Gun owners reminded to be vigilant during the holidays

Gun owners reminded to be vigilant during the holidays

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Estimated read time: 2-3 minutes

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Nashville, TN — It's the holiday season, the time of year to spend with family and friends, but during the hustle and bustle, you may be forgetting something deadly in your home.

For gun owners, more people in the house might mean more opportunities for a gun to wind up in the wrong hands.

A Tennessee family is still grieving after a 5-year-old was accidentally shot by his brother. It's a reminder of how quickly things can go wrong.

It was the laser on Andrew Turner's father's gun that police say grabbed his brother's attention. His father was using the laser to entertain the cat when he told detectives he sat it down for a second to go into the kitchen.

"It only takes a second, it takes just having that firearm unsecured for one moment and an accident could happen," said Leroy Farris, the range master at Nashville Armory.

In that one moment between the gun being set down and Andrew's brother picking it up, Andrew was shot in the head.

Police say his brother was trying to turn the laser on for the cat when he accidentally pulled the trigger.

"It takes three things to have a firearm accident: It takes a person, it takes ammunition and it takes a firearm. Take any one of those three things away, and no one can get shot," Farris said.

Farris says while these accidents do happen, they can be prevented by taking steps before family comes over for the holidays.

"It's the time of year when anyone can get distracted, but gun owners need to be responsible and make sure that unauthorized and untrained people have no access to firearms in their homes," Farris said.

A good solution is to have a safe lock for the gun or to disassemble the weapon.

"Kids are very curious," Farris said.

That's why Farris says just hiding the gun is never a good idea.

"It takes just a second and something tragic could happen that can't be undone. You don't get a second chance, if you pull the trigger on a gun, to redo, there is no redo," Farris said.

Each gun that is sold comes with a Youth Handgun Safety Act notice. Inside is the federal law saying how it is the gun owner's responsibility their gun does not get into the hands of children.

Experts say if you're the one visiting, ask the homeowners whether they have guns and if they are properly locked up.

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Heather Hourigan

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