Advice Needed: Guns And Young Children In Home

This is a discussion on Advice Needed: Guns And Young Children In Home within the Defensive Carry Guns forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; The Short version: Son, Wife, 5 month old son, 9 Year old daughter,13, yr old daughter coming to live with us for about 5-6 months. ...

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Thread: Advice Needed: Guns And Young Children In Home

  1. #1
    VIP Member Array Kennydale's Avatar
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    Advice Needed: Guns And Young Children In Home

    The Short version: Son, Wife, 5 month old son, 9 Year old daughter,13, yr old daughter coming to live with us for about 5-6 months. I am 62 just bought my first gun. During the day it will be holstered and i will be wearing it. When not i do have a key locked steel case for it (Holds one gun, not a safe). In the REAL WORLD. What do you tell/or not tell your kids about firearms. Remember I am the grandparent here and not the parent. HELP!!!!!!!

  2. #2
    VIP Member Array 10thmtn's Avatar
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    Lots of info about kids and guns on this site: Cornered Cat | If you have to fight, fight like a cornered cat.

    Also look into the Eddie Eagle program from the NRA. Bottom line is to teach kids that, if it looks like a gun, don't touch it. Leave the area. Tell a responsible adult.

    I would highly recommend getting a quick access safe. I have two children at home, and always keep two guns on me. When I go to bed, the guns go in a GunVault. It has four pushbuttons on top, plugs into a wall outlet, and has both battery and a key backup. It won't stop a determined burglar (that's why we have an alarm system) but it keeps the guns away from the kids and any of their friends who might visit.

    You also need to have a heart-to-heart with the parents. It's your home, and they need to make sure their kids are safe around your guns. All the adults need to be on the same page about that.

    Good luck - sounds like a full house!

    Some more might want to run some safety drills once everyone gets settled. What to do in case of a fire, where the exits are, that kind of thing. You should also run through what to do in case you do need to defend the home. Where will everyone be? Where should they go? Will you designate a safe room for everyone to retreat to? With that many folks in the home, you will need a flashlight and train how to use it with the will need to be sure who is running around the house before you point the gun! Children do not always do as they are told, especially when scared.

    Hopefully, the other adults will take this seriously, and agree to help. Otherwise, you will be herding cats on your own.
    Once, joker1, Eric357 and 1 others like this.
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  3. #3
    Distinguished Member Array Once's Avatar
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    You should bolt the case to something even if its in the dresser drawer.[ so no one call just grab it and go]I would tell your adult son/wife/daughter in law that you have a gun in your room [ it's up to you to say where] and not the kids. Let them make that call. If you can secure it out of reach and yet quickly accessable I would do that.
    I keep the youngsters/grandkids[ both 10] out of my room when we are hanging out at my house. Everthing except for the 1911 is in the safe and the 1911 is well hidden out of reach and unchambered yet I can reach it in seconds. If my kids are watching my house for a few days for us everybody[ except for what I take with me] is in the safe.
    Oh and only you and the wife have the key.Is your son into guns?

  4. #4
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    tell and teach them the truth, guns are dangerous and should never be touched, to go tell an adult, and to ask if they want to touch one. And when they ask to see yours ( and they will!) , show it to them. Explain how it works, why it is dangerous, unload it and let them touch it and pull the trigger. Show them its not magical. Take away the curiosity and novelty. I agre with 10thmtn as well, you need to talk to the parents. They may not be comfortable with firearms around their kids and it needs to be addressed beforehand.
    Once, squid86, NewtownSam and 3 others like this.
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  5. #5
    VIP Member Array SIGguy229's Avatar
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    A couple of ways to approach this:

    1- say nothing. Go with your plan of keeping it on you or locked up.
    Pros: no hurt feelings by son or daughter-in-law or irrational thoughts by them ("OMG! You need to take that thing out of the's for the children")--that kind of garbage; ignorance (by them) is bliss.
    Cons: they do find out and all of a sudden, YOUR property in YOUR house becomes subject to've "lied to them" or other such nonsense.

    2- tell your son/daughter in law
    Pros: they can act like responsible parents and decide for themselves if they choose to share there is a firearm in the house; this would be a great opportunity to be an example of responsible gun ownership for the kids
    Cons: now they think the get a vote on what gets kept in YOUR house; feelings would get hurt; they decide to go elsewhere--think, emotional blackmail; irrational and projected feelings and thoughts about no one should own a gun because they are "death-dealing machines"...blah blah blah...gaff gaff gaff

    3- tell the children
    Pros: similar to 2
    Cons: same as 2

    I'm sure there are other options, but that's off the top of my head. Now, I may be way off on the characterization of your son and daughter in apologies if I'm incorrect, but that seems to be center of mass for most parents, and I'm basing this off of you indicating you just bought your first gun. Remember, your house, your rules...don't get caught up in the emotional blackmail, as it could potentiall be a significant emotional event for your daughter in law.
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  6. #6
    Member Array floggindave's Avatar
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    my son is 6 and my daughter is 4. when i bought my first pistol, I cleared it, checked it, and dropped the mag. then we talked about the rules of handling a gun and I let them both hold it and pull the trigger to satisfy their curiosities. my son has seen my guns many times since then, but he never asks anything else and doesnt seem to be interested to go further with them. unless daddy gets a new one, then he likes to see. honesty was the best policy for them, but all kids are different. with all the media and schools screaming "guns are bad", who knows what theyll think.

  7. #7
    VIP Member Array ccw9mm's Avatar
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    KD: Ditto, on most of the above recommendations.

    Am assuming your son and his wife know of your carrying. If not, you'll need to determine whether divulging is something you want to do. Not everyone handles such knowledge well, or is open to the concept of defending one's family in such ways. Unknown whether they're also "gun" and "defense" type people, or whether they're in denial (as so many folks are).

    IMO, having a sit-down discussion with your kids would be the best route, particularly given that they'll all be staying in your home, and that they'll be there for quite some time. It's a great opportunity to explore their basic attitudes on security, awareness, preparation, carrying, safe storage, introduction of the joys of shooting to the kids.

    As some have said, ensure your "locked up" spot is sufficiently secure to keep an enterprising teenager from getting to it. If you've got nothing so far of that sort, there are sub-$200 options on the market that can be bolted to the floor, wall or bed frame. (As with burglars, a light, small, free-standing box isn't going to be secure.) A quality "quick-access" style safe might be most appropriate, if you don't already have one.

    Given that the grandchildren are going to be around for so long, introducing them to shooting can be one of the many activities you can do with them. It's a great opportunity. Consider possible acquisition of an inexpensive .22 rifle of some sort (ie, a Cricket, a Ruger 10/22, or a lever-action .22). Am assuming you have a safe range somewhere nearby, or some appropriate acreage where shooting off-range is suitable.

    As some have suggested, check the NRA's Eddie The Eagle program.
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  8. #8
    VIP Member Array smolck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Taurahe View Post
    tell and teach them the truth, guns are dangerous and should never be touched, to go tell an adult, and to ask if they want to touch one. And when they ask to see yours ( and they will!) , show it to them. Explain how it works, why it is dangerous, unload it and let them touch it and pull the trigger. Show them its not magical. Take away the curiosity and novelty. I agre with 10thmtn as well, you need to talk to the parents. They may not be comfortable with firearms around their kids and it needs to be addressed beforehand.
    Excellent advice! Whenever I am cleaning my guns or anything like that I always ask my two young ones (7 and 9) if they want to hold my guns. I take away the curiosity as you say and it has worked perfectly. Not that I leave my guns laying around, but if I did I am 100% confident my children would leave them alone.
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  9. #9
    Member Array badgerland's Avatar
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    My dad chose to show us the guns, teach us the safe responsible handling of them and thus took the "mystery" out of them for us. While we were around way before gun safes, we knew that guns were not toys and you just DON'T mess with them. Completely different era now, but I think the principle is still the same. I have been owning and handling guns safely now for 45 years since my first daisy red rider bb gun at age 7. With girls, they may not even have an interest...mine didn't until they were almost out of their teens.

  10. #10
    VIP Member Array Easy8's Avatar
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    I took my sons with me to the range when they were quite young. Let them shoot 10/22 showed them my handguns let them watch me shoot. Went through all safety issues an showed how to clean. Our range days back than were alot of fun and something they do with their kids. You have to educate them not only for safety in your house but in their friends homes. We never know how others treat their firearms. I wanted them to always go get a adult if they see a firearm an not to touch one unless i am there. Now all four of my sons cc an its till fun when we meet at the range. They all shoot semi's an poke fun at my revolvers. But they all fight over whos going to get them :)

  11. #11
    GH is offline
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    My dad showed me a single shot .22 rifle & a pump .22 when I was quite young. Then it was hidden & to this day I don't know where. All of a sudden they would appear & he'd announce that we were going out to shoot. I was able to handle them & shoot them often & had no further curiosity about them. Of course he taught me safety & I wasn't allowed to handle them until I knew procedures down cold.

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  12. #12
    Member Array AK_Brian's Avatar
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    Some great advice around here :)

    I introduced my daughter to my firearms around 7 or so, made sure she knew what they looked like and not to touch. As someone else mentioned, show them it so they recognize the shape as an immediate no-no. Never had a problem with her, even when cleaning weapons responsibly. When she was 9 she asked for her own, and got a little .22 remington youth.

    As for the parents: I won't presume to understand their need to move in with you for a short period. Whether it be relocating or buying a home and in transition - YOU are doing them a favor many years into their adulthood. When I was buying my daughter and mine's home we spent a winter at my parents first - and it didn't matter that I had been on my own for a decade - it was their house and their rules.

    Okay so with that said: I favor telling them the truth. If they are uncomfortable with it - do your best to assure them that you will manage it and maintain its security responsibly, but do not waiver in your stance of having it.

    Honestly if at 62 years old they can't respect your parenting and responsibility then something is wrong ;) :)

    Tl;dr version:

    Talk to the parents as adults, but remind them it's -your- home if needed. Talk to the children like the adults they must become some day: respectful and aware of what is and is not okay.

  13. #13
    Member Array pat701's Avatar
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    Beyond OZ
    Tell them it is not a toy gun, that it is a real gun. Let them hold it UNLOADED dry fire it to there hearts content to get it out of there system. Tell them if they ever see it that it will be loaded don't touch it. I did that with my 3 kids worked out fine, i was a LEO at the time.

  14. #14
    Liz is offline
    Member Array Liz's Avatar
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    We've already started showing our 2 year old what to do if he ever encounters a gun. We will occasionally leave it out, unloaded, on the couch (with us sitting next to it of course). My 2 year old will look at it, and tell us that he sees a gun. He will not touch it. We have let him hold it and pull the trigger (if he can). He has more interest in the tool cleaning kit right now; but I'm sure his mindset will change once he understands more. We ask him all the time what he does if he sees a gun. He doesn't always answer correctly, but its getting better. -- Stop, don't touch it, and get an adult.
    Superhouse 15 and Taurahe like this.

  15. #15
    Member Array thephanatik's Avatar
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    Considering you are the grandparent, I would tell your son you have and carry a gun and that it gets locked up at night. I would ask him if he wants you to help teach them firearm safety. Assuming he's good with that, the best way in my opinion to make firearms a non-issue are take away the curiosity children have. Teach them the basics of firearm safety (Basic firearms rules and the Eddie Eagle "If you see a gun, STOP! Don't Touch. Leave the Area. Tell an Adult."), take them out shooting if they want, and tell them if they ever want to see the gun, just ask.
    Kennydale and Taurahe like this.
    Your number one Option for Personal Security is a lifelong commitment to avoidance, deterrence, and de-escalation. - Rule #23 in the USMC rules for gunfighting.

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