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Do You Have a Gun?

The hardest question I have had to ask another parent is “do you have a gun?” And if the answer is yes, the requisite follow-up questions: how do you store the gun?  How do you store the ammunition?  Do your children know about your gun?

I don’t know why this is the hardest question for me; why I cringe as I ask it in a way that I don’t cringe when I ask if the parents have a car seat for my kids in their car, or could they serve only vegetarian food to the twins.  I ask a lot of questions and give a lot of information before I allow my child to go over someone else’s house.  I like to get to know the family.  Gun ownership is just one more piece of information that I’m seeking.

Maybe the question of “do you have a gun?” is so difficult because in this culture, the question sounds like a judgment.  And maybe it is because it often feels as if our country is broken down into two sides: gun owners and non-gun owners.

My discomfort with guns stems from my associations with guns, in the same way that someone else’s comfort with guns probably stems from their associations.  If you grew up hunting or as part of a military family or having a parent in an armed service such as the police department, chances are that your associations may be very different from my associations.  You may have warm feelings towards guns.  You may see a gun as a tool bringing you food to eat or protection, or a tool that allows a family member the ability to do their job safely.

But I don’t have those associations, and therefore, my feelings about guns are negative.  I’m always aware that those feelings could be otherwise, if I had grown up in a different family or in a different place, therefore, I do try to keep all judgment out of my question.  Even if I equally know that we all enter into questions with biases and answers that we want to hear.

So it is an awkward question that I awkwardly ask over and over again.  I hate myself when I feel intimidated and don’t ask.  I wish it was socially acceptable to send out a questionnaire to all the kids in town rather than have to ask the question individually each time my kids are invited to a new house in the same way that we all know about each other’s food allergies.  Without ever having to ask, I can tell you every child in their grade at school who has a food allergy, and I adjust my behaviour around those children accordingly.  We are given that information by the school about food allergies to keep children safe.  I wish we had the same information about gun ownership, which, in my mind, is another piece of information we could have that could keep our children safe.

Again, my association with guns is that they are unsafe.  That they are used for death.  Those are my only associations with weapons.  Again, if I had different associations with guns, I may not see their presence as such a huge deal.  I may even welcome sending my children to a house with guns, thinking that my children are safer in their presence.  But I don’t believe that; and my belief comes from my associations with guns.

I think what has surprised me the most is that no one has ever asked if we have guns.  Perhaps they already know the answer intuitively, in the same way that there are people I can guess own guns and people I can guess don’t own guns based on the way they speak about guns.  And maybe that is why the question is also so awkward; because I feel as if I’m the only one who asks.  It makes me wonder what goes through the other parent’s head when I ask the question.

Josh forwarded me a moving article yesterday on a mother who is telling people to ask about guns.  Her son was killed during a sleepover at a friend’s house when the friend picked up one of four unsecured guns that the family owned and pulled the trigger.  Josh’s statement preceding the link was “Did you see this? We’re not nuts…”

Are we not nuts?

Sometimes it feels like we’re nuts about this.  And sometimes it feels like everyone else is nuts about this.  And sometimes I don’t care what anyone thinks or feels about the question: I just want my kids safe.

We allow our kids to go over a house with a gun when we are assured by the parents that their guns are properly secured.  That their child knows of the gun’s presence.  That their child has been taught to respect guns and not see them as toys.  I am still uncomfortable with guns, but I can step back and see them as objects that are neither good nor bad; there are just gun owners who are responsible or irresponsible.  And while I may not agree with the responsible gun owner’s gun ownership, I can, at least, respect our differences and recognize that we both have the same goal in mind: to keep our kids safe.  We just have different ways of going about it.

June 21st was National Ask Day.  But really, every day should be a day that you ask.

40 comments

1 Valery { 06.24.14 at 7:19 am }

Well, to me it is easy, because I live in a country where gun ownership is prohibited. If you have a gun, you’re the bad guy.
So I’m not surprised you ask. I am however surprised that when the answer is yes (and kept presumably “safely”) you would still allow your kids to go there.
I do realise it is easy to say no from a distance though. But every time a school shooting happens in the US we shake our European heads and think Americans (with guns) are nuts…

2 Jodi { 06.24.14 at 7:51 am }

I always ask. Once I got a lot of push back from someone about how guns were not dangerous. Once, I was told by someone, in a theoretical conversation, who does not have children, that they would be offended and not answer my question. But I always ask. Most people say no. Sometimes I wonder if they are lying.

3 Persnickety { 06.24.14 at 8:32 am }

In Australia it’s rare to own a gun ( one horrible mass shooting took most of them off the table), but not prohibited. One of my co-workers has guns for hunting, and she and her husband are very open about it. But they are very careful about gun storage ( you have to be). But overall not a question that gets asked here.

But, when we lived in New Mexico my brother was shot twice with BB guns. My parents are anti gun, but he shot himself in the foot at a friends and ( much scarier) a couple of high school kids were playing around with their gun and shot him just above the ear. Nothing happened to them. Nothing.

So, yeah, if we moved back to the USA, that would be a question to ask.

4 JB { 06.24.14 at 8:45 am }

We are proud (Texan) gun owners. When Daniel starts having playdates, I WILL ask that question. Just because I’m a gun owner doesn’t mean I think people with guns are inherently good. I think it’s every parents responsibility to ask. I’m not sure why people would lie about it, but maybe they’re ashamed, I don’t know. We judge people for everything these days, even buying the wrong fruit, so maybe we’ve created a culture in which you feel ashamed to ask the question.

5 Kerry { 06.24.14 at 8:47 am }

I completely understand. I live in Kentucky, where everyone has a gun. Except growing up, my family didn’t own a gun. We were the minority. When I began dating my now husband, an avid hunter and farm boy, I was terrified. He owned more guns than I’d ever seen in my life. However, he taught me how to use them, how to respect them, and how to handle myself when around them. Now that we have a daughter, our guns and ammunition are kept locked in a gun safe. Once our daughter is old enough, he’ll teach her the same way he did me. Most everyone in our “neck of the woods” owns one or more guns, so it’s essential that we teach our children gun safety.

6 Kathy { 06.24.14 at 9:52 am }

We don’t have any guys, but I grew up in a house full of guns. I live in the south. Almost everyone has a gun. I don’t ask if other families have guns. I try to determine if they are responsible adults in general…because if even they don’t have guns they probably do have cleaning chemicals, heights greater then 3 ft, medicine in a medicine cabinet, knives in a kitchen drawer, a hammer in the tool shed, a dog, a swimming pool in the backyard, a street near their house, etc. If my child goes over to someone’s house I convinced they are responsible in all aspects of safety, not just guns.

7 loribeth { 06.24.14 at 9:52 am }

As a Canadian, I probably wouldn’t even think to ask, because most people I know do not own a gun. When I was growing up, there were people in my dad’s family (raised on a farm & mostly living in rural areas) who went hunting & had rifle racks in their living rooms — but I don’t ever remember my dad joining them to hunt, and we never had guns in our home.

My American cousin has a permit to carry a handgun. I adore the guy, but I’m always slightly nervous around him these days, wondering if he has his gun with him.

8 Kathy { 06.24.14 at 9:54 am }

I also agree with Kerry’s comment above…”its essential that we teach OUR childern gun safety.”

9 Serenity { 06.24.14 at 10:24 am }

I struggle with this so much. I have never asked, and I really, really want to. But I already have to tell the other parents that my son has a life-threatening allergy and how she can’t serve him tree nuts OR eggs and if he gets stung by a hornet they’ll have to use his epipen and call 911… and so I already feel like THAT mom.

Not to mention that I had no idea my in-laws owned guns until I was talking about my discomfort about them with Charlie one day. When I asked how he knew they were secure, and did he ever ask, he scoffed at me like I was crazy.

Um. A gun can kill our son. Our only son, who loves to play with his play gun and I’m certain would not know what to do with a real one. I’m NOT crazy.

Anyway, you are not alone here. Thanks for posting this. Now that Lucky is getting older and we are doing more dropoff playdates, it’s a question I really do need to ask. Sigh.

xoxo

10 Jenny { 06.24.14 at 10:30 am }

I also live in Canada and don’t know of anyone who has or wants a gun, so it’s not something that’s asked. However, I married into a Texan family and it’s interesting to see the difference in perception we have about guns. In my husband’s family, which also has a long military tradition, guns are just a part of their every day life and seen as a valuable tool (mostly for protection in their case; they’re not hunters). When my husband moved here he asked how we could feel safe without a gun. I told him that I wouldn’t feel safe WITH one. Yes, there are gun crimes here, but they’re not common enough for me to feel that I need to arm myself.

11 Serenity { 06.24.14 at 10:31 am }

Oh, I should ask that we HAVE had the conversation with Lucky about if he comes across a gun, he can’t be sure if it’s real or a toy, and he is to NOT AT ALL TOUCH IT and instead go find an adult and ask about it.

But we have also told him he needs to ask about foods that he’s never tried – before eating it. And he was recently at a playdate where the mom gave him a snack size milky way, which has egg in it, and he didn’t question it at all. He didn’t have any issues, which is good, but it just means I can’t trust my 6 year old’s judgment on matters of safety.

12 knottedfingers { 06.24.14 at 11:05 am }

We always ask about guns. Three years ago I met a family who found my loss site. Their 6 year old son was killed at a sleepover when his friend was showing him his fathers gun and shot him in the head.

I always ask. I ask how they are stored, if they aren’t under lock and key? My kid will never come over to your house.

13 tigger62077 { 06.24.14 at 11:21 am }

This is not something that has occurred to me to ask, but then again my child isn’t old enough to go on playdates without me or have sleepovers. Do we have guns? Yes, against my will. They are my husband’s guns, inherited when his dad died last year. I was raised in a no-weapon household. No guns, no knives, nada. I own daggers, my husband owns swords…and now the damn guns. Do we have a gun safe? Yup, inherited as well. They are stored in the safe, in a closet, behind a baby gate (at this point). I may make husband put a locking knob on the door into that room, but it’s the library so I don’t really want to. No one knows those guns are there (except y’all and you don’t know where I live) and I plan on keeping it that way. Husband also learned early on “never leave your weapon loaded and don’t keep the ammo in the same place as the weapons” so there’s that.

Also against my will, husband plans on teaching our child how to shoot when he’s old enough. It upsets me while at the same time I understand the need to do so. If you are going to have weapons in the house, you had best know how to use them SAFELY. As adults it falls to us to teach our children gun safety (and in this house, sword/dagger safety too). If my son is going to go over to another friends house and they have guns, I want him to know what is and isn’t safe, not to play with them (not a toy!), and that if there IS anything unsafe, he needs to let me know. Sometimes adults just forget.

14 Elizabeth { 06.24.14 at 11:22 am }

When I worked at a child mentorship program in the US South, we always asked program participants about gun ownership and how guns were secured. It was just part of the checklist we went through. So, a critically important question, rendered socially “neutral” (in a way) by the institutional framework within which it was asked.

15 deathstar { 06.24.14 at 11:24 am }

Can’t say I have ever asked anyone that question because I’m pretty sure no one in our social circles has one. Like Loribeth, I’m Canadian so it’s not a question that gets asked a lot. Usually in BC, it’s hunters who own guns. We have no interest in hunting. My husband used to sell clothing and accessories for law enforcement and so I have actually held a gun, but it creeped me out. He even had an unloaded demo in our apartment until I made him get rid of it. Would I learn how to shoot one, yes, I would definitely be interested. Out of sheer curiosity. Or if I had to go live around a heavy bear population. Do I want one anywhere near my child, nope! Kids are curious and act first before thinking. Life is like video game and in video games, you get more than one life. Action heroes get shot multiple times and never die. Guns are not a part of our culture and I’d like it to remain that way. Question, how would you feel if your kids had a playdate at a law enforcement officer’s home and that person had weapons in a gun safe?

16 Alexicographer { 06.24.14 at 11:30 am }

I ask about guns, dogs, and pools, not typically in that order. And I declare dogs, as we have two large (very kid-friendly) ones; if anyone drops their kid off with me, I just tell them this, and that the dogs are very used to kids but if that we’re happy to keep the dogs away from their kid if they or their kid would prefer.

Lots of things can be dangerous, but dogs act independently and can pose a threat for that reason. Pools and guns seem to hold an appeal to kids in a way that other risks do not. I’d like to assume that everyone who owns a gun keeps their gun(s) under lock and key and stores the ammunition separately, but I know they don’t. And while @Kathy’s child, above, might be no more prone to pick up a gun than a bottle of bleach, mine would, by a factor of like one million. And even if he wouldn’t, while I really don’t worry that some other child or teen in the house might be playing with, say, bleach and injure him, I absolutely would (and do) think that is a reasonable concern with a gun.

I do also insist on car seats for my kid, or your kid if your kid is car-seat sized and in my car, and that people not talk on the phone while they are driving if my son (or I!) am in the car with them.

17 meghan { 06.24.14 at 11:37 am }

I ask, but I’ve learned that some people don’t tell the truth when asked. So I still ask but have shifted my focus to telling S what she should do if she is ever playing at someone’s house and sees a gun. And that answer is go as quickly as you can to a grown up and tell them, do not worry about hurting someone’s feelings (because that is her biggest worry about everything).

18 Christa Singleton { 06.24.14 at 11:40 am }

Our daughter is still a toddler so we haven’t done playdates but it is definitely a question we would ask. Any presence of guns would mean our child cannot stay over there. Same for swimming pools. Just because a child knows how to properly handle a gun or swim just means that they can do it under direct supervision. That DOES NOT mean they would act the same way when the parents are out of sight. Kids who swim can still drown and kids who know how to shoot a gun can still kill someone by accident. They are children after all. But I do agree that when the time comes to ask, I will probably be just as awkward about it as you were!

19 andy { 06.24.14 at 12:12 pm }

I am so Canadian. Guns are so far removed from day to day life here (with the exception of hunting rifles) that it would never occur to me that a parent would even own a gun!

20 Amy { 06.24.14 at 12:37 pm }

We are estranged from my MIL’s partner and on shaky terms with my MIL because they didn’t think it was any of my business whether/how they wanted to own and store guns. (My kids were four and one at the time I said something, and the younger was a proficient climber and really good at getting into things.) It sucks – the older misses partner a lot and still asks about him sometimes – but I still feel like I was doing the right thing by trying to have the conversation. I’m sort of afraid we’ll become social pariahs once the older one starts getting invited to other kids houses, if I do ask their parents, though, if it’s typical that that’s a never-speak-to-you-again offense. (But we live in such a liberal area! And inlaws are such raging liberals! Apparently the need to Defend One’s Home is stronger than all politics, who knew!)

21 Working mom of two { 06.24.14 at 1:01 pm }

I so envy you Canadians. I’m with Christa S. Hate guns. No justification to have them. Studies show without a doubt they aren’t used for protection but instead result in tragedies. I could go on and on but the NRAers refuse to believe anything that doesn’t jive with their bs. Would not let my kids play if answer is yes.

22 Tiara { 06.24.14 at 1:51 pm }

I am also a Canadian & it never occured to me to ask until reading this post. I’ve never met anyone who owned a gun (that I know of) nor even seen one in real life aside from holstered on a police officer or behind a cabinet in a museum. It’s so scary to think about. I applaude your diligence in asking.

23 manonymous { 06.24.14 at 3:19 pm }

My grandfather has an antique gun and powder horn hanging on the wall of his living room and has since before I was born. It’s a family heirloom and I was taught to respect it as such. (No touching, etc. There is no ammunition for it anyway.) We apparently had some sort of shotgun or rifle in our house when I was growing up, but it was so well hidden I didn’t find it until I was in middle school. It wasn’t locked, but once again, there was no ammunition in the house. I think my stepfather had it for sentimental reasons. Who knows? Even though our immediate family did not really care about guns, I was raised in larger communities that embraced guns for hunting (and “patriotism”).
My mom was very paranoid about all sorts of things, which was complicated by fear of her ex-husband (my biological father), so we had a lot of rules that we had to follow, partially because she was afraid that our biological father was going to kidnap us and/or kill her (these were valid fears, by the way). I am pretty sure that she vetted all parents before we had play dates for all sorts of things. And because of the openness in our community about guns, it’s likely that she already knew which parents had guns before we even visited. She also taught us about guns. Not how to shoot them, but actual gun safety – similar to what someone mentioned above – knowing that it’s hard to tell if guns are real or not, you shouldn’t play with them either way, etc. I have to say that one of the most important things my mom taught me was to listen to my instincts, even as a child. We were encouraged to act if we felt unsafe, by finding an adult, calling a safe person, etc., and we were never punished for doing so. And she encouraged us to have “situational awareness” – be aware of what is going on around you and reassess your situation as things change. She didn’t call it “situational awareness” but when I took some classes with law enforcement and first responders a few years ago, I recognized my mom’s lessons as such. To some, it may seem like I had a fearful childhood, but it wasn’t all kidnap aversion and stranger danger – there was magic and adventure too. And I like to think that my experiences made me a more resilient person. I think that the two prong-approach is best for kids – be proactive about who your kids are spending time with, but also educate your kids about possible dangers. I think people can be afraid to talk about danger sometimes, almost like we can conjure it up just by speaking about it. But I think it’s important to address the ideas in age-appropriate ways. I should note that as an adult I ended up working in public health emergency preparedness for a couple years, and I was really good at it. I’m pretty sure it’s because my mom gave me the skills to think about the worst case scenario and plan for it without freaking out in the process.

24 Sara { 06.24.14 at 4:39 pm }

I was raised in a no gun household. My husband is a hunter, we agreed that his hunting riffle would stay at his parents until we purchased a gun safe. I recently found the case for his gun in our house. I was not happy, he tells me the ammo is in a separate place but I really do not know since I refuse to open it and check. I have made it clear that it needs to be returned to his parents house since we do not have a gun safe. There has already been talk about taking our boys hunting and I am so against it. I worry the entire time my husband is gone and even if he did get a deer I would not eat it. I think it is important to ask other parents if the have guns in their house and how they are stored.

25 chickenpog { 06.24.14 at 4:49 pm }

I am in the no sleep over unless I really know and trust the parents camp. Do you trust your kids? Because that is more important than trusting the parents. My son just went on a sleep over… and he was there for 20 minutes. He went inside and asked the parents to use the phone to call home because the boys were breaking soda bottles in the back yard. Knowing whether or not parents have guns isn’t as important as trusting your kid to do the right thing. I wouldn’t have thought to ask the parents what their stance on throwing glass bottles was. Do your children know enough to refuse meat? How do you feel about them trying meat without your knowledge? Do you trust them to have a little judgment and to trust their instincts? If you don’t trust them, it’s too early for sleepovers.

PS I’m loving your new book so far:)

26 April { 06.24.14 at 6:25 pm }

I grew up in a community where almost every house had at least 1 gun, if not more. It was also an area where most families hunted. We own a gun that is kept in a locked case. The ammo is locked in a seperate case. Only my husband and I have the keys to the locks. The kiddo knows we have it and does know how to use it safely, but it isn’t something she enjoys. It is kept in our basement that she and her friends don’t go into. When asked, I disclose the information. I have shown another parent where it is kept once and after seeing me move the old couch it is behind in said basement, she no longer worried.

Gun safety is important. I feel that if you think the parent is responsible enough to leave your child(ren) to spend time in their home, then asking if they own a weapon may be a little much. I would be more concerned about the food allergies or the vegetarian meals, but I also feel comfortable with my child around a weapon to know she knows how to correctly use it.

27 Megan { 06.24.14 at 7:16 pm }

You’re not crazy. My husband is in law enforcement and we have several weapons. I always let parents know and am open about how we store them. I always ask before sending my kids over to someone’s house as well. I think it is a question that makes people uncomfortable and people sound so relieved when I proactively bring it up. I’ve had people tell me they were embarrassed to ask. It’s good to ask. What’s a little embarrassment compared to the alternative?

28 Brid { 06.24.14 at 7:32 pm }

We don’t have them here either, but I think there are probably tonnes of people around us who do, but they’re hunters. My association with guns is negative as well. My uncle was carjacked when he worked in Johannesburg, and shot three times above his shoulders… surprisingly he survived. I had a strict no guns (toys) rule for Jack, but as he’s gotten older, I’ve relaxed it to allow for water guns, and just recently a nerf gun (which I am not fond of at all, but happily he hardly ever brings it out). I was scared that my strong aversion to toy guns would turn him the other way and increase his desire to play with them. That might have happened a little when he was younger, but I also think that my strong feelings about them were imprinted in him at the right time, so he has a deep respect for them now. In terms of the families we know who hunt, they all know how I feel about it because they know me and this story. I trust they deal with them properly and they would never have them out at home. I never really thought about checking with people I don’t know as well because there hasn’t ever seemed a reason to think they’d have guns out with kids around. Make me think twice… thanks!

29 Mali { 06.24.14 at 8:13 pm }

Wow. Interesting. Because – like the Canadians and Australians and Europeans – it’s not a question I would ever think about asking. BUT … if I had a child and lived in the US, I think I would ask. It’s certainly not crazy, especially given the statistics of gun deaths within the family or home in the US that are far higher than deaths through a home invasion.

I sound anti-gun and I am. I’ve lived and worked in countries where guns are more freely available. (I’ve been in a car when a Vietnamese security guard aimed and fired at a motorcyclist that was overtaking our car at the time. And I was stunned at all the metal detectors in the Philippines going into shopping centres, and office blocks and banks etc in Manila that have big signs to “Check your gun here.”) I cannot understand those who are so against gun regulation, or think it is reasonable for an individual to be able to buy automatic or semi-automatic weapons. And I grew up in a house with guns (and had a toy gun myself in the 60s) – but they were rifles and shotguns, for hunting or target shooting. (My mother was a small-bore rifle champion when she was young, and one of my cousin’s has two children who represent NZ and go to the Olympics for target shooting.) NZ actually has a high gun ownership level, but they are not hand-guns. And that’s a big difference in my view. (Though I did see recently in the news that a five year old (in Texas?) shot his 2 year old sister with the rifle he was given for his birthday! And there’s been a highly publicised court case here in the last few days of a hunter who shot and killed another hunter out in the bush because he didn’t properly identify his target (and the victim was wearing high-vis clothing). Guns kill people. Accidents happen. So yes, ASK.

And you’ve now made me wonder if my BIL and SIL who live in California have ever asked to protect their twins. I must ask them. Though just thinking about that has made me wonder if they’ll think I’m being judgemental. And now I understand the hesitation you and others must feel, even when you want to ask.

30 Queenie { 06.24.14 at 8:59 pm }

I like the idea of asking about guns, dogs, and pools together. It makes it less threatening, somehow.

I grew up with guns, and still loathe them. It never occurred to me to ask, but then, I’m living in the land of high crime rates and terrorism, so we’ve got bigger issues.

31 Blanche { 06.24.14 at 9:51 pm }

We do have a hand gun, and I’m not sure it’s locked either (something about the trigger opening not fitting the standard locks?). I forget about it but if asked would disclose it. It’s up on a shelf in an area where any visitors should not be investigating, but I probably need to remind DH about needing to get a functioning trigger lock now that LO is getting older. Most of his rifles are still at his parent’s house in a closet, probably should also follow up with them on whether there’s a gun safe in there or no…

But I grew up aware that there were several rifles in a pile on a shelf in the back of the basement – they were only brought out to dispose of copperhead snakes – and learned how to shoot my grandmother’s .22 in either middle or high school (she out shot all the boys at a shooting competition with it!). And when I started high school in 1990 there were plenty of filled gun racks in trucks in the school parking lot. Not so many by the time I graduated though.

I don’t have a problem with guns. I do have a problem with irresponsible gun owners (there is a certain amount of irony in that given my first paragraph), and those who use guns irresponsibly, and how easy it is for most anyone to purchase an automatic weapon. Just like I have a problem with irresponsible dog owners who either do not train or choose negative training for their dogs, and pool owners who do not secure their pools properly.

Also, thank you Mel, for bringing this up in a way which allows for open discussion, and serving as a reminder to me that we as a family need to revisit our current storage process.

32 Lora { 06.24.14 at 10:51 pm }

It is important to ask, and I’d rather be the “nuts” parent then the parent burying their kid because I didn’t ask. i also have the conversation WITH my kids often about what to do if they are offered to see or handle a gun at someone else’s house.

33 Alexicographer { 06.24.14 at 11:20 pm }

I have to admit I’m surprised at the number of commenters who see this issue as one focused on whether their own kids know to be responsible and what to do if they see a gun. Not because those aren’t things we shouldn’t be concerned about, but because my assumption is that if there are guns in a house that are accessible, well, they’re accessible not only to my kid, but to every kid who happens to be in the house at any point when my kid is there — the hosting family’s kids (all of them), those kids’ friends, the impulsive 6-year old who’s there with his mom (who is the neighbor, a cousin, the family friend, domestic, dog-walker, math tutor, you name it), the 13-year old neighbor who got sent over by his dad to look around the upstairs bedroom for the DVD that his 8-year old sister thinks she left there after her last sleepover. Can you be sure not one of them is going to find and pick up a gun (if one is accessible) and point it at someone (your kid) and say, “Bang bang” while pulling the trigger? I cannot.

34 battynurse { 06.25.14 at 3:58 am }

Getting to this post after having just read another news article about a 2 year old accidentally shot by her 5 year old brother. I can admit this is one thing I’m glad I don’t have to deal with because I really don’t know how I would.
I grew up around guns. My dad was a hunter and there were guns in the house throughout my childhood. Most of the time they weren’t locked up as it wasn’t until around 16 my family got a gun safe. I was also taught though from a very young age that guns weren’t toys, you didn’t play with them, point them at people or TOUCH them without a parents permission and presence. I was probably around 10 when I learned how to shoot a BB gun but I lost interest in it shortly after and never really gained an interest. I was never into hunting myself although my dad would have happily taken me if I wanted to go, I just knew I couldn’t shoot animals. Heck I could only eat them if I totally disassociated what was on my plate from what it used to look like.
I don’t have a problem with guns themselves and with those who are responsible gun owners. So much of what is seen now in the endless back and forth is not responsible ownership. It’s like a bunch of kids standing there yelling, “you can’t tell me what to do!” Taking a large rifle to Chipotle or pretty much any other place of business or private residence because it’s your “right” isn’t responsible gun ownership. At some point people need to decide to act like adults, or at least I hope they do because this whole situation is a mess and a tragedy and it’s horrifying that any child should be shot because another child was playing with a gun.

35 Barbara { 06.25.14 at 3:23 pm }

Wow! Thank you so much for sharing. I often feel like that I tend to ask a lot of questions already about anything pertaining to my son but I never thought to ask about guns. I actually wasn’t allow to do sleepovers as a child (except family) so I just figured I would repeat that with my son. But even just a visit to someone’s house with a gun could be just as important. Because it is such a touchy issue though, I may have to practice asking this question in the mirror before I really have to.

36 Mrs T (missohkay) { 06.25.14 at 5:12 pm }

I read that article too. I grew up in a house with a gun and I’m not sure it was stored responsibly, actually. But my sister and I never gave it another thought. However, I would never presume that my kid or my friends kids would feel similarly disinterested. I hope that I will always be able to get past the discomfort to ask because the alternative… yikes… how could you live with yourself if you didn’t ask because you were embarrassed and something happened :/

37 McDian { 06.27.14 at 12:30 am }

Maybe you should actually spend some time getting to know what guns are and even try them. This would alleviate much of your apprehension.

38 TexTopCat { 06.27.14 at 1:52 am }

I think the question is valid. Should the answer be no, my kids would not be left at that location. A home where the parents are not responsible enough to provide protection from criminal violence, are not responsible enough in other areas. Anyone, that thinks that police can arrive in time to stop criminal violence is just too stupid to associate with.
Yes, I support guns when not being carried or in-use should be locked to prevent un-authorized access.

39 roger { 06.27.14 at 9:04 am }

I own a bunch of firearms. Around 300. They are stored on display in my gun room. I have 2 dogs , cameras and an alarm system. I do leave some laying about unloaded at times. I have a had a concealed carry license for 40 years so yes when I am not working I always
carry.Including when I mow my yard and prance about my house located on the edge of a small Midwestern town.. I have no kids at home and I limit who visits. My kids were taught hand gun safety at 4 yrs of age as was I in the 50’s. We all have a respect for firearms.
I have found guns not to go off by themselves and try to kill some one. A gun has to be operated to shoot.

40 MrApple { 06.27.14 at 9:44 am }

My answer, “None of your damn business what I own.”
Do I get to peek in your drawers to make sure everything is as I want it to be?

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