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Gun Safety at Home

Most gunshot injuries happen after kids discover loaded guns at home. In the United States, there is great debate over gun control. No one seems to agree on who should be allowed to own guns and under what conditions. But experts on all sides believe that keeping a gun in the house is a serious decision, and the gun must be kept locked up where kids can't get to it.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) says that the best way to prevent gun-related injuries and deaths is to remove guns from homes. However, the decision to own a gun is up to each family. Yours may have decided to keep guns in the house. Your dad may hunt, for example, or your mom may be a police officer or work in another profession where guns are required. Some families use guns for protection. But any gun can be dangerous if a kid tries to play with it.

Dr. Michael J. Harkness, a doctor for kids from Pennsylvania, says: "Gun safety comes in two parts: what the parents do and what the kids do. Parents need to lock their guns and ammunition separately, and hide the keys where children can't reach them. And kids need to understand that guns aren't toys and learn how to behave around them."

If you come across a gun at home, you may be tempted to check it out - but DON'T! Eddie Eagle, a program sponsored by the National Rifle Association (NRA), teaches kids what to do when they come across a gun:

  • STOP!

Not touching the gun is very important, but don't forget to also leave the area and tell an adult. By leaving the area you can keep yourself safe in case someone else decides to touch the gun before an adult can remove it. Remember, a baby sister or brother may be strong enough to pull a trigger!

How to Prevent Identity Theft

In the United States , almost a half million people had their lives disrupted last year by the growing nuisance of Identity Theft .

Identity Theft occurs when someone steals your personal information, your social security number, your checking or credit card numbers and then poses as you. The thief then has complete access to your money and they can and will spend it as they wish.

It can take months and even years to undo the mess created by a thief in just days or even minutes. However, you can make it tougher for thieves to access your information. Below are some simple reminders of how to best protect yourself, your money, and your good name;

    • Do not give out personal information. Credit card numbers, social security numbers and other identifying numbers are already on file with the financial institutions you do business with. Legitimate business will not call you and ask for that information. Remember, if someone has a right to this information about you, they should already have it!
    • Report lost or stolen checks. The numbers contained on your checks can give clear access to a thief. Always properly store cancelled checks and examine new checks to be sure none were stolen in shipment. Make sure you store them in a safe & secure location.
    • Destroy unused financial solicitations. Before discarding unwanted "Junk" mail be sure to tear-up or shred them since they may contain information that a thief could use to steal your identity. Remember to safely destroy any types of financial statements or receipts since they also contain sensitive information.
    • Guard your Automated Teller Machine Card and PIN Number. While these types of cards can make life easier for you they can completely disrupt your life if they fall into the hands of a thief. Always guard your card and PIN and never leave receipts laying around. Also, never allow someone to stand behind you at a Teller machine. Thieves are trained at watching the key pad for PIN numbers.
    • Make sure your mailbox is secure. Promptly remove mail when it has been delivered. Thieves often raid mailboxes to obtain credit card information or financial statements.
    • Contact the major credit reporting companies . These companies can tell you who or what company has accessed your credit report. A copy can be obtained for a small fee from the company. The three major companies are; Equifax 1-800-685-1111, Experian 1-888-397-3742, TransUnion 1-800-916-8800.

If you have been a victim of identity theft, take these steps immediately:

    1. Call police and file a report.
    2. Contact your bank(s) and financial institutions
    3. Contact your credit card suppliers
    4. Contact the Social Security Fraud Hotline 1-800-269-0271

Website: www.stopidentitytheft.org for further information


www.ganet.org (State of Georgia Government Website)
www.troupcountysheriff.org (Troup County Sheriff's Office)
www.gapost.com (Officer Employment/Training)
www.state.ga.us/gbi/disclaim.html (GBI - Sex Offender Registry)
www.cowetaso.com (Coweta County Sheriff's Office)
www.officer.com (Law Enforcement Related)
www.odmp.org (Officer Memorial)
www.dmvs.ga.gov (Department of Motor Vehicles - DMVS)
www.stopidentitytheft.org (Ga - Stop Identity Theft Info)
www.dare.com/kids/index_3.htm (D.A.R.E. Kids Fun and Safety)
www.kidchecker.org (Kid Checker - Playground Safety)
www.bucklebear.com (Child Safety)
www.mcgruff.com (Child Safety Center)