Keeping Kids Safe Around Firearms 

For the second time in less than a week locally, a young child is hospitalized after being shot at home.

State police say 38-year-old Ryan Matson was cleaning his handgun when it went off Sunday.

Matson was wounded in the leg, his four-year old daughter was hit in the thigh.

They are both expected to survive.

Wednesday, a 3-year old girl was shot in the neck at a house on Bald Mountain Drive in Bangor.

Police say her injuries are life threatening.

Joy Hollowell talked with the folks at Maine Military Supply in Holden about keeping kids safe around firearms.


Tim Hoelzer is an expert on firearms. He’s also a dad. So when customers come into Maine Military Supply in Holden looking to buy a gun, one of the first questions Hoelzer asks is whether children are in their home.

“Oh absolutely,” says Hoelzer, “as a father, it kind of hits close to home.”

Hoelzer says every handgun and rifle that leaves the store, leaves with a trigger lock and youth handgun safety pamphlet.

“We get people in here and they’re asking, do you sell trigger locks?” says Hoelzer. “I’m not going to sell you one, I’m going to give you one. Here you go.”

For homeowners that want their firearms ready to fire, there are bedside safes. One in particular uses fingerprint recognition to open.

“One of the concerns that I have and I wonder if that’s where some of the accidents come in is someone drops the magazine, and by accident there is a round in the chamber that they’re not aware of,” explains Hoelzer. “They go to clean it, the accident happens.”

Hoelzer recommends checking down the barrel of the gun, and even using a finger to make sure it’s all clear.

“A couple extra seconds can spare someone a lot of pain and suffering,” says Hoelzer.


Maine Military Supply offers a handgun safety course every Sunday.

Kids ages 10 to 18 are welcome, as long as they’re accompanied by an adult.

The class runs from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. and costs $100.

For more information, call Maine Military Supply at 989-6783.