PATTON, CAMBRIA COUNTY - A Texas teenage babysitter is now in jail after a five-year-old boy accidentally shot and killed himself. It happened on Monday. Police said the 19-year-old left the loaded pistol she found in the home on a coffee table and went to take a nap. When she got up, the boy was dead from a shot to the head.
For many here in Central Pa., having guns in the home is a way of life.
For example, Adam Gallaher from Osceola Mills has a six-year-old daughter, and she already knows how to shoot a gun.
"Same thing I try to do that my father did with me, education at an early age. Teach them what guns are used for," said Gallaher. "They're not toys, they will kill people."
Ron Mills from Tyrone has two young daughters at home-- a five-year-old and a nine-year-old.
"Usually when they turn four, they'll start plunkin' with a .22." He takes the girls to the shooting range to practice gun safety, and to issue a warning. "We'll walk up close and then take a shotgun, set them aside and shoot a pumpkin or something and that'll kind of open their eyes as far as what the damage it can do."
Lee Stanek's children are grown, but as owner of Bub's Archery & Hunting Supplies in Patton, Cambria County... preaching safety and education is still his number-one priority.
His top three tips: 1. Get a gun safe and use it, 2. Keep guns in one area, ammunition in another, and 3. Keep a cable lock in place when the gun is not in use and keep the keys somewhere that kids can't find them.
There are also guns with an extra security mechanism on the grip, "dummy bullets" that prevent a gun from firing accidentally, and thumbprint recognition safes. "You gotta get a safe before you get a gun," said Mills. "There are just so many ways to not do the damage, it's just an absolute shame," Stanek said.
For additional child safety tips: NRA's Information for Parents