Two Things NOT To Do With Your Guns

Sometimes I'm left scratching my head as I sit here and read the gun-related news stories each morning. So many incidents can be avoided with just a little consideration if people just stopped to think more. Any of us who are gun owners have the responsibility to make sure others don't get hurt with our firearms.

Sadly, a lot of people fall short, like in the two incidents below that happened just this week.

Toddlers and guns don't mix:

I read several stories this past week where toddler aged kids, so 4 years of age and under, have shot themselves with their parent's guns. The one that came across my desk today took place in Columbus, Ohio when a 24 year old man left his gun next to him on the couch as he played video games.

The young 23-month old child picked the gun up and shot himself in the stomach.

The little boy is still in critical condition in the hospital but is expected to make a full recovery. No other details are given about the father and if he has a concealed carry permit or not, but the 24 year old father has been charged with child endangerment.

And again, this is just the story that came across my desk today. I remember seeing a few others over the last several days with similar outcomes … the parent leaving the gun where the toddler can get to it. If you're not teaching your kids gun safety, and they likely won't get it at this age, you should NOT be leaving your gun on the couch when you're distracted playing a video game.

Negligence like this happens all the time and I'm really kind of getting sick of reporting on it.

Don't shoot the air:

We've written articles about this very topic in the past. Usually these articles come out for holidays like the New Year which is when the most people are trying to kill air molecules.

But this sort of thing does still happen at off times, as well, as we can see by a news story when a child playing in the schoolyard was shot in the jaw by a stray bullet.

Officials believe the bullet was fired at some distance away and that the child was not targeted.

This particular incident occurred in Leland, NC, and the child is six years old.

We've taken the stance that shooting into the air is stupid, if that is indeed what happened here as authorities think. After all, what goes up must eventually come back down. And while that projectile won't have the same velocity, it can travel for miles and still retains enough velocity to seriously hurt someone on the receiving end of it.

But, even if it wasn't a projectile that was shot into the air, even if it was target practice or a hunting projectile — any bullet can and will travel for miles until it either hits something capable of stopping it or gravity finally takes over.

You must always be careful when shooting.

The safety rule that says to know your target and what is around and beyond it applies to all shooting, everywhere, every day.


Those of us who are gun owners have the charge of gun safety. This means that we must be responsible with our guns at all times. This means that we must know our target and what is beyond our target. This means that we must remain in control of our guns at all times.

This means not leaving a gun on the couch while we're distracted by a video game, or shooting a gun into the air for an innocent person miles away to get hit by.

And it means so much more. Leave your thoughts on this in the comments below.

About Joshua Gillem

Josh is a lifelong practitioner and student of the gun. He grew up shooting/hunting with his dad, and was given his first gun, a 12 gauge shotgun, when just a small boy. After high school, he joined the Marines where his love for firearms blossomed as he qualified with an M16A2, an M9, and a 240G. Josh has been writing about firearms and tactics for several years, owns the blog Gunners Den, is a staunch supporter of the Second Amendment, and believes that each individual person has the right to self-defense by any means necessary. Currently residing in gun-friendly NC, he carries a concealed gun on a daily basis, even in his own house.


  1. jacob on November 18, 2020 at 5:31 pm

    Even if you teach kids how to handle being around firearms it still isnt a good idea to leave them lay around whilly nilly. Keep it on your person or in a safe.

    • Tom on November 19, 2020 at 11:32 am

      When my kids were growing up, I taught them about gun safety. I never had a safe and they were scattered around the house. They knew how to shoot by the time they were 6 yrs. old as our area had its share of critters and bears..

  2. ATOMIK on November 18, 2020 at 11:05 pm

    I agree completely. You should always keep your weapon on you. If I am somewhere where there are children present, I lock my weapon in the trunk of my car and I also lock the interior button that unlocks the trunk

  3. Michael A Prettyman on November 19, 2020 at 2:41 am

    I truly believe the right to defend ourselves and others is not given to us by any government, but from our Creator. That being said, it is also a great responsibility.

    We carry to be safe. Just as important, we must be safe as we carry. Always be conscious, situationally aware, not only in public, but in private as well.

  4. Albert Vazquez on November 19, 2020 at 5:12 am

    If your handgun is not in the safe or in your person, it should not leave your sight, Period. How distracted was this person (unless he was wearing a VR headset) that he did not see his child approaching to register in his brain that he needed to put his handgun away? Regardless of how it happened, firearms are not toys for people to have them laying around unsecured while doing other activities at home unless they feel there’s an immediate threat to their safety and that of their family. Unfortunately, as gun owners, sometimes we are the cause of our own problems. Let’s use this as a learning lesson. I pray for that child’s speedy recovery.

  5. DEFENDER on November 19, 2020 at 5:38 am

    Don’t just “Tell” about the rules.
    TEACH/SHOW – “By Example”.

    A few examples:
    “Don’t shoot in the Air”
    I tell students – That bullet IS going to come down “Somewhere” and I visualize it
    will be in the eye of some small kid playing in his sand box (1 mile away) looking at the
    pretty clouds in the sky.

    “Muzzle” Discipline – When laying out guns I make sure to position/point them in a safe
    direction and tell students to make note of this and why I did it that way.

    Sometimes I will put a Long cleaning rod in the barrel of a gun to enhance the idea of muzzle discipline – especially while seated, etc.

    Also show – physically – like when seated – how to Not muzzle your leg on the draw.
    And how easy it is to Muzzle your leg..

    Most everyone knows you have to finger the trigger to shoot.
    I just say Flat – “Keep your DAM finger OFF the Trigger”.
    Then “Show Them” a better place for it – Straight along the Frame Above.

    I have found that these “Visualizations” – “STICK”.
    “Talk” is cheap – “Showing” Works.

    Most all my “Reviews” talk about how Real Safety is emphasized and helpful.

    Yeah it takes more time – but “I” care more about their safety than “My” profit margin/time.


    • michael mcneely on November 19, 2020 at 12:53 pm

      I totally agree keep guns safe. I would add that in my opinion it is not a good practice to shoot into the ground.

      • Joshua Gillem on November 20, 2020 at 6:53 am

        I agree with this completely. Shooting a gun into the ground or even water can be dangerous as the bullet can ricochet and travel for quite a while in an unknown direction.


  6. R J Rancont on November 19, 2020 at 6:35 am

    Let’s pass a Federal law to the effect that if a child accesses a gun under circumstances narrated above, the responsible gun owner/user is guilty of a felony child endangerment.
    Let the same Federal law apply to “air shots” period.

    • Ken Bochenek on November 19, 2020 at 7:05 am

      Yeah, just what we need more laws…..

    • SL-FLtDoc on November 19, 2020 at 9:17 am

      Of course, the genius who, unless we are saved by a miracle, is about to become “president” is a proponent of firing “blasts” from shotguns, either blindly through doors or into the air, to deter bad guys. So be careful what legislation you propose that he sign.

    • J.R. on November 19, 2020 at 11:46 am


  7. Ella Hummel on November 19, 2020 at 7:43 am

    I’d like to know why he would have his pistol beside him while he was playing a video game??? Was he afraid that one of the characters would jump out of the television and get him or was he planning to shoot the TV if he lost the game??? Whatever it was there is NO excuse for this kind of neglegence with a small child in the house!!!

  8. David R on November 19, 2020 at 9:12 am

    Are we saying that it is very important that when you leave your home, that your mate and children NOT be able to protect themselves?

    I’ve seen and read of many cases where a relatively young child (9 – 14) [was trained to be safe with weapons] saved their own life and the lives of others.

    Laws have unintended consequences – do not let the left influence you too much.

    For centuries, children were taught how to load and handle weapons. A long gun was often stored, loaded, above the mantel for family protection.
    People lived near a stream to have access to water. Now we want to “protect” the children from even water, so we won’t live by a stream. How far have we fallen?!!

    • Joshua Gillem on November 20, 2020 at 6:58 am

      That’s not what I’m saying at all. If I remember correctly without re-reading this article (that I wrote) the child was not even two years old. That’s a far cry from from 9-14. Of course if you’re teaching your kids about guns and safety, then only you know what is okay within your household. I taught my oldest daughter how to shoot when she was 9. The other two are getting read to learn.

  9. Steve M Sawyer Jr on November 19, 2020 at 11:04 am

    That’s true if the firearms are pointed at an angle. Straight up it will have a lower impact the velocity is very minimal. Verse at an angle. Yet I do agree that if you are just shooting into the air your rights to own a firearm should be taken from your dum ass.

  10. John Herrmann on November 19, 2020 at 1:01 pm

    “I shot an arrow in the air, it fell to earth ai know not where.”

  11. gs454 on November 19, 2020 at 4:11 pm

    I would have to disagree with you no one with half a brain wants the federal goverment in any thing we do not need leading

  12. Al on November 19, 2020 at 10:41 pm

    Laws won’t change anything.

    You can’t legislate “stupid”.

  13. Alan Kushner on November 20, 2020 at 6:01 am

    To R J. We have enough federal laws on the books already. The federal govt. is way to involved in our personal and private lives. We absolutely do not need any more laws made to cover peoples carelessness and stupidity. What is needed is education in safety and for people to practice common sense. Common sense is not that hard . We just need to stop and think before we do or not do things. With firearms it is doubly important . The same applies to cars, machinery, etc. Remember the more power we give the govt. the more they take .” BY THE POEPLE AND FOR THE PEOPLE ” .

  14. Carl on November 21, 2020 at 11:47 am

    I think it best to teach gun safety at the earliest possible age (depends on the kid). Growing up my dad was a cop and we had guns a number of guns around the house.
    By about 8 or 9 I had my own single shot 22 kept behind the front door of the house with 2 bullets at my disposal kept inside the grandfather clock in the front room. As we lived in the desert there were plenty of critters that often threatened our farm animals. It was very comforting to have that gun when heading out to protect our animals.

    These days the thing I try to drill into the head of every kid I am around is that guns are serious, If you find one anywhere, or if a friend wants to show you his dads gun leave immediately and go tell an adult.

  15. Larry Hamer on November 22, 2020 at 10:39 am

    You stated that no one knew weather or not the father had a concealed carry permit. If he was in his own house he would not need a permit. This is a good example of how our news gets things wrong. However, I do agree that no matter where he was, he was wrong for leaving the the gun unattended.

  16. Jeff T. on November 23, 2020 at 8:14 am

    But, but, Joe Biden said we SHOULD just shoot into the air (and any assailants would run away). He can’t be wrong, can he?

  17. Harold Daniels on November 25, 2020 at 5:01 pm

    When my children were growing up I took the “Mystic” out of guns and let them handle them while supervised. But they were always locked up My children learned to shoot and respect firearms at a young age. At about 7 years of age if I handed my son a firearm he knew how to and did check to see that it was, in fact, unloaded.

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