Our voice: All gun owners would be wise to take a safety class

There has been a huge uptick in the sale of firearms recently. No doubt some of these guns are in the hands of first-time owners.

We are encouraged to see a corresponding increase in people signing up for gun safety classes.

It's a good move for the novice and the experienced gun owner.

Even people who have been shooting for a long time can benefit from a refresher course. And it's absolutely essential for first-time owners.

In fact, the whole family needs to be educated if there is a gun in your home. And it wouldn't be too much of a stretch to get some gun safety training even if you don't have a weapon in the home.

Kids know other kids. They go to other people's homes. You can't control their environment all the time.

It's a lot like sex education.

If you want your children to have certain facts about sex, or guns, you need to be the one giving them that information. It is absolutely guaranteed they will get information from friends or other sources -- information and misinformation.

There are plenty of ways for a kid to come in contact with a gun.

We have a lot of gun owners in the Mid-Columbia. Most are responsible. We're sure they cringe every time someone does something stupid with a firearm.

Unfortunately we have too many accidental shootings. Even one is too many.

In this case, education really does save lives. Accidental shootings almost always are preventable.

And even some intentional shootings could be prevented by proper storage of both the gun and the ammunition.

It's hard to stop someone who is bent on taking a life, but as a society we can slow him (or her) down.

And sometimes that pause gives the person enough time to refocus and clear his thoughts.

People are supposed to have a license to drive a car. Not all do. This license certifies that the driver has been given proper instruction on how to operate a vehicle safely. In the case of young drivers, it also represents a lot of on-the-road practice hours.

Gun owners don't have that same prerequisite.

Most people can buy a gun. (Let alone stolen guns.) There is no test to certify the owner (or anyone who might come in contact with the gun) knows how to handle it.

This is all the more reason for society to encourage everyone to obtain that knowledge.

We respect those who take the effort to educate themselves and their family members.

It's the gun owners that don't take these precautions who scare us.