Firearm owners of all ages need to know safety rules

In our part of the country, it is not uncommon for teenagers or even younger children to hope that one thing they find under the Christmas tree is a new rifle or shotgun, perhaps the first they have ever owned.

Most parents understand such a Christmas present has to be combined with another gift — education in safe, responsible gun ownership.

Last week, we were reminded of how vital such training is, and that it must extend to safe storage of firearms.

Prosecutors in Toledo, Ohio, have charged a 15-year-old boy in connection with the October death of a 3-year-old relative.

Somehow, a 7-year-old boy found a gun owned by the teenager. Either the weapon was loaded or the 7-year-old found cartridges for it. He accidentally fired the gun, killing the 3 -year-old.

The teen is charged with complicity to negligent homicide and failure to secure firearms.

It is entirely possible the boy observed all the safety rules when handling his gun. But it apparently did not occur to him to take steps to keep it out of the hands of smaller children.

Ensuring our children know how to handle guns safely is a priority for many area residents. They also need to understand to keep firearms out of the hands of children who cannot be expected to be careful with them.