Guns and Kids, what do you do?
This is a discussion on Guns and Kids, what do you do? within the Home (And Away From Home) Defense Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; So I've read back and found one thread that deals with how to manage the balancing act of allowing for quick access to a home ...
September 19th, 2012 04:22 PM
Guns and Kids, what do you do?
So I've read back and found one thread that deals with how to manage the balancing act of allowing for quick access to a home defense weapon and securing said weapon away from little hands. The post had many suggestions, but I'm afraid no preferred solutions.
My situation: I have one child, turns two in February, and one child on the way, due in February. One more is planned, maybe 2 years from February?
My toddler is too young to handle the responsibility of gun training and safety. It looks like I will be in the situation of having one child old enough to operate a gun accidentally, but too young to realize what he/she is doing for at least 4 more years, if not 6+. I live in the country where the police are not around the corner, and even if they were, the corner is more than a mile down the road in one direction and 3.5 in the other. My weapons are my first line of defense against any home intruders.
The assumptions I am operating under are and willing to accept:
1 - My child will not wake me up every time he enters my room. I sleep well.
2 - I am human, and therefore will not always perform things perfectly and am prone to forget things. To avoid the soap boxes, if you are perfect I don't want to hear about the responsibility of gun ownership and all that, I got it; you're just smarter than I am and I'm not giving up my guns.
3 - In combat and high pressure situations, especially immediately after being woken from sleep, motor skills and cognitive ability is often severely compromised. Ask a combat veteran.
4 - Time is of the essence.
5 - Given infinite monkeys on infinite key boards, the monkeys will eventually write every book ever written... not to compare my child to a monkey, but he will eventually figure out how to get the magazine into the weapon and load the weapon, given time and opportunity.
6 - Murphy's Law; assumption #5 will occur when I'm asleep.
7 - My child will figure out all the hiding spots in the house quicker than I will... he's proficient at this already. Hiding the gun is not satisfactory.
8 - The purpose of the retention devise is not to avoid theft, but only to prevent little hands access to the weapons.
So the question: it is statistically unlikely that I'm the only person on the forum that is in this situation or one similar, what is everyone else doing? I know this is a dilemma and not a problem and therefore may not have a preferable solution; but I'm interested in what the best compromise everyone else has come up with.
The way I see it is a balancing act between security and accessibility. What is the sweet spot? Have you ever used a weapon in home defense, or do you know someone who has? What timeframe is the weapon needed in?
Thanks for any insight,
September 19th, 2012 04:30 PM
My safe is near my bed in my house so I use that as my retention device. While I would love to leave a gun cocked and locked on my nightstand it isnt safe with a 3 and 1 yr old. You may look into the safes that fit and bolt to drawers, gunvault makes some, if it is a handgun. By the time he is able to get on the internet, read how to operate a gun and be strong enough to do it, I would (in my house) have tried to educate the kids in a way that they would know that while you CAN do it, you shouldn't (pending a dire life or death type need)
"Better to keep your mouth shut and be thought a fool than to open it and remove all doubt" ~ Mark Twain
September 19th, 2012 04:33 PM
Starting the educatioin process can never start too early, but I agree with you kids ages, safety on your part is priority number 1. My kids are older (jr high and high school) so we have had the talk about firearms on many occasions as well as showing them and training them to use and treat firearms. Started my youngest when she was in Kindergarten. I am assuming that you are talking about a handgun, so my suggestion is getting one of those small gun safes that can fit in the drawer of your night stand with the electronic keypad. It will take you longer to access the firearm than just "sitting" in you night stand. The other option is keeping the firearm up high where your llittle one(s) won't be able to reach it, but I would use the small safe in the nightstand drawer.
For a long gun, in the closet out of reach up high.
No trees were harmed in the construction of this post. However a large number of electrons were indiscriminately aroused.
September 19th, 2012 04:55 PM
To start with, I wouldn't bet on #5.
Here's what I would do (GA law permitting):
Mount a "key" operated lockbox out of expected (and hopefully unexpected) reach of the little ones.
Put the key on your keyring and in your pocket until you go to bed.
At night, put the key in the lockbox for quick access. Plus you'll know where your keyring is in an emergency. Remove the keys on awakening.
I have no faith in electronic locks, nor would I rely on remembering a combo in an emergency. There are many inexpensive lockboxes suitable for keeping younsters at bay. It's not a perfect solution, then neither am I.
Retired USAF E-8. Lighten up and enjoy life because:
Paranoia strikes deep, into your life it will creep. It starts when you're always afraid...
Buffalo Springfield - For What It's Worth
September 19th, 2012 05:01 PM
how tall are you? i am 6'4". my secure areas are in hidden alcoves near the ceiling, inaccessible without a ladder for anyone under 5'6". except for my handgun, which is on me unless i am asleep. but my youngest is now 5.
September 19th, 2012 05:02 PM
I agree with education being the most important thing. My kids are 4 and 2, and they fully understand that they do not ever touch guns. I also make my bedroom off limits to ensure that my edc isnt touched while im sleeping
September 19th, 2012 05:12 PM
I have 3 and 5 year old boys, and I cannot leave a unsecured firearm in the house.
I have a gun safe that stores all but 2 pistols.
Those pistols are in a Fort Knox pistol safe that sits on top of the wardrobe in our bedroom.
With practice (it takes practice like anything else) I can open the safe in the dark, half asleep
A real man loves his wife, and places his family as the most important thing in life. Nothing has brought me more peace and content in life than simply being a good husband and father.
September 19th, 2012 05:43 PM
I've got a 2 y/o and one on the way as well. Yey for no sleep for another year!
First, I'm thinking that I can start working on the eddie eagle program with my oldest as soon as she can talk in sentences. That's not too far off.
As to securing the firearm, yeah, it needs to be physically secured. Hiding it, putting it up on a dresser, etc. - those are all negligent and bad ideas. I personally keep a handgun in a quick access safe near the bed. They are made by a bunch of vendors. Some are mechanical, some electronic keypad, some biometric. I choose one with an electronic keypad because I don't want a key for my little kids to find, and I don't want a biometric safe as I don't trust them yet. A mechanical one would have worked, but the ones I've seen are only five keys, and I know that it would only take a couple hundred tries to get into them - I did it when I was a kid. :) (What's that saying about kids being waaaay too quiet?)
The keypad ones take all of 2 seconds to open. They can be bolted to the floor or wall. Some have illuminated keys. I just leave a flashlight on top of mine.
As to responsibility, my rule is that the gun is either on me or in the safe. I am not the most neat person on the planet, but I force myself to put the gun away as soon as I take it off. It's really not hard to get into the routine. The other rule we have is that no one is allowed in our bedroom unattended. This of course applies to our child, but it also applies to anyone who comes over. They just aren't allowed in our bedroom, and the door stays closed all the time.
Cornered Cat - Table Of Contents
Check out the kids and guns section, and if you have an S/O, have them take a look as well - it's well written by someone with a good dose of common sense. :)
Oh, one other thing about the quick access safes. When you get it home, try it out and if you don't like it for whatever reason, take it back and try something else. Since they are being made by everyone, they seem to be mostly cheaply made, and you need to have confidence in them. I went through several that were pure junk before finding a satisfactory one. I will say that specialized vendor like gun vault will probably be fine out of the box.
September 19th, 2012 05:48 PM
A lock box by the bed (simple combo/key access) may very well be the best option for you until your younguns' are a little older and 'educated'. Now, I'm a fairly light sleeper but I understand your adversion to having to think/move quickly from a dead sleep, but a little practice and you can get into that box darn near in your sleep. A bigger safe will be necessary as your collection of guns, and your family, grows, but a quick-access lock-box is a good bet.
I have 4 kids, 2 outta the house, 2 still at home, and 2 grandkids........ I understand very much the safety and security your needing (both for your gun and for that of your family)
"Just getting a concealed carry permit means you haven't commited a crime yet. CCP holders commit crimes." Daniel Vice, senior attorney for the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, quoted on Fox & Friends, 8 Jul, 2008
"Sometimes when you're making gumbo, people just show up.", Leah Chase
September 19th, 2012 07:01 PM
Well, carry all the time. Very safe on your body at all times. For bed a near bed safe is good.
English is my second language, I have been told my use of it is harsh, apologies if this is the matter.
You know what stops a bad guy with a gun? A good guy with a gun
September 19th, 2012 07:24 PM
i'm assuming that at least one poster who answered your original question mentioned fast-access, locking gun boxes. what did you not like about them?
when my two sons were in the house (from 1 month to 23 years of age), my primary SD pistol resided in a Cannon Quik Safe, which could be opened in two seconds, and, being mechanical, was not dependent on batteries or electricity. the safe still works perfectly to this day.
education: my sons were told about my gun, shown where it lived, and they were allowed to see and handle it (unloaded, of course - this should go without saying, but i say it here to avoid gasps of horror from some). they were also told a few times, that if they ever found any gun, anywhere, to not touch it, and to find and tell an adult. standard Eddie Eagle stuff. well i did leave my gun out and on the bed one day, and my younger son, then about five or six, found it. bless his heart, he came running to me yelling, "daddy, daddy, you left your gun on the bed." after i finished calling myself 50 kinds of a damn fool, while going back and putting the gun back in the safe box, son got MUCH praise, with hugs and kisses, too. interestingly, i asked him a couple of weeks ago if he remembered this incident, and he said he didn't. (he's 25 now).
September 19th, 2012 08:39 PM
All are find ideas, but for the specific age group here 1-4 or 5... I don't know the measurements of your home but if you have high enough ceilings maybe putting a shelf 7-8 feet off the ground would work. personally I am 6'3 and could grab at at 8 feet rather easily. but a young child of that age wouldn't. even with a chair the likely hood is slim and add to that bringing a chair into the bedroom would not be suttle at that age. It seems not fumbling with safe combos and locks are not what you are looking for so I concluded that. When them being able to actually reach your firearm then perhaps go with the lockbox or safe. Also they sell triger locks at places like dicks, which may be worth looking into as well. Maybe even look into a new gun that has a triger locking feature built into it. Just some ideas.
Of course best option would be a safe, I would feel confident with what I said though.
September 19th, 2012 08:42 PM
Assumption #3 is what concerns me most about most safes/lock boxes. I'm concerned that in the heat of the moment and being snapped from slumber I will be fumbling with the damn locking mechanism when the perpetrator puts a bullet through me. It's the same concept for why I carry with a round in the chamber. The fewer steps/muscle memories that have to be performed to get the gun into action, the more likely it is to occur successfully. Especially under pressure. Being an infantry officer I understand the necessity to practice and develop muscle memory and rehearsals, but I also realize that simplicity is more likely to succeed than complex. Additionally I've read that an incorrect code requires you to reset the device somehow before you can open it. Seems like it takes some time. Add to that that it is typically dark while I'm sleeping, and the manual locks don't have lights, makes more room for error.
I have recently seen a lot of the biometrics (read fingerprint) gun safes that seem like the most simple to gain access to from the user's standpoint, but it seems that there is a lot of opposition to the electric locking mechanisms. People say that if the power is out then you can't get in. Do they not have a safe with a battery backup? Are the biometric scanners reliable? Has anyone had any dealings with these? How long do they take to open? It is foreseeable that you would have a home intrusion when the power is out, so I would not like a simple plug in electric locking mechanism, and it is foreseeable that batteries would die, so a battery powered one is also not preferred, but a battery backed up plug in device that charges the batteries when the power is on seems like it is as reliable as you can get... if the power fails and the batteries fail and you have a home invasion, God might be calling your number. At least it would be safe to say, you've had better luck. Do they make systems like that for a night stand? Anyone have one?
I like the lock box idea with a key, but then you have to find the key, or keep the key in it. If you keep the key in it, the child has a high probability to figure out that a turn of the key opens the safe.
Not trying to be difficult, but simply outlining my train of thought. Thank you for all the responses.
September 19th, 2012 08:44 PM
Been said add me to the list SAFE there are so many good ones on the market
September 19th, 2012 08:55 PM
When my son was small, I never hid anything from him. Yes, most of mine were locked in my safe most of the time, but anytime he wanted to look at them, I let him. I kept insisting that these were dangerous, and he shouldn't touch unless I was there. Took him shooting with me a few times and let him see what a bullet can do. I know he was curious, and I let him satisfy that curiosity. Don't ever think you can keep something hidden from a kid. Let them look, let them shoot, and then the kids have no mystery about guns.
He never did try to look without my knowledge, and now he is my favorite shooting partner.
Cape Locum Et Fac Vestigium
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