Gun Safety

Gun safety rules and practice recommendations are intended to avoid accidental discharge or negligent discharge, or the consequences of firearm malfunctions. Their purpose is to eliminate or minimize the risks of unintentional death, injury or property damage caused by improper possession, storage or handling of firearms.1

  • A semi-automatic firearm fires one bullet each time the trigger is pulled, ejects the shell of the fired bullet, and automatically loads another bullet for the next pull of the trigger. A fully automatic firearm fires multiple bullets with the single pull of the trigger.1 
  • If children have the access and means to a gun, they may act on natural curiosity or a momentary impulse that is hard to grasp by an adult’s common sense.
  • On July 1, 2001, Michigan’s right-to-carry law became effective. This law requires that concealed carry licensees be at least 18 years of age (or 21 years of age if purchasing a handgun from a licensed dealer), have clean criminal/mental health records, and complete a pistol safety course.1
  • A semi-automatic firearm fires one bullet each time the trigger is pulled, ejects the shell of the fired bullet, and automatically loads another bullet for the next pull of the trigger. A fully automatic firearm fires multiple bullets with the single pull of the trigger.1
  • On an average day in America, 93 people (including 7 children and teens) die by gunfire, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.2
  • About 73% murders in the United States during 2016 were committed with firearms.1
  • There are more than 393 million guns in circulation in the United States — approximately 120.5 guns for every 100 people.

Guns In The Home:

  • 1.7 million children live with unlocked, loaded guns.
  • In 2015, 2,824 children died by gunshot and an additional 13,723 were injured.
  • Domestic violence is more likely to turn deadly with a gun in the home. An abusive partner’s access to a firearm increases the risk of homicide eightfold for women in physically abusive relationships.
  • People who report “firearm access” are at twice the risk of homicide and more than 3 times the risk of suicide compared to those who do not own or have access to firearms.
  • States implementing universal background checks and mandatory waiting periods prior to the purchase of a firearm show lower rates of suicides than states without this legislation.

Safe Storage of Guns in The Home:

  • 31% of accidental deaths caused by firearms might be prevented with the addition of two devices: a child-proof safety lock and a loading indicator, according to the U.S. General Accounting Office.
  • Approximately 1 of 3 handguns guns is kept loaded and unlocked and most children know where their parents keep their guns.
  • More than 75% of first and second graders know where their parents keep their firearms and 36% admitted handling the weapons, contradicting their parents’ reports.

Assault Style Weapons:

  • These weapons are responsible for a minority of gun deaths in the US but have become the weapon of choice for the assailant whose intent is chaos and casualties.
  • In 2017 alone, 11 mass shootings in the US caused 117 fatalities and 587 injuries occurring in concert, religious, workplace, airport, and shopping venues and in the community.
  • States that restrict assault weapons also have the lowest per capita homicide rates.

Predicting violence is not an exact science. However, there are some red flags, warning signs and indicators of potential violence that have been identified. A single warning sign by itself usually does not warrant overt action by a threat assessment specialist.

The following are some warning signs, red flags, and indicators that have been associated with school shootings in the United States:

  1. Violent fantasy content, including violent writings or drawings, a person’s preference for books, TV shows, movies, websites and music with violent and degrading themes.
  2. Anger problems, including a person having difficulty controlling his/her temper, acting impulsively, and making threats.
  3. Fascination with weapons, especially those designed and most often used to kill people such as machine guns, semiautomatic pistols, bayonets, special ammunition, and explosives.
  4. Boasting and practicing fighting and combat proficiency.
  5. Loners, who are people who are isolated and socially withdrawn. 
  6. Suicidal ideation, depression, and expressions of hopelessness. 
  7. Homicidal ideation and expressing contempt for others.
  8. Stalking, following, or harassing others regardless of the victims’ expressed annoyance and demands to stop.
  9. Non-compliance with disciplinary sanctions or refusal to abide by written and/or verbal rules.
  10. Imitation of other murderers, including assuming the appearance, dress or possessions like those of violent shooters in the past.
  11. Interest in previous shooting situations.
  12. Victim/martyr self-concept. This involves the fantasy that someday, the person will represent the oppressed or victimized, and will wreak havoc and revenge on the oppressors.
  13. Strangeness and aberrant behavior, including actions and words that cause others around this person to become fearful, suspicious and/or uncomfortable.
  14. Paranoia, or a belief that someone is being singled out and unfairly treated.
  15. Violence and cruelty, including a history of using violence to solve problems, and/or abusing animals.
  16. Inappropriate affect, which may be demonstrated by a person’s enjoying cruel behavior and/or being able to view cruelty without being disturbed.
  17. Acting out, which includes expressing excessive anger or humor, especially when the situation does not warrant it.
  18. Police contact, including a history of contact with law enforcement for stalking or disorderly conduct; past restraining orders; or a jail/prison record for aggressive crimes.
  19. Mental health history related to dangerousness, including referrals or commitments to mental health facilities for aggressive or destructive behavior.
  20. Expressionless face which may indicate an inability to express and/or experience joy or pleasure.
  21. Unusual interest in police or military activities. This may involve interest in, or ownership of, surveillance equipment, handcuffs, camouflage clothing, ski masks, etc.

If a student, staff or faculty member presents a cluster of the above indicators, the potential for risk becomes more serious. The person observing these behaviors is then urged to contact a member of the Crisis Intervention Resource Team and/or District Police.

 Tips for Handling a Guns:

  • Always keep the muzzle pointed in a safe direction in which a bullet cannot possibly strike anyone, taking into account possible ricochets and the fact that bullets can penetrate walls and ceilings.
  • Firearms should be unloaded when not actually in use. Whenever you handle a firearm or hand it to someone, always open the action immediately, and visually check the chamber, receiver, and magazine to be certain they do not contain any ammunition.
  • Do not rely on your gun’s “safety”. Treat every gun as though it can fire at any time. The “safety” on any gun is a mechanical device which can become inoperable at the worst possible time.
  • Be sure of your target and what is behind it.
  • Use correct ammunition. Using improper or incorrect ammunition can destroy a gun and cause serious personal injury.
  • Any time there is a cartridge in the chamber, your gun is loaded and ready to fire even if you’ve tried to shoot and it did not go off.
  • Always wear eye and ear protection when shooting. Exposure to shooting noise can damage hearing. Shooting glasses guard against twigs, falling shot, clay target chips and the rare ruptured case or firearm malfunction.
  • Never handle any firearm without first having thoroughly familiarized yourself with the particular type of firearm you are using, the safe gun handling rules
  • for loading, unloading, carrying and handling that firearm, and the rules of safe gun handling in general.4
  • Never use alcohol, over-the-counter drugs or prescription drugs before or while shooting.5

Gun Safety Tips for Parents:

  • Store guns in a locked location, unloaded, out of the reach and sight of children.
  • Store ammunition in a separate locked location, out of the reach and sight of children.
  • Keep the keys and combinations hidden.
  • When a gun is not in its lock box, keep it in your line of sight.
  • Make sure all guns are equipped with effective, child-resistant gun locks.
  • If a visitor has a gun in a backpack, briefcase, handbag or an unlocked car, provide them with a locked place to hold it while they are in your home.
  • Leaving guns on a nightstand, table or other places where a child can gain access may lead to injuries and fatalities.

Talk to Your Kids and their Caregivers:

  • Explain how a gun your kids might see on television or a video game is different from a gun in real life. A gun, in real life, can really hurt people.
  • Teach kids never to touch a gun and to immediately tell an adult if they see one.
  • Talk to grandparents and the parents of friends your children visit about safe gun storage practices.

Dispose of Guns You Don’t Need6:

  • If you decide that you no longer need to have a gun in your home, dispose of it in a safe way. Consult with law enforcement in your community on how to do so.