A study from the Rutgers School of Nursing finds that gun safety programs to deter kids from randomly handling firearms did not prevent this dangerous activity. Researchers say there is a better answer.

Assistant Professor Sallie Porter says their study of 10 gun safety program studies found firearm safety really begins at home.

"What we were looking at was how effective school-based and community-based gun safety educational strategies were for preventing kids from handling guns, so that they do not have unintentional injuries," she said.

"We found, overall, that while some of them may have worked in the very short term [...] we learned as time goes on, that the children still handled guns, played with guns when they were in unsupervised situations. So that the teaching that they got, the learning they hopefully received, really did not stick with them."

Porter says that means, "adults who do own guns need to actively prevent children from accessing them, whether that is with gun locks, with gun safes, with keeping them stored safely, separate from ammunition, and making sure, of course, that keys and access codes are not available to the children as well."

"The main point is that if it is a real gun, we do not want children to touch it at all, we do not want them to handle it at all. We want them to immediately notify the closest adult that they have come across with this gun."

And it's not just at home. Porter says parents need to be sure of gun safety at their kids' friends' homes as well.

"While most of these unintentional injuries happen in the home, they do not just happen in the immediate family home — they happen at the homes of neighbors, other family members, grandparents, that kind of thing."

Joe Cutter is the afternoon news anchor on New Jersey 101.5

More From New Jersey 101.5 FM