In May 2021, LeBonheur Children’s Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee, set a record for the number of children shot (20) in a single month.
“About half of our gunshot wounds are accidental. I think sometimes we think a lot of our problems we are dealing with are all related to community violence and a lot of them are just unsafe storage,” said Dr. Regan Williams, a Trauma Medical Director.
That’s not a record any community should be proud of, and Pastor Ricky Floyd is determined to make sure it never happens again.
Pastor Ricky Floyd knows kids in his area will come across guns and he wants them to know how to deal with them safely when that happens.
“If they’re going to have their hands or be anywhere near it [a gun], they need to know some fundamental rules about being safe around a firearm. It’s just really frustrating to keep trying to prevent something that just keeps happening.”
Pastor Floyd’s desire to teach children proper firearm safety stems from two events:
- the May 22nd shooting death of a 1-year-old child by another child in the vehicle, and
- the passage of Tennessee’s constitutional carry provision which Governor Bill Lee signed into law in April and came into force on July 1, 2021.
Tennessee’s constitutional carry law means anyone 21 or older may legally carry a firearm open or concealed without a government permission slip, police background check or training.
It’s that last point, the lack of training, that has Pastor Ricky Floyd worried. It’s also why he is one of dozens of community leaders who want new and old firearm owners to get proper training.
“I am not as disturbed about the law being passed. I am pro citizens carrying guns, but now we have a responsibility to be trained on how to carry to protect our children,” said Pastor Floyd. “And if children are going to have their hands or be anywhere near it, they need to know some rules to keep them safe.”
Pastor Floyd reached out to Jonathan Cross from Dauntless Tactical Training to see how his company could help.
“We took our Husband’s Institute boys, which are as young as six years old, through gun training with Jonathon Cross, and it looks like we have to bring him back again.”
“You don’t have to teach a child how to use a firearm in order to teach them how to be safe with it,” said Jonathan Cross, of Dauntless Tactical Training. (see video at https://news.yahoo.com/fed-accidental-shootings-memphis-pastor-232900916.html)
Law Enforcement Weighs In on Tennessee Constitutional Carry
One concern put forward by law enforcement agencies across the state is that individuals my purchase a firearm without knowing the laws and regulations surrounding firearm ownership.
Another is the lack of a training requirement.
“As violent as Shelby County has become — and we are doing what we can do to curtail that — when we allow our citizens to carry with no training, it doesn’t make sense to me,” said Shelby County Sheriff Floyd Bonner.
“Supporters [of constitutional carry] say that it will decrease violence. I think it will increase,” he said, parroting that time-worn belief that people will be killing each other over parking spaces and fender-benders.
“If you’re going to choose to carry a gun, please understand the proper laws and learn the minimal training of carrying a firearm,” Bonner said. “If you don’t, you can potentially wind up on the other side of the law.”
Bonner argued that the right to carry isn’t the issue. In fact, he said he supports the Second Amendment. It’s the omission of mandatory training that bothers him.
So Shelby County Sheriff Department started teaching free gun-safety classes to help mitigate that.
To register for the Sheriff Office’s gun safety classes, residents can call or text the SCSO Training Academy at 901-562-3059 or email GunSafetyClass@shelby-sheriff.org. Classes will also be posted on the SCSO’s social media pages.
Firearm Safety Training Saves Lives
If you own a firearm of any kind, you owe it to yourself, your family, friends and community to be properly trained in the safe handling and use of firearms.
One of the many news items I track each day are stories about negligent discharges of firearms.
Every single week there is at least one news story of someone shooting another person – all too often killing them – because they have no idea how to safely handle a firearm.
Here in Canada we have safe storage laws and regulations, as well as mandatory safe handling and use of firearms training. I say this not to claim Canada is ‘better’ but to explain why Canada’s negligent firearm deaths are so much lower than America’s.
The United States Constitution states Americans have the right to own and possess firearms (a very good thing) but only a complete and utter moron buys a firearm without being trained in how to handle, use and store that firearm safely.
If you own firearms and have children, then you must train your children on how to deal with firearms properly, and it is your responsibility to ensure your children cannot access your firearms and ammunition when you are not home.