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Keeping guns out of children’s hands

A 3-year-old boy was still recovering in the hospital Monday after accidentally firing a bullet in his right arm over the weekend. A witness said the child found a pistol in a bedroom of a relative’s home.

Officials tell ABC 17 the toddler is stable.

Gun shop owners are reminding adults to keep their firearms in a safe place and out of reach from children.

“A safe would be great,” said Barry McKenzie, Manager of Target Masters in Columbia. “If you don’t have a safe, we need to find some place high and some place out of the way. We always, always encourage to have that gun locked up.”

Many safes require a key, pass code, combination or even fingerprint identification to gain access to the firearm. These cost between $100 and $300.

Larry Wayland, Owner of Modern Arms Guns in Columbia, said every hand gun comes with a padlock device that prevents the gun from being loaded.

“They’re available for all long guns and it’s a very simple process to install,” he said. “It’s a good disabling device, it will keep an unauthorized user from gaining access to it and prevent a tragedy.”

Once the gun is safe and secure, both McKenzie and Wayland said it’s important to talk to children about where the gun is located inside the house and how to be safe around it.

“I think when the child is old enough to know you should tell them because at a certain age they’re going to get inquisitive,” McKenzie said. “If they see you with your gun, they’re going to do everything they can to find it.”

“We need to teach our kids that guns are serious tools, they’re not toys,” Wayland said. “Tell them it is locked up, it’s not accessible and it’s not something they’re able to show their friends.”

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