Gun Safety for Teens

Having a gun in the home increases the risk for injury for teens and other family members. More than 5,000 children and adolescents are killed by guns each year in the United States. Even BB guns can cause serious and sometimes fatal injuries. In addition to accidental death and injury, having a firearm in the home increases the risk for gun violence involving teens and teen suicide.

If there are guns in your home, the following guidelines can help reduce the risk for teen injury:

  • Store guns unloaded, separate from ammunition, and in locked cabinets. Keep keys in a separate, safe location.
  • Make sure that every gun in your home has a high-quality trigger lock.
  • Take a course in the safe operation and storage of guns.
  • Do not allow teens to use high-velocity BB guns until they are age 16 or older.
  • If your adolescent uses guns recreationally, make sure that he or she takes and passes a firearm safety course.
  • Remind your teen about the danger of guns:
    • Never touch or play with a gun
    • Tell an adult right away if you see or find a gun
  • Check with neighbors, friends, relatives, and any place your teen visits visits to make sure safe gun storage techniques are followed.

Publication Review By: Stanley J. Swierzewski, III, M.D.

Published: 27 Aug 2008

Last Modified: 28 Aug 2015