Experts: Gun locks, education could prevent accidental shootings

Published: Feb. 24, 2016 at 9:04 PM CST
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Gun safety experts say that the nearly one-dozen accidental shootings in Texas in 2016, many of which involved parents and children who were handling guns, could have been prevented.

On Tuesday a man in Houston was shot by his 20-year-old son who was unloading a handgun and it accidentally fired, striking the father in the chest and killing him on scene, police said.

Gun experts say many of these accidental shootings could be prevented by following fire arm safety practices and utilizing gun safety devices such as gun locks.

Brad Burney owns Praco Gun and Pawn in Waco and says safety rules related to handling firearms must be followed before tragic accidents can be prevented.

"If you are going to operate a chainsaw, you need to know how to do so safely, it is the same with a gun,” Brad Burney says.

The National Safety Council says that gun safety education and gun locks have helped to cut the number of unintentional gun-related deaths by 58 percent in the last two decades.

"All new firearms by law come with a locking device,” Burney says.

The locking devices out now are simple, but the technology of the future uses Radio Frequency Identification Device (RFID) and fingerprint technology. The only problem is the new technology is battery powered, which can cause problems if the device is not kept charged.

"That can be a problem in law enforcement situations and personal defense situations," Burney says.

Johnny Price teaches handgun safety and concealed handgun license classes through his company, Big Iron Handgun License Training. He says one of the most important lessons he teaches his students is to always assume a gun is loaded when you are handling it.

"There are too many people who pick up a gun thinking it’s unloaded and the first thing they do is pick it up by the trigger and squeeze the trigger. Then, you've got an accident, an injury or a death,” Price says.

The fundamental NRA rules for safe gun handling are to always keep the gun pointed in a safe direction, always keep your finger off the trigger until ready to shoot, and always keep the gun unloaded until ready to use.