
"Just for that reason ... so that they will know exactly what it is... not to touch it, and how dangerous it is," Smith said.
So, how young is too young? KMPH News asked Zachary at what age should parents talk to their children about gun safety?
"I started my girls at 5–years–old," Zachary said. "It usually comes down to the responsibility of the child. I've had 8 and 10–year–olds in my class and I've thrown out adults."
Talk about gun safety comes days after Fresno Police say a toddler accidentally shot and killed his six–year–old sister.
Investigators found 53–fire–arms in the home.
"I don't think he did it on purpose, he's a little one and he doesn't know much about guns," 10–year–old Emily Corona said.
The fifth grader felt sad when heard about the shooting.
Corona says her mom taught her that if she sees a gun to always assume that it's loaded.
"When I see a gun I know I'm supposed to get an adult so they can take care of the situation," Corona said.
That's exactly what Zachary teaches kids in his class – some of whom he says show up after accidentally shooting their mom or dad.
It's an emotional issue for Zachary.
"Oh, yeah...I'm been shot at and I've got kids," Zachary said.
The gun safety instructor would like to see valley school districts implement the NRA's Eddie the Eagle program.
"This is a program about gun safety," Zachary said. "I believe an ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure to coin a phrase. It comes down to trying to prevent rather than to react."
In light of Sunday's tragedy, The Range in Fresno will be offering a free class teaching children how to be safe in the presence of firearms.
The course will be held the first Monday of every month at 6pm starting June 6th.
Free gun locks will also be made available. The Range is located at 5151 N. Gates Avenue just off west Shaw next to the CHP division headquarters.
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