Kids home alone

Kids home alone

This is a discussion on Kids home alone within the Home (And Away From Home) Defense Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; I have on occasion let some of the kids fire my handguns but only with close direct supervision. All our guns stay locked in a ...

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  1. #1
    Senior Member Array Lish's Avatar
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    Kids home alone

    I have on occasion let some of the kids fire my handguns but only with close direct supervision. All our guns stay locked in a safe except when I have one on my hip. None of the kids have shot extensively, I've only been shooting a couple years myself and none of them have access to the safe. I've always worried about the trouble 5 boys could get into together, young & stupid has always scared me so I've never made a firearm avail to them.

    I've always struggled with the thought of their self defense in my absence. They're 15, 12, 11, 8 & 6. The oldest does babysit his younger brothers after school for 2 hours a day/3days a week while I'm at work, 12 miles down the road.

    I'm off work today & this morning we overslept my oldest's bus. I decided to keep him home & do what we need to do to get his driver's permit. But first I had to take my husband to pick up his car from the body shop & swing by Walmart for a couple items. I let the 15 yr old stay home.

    At 10:50, as I'm pulling out of the Walmart parking lot my son calls. Someone just jumped our fence & is on the property approaching the house. Without being there to assess any threat & figuring no good can come of someone hopping a gate onto private property, I tell him I'm on my way & to call the police. He let the dogs out of their kennels so they'd be loose in the house & called the police, hid in the bathroom. While he was on the phone with dispatch he heard the motorcycle leave & let them know. The assumption is the dogs scared him off.

    It took me 15 minutes to get home from where I was, flying like a bat out of hell. The police arrived 40 min after he called, but granted he did tell them the person left.

    My husband on the phone chastised my son for hiding in the bathroom, stating if someone got in he should have been in a room he could get outside. My argument is if all 5 were home, escape would be more difficult, even with one, running out the back door across 5 acres doesn't sound ideal. Had someone gotten in, hopefully my rots would have taken care of business. But it brings me back around to should I have some kind of weapon available to them? Teaching them to flee I'm having a hard time wrapping my brain around. I don't want to teach to shoot anyone that steps foot on the property either, and actually my oldest has told me that while he likes going to the range with me, he could never shoot another human being. So I'm hesitant to give him firearm access if he's not going to have the right mindset with it, I don't want a bad guy to be able to get it from him if he just tries to scare someone off but has no intention if using it. Not to mention, like I said giving firearm access to 5 boys gives me the willies, the whole reason we put them in a safe is to keep access from the kids.

    Thoughts/advice for this confused and scared momma?
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  2. #2
    Member Array NightOwl76's Avatar
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    I would not give firearm access to an unattended minor. Even the most responsible kid is still a kid, and you're on the hook for any and every mistake they make. Train them to keep all outside doors locked and all windows closed when you are not around, and to keep any outside lights on. If they see a trespasser, they should call 911 immediately. Not you, 911. If they have a spare phone or cellphone they can call you while the cops are on their way. If not, I'd rather have them stay on the line with the 911 operator than hang up to call you.

    I agree with you that exiting the house is probably a bad idea. You simply have no idea what's outside. It could be one guy, it could be five. He's got a motorcycle, your son's on foot. Have him put as many locked doors as possible between himself and the intruder, and wait for help.

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    I wish I could be more helpful, but there's no possible way for me to know them better than you do.
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    Do your boys have a pellet or BB gun? If they do how do they act with it? Do they follow the safety rules, are they responsible with it? If they don't you can get them one and use it to assess how they would act with a more powerful gun.


    You can also get them some kind of long gun for Home defense, maybe a 20ga side by side coach gun. I suggest this because it has less range than a rifle (in case of an errant shot) and loaded with #4 Buck it has less chance of going through multiple walls. The 20ga is powerful enough to take care of business but does not have too punishing of a recoil to make a young kid afraid to shot it. The coach gun is also much harder to sneak out of the house in case one of your boys was so inclined.

    I would go over with your boys what to do in case there is an intruder while you are gone. I would recommend that they hole up in a bedroom that has one interior door (and a exterior window to escape out of) and have the coach gun trained on the door. Another boy could keep watch out of the window. I don't know if it would be better to have the dogs loose in the house or in the room, it would be a question of would the boys be willing to shoot through the dog to get the bad guy if they had too.

    I hope this helps some
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    VIP Member Array pittypat21's Avatar
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    I agree with pgrass101 about a shotgun. Get a nice long shotgun - like pgrass101 said, it's harder to sneak around with something like that. ONLY tell the oldest where it is. Impress upon him the seriousness of it all. And of course, only do this if you believe him to be responsible enough.

    Lastly, follow your state and local laws concerning all that.
    "Be polite, be professional, but have a plan to kill everyone you meet."
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    Member Array amendment4's Avatar
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    I am a newby to the forum but not to parenthood.I have raised my own children and now have my grandchildren living with me.
    Under no circumstances allow your children access to firearms of any sorts.My advise would be to have them call 911 first and take direction from the dispatcher only.This information can be relayed to the officers that are first arriving on the property and will minimize mistaken identity with your oldest boy.You do not want a teenage boy to be handling a gun when officers arrive.

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    I would say shotgun again maybe a nice 20guage or 410 . Most states you have to be 18-21 to have -handle a handgun . A shotgun well heck that could for the kids first hunting trip etc. But make sure he is responsibly enough for it . Maybe only give him the key to it when you are out of the house like the sit above . And make sure you teach them well on gun saftey etc etc.

    Some states will issue hunting safety cards or what have you to minors ( that could help Forster safety and show he willing to learn /be safe) and would look good if anything ever happy , gosh forbid ..

  8. #8
    mkh
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    Distinguished Member Array mkh's Avatar
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    I agree that giving access to a gun to an unattended minor is a big step fraught with danger.

    My gut feeling is don't do that. But as a parent I understand the desire for protecting our children. Ultimately the decision will fall on your and your husband's shoulders in spite of how much and what type of advice you get from people on the Internet.

    One word of advice ( and I don't know your neighborhood) - don't over react to what may be an isolated incident.
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    Member Array warbirds's Avatar
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    Dang- I was probably toting a 30-30 around my Dad's ranch unquestioned by the age of 11. My brothers and I all survived. They need to understand safety and how to use a firearm.
    If needed, mount a game camera above the defensive weapon available to them and make clear it is "watching" them. If the 15 year old is responsible enough to drive you already believe he is responsible enough to entrust great responsibility to.

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    It depends entirely on the son. Fifteen CAN be old enough, if responsible and properly trained, and there are ways to secure a weapon so that only he has access, as by a coded lockbox.

    However, if he has the "I could never shoot anyone" mindset, then a gun is probably a bad idea. Ideally I'd wish that this could be changed, and perhaps it could, but ultimately that's a decision he'd have to make for himself. So, less-lethal weapons might be an option. Tasers, pepper spray, etc. They're a lot better than nothing, and if they get through a few years of that without zapping each other or fumigating the house, it might be a step on the way to more frequent handling of firearms.

    And I kind of agree about holing up in a room with a window, if one isn't going to shoot. Not to flee immediately, but to have the option if someone tries to break down the door. The dogs were a great move, too.
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    "Yet this government never of itself furthered any enterprise, but by the alacrity with which it got out of the way... The character inherent in the American people has done all that has been accomplished; and it would have done somewhat more, if the government had not sometimes got in its way."

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    Member Array TelumPisces's Avatar
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    My oldest is only 7 and I have thought about this myself. And I don't know how I am going to deal with it when she gets old enough to stay home by herself etc... Every parent is going to have to decide what's best for them and their children. Asking others what they do can help. But ultimately it's up to you. In today's society, we are told that a minor (under 18) should not be trusted with a firearm. I disagree with that. It's up to a parent what they do with their children. But it has to be done in a responsible manner.
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    VIP Member Array oakchas's Avatar
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    Okay, your son says he could never shoot another human being... And, he's trained to use firearms, but won't. For now that's fine, obviously not ideal.. but live with it, you must.

    Response time for you is about 15 minutes, on average, correct (12 miles away and all that)?

    Assuming police response time is the same, you should arrive at the same time... the 40 minute response was due to the fact that they did not have to rush, the perp had left.

    You've got to train the kids to make certain all doors and windows are closed and locked, dead bolted if possible.

    You need a safe room. It can be the master bedroom, and should be, if that's where the firearms are (unless they are in a safe bolted to the basement floor, elsewhere in the house). We don't want BGs to access any firepower that they didn't bring.

    Safe room needs a SOLID CORE DOOR (NOT FOAM CORE or HOLLOW CORE)... Can be painted to match other doors in house even if they are hollow core. Or purchased in wood and stained to match natural wood doors throughout the house. Solid panel doors are okay, not as good as solid core but will probably work fine.

    Most BR doors open in... this is good, but opening out is better (even with exposed hinges). Most master walk in closets (around here) open out. That space is large enough for the family for 15 minutes or a day.

    In either case, open in or out, purchase 4-6 BLIND deadbolt locks for the door to the safe room (or safe walk in closet.) About $10.00 each online... no keys, just the throw inside. So the door cannot be unlocked by anyone outside the door. The dead bolts are installed in the door around the perimeter, at least two on each side of the door (between the hinges on the hinge side, and above and below the knob on the other). The other two (if you purchased them) go in the top and bottom of the door (1 into the jamb, one into the header). Short of a breaching shotgun with 6 breaching rounds, no one is getting in. The reason that the hinges on the outside are okay, is because even if they remove the hinges, they can't pull the door out because of the deadbolts. You could also rig a stiff wire between the deadbolts throws (knob, turn button) on each side to activate both of that side at once.

    If it's the master bedroom, you've got the windows to worry about. Security screens ($$$), or ornamental iron gates ($$), or window film ($); will help prevent ingress but should allow egress. Egress can be important, if the interlopers are the type to set fires, while I don't think society is there yet (might be, soon though).

    If you set the safe room up in the MBR closet, you could conceivably install a trap door to basement or crawl space for egress.

    Safe room needs hardwired phone if you have land line phone service. And old cell phone on a charger if you don't (and maybe even if you do have a land line) all cels will always call 911, on the charger all the time so battery is inconsequential... (for that you need power to the closet, and a land line phone line). A flashlight. If they cut the power. and the cel if they cut the phone line.

    This whole deal can be done (yourself) for $300 or less. Start with the door...~$100 on sale at big box store (Not steel.. solid wood)... less $ if you have a recycle builders supply (habitat for humanity runs 'em). Deadbolts $40-60. Depending on lighting in the closet, you can put a plug in accessory for the bulb type, and that's where you plug in your cel phone. Hard wired phone can be a portable... but if the BGs disconnect the base, you're screwed... wire in a hard line.

    That buys you time... Whoever is in the safe room can wait out LEO. Later, when the economy collapses... you can do more... but for the smash and grabbers.. and even the occasional pervert... Today's common criminal... This will suffice.

    YOMV (I don't care, mine is right). Lish may PM for more detail.
    Rats!
    It could be worse!
    I suppose

  13. #13
    VIP Member Array Brad426's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mkh View Post
    I agree that giving access to a gun to an unattended minor is a big step fraught with danger.

    My gut feeling is don't do that. But as a parent I understand the desire for protecting our children. Ultimately the decision will fall on your and your husband's shoulders in spite of how much and what type of advice you get from people on the Internet.

    One word of advice ( and I don't know your neighborhood) - don't over react to what may be an isolated incident.
    +1 on this. It feels wrong, but I don't know what I'd do in that situation. Totally depends on the maturity of your oldest.
    I have a very strict gun control policy: if there's a gun around, I want to be in control of it.
    Clint Eastwood

  14. #14
    Member Array TelumPisces's Avatar
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    Also, do you have a home alarm system. We have taught our kids to not only dial 911, but to hit the panic button on the alarm system if the situation calls for it. This sets off the VERY LOUD siren on our house system. I would hope that this would scare most folks off.
    ccw9mm likes this.

  15. #15
    VIP Member Array pittypat21's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by oakchas View Post
    Okay, your son says he could never shoot another human being... And, he's trained to use firearms, but won't. For now that's fine, obviously not ideal.. but live with it, you must.

    Response time for you is about 15 minutes, on average, correct (12 miles away and all that)?

    Assuming police response time is the same, you should arrive at the same time... the 40 minute response was due to the fact that they did not have to rush, the perp had left.

    You've got to train the kids to make certain all doors and windows are closed and locked, dead bolted if possible.

    You need a safe room. It can be the master bedroom, and should be, if that's where the firearms are (unless they are in a safe bolted to the basement floor, elsewhere in the house). We don't want BGs to access any firepower that they didn't bring.

    Safe room needs a SOLID CORE DOOR (NOT FOAM CORE or HOLLOW CORE)... Can be painted to match other doors in house even if they are hollow core. Or purchased in wood and stained to match natural wood doors throughout the house. Solid panel doors are okay, not as good as solid core but will probably work fine.

    Most BR doors open in... this is good, but opening out is better (even with exposed hinges). Most master walk in closets (around here) open out. That space is large enough for the family for 15 minutes or a day.

    In either case, open in or out, purchase 4-6 BLIND deadbolt locks for the door to the safe room (or safe walk in closet.) About $10.00 each online... no keys, just the throw inside. So the door cannot be unlocked by anyone outside the door. The dead bolts are installed in the door around the perimeter, at least two on each side of the door (between the hinges on the hinge side, and above and below the knob on the other). The other two (if you purchased them) go in the top and bottom of the door (1 into the jamb, one into the header). Short of a breaching shotgun with 6 breaching rounds, no one is getting in. The reason that the hinges on the outside are okay, is because even if they remove the hinges, they can't pull the door out because of the deadbolts. You could also rig a stiff wire between the deadbolts throws (knob, turn button) on each side to activate both of that side at once.

    If it's the master bedroom, you've got the windows to worry about. Security screens ($$$), or ornamental iron gates ($$), or window film ($); will help prevent ingress but should allow egress. Egress can be important, if the interlopers are the type to set fires, while I don't think society is there yet (might be, soon though).

    If you set the safe room up in the MBR closet, you could conceivably install a trap door to basement or crawl space for egress.

    Safe room needs hardwired phone if you have land line phone service. And old cell phone on a charger if you don't (and maybe even if you do have a land line) all cels will always call 911, on the charger all the time so battery is inconsequential... (for that you need power to the closet, and a land line phone line). A flashlight. If they cut the power. and the cel if they cut the phone line.

    This whole deal can be done (yourself) for $300 or less. Start with the door...~$100 on sale at big box store (Not steel.. solid wood)... less $ if you have a recycle builders supply (habitat for humanity runs 'em). Deadbolts $40-60. Depending on lighting in the closet, you can put a plug in accessory for the bulb type, and that's where you plug in your cel phone. Hard wired phone can be a portable... but if the BGs disconnect the base, you're screwed... wire in a hard line.

    That buys you time... Whoever is in the safe room can wait out LEO. Later, when the economy collapses... you can do more... but for the smash and grabbers.. and even the occasional pervert... Today's common criminal... This will suffice.

    YOMV (I don't care, mine is right). Lish may PM for more detail.
    Wow...nice. I'm totally doing all of this around the time my girls are old enough to be left alone.
    "Be polite, be professional, but have a plan to kill everyone you meet."
    -General James Mattis, USMC

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