Gun safety classes hope to lower number of kids shot

In the United States last year a child died in an accidental shooting every other day, many of whom shot themselves or were killed by another child.

Classes are now being offered to teach kids about gun safety.

A class called First Shots is designed for children as young as eight. The goal of the two-hour lesson is to teach safety while still satisfying young curiosity about firearms.

Gun owner Paul Risen took his son Brody to learn how to load and fire a .22 calibre handgun.

"I think the younger you are, the more you're comfortable with it around them, the better they are able to handle them," Mr Risen told CBS.

Less confident in gun safety lessons are Julvonnia and Byron McDowell. Their 14-year-old son JaJuan was fatally shot by his younger cousin in 2016, who got his hands on an unsecured handgun he thought was unloaded.

"Even if they go through safety classes, that's not going to prevent them from saying, 'Look what I can do', and just that quick, life can change," Ms McDowell said.

Psychologist Sherry Hamby studies the impact of guns on children. She told CBS that most children don't have the impulse control and maturity to safely handle a firearm until they're much older.

"Impulse control and maturity and cognitive capacity are all somewhat different things. The more we know about brain development, the more you would really have to say mid- 20s," Ms Hamby said.

Gun control continues to be a controversial issue in the US. In 2017, the country suffered a mass shooting - the death of four or more people - almost every day.

In October 2017, a gunman killed 58 people in Las Vegas, the deadliest shooting in American history.