Amid the heated national debate on gun control comes a dose of common sense from Beaufort Police Chief Matt Clancy.
On a recent Saturday, Clancy taught a class on basic firearms safety to family members of city law enforcement officers.
"We're introducing a firearm into their home," Clancy said. "I thought it'd be a good idea to give them (a safety training) opportunity."
Kudos to the Beaufort Police Department, and any other law enforcement agencies providing this service. If it prevents a single accident, the time and expense will be worth it.
Nationwide, the number of deaths from accidental discharges of firearms has hovered around 600 in recent years. As recently as 1999, that number was well above 800.
It takes a terrible toll on children. Centers for Disease Control data show that 129 people between the ages of 1 and 19 died of gun accidents in 2010, and another 749 in that age group committed suicide with a firearm that most often belonged to a parent.
The National Center for Injury Prevention and Control reports that almost 3,000 children and teens were treated in an emergency room for an unintentional gunshot injury in 2011.
We're confident that law enforcement officers know better than to enable these tragedies, which usually unfold with firearms stored loaded and unlocked.
Eleven people took advantage of the class offered by Clancy. He used National Rifle Association materials paid for by the department.
The class was designed for people who don't know a lot about firearms. Clancy said: "The emphasis is 'if you're not a gun person and you see one, what should you do?'"
The program is the right thing to do for families of professionals carrying firearms. But it could help others as well. Everyone in the household needs gun safety training when firearms are present.