Earlier this week there was a heartbreaking story out of Idaho which should serve as a tragic reminder to gun owners and Second Amendment rights supporters around the nation. At the Walmart in the small town of Hayden, Idaho, a young mother was shopping with her children when her two year old son stuck his hand into her purse, discharging her handgun and killing her. In addition to the horrible trauma to the family and friends, unfortunate stories such as this provide endless fodder for opponents of the Second Amendment and their allies in the mainstream press.

The story also highlights complications and training issues which are specific to female gun owners, particularly those with children. At the excellent web site Guns and Curves, Jenn Jacques anguishes over this family’s loss but also takes the opportunity to remind new or prospective carriers about the importance of being ever vigilant when it comes to gun safety.

We encourage every citizen to have the opportunity to carry a firearm for their own protection, but beyond that, to do so safely. Please practice with your firearm and know your weapon inside and out. Learn how to properly carry if you do receive a concealed carry permit. Ask questions if you’re unsure about anything, don’t just wing it. Write to us here, call your local hunter’s safety instructor, contact Project Child Safe, review the NRA’s gun safety rules or find an NRA instructor in your area.

If you have questions or are not 100% confident in your ability to carry, PLEASE DO NOT CARRY.

It’s not smart to have a gun if you don’t know how to properly carry or use it and if this tragedy in Idaho teaches us anything, it’s that it’s truly not worth it to carry just because you can. We wouldn’t hand a driver’s license and a truck over to a 16 year old simply because they’re 16 and able to obtain a license. We need to hold ourselves to the same (if not stricter) rules we hold own children or those around us to.

Jenn offers other help specific to female concealed carry owners, such as a list of gifts for the gun owning woman in your life. But these rules and ideas apply equally to both genders. Simply owning a gun isn’t enough. Everyone shares the burden of being a responsible gun owner and ensuring that tragedies such as this don’t take place. This is particularly true when you have children in the home, whether your own or those of visitors. Legal carrying in public expands the field of steps which must be taken to be a safe, responsible gun owner.

This was a truly terrible event and should serve as a sobering reminder to everyone regarding gun safety. The resources are available to help everyone steer clear of completely avoidable mistakes such as this, so make sure you are up to date on not only your rights, but your responsibilities as well.