FORT MYERS, Fla. — Fort Myers Police are looking to shed some light when it comes to gun safety.
Officers held an event for school aged children at the Stars Complex, educating them on what to do if they come across a weapon. It’s a topic that, if not discussed soon enough, can be too little too late. And for the officers who gathered at the Stars Complex, the meeting has a single message- and that is safety.
“Children are curious and sometimes their curiosities can lead to a little bit of danger," says Officer Kaeron Ramjattan, Community Relations Unit with the Fort Myers Police Department. "What we like to do is promote the safe way when kids encounter guns, knives, weapons or anything like that- how to respond when they encounter that.”
The call for action comes after a recent shooting took place on Fowler Street. A child under 10-years-old accidentally shot and killed another with a handgun. It’s a discussion, as officers say, that needs to take place right now.
“We are doing this right now to kind of hit home that we need to educate our children on the proper way to respond when you run into a gun, a weapon or a knife or anything that could potentially hurt them,” said Ramjattan.
At the meeting, children received a pamphlet on what to do if they come across a weapon. For parents- a lock to help keep firearms out of reach.
“Everything that’s going on in this world, I really feel like the younger generation they need to be taught and learn about it," says Matika Mahone Howard, a parent from Fort Myers.
Mahone Howard's daughter was one of the many children in attendance for tonight’s class. She says she would like to see more done within the schools.
“Every parent could sign a waiver that says ‘Okay’ to you guys coming in and teaching their kids," she says. "Most of all, it should be taught at home as well. Some kids they go down the wrong path and they hang with different kids so we can never say, as parents, on what our kids don’t do and what they do do because we don’t know because we’re not in the schools with them.”
While it may be some time before the discussion heads to the classroom, there are still resources for parents to bring the discussion home.
“If any parent would like to speak with an officer or any one of us in the community relations department, we’re more than welcome to talk to them on how they can educate their kids," says Ramjattan. "We have packets and what not that we can give out for parents and children activities that they can do to promote the education on what to do if you encounter a weapon.”
And Officer Ramjattan told Fox 4 they will try to hold these safety events as often as possible. He says the need to educate both children and adults needs to be approached more than once. FMPD also offer a few safety tips.
These simple steps may prevent needless and tragic injury or death so often associated with the careless storage and handling of firearms. Responsible and informed firearm owners use these storage and handling methods, without exception, to ensure the safety of those in the home.
- Never store or handle a loaded firearm in the home. Tragedy can occur in only one instance of negligence.
- Keep a trigger-locking device on the firearm, in addition to keeping it locked away, as an additional safety factor. There is no such thing as overemphasizing firearm safety.
- Lock firearms and ammunition in separate locations. This is a good backup precaution.
- Never point a firearm at anyone, loaded or unloaded. Too often the unintentional discharge of guns, even those believed to be unloaded, has killed or wounded innocent persons.
- Educate everyone in the home about firearms safety — especially children. Firearms are not toys. Emphasize the danger in, and outside, the home. Give reinforcement training frequently