Gun ownership is on the rise – and gun safety should be too

ALMA – Nick Grose brought out the big guns at the Wellington County Farm and Home Safety Association’s pancake breakfast on Saturday.


Grose works in the firearms industry and set up a display of guns at the event to get the word out about gun safety.

He was not representing his employer but spoke as a farmer and hunter with knowledge and experience.

And he saw the family-friendly event as a way to reach a lot of kids and reinforce the safety message.

“Kids need to know guns are not toys,” he said. “They need to be respected.”

Grose said guns are an important tool in agriculture as wildlife can threaten a crop. So it’s not uncommon to find guns on farms.

As well, hunters can seek permission from a farmer to hunt on their land, although this is strictly controlled. They must have written permission from the farmer, details about date, time, location, and what they are hunting, and have a permit and hunting license.

Once you get a gun, “proper storage is everything,” he said, adding guns and ammunition must be stored separately and they must be locked up.

When using a gun, wear the safety equipment, he said – ear and eye protection and high visibility vests.

Antique guns don’t meet the definition of a firearm, so Grose’s message is about the safe display of these artifacts.

Some of these old guns used gunpowder and not bullets and traces could remain, he said.

“It’s a nuanced challenge for sure.”

Canada ranks number 10 in the world for the number of guns per capita, and last year there was a record number of licenses issued, he noted.

All the more reason to spread the safety message.

“You have to have a permit to buy a gun and a license to own a gun. If you’re moving a gun, you have to get a permit. If you’re hunting, you need a permit and a license.

“There’s a significant level of safety.”

Grose said hunting is becoming more prevalent, “and I think it’s tied to the cost of food.”

Rabbit, deer, wild turkey – “there’s a lot of game out there,” he said.

So know the rules, obtain the necessary permits, and kids – don’t touch a gun unless a responsible adult says its not loaded.