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By Dr. Roger McIntire

Canada is concerned because in the latest reported year, 153 Canadian children were killed by guns while France had only 109 children killed and in Japan, the number was zero.

The United States had 5,285 childhood gun deaths that same year, the Center for Disease Control reports. The Center also reports that the number of firearm deaths of kids under 15 is almost 12 times higher in the United States than in the next 25 industrialized countries combined. We average over 4,000 dead children annually.

School kids are getting guns at home or elsewhere, sometimes legally, sometimes not.  In the school year beginning in the fall of 1998, 3,523 students brought guns to school and were expelled for it.

Parents who approve of their children carrying weapons under certain conditions have a responsibility to supervise how their children handle these weapons. Parents must insist that their children practice the safety rules, routines and restrictions. Now is the time for this training—not after a 15-year-old is involved in a terrible incident.

Usually when a child gets into trouble with guns, his parents are surprised. Keep guns in a safe place where you can see their situation often and keep up with all that is going on with your kids.

In the late teenage years, a preoccupation with guns, cars, alcohol and the opposite sex can produce a recipe for disaster. Kids growing up too fast can snatch at entertainment and ignore other facets of life. At the first sign of these narrowing interests, a parent’s job is to keep their child’s sights on the longer view.

If narrowing interests seems to be your teen’s situation, it’s time to visit college campuses. Even a high school sophomore needs to see his future and his possibilities. Encourage attendance at church youth activities, community projects and encourage useful activities at school.  

From West Virginia to the Mid-East, the most dangerous thing on our planet is a human being with nothing to do.

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