Gun safety: Information for families
The Canadian Paediatric Society recommends that firearms be kept out of homes or any environment where children and teens live and play.
Injuries from guns are completely preventable. Still, many children and teens are injured or killed by guns each year. Canada has one of the highest rates of youth death from guns in the developed world.
Did you know?
- Firearm injuries among boys age 15 to 24 cause more deaths than fires, falls and drowning combined.
- Over half of gun deaths among teens (15 to 19) are suicides. If you are worried about your teen’s mental health, it is essential to remove all firearms from your home.
- Rifles and shotguns, not handguns, cause most gun deaths in Canada.
Can guns be kept safely in the home?
If a gun must be kept in the home, it should be stored according to the rules set out in the Canadian Firearms Act.
Guns should be kept away from children and teens and stored:
- In a locked container, or with a trigger lock.
- Unloaded, and separate from ammunition (bullets).
Children lack the experience and maturity to be able to distinguish a toy gun from a real one. They also don’t understand the consequences of handling a gun
What are non-powder firearms?
‘Non-powder’ firearms are BB guns and air guns. Many of these non-powder firearms are almost as powerful as regular firearms.
Are they safe?
When a non-powder firearm is fired, the pellets or BBs can break through the skin and cause serious damage inside the body. BB guns and air guns can cause severe eye injury and even death. They are dangerous weapons and should not be used as toys.
What are airsoft and paintball?
Airsoft and paintball are games where participants are eliminated when hit by pellets launched by guns that resemble firearms. The pellets can cause serious eye injury and blindness. Youth should only use paintball and airsoft guns in reputable arenas with adult supervision. Helmets and proper eye protection should be worn at all times.
More information from the CPS:
Reviewed by the following CPS committees:
- Adolescent Health Committee
Last Updated: March 2017