Law enforcement officials stress the importance of teaching safety to kids when there are guns in the home

ARAB, Ala. -- Law enforcement officials say gun safety and if you have kids need to go hand in hand.

When Arab Police Assistant Chief Shane Washburn goes home he's got another job: being a dad. He has a son and a small daughter.

Washburn has guns in the home and because of that, when his son was born, he had his share of worries. "What I've done as a parent is I've explained to them about the guns," Washburn said, "I let them know that I lock them up. I let them also know that they are not to touch them. I tell them how dangerous they are."

Chief Ed Ralston says gun-owning parents need to teach that safety to their kids. "The main one is always treat a firearm as it's loaded," Ralston explained, "We see more accidental discharges, I think, in the nation than we should see because parents don't teach kids, and parents don't treat a gun as it's loaded."

"If you've got small kids, you've got to put it away, because curiosity, every time, will get them and they'll want to know what it is, and before you know it you'll have a tragedy on your hands."

Ralston said parents need to keep the gun out of reach, or locked up. "Put it up high, where a child can't climb, in a closet out of the way," Ralston added,  "Don't put it in a dresser drawer, don't put it under the bed. Don't leave it laying on the counter. Get it away from that child."

Washburn started teaching his kids about gun safety early on. "You know, this is what Daddy has to use for work. These things are here, secure and locked up, and if you happen to see one around, I would always tell them leave the room and go get an adult."

Ralston said it's important to teach kids a gun shouldn't be pointed at anything you don't want to shoot.