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NM Game and Fish Dept. teaching kids the importance of gun safety

Meg Hilling
October 17, 2017 10:25 PM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Safety should always be a top priority when it comes to using firearms.

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Adults know it, and now some in New Mexico are making sure the children in their community know it as well.

"It teaches them a lot. They’ve got to know how to handle it, they've got to know to be safe,” said Sheila Keeling, an instructor in hunter safety.

Through classes that are focused on teaching the importance of safety, the New Mexico Department of Fish and Game is working to keep kids safe around firearms.

"I never want to go and have to see one of my hunter kids find out they accidentally shot somebody or something," Keeling said.

While the classes are aimed at firearm safety techniques for hunting, the techniques can be applied to any form of firearm use.

Keeling said the hardest part of instructing kids on firearm safety is the breaking of bad habits. Many kids grow up playing with toy guns and develop the habit of putting their finger on the trigger every time they pick it up.

So when kids come into contact with a real firearm, their finger automatically goes to the trigger, which goes against standard firearm safety.

"I've got a 4-year-old grandson and we are right now teaching him the finger stays off the trigger and you don't point it at people,” Keeling said. “The sooner you start teaching that the better. Because we see these older kids who've never been taught that, and the first a kid does is their finger hits that trigger. It's just human nature, I guess."

Keeling says it’s important for everyone to know about gun safety. Even if you may not have a gun in the home, a neighborhood family your child is playing with just might.

"If you have taught your kid how to be safe around a firearm, even though they may not have (any) in their house, then when that kid brings a firearm out, he is going to say, ‘No, let's not play with this,’" Keeling said.

Credits

Meg Hilling

Copyright 2017 KOB-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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