Kids and Homes with Guns

Kids and Homes with Guns

This is a discussion on Kids and Homes with Guns within the General Firearm Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; The thread about doctors asking about guns at home made me think about guns in the homes of your childrenís playmates. During a recent conversation ...

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Thread: Kids and Homes with Guns

  1. #1
    Senior Member Array PaulG's Avatar
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    Kids and Homes with Guns

    The thread about doctors asking about guns at home made me think about guns in the homes of your childrenís playmates.

    During a recent conversation with a client, the client indicated that before he will let his two small daughters go to a friendís house, he will ask the parents if they have guns in the house. If they say yes, he will not let his daughters go there. It doesnít matter if the guns are locked up or not. Guns in house = his kids canít go there.

    My daughter is an adult now. When she was a child, I was not a gun guy. It never occurred to me to ask if a friendís parents had guns or not.

    However, I think that now if I had a small child, I would also ask about guns in her playmates homes. After all, we have all seen some real idiots handling guns at the range.

    I would want to feel comfortable that the parents took gun safety seriously before I let my daughter go to their home.

    Now, keep in mind that my daughter would be well versed in gun safety. If she was too young to handle guns, she would have the Eddie Eagle indoctrination. If she was older, she would be trained in safe gun handling.

    The problem is that if a small child is playing in a home where gun safety is lax, even her training may not help if some stupid kid pulls out his dadís blast-a-tron 2000 and starts playing with it.

    My daughter is now in a serious relationship that may lead to wedding bells and eventually grand-babies.

    So I guess Iím a little curious. What do you parents with small children do to make sure they donít end up playing in a home that has a lax attitude about gun safety?
    fortiter in re, suaviter in modo (resolutely in action, gently in manner).


  2. #2
    Ex Member Array snub41's Avatar
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    Asking questions is the short answer. I no longer have small children but I always became familiar with the parents who hosted my kids for stayover's. I wanted to know how their guns were secured. Bad answers or vibes = no stayover. Beyond that "life's a crapshoot" with our only intervention being logic and prayer.

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    Member Array ExSniper's Avatar
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    Why guns? What other questions do you ask? Do they have drugs in the house? Poisons? A mean dog? A swimming pool? Other potential risks?
    It always amazes me that guns are singled out as "dangerous" objects, while so many really dangerous things are not ever considered. When my children were small I wanted to meet the parents of their friends before they went for a visit. As they got older, they were knowlegeable enough to recognize potential dangers and leave immediately.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ExSniper View Post
    Why guns? What other questions do you ask? Do they have drugs in the house? Poisons? A mean dog? A swimming pool? Other potential risks?
    It always amazes me that guns are singled out as "dangerous" objects, while so many really dangerous things are not ever considered.
    I have to say I agree here. Guns are not the only culprits in home accidents. As mentioned, swimming pools, unsecured medication, and so on, can be just as dangerous (if not more so) than guns.

    I grew up on a farm, and most of my cousins lived on farms as well. When we went over to each other's houses, I can't tell you how many times we got close to being killed by falling out of hay lofts, getting run over by tractors (my cousin spent a week in a wheel chair because of this very thing), being stabbed and/or cut on various sharp objects, things falling on us (I have a scar on the top of my head from being hit with a boot with ice cleats three inches long), getting lost in the woods, eating berries that we couldn't identify, riding our bikes in the middle of the road, kicking bee hives we thought were empty, only to have a swarm of angry bees take exception to it and come after us with a vengeance, falling through the ice on the pond behind grandpa's house, playing tag in the barn and falling through a feeding chute, almost cutting our fingers off trying to help cut down "rag weed" with a cycle, falling out of trees, starting forest fires (my brother and cousin had a LOT of explaining to do)... You name it. I can't tell you how much of our blood was spilt, or how many bones were broken, bruises found, teeth lost, scars earned, or skulls rattled in those years.

    If my parents were half as paranoid as I think they should have been we would have been locked in bubbles and never let out. But there is a certain amount of risk in everything and everywhere we let our children go. A gun accident was the least of my family's worries while we were out and about. Looking back on my childhood, it's a wonder how any of us survived past our twelfth birthdays.

    We all grew up around guns and to be quite honest, they were boring compared to some of the crap we would get ourselves into. We all knew that guns had specific purposes and they were something you just didn't play with. You gained a quick respect for things that could seriously hurt you.

    By the time I was thirteen I was medal and wood working. I was in my Dad's shop with blow torches, electric saws, arch welders, and drills, a gun was boring compared to having the power to make metal melt and control what shape it took.

    I was proud that I showed enough responsibility to be trusted with those tools.

    I think a child who's taught about responsibility will also learn about safety.

    I can't think of one time I entered my Dad's shop, and didn't put on safety glasses before I picked up a saw, or a mask before I picked up a torch, or gloves before I started heating metal, or started the vents before I sandblasted. I learned about responsibility with those tools and because of that I learned about safety with them as well. When it came to learning about guns it was the same way. Safety comes with responsibility, and I think responsibility comes with respect.

    No, you have no control over what level of knowledge your kid's friends have, but teaching your child not to be afraid and to say, "You know what, I don't think that's a good idea," could go a long way.

    With all the stupid things we did, I'm sure there were times when at least one of us stood up and said, "You know what, I don't think it's a good idea to play tag with pitchforks," or "Maybe we shouldn't see if we can ride our bikes on the barn roof," or "No, I'm not going to see what it feels like to stick my finger in that open socket."

    Ultimately, I believe that it's not about how much we shelter our children, it's about how much we teach them to respect dangerous things and to avoid being careless with them and around them.

  5. #5
    VIP Member Array friesepferd's Avatar
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    well said lima.
    i completely agree. there will always be something dangerous. i have never thought that sheltering kids was a good idea. the best thing you can do for them is to teach them self responsibility

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    Quote Originally Posted by ExSniper View Post
    Why guns? What other questions do you ask? Do they have drugs in the house? Poisons? A mean dog? A swimming pool? Other potential risks?
    It always amazes me that guns are singled out as "dangerous" objects, while so many really dangerous things are not ever considered. When my children were small I wanted to meet the parents of their friends before they went for a visit. As they got older, they were knowlegeable enough to recognize potential dangers and leave immediately.

    Also...
    Saws, hammers, drills, crow bars, sex offenders, and democrats...
    They can all be dangerous...
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    My boys know the rules...and know what to do if a firearm enters the picture. My oldest has his own .22 pistol (see avatar)...although I secure it in our safe...but he has ready access to look at any of our firearms--just as soon as he asks me if he can look at them (and I unlock the safe). The mystery is gone.

    My 5 yr old doesn't go anywhere without mommy (i.e. playdates), so the risk is minimal that "a friend" will drag out mommy or daddy's pistol. He also familiar with NRAs Eddie Eagle program.

    I do have concerns about home pools (as a former waterpark lifeguard)...I do look for fences, access controls, a pool safety equipment, and make my judgments accordingly.
    Last edited by SIGguy229; November 5th, 2007 at 10:54 AM. Reason: clarified--he does not have the combo to the safe
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    Senior Member Array purple88yj's Avatar
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    Yes, I ask. I asked the woman that watches my two children if she had a firearm in the home. It wasn't because I was worried about her (if I had been, the kids wouldn't have been staying there), it was so that she could be my protective liason in absentia.

    My three year old already knows to not touch a gun. I have tested him with fantastic results. I won't go into details here, but suffice it to say that he let me know that my gun was out. I know he didn't touch it because I was watching without him knowing.

    If I have concerns with other things I will ask about them as well. That goes for anything from cleaners, paints, tools or pools.
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    VIP Member Array friesepferd's Avatar
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    i would ask if they have firearms in their house hoping that they do!
    (if they are trained of course)

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    Cool

    Quote Originally Posted by retsupt99 View Post
    Also...
    Saws, hammers, drills, crow bars, sex offenders, and democrats...
    They can all be dangerous...
    So true.....
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    pax
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    So I guess I’m a little curious. What do you parents with small children do to make sure they don’t end up playing in a home that has a lax attitude about gun safety?
    My boys aren't small anymore, but when they were I started by teaching them the Eddie Eagle rules, and defusing their curiosity as soon as I could.

    As soon as they were able to repeat the basic mantra (stop, don't touch, leave the area, tell an adult) we made one addition: "If I see a gun and I really, really, really want to touch it, I leave the area and ASK an adult if I can!"

    As soon as they'd mastered that, we started talking about what-ifs. What if it's not just lying there but another kid has it? What if you find a gun at grandpa's house? What if you don't know whether it's a real gun or just a toy? What if your friend wants to show you his dad's gun? What if someone is over at our house and you really really really want to show them my handgun? What would you do?

    We talked about those, a lot. We talked about our guns being "family business," not to be chattered about with anyone who didn't live with us. We talked about visiting other people and how rude it is for a kid to poke through someone else's private stuff. And so on.

    Before I took my own kids to the range (ages 4 through 6 -- somewhere in that range), I taught them the four rules of gun safety ("All guns are always loaded ..." etc). So the kids could each recite the safety rules by that age, and then we started talking about the rules. What's a safe direction? How do you know? If someone says the gun is empty and they hand it to you, what do you do? If you know the gun is empty, should you still be careful where you point it? And on and on and on and on.

    Once they began to grasp the safe handling rules, we talked about grownups not always knowing or understanding or following the rules. I told them that if they were ever around when anybody, even an adult, broke the Four Rules, they were to leave the area immediately -- not stick around to argue, not lecture, not wait to see what anyone else would do. Just leave. Immediately. And that I would back them up too!

    I taught them a lot of related stuff as they grew, too. We role-played what to say if a friend wanted to get a gun out ("Nah, that's boring. Let's ____ instead.") We talked about keeping our guns quiet between us and, much later, we talked about how to deal with the situation if they were babysitting and one of their charges found a gun.

    What I'm getting at is that there is no magic one-size-fits all answer. You've got to talk to your kids, early, about everything that could kill them when you're not around. You teach them to wear seat belts even if their friends don't always buckle up, you teach them to be careful using a kitchen knife, you take them to swimming lessons even if you don't own a pool and never will ... that's the job of a parent, to teach. Firearms are no different.

    Talking to other parents is okay, sometimes necessary. Certainly it's necessary to talk to sitters and caregivers about all this.

    On the other hand, if you don't trust that person's sense of responsibility to keep firearms away from children's hands, why would you trust their honesty to tell you exactly how irresponsible they are?

    More about what we did, and why, here: www.corneredcat.com/TOC.aspx#kids

    Quote Originally Posted by limatunes
    No, you have no control over what level of knowledge your kid's friends have, but teaching your child not to be afraid and to say, "You know what, I don't think that's a good idea," could go a long way.
    Excellent post, lima. 'Course we don't expect anything else from you!!

    pax
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    My website: Cornered Cat

  12. #12
    Senior Member Array PaulG's Avatar
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    As I said before, my kids would be well versed in what to do if they saw a gun. However, that won't help much if Johnny Stupid says, "hey look at this" and pulls his dad's gun out of a drawer and while turning to show it to her, blows her away.

    Also, I don't believe that I could be accused of having sheltered my daughter.

    I guess the answer is just to make sure you know the people well enough to trust them to keep your kids as safe as they would keep theirs.
    fortiter in re, suaviter in modo (resolutely in action, gently in manner).

  13. #13
    VIP Member Array Janq's Avatar
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    Agreed Lima, and very much PaulG.

    Most every house has deadly weapons in them such as these...



    As mentioned by others there are very many dangers within the home in so far as inanimate objects, poisons, _dogs_ (!!!), and worst bad, stupid/mindles, and even predator parents.

    The key is education, of both the parent and the child.
    OP if available in ones area try to get your child into an NRA 'Eddie Eagle' program.
    Personally if a parent came to me asking questions about guns as you have indicated I would tell them yes and I'd try to educate them toward what they are and are not in addition to showing them I am not a moron gun owner. I keep my gunfu related certs and associated patches on open display amongst the family awards and trophies area on the bookshelf. I'd review these with the person and talk briefly about how often I train and impress upon them my own focus toward seriousness of care in handling of not just firearms but providing my own children a safe home environment, to which said concerned parent and their child benefit from.

    There are a great many issues, other than guns, to be concerned about when leaving your child in the care of some other persons so called parent...

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    Senior Member Array walvord's Avatar
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    +1 to what Limatunes said. That's exactly it!
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    Nothing wrong with asking the question of the parents. If they keep their guns safe while kids are around, as mandated by law here in MN, I would have no problem with my kids being there.
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