Gun Safety with Children


By Taylor Vance, Ozarks News Journal

Springfield, MO–The discussion of children and gun safety has been the buzz since the incident in Arizona last month that involved a six year old girl accidentally shooting her instructor with an uzi.

Dale Siler is the owner of the local gun range, Ozark Shooters.

“That shouldn’t have ever happened, and even though it could have been safely that instructor didn’t do it safely, he wasn’t standing in the right place he didn’t have control of the gun when the child had it and well he paid,” said Siler.

John Russwurm is the chief range safety officer.

“The girl was way too young to be shooting that rifle… that was my thought,” said Russwurm.

Organizations like the NRA and Missouri Department of Conservation provide classes specializing in teaching young people how to safely use a firearm.

“So many different things about safety: guns in your home how to keep them secure, how to put them in safes if you have rifles or shotguns, how to use a small gun fault that kids couldn’t get into, have a combination on it or have a keypad with a code on it or fingerprints they even have on it now that the parents could use but the kids couldn’t get into the guns and that’s what you want you want to be the most safety conscious,” said Russwurm.

Safety doesn’t stop with the parents teaching and enforcing it. Manufacturers are also behind the movement. Over time, the production of guns have advanced with features like this hinge safety.

“Manufacturers have pretty well, ya know there have been guns in the past that would go off if you dropped them, I’ve seen a few examples of that but all the guns that are manufactured today will not go off they have block firing pins or some other device that blocks them and they won’t go off,” said Siler.

While local gun ranges like Ozark Shooters does not allow machine guns like the one in the Arizona incident, they take the safety precautions necessary in all guns used by children at the range.


Police Encourage Reporting of Non-Injury Crashes

By Zach Robinson, Ozarks News Journal

Springfield, MO–Weather in Springfield can make driving unpredictable. In December of last year alone, the city saw almost 700 accidents. During times of high call volume, police go into what’s known as emergency status. If you find yourself in a fender bender, you can fill out what’s known as a non-injury crash report, or, a walk-in.

Captain Ben King works with the Springfield Police Department.

“Any time in the past where we’ve had bad weather, or we’ve had high call volume, or an incident, maybe a homicide, or an abduction or something that takes up a large majority of our manpower, sometimes we would go into e-status, to where we would stop responding to non-injury accidents,” said King.

On August 1 of this year, the Springfield Police Department took that procedure full time.

“So for instance, you could be sitting on a parking lot, waiting for us, and it’s an hour after the accident, and by the time we get there, it takes us another hour to actually work that accident and get everything we need. So now you’ve wasted two hours where you and the other driver could have literally exchanged information after ten minutes and been on your way,” said King.

A handful of cities around the country are following suit. If you and the other driver are not injured, and no other element of the accident include unlawful activity like impaired driving or lack of insurance, you really can just do it yourself.

“Well we’ve had it in place before, and this isn’t anything new to the citizens of Springfield. We average probably about 11 to 12 hundred citizen crash reports a year, so around a hundred a month, so it’s nothing new that we’ve not done in the past,” said King.

The process is simple. You just exchange information, head online, and fill out the form.

“Once you have your report and you fill it out, you can either scan it, email it, you can mail it in to the police department, or you can drop it off,” said King

Now, the rule was put in place to make things easier for Springfield citizens. But with less than 2 officers per one thousand people, police time and resources are a hot commodity.

“On the basis of what we were able to look at just for one month, in November of last year, it was about 47% of those accidents would qualify for this non-response,” said King.

Officers say educating citizens about the process will help everyone involved. So the next time you find yourself in a bind behind the wheel, think twice before you call 911.


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