Hiding Guns from Kids - Good Idea or Bad?

This is a discussion on Hiding Guns from Kids - Good Idea or Bad? within the General Firearm Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; First let me say that this thread is not about trying to hide an unlocked, loaded firearm from a child as a sole means of ...

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Thread: Hiding Guns from Kids - Good Idea or Bad?

  1. #1
    Member Array skot's Avatar
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    Hiding Guns from Kids - Good Idea or Bad?

    First let me say that this thread is not about trying to hide an unlocked, loaded firearm from a child as a sole means of saftey. I think we all know that's insufficent and dangerous.

    Here is my situation; I have a 6 year old son and 4 year old daughter. My son knows basic firearm safety (as well as a 6yo can anyway) and not to touch any gun unless I hand it to him. He has a crickett .22 and has shot several .22's and a .410.

    All of my guns stay locked in a safe except for two that are in a locked drawer in my bedroom. These two (9mm & .40 auto's) are kept in condition 3 (i.e. full mags, empty chambers).

    With all of this in mind is there any reason I should try to hide from my kids that there are guns in the locked drawer? Or should I just be open and honest with them that there are guns in it and hammer home the point that they are not to ever touch it under any circumstance?

    My concern is not as much this stage in their lives, but more so when they are a little older, say early teens and want to show their friends 'dad's guns' or something along those lines. I'd like to decide on an approach now and be consistent through their upbringing.

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    Senior Member Array rachilders's Avatar
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    I have six kids between the ages of ten and thirty-seven and to "be open and honest with them that there are guns in it and hammer home the point that they are not to ever touch it" is usually the best approach from my experience, especially with young children who haven't fully developed a real concept of danger and it's effects. Believe me, at that age they know a gun is dangerous only because daddy said so, not because they reasoned out for themselves how a gun works, what damage a bullet does to a human body and how that damage can directly impact them if a gun is misused.

    OTOH, children the age of your two require a different approach than the one you'll need when they become teens. By the time your kids are that age, they will have to decide for themselves what's right and wrong since trying to "protect" a teen from his/her self is more often than not an exercise in futility for EVERYONE involved. Luckily, you have a few years yet before you reach that point and by then, if you feel your guns must still be locked away to keep your kids from handling them in an unsafe or unwise manner, you've already lost the battle.
    "... Americans... we want a safe home, to keep the money we make and shoot bad guys." -- Denny Crane

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    Distinguished Member Array C9H13NO3's Avatar
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    I don't have kids, but I think a lot of what they do is driven by curiosity. If you take away all the mystery by being open about it, it kills off the curiosity about it.
    -Ryan

    All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.

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    Distinguished Member Array Squawker's Avatar
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    I don't have kids, and none come to my house. Because of that, I feel comfortable having guns throughout the house, hidden, in things such as cut out concealment books (My Beretta 93FS is sitting beside my recliner in the living room, in a Library book from Dan Diego, entitled "Shepard's Northwestern Reporter Citations- Every State and Federal Citation"- pretty boring sounding book, not one likely that someone would try to thumb through. I also have wall clocks which hold a hidden handgun. \I want to have a gun readily available, and I'm glad that I don't have children that I have to worry about. If I did, I just wouldn't feel comfortable with my current system, I would have to buy biometric safes. Even now, in the unlikely event that we would have a visitor that brought kids, I would take the book to my back closet, and store them in a safe.

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    Distinguished Member Array GWRedDragon's Avatar
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    When it comes to kids, hidden means nothing. Heck, when I was little I looked all over the place for 'dad's gun'. Expect them to look through all your stuff at some point. A locked drawer means "ooh, something interesting!"

    Do not count on the drawer lock for security, either. It is probably relatively easy to open. Get a drawer mini-safe.

    If you have a keyed safe rather than a combination safe, treat the key the same way you would treat the gun...keep it on your person at all times. If you have a combination safe, do not keep the number written down.

    Kids are very smart, and they are also masters of imitating what you do. If they see you opening the safe, they will know how to do it.
    "Trust in God with hand on sword" -Inscription on my family's coat of arms from medieval England
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    I'm all for educating kids on firearms...started with my boys when they were 4 yr old....(now 6 and 12).

    However, you might check with the laws of your state about control and access to firearms (I'm not saying you're going to leave it unlocked or give them the keys)...most of my guns are kept in the safe (where I know they can't get in), but I have one in a bedside COM safe (in a drawer) which is where it is kept while I'm sleeping (then it goes in a holster when I wake up).

    The Eddie Eagle concepts still apply...don't touch, tell an adult....i don't think you need to tell them where you keep it.
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    Senior Member Array usmc3169's Avatar
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    I would say show the kids and make sure that they know those things are dangerous.... we used to do a demonstration for Marines that hadn't been around explosives with a blasting cap, a foot or two of time fuse and an old kevlar helmet................:-)
    "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing."

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    VIP Member Array goldshellback's Avatar
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    Involve them when you clean them, show your 6yo how to clean his .22 after ya'll go shooting. Giving him a little responsability helps with removing the mystery of it all. At 10 years old I was cleaning my shotgun and rifles after hunting and range time, it was no big deal for me.

    Also, reguardless of where you store your 'ready' sidearms, I'd invest in a 'quick' box.....a lock box specifically for handguns for storing. One with a combonation type cypher lock..... A locked drawer isn't secure when faced with a child's curiosty and imagination.

    Vigiliance while raising children with guns in the houseis needed 24/7.....but.....knowledge and removing the 'taboo' mystery of your guns helps later on. Besids, kids have friends who will want to 'see' your guns and you won't always be home.

    My daughters lost all curisioty and mystery when they started 'helping' me clean my guns after we had been to the range........cleaning ANYTHING made my girls not want to touch them;)
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    Distinguished Member Array MinistrMalic's Avatar
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    I practice the general sentiment of the thread. I think education is the key. I have made my firearms accessible to my kids any time they want. IOW, I let them hold, inspect, and fire anything I own. They clean them with me and have seen what a firearm does. The smaller ones (7 & 3) know how the gun goes BANG and that maintains a healthy respect.

    Because the firearms are common items in our home, they are about as mysterious as a mop. So the kids don't get the urge to play with them. Now that being said, we homeschool so the kids are not home alone with guns much.

    I just think that education and training is a far better method than hiding and intimidation.
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    I do not think education or secrecy are sufficient as your children move forward from their very young present age.

    If not a gun safe, at least some sort of lock-box is necessary. Kids not only do the darndest most unexpected things, they sometimes start to get moody and emotional as they enter and pass through the teen years. Ten to 14 year olds don't really quite understand "dangerous" and they want to explore the boundaries of the word, "NO." I had a rather scary moment when mine was 10 ish. There aren't any good answers because even the best behaved child is a bit unpredictable.

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    Member Array spwz99's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by skot View Post

    With all of this in mind is there any reason I should try to hide from my kids that there are guns in the locked drawer? Or should I just be open and honest with them that there are guns in it and hammer home the point that they are not to ever touch it under any circumstance?

    My concern is not as much this stage in their lives, but more so when they are a little older, say early teens and want to show their friends 'dad's guns' or something along those lines. I'd like to decide on an approach now and be consistent through their upbringing.
    I think that my dad did an excellent job of acclimating my siblings and I to guns and the destruction they are capable of. He hunted regularly and always showed us the dead deer and made it clear what dead meant and that the shotgun is what caused it. As soon as we were old enough he took us out shooting and let us help him clean the guns when we were done.

    As far as when we were older, I think my brother and I both went through a stage where we thought it was 'cool' to let our friends know that we had guns at home. The thought of taking one out and showing them to our friends never even crossed our minds though. Dad always made it very clear that showing them to people was off limits and it was gonna be our hide if we broke that rule.

    Had we not been exposed to guns so openly and honestly when we were young, it might have been a different story. If you keep secrets from your kids, they will find out and be all the more curious.

  13. #12
    Member Array skot's Avatar
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    Thank you all for the feedback. It gives me a lot to think about.

    My opinion has always been more of the 'expose them to the guns and take away the curiosity' approach. But lately my wife has been asking me not to let them see when/where I put them away. This is what prompted me to ask the question.

    The locked drawer is something that came about when my son was about 1 and my daughter wasn't even born. I'm starting to realize that may be fast approaching functionally obsolete and I need to invest in a quick box style safe.

    I guess the bottom line is that it needs to be a balance between education and restricted access.

    With those small safes what is the best way to secure it so that someone who breaks in while I'm not home can't just walk off with it? I know they can be bolted to a dresser, but are there other options. There's no way in hell I'm going to be 'allowed' to drill holes in my current dresser if you know what I mean.

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    VIP Member Array Janq's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hopyard View Post
    I do not think education or secrecy are sufficient as your children move forward from their very young present age.

    If not a gun safe, at least some sort of lock-box is necessary. Kids not only do the darndest most unexpected things, they sometimes start to get moody and emotional as they enter and pass through the teen years. Ten to 14 year olds don't really quite understand "dangerous" and they want to explore the boundaries of the word, "NO." I had a rather scary moment when mine was 10 ish. There aren't any good answers because even the best behaved child is a bit unpredictable.
    That. ^^

    In addition, rather than a locked drawer what is much better is to use this...


    GunVault - Gun Safes for Home or Office - Home

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    VIP Member Array Blackeagle's Avatar
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    Kids are curious, they're probably going to find out what's in there sooner or later. Better to tell them what it is and why they shouldn't mess with it than to have them try to get it open out of curiosity.

    I'd second the recommendation for something better than the lock on a desk drawer to secure the guns.

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    My two boys are in their 30's now, but they both have told me that being up front with them about guns and where they were...kept them away...they had no desire to go play with my guns, and they never did.
    (Their story, not mine.)

    They were given the opportunity to see them, handle them, and shoot them. We went regularly out to the N. MI woods for some father/son(s) shooting. This, evidently, attended to the curiosity that kids have naturally...I treated guns like any other tools...look, touch, and use while properly supervised.

    I would still use some of the gun safes seen above...didn't have those things decades ago.
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