Unfortunately, it is becoming increasingly common to hear of fatal incidents involving small children and guns. The purpose of this letter is to remind all gun owners in the Bitterroot Valley, especially those with young children, that with the right to gun ownership comes serious responsibilities and obligations.
This past Saturday afternoon my husband and I drove into a parking area for one of our local, popular trailheads. Driving in we passed three young children who looked to be between the ages of 3-8 playing in the back of a truck. A small girl, around 5 or 6 years old, was pointing a 22 rifle in our direction while a boy a year or two older was waving around a larger caliber rifle with a hunting scope attached. These children were COMPLETELY unsupervised while playing with these guns. Their parents were down the hill at the campsite unaware of the kid’s activities. When my husband asked the little girl to put down her gun, she merely disappeared behind the truck. Hopefully, these rifles were not loaded, but even so, that still doesn’t make them suitable toys.
If you are a parent of small children, you have the right to own handguns and rifles in our country. However, with that right comes the obligation to keep your small children safe from easy and unprotected access to those guns. Additionally, you have the serious responsibility to educate your child in the safe use and care of those guns when they reach an appropriate age.
For the record, my family and I are gun owners. I received target shooting instruction using my Father’s WWII service revolver from my retired Colonel Grandfather. I was 11 or 12 years old and highly supervised whenever I was around any firearm.
Don’t let the communities of the Bitterroot Valley become known for gun tragedies involving children. Protect and educate your children, and keep them safe.
Ruth Anne Wilson-Jones