As gun ownership has risen over the years, firearm accidents involving children have dropped dramatically. While the odds of a child dying in a gun accident today are roughly a million-to-one, these tragedies—such as one recent incident in Jacksonville, Fla., where an 8-year-old boy accidentally shot and killed his 5-year-old sister and injured a friend—do still occur.
Now, one nearby range has dedicated itself to using hands-on education to further reduce these odds. Jacksonville Clay Target Sports offers classes on how to safely shoot and handle firearms to around 50 children a day—and their average pupil is 5 years old.
Range safety officer Larry Freeman explained the importance of being open with children about guns. “You get rid of the mystique of the gun,” he told WLTV, “and then they’ll know what to tell their parents if they find one, they won’t be sneaking it off to see how it works and wind up killing somebody.” Freeman pointed to his students’ changing opinions about guns as a sign of the program’s success. “Kids are kids, and they’re going to be curious. They weren’t curious anymore.”