Seconds before the IDPA match was about to go hot in surrounding bays, AG & AG Founder Julianna Crowder turned to see two little kids playing on the top of the impact berm. Immediately, in a voice that she had never used in her life, she yelled, “GET OFF THE BERM, GET OFF THE BERM, GET OFF THE BERM!” The entire range came to a halt as people in every direction turned and looked at her, and in shock as they saw the kids slide down the dirt. When the RSO approached the two dads, they apologized and said, “We just turned our back for a minute.”
Parents know the rules of the range, so make sure that you share that information with your children. Set boundaries and ensure that standards are clear. No one should ever be on an impact berm. It is imperative that children understand locations where they can be, handle guns only when given permission, and wear hearing and eye protection at all times.
Family Safety Brief at the Range
Range safety briefs are for everyone. There are many examples of a range safety briefs: Range check-in (a short list of dos and don’ts or a long video with visual aids), before a training class, before a competition, etc. Somewhere in between the safety briefs that occur, you can create your own family safety briefing.
1. Make it age appropriate for children.
- Will your children pay attention and follow your directions?
- Do your children know your expectations before they get out of the car?
- Do you have stationary activities (iPad, coloring books) for your children if they get tired, bored, or playful?
- Are the guns you have for them size appropriately for their body frames, maturity levels?
2. Set boundaries.
- Be very clear on the rules that they do not wander off and give them a specific area they can stand while you are setting up the range, prepping guns, changing targets, etc. otherwise they must be within arm’s reach of you at all times.
- If you allow them to sit in the car, they must notify you if they get out and go back to the designated area where you said they could stand.
- Bring a hula-hoop or pop-up tent to mark their safe area where they can stay.
3. Don’t turn your back.
- If you choose to bring your children to the range, you must be constantly diligent about their location and activity.
- While you are prepping your guns or running a stage, designate a guardian who will watch your children during the interim.
4. Always cover the safety rules.
- Children who are shooting can first recite the 4 Rules of Gun Safety
- Understand the rules of the range and the activity/sport taking place.
5. Demonstrate gun safety and respect.
- Shooting is a fun activity that must be approached with seriousness for strict safety protocols. Parents and others at the range must model responsible behavior.