As an avid gun-toting woman and mom, gun safety has always been important, as it should be. I’ve owned guns since I was 18. I actually learned how to shoot from the San Diego Police Dept in a basic firearms safety class I took, with my Colt 45. I lived at home still, and there weren’t any little people then. Then I got married, moved out and had my first child. I stored my gun on the typical top shelf, but that was because my little people couldn’t crawl, let along climb, until they could. Then, I locked it up and kept the magazine/ammo separate.
Perspective changes as situations change
Then, I got divorced and I became the protector and only adult in the house. So things changed, I put a lock on the bedroom door and kept them locked up but differently. I also spent time with my girls, explaining what they were, how important it was to be safe and that they could kill people. We talked about safety rules and put them away. I wasn’t as active in shooting back then, wasn’t one who carried on my person so the situation was different.
A job my honey had moved us from the amazing Virginia, to Texas and I became more involved in shooting, the community and then into competition. I quickly learned how skills perish if they aren’t used so try to spread that word that if you have a gun at home or carry, that you need to keep up your skills. We hope that we never HAVE to use our gun, but if so, you should be ready. In order to be ready, you must practice.
As my children aged and our circles changed, so should our awareness and education. So I continued to work with my girls and shooting, and understanding safety and what to do should they encounter guns.
Playdates and awareness
Some time ago I was asked by a friend who is a blogger to write about playdates and guns, since she didn’t own any guns but thought it would be important to her community. She asked me to write about gun safety and how to approach that conversation with other parents, with respect to guns in their homes, on playdates. AT this time, my kids were a bit older but I could still relate because kids and people of all ages should be aware of our surroundings, whether in public or in someone else’s home.
Have you ever wondered the safety of someone else’ home when you are invited? What about at a birthday party or a play date? Depending upon the age of the child, you may stay with them or drop them off. Are you concerned if they have kitchen knives at reach, electrical outlets exposed, pools or hot tubs which your little one could drown in, guns on the top shelf or bedside table?
What do you do?
- Do you hope they don’t have guns or rather hope they do but actually lock them up?
- Do you think that the top shelf of a closet is safe enough?
- Do you wonder if your child wonders around other people’s homes and can run into dangerous items such as guns?
- Do you regularly educate your child with respect to firearms safety?
- Do you help to curb the curiosity of guns and the like by exposing them to these things on YOUR terms versus them stumbling onto them?
- Do you choose to speak with the homeowner, host or friend to see about their protocols for firearms and what they do to keep an eye on the kids?
That ‘awkward’ conversation
We just never know what firearms, knives, personal protections and etc others have in their home, which is fine, however, how will you make sure your child is safe there? I bet more folks are more ‘afraid’ of asking about these things as they don’t want to offend their friend. However, would you rather run the risk of you or your friends getting hurt?
Teens and parties
Just a little side note – this discussion reminded me of times when my girls were invited to other people’s houses for parties. I was one of THOSE parents who wouldn’t let them go unless parents were home and I met them. Had I not met them before, then I would be meeting them that night. I wasn’t the hero to my kids, but that wasn’t my priority, my priority was to ensure the safety of my girls. That is my job!
Should you ask?
I know how I am about safety, and I have seen how others are, or the lack of knowledge but that should help give you an idea of the large variance of safety, education and knowledge. How do YOU store your guns in your house? Does everyone you know do it that way? Likely not. Everyone has different purposes, agenda, family dynamics, jobs and etc.
You could never know if others put them on the top shelf, lock them in a single gun safe, have a bigger safe in the closet, stuff it under the mattress, store in the end table by the bed… and you never will, unless you ask. What does it hurt? They can tell you it’s none of your business and you can choose to not allow your child there without you, or at all. Or they can tell you and you can trust that and go about your playdate.
Think of it this way – how would you feel if someone asked YOU how you stored your gun. Would YOU be offended? I don’t think I would, even if someone knew me.. because they are just looking out for their kid. Maybe they know their kid likes to climb or is a little mischievous and they want us all to be safe. Seems legit to me.
Now think of it another way – you never asked and your child got hurt, or someone in their family because of your child, or theirs. Could you live with yourself? You’d likely feel guilty for never asking before, right?
Asking about your child’s safety (and theirs) should be the most important factor – don’t let the worry of hurting their feelings hold you back about being safe!
I hope this has given you insight and the ‘permission’ to not be afraid to ask about guns or other harmful things in someone else’s home where you are sending your child. Now, mind you, this isn’t something you are asking on someone’s Facebook wall, but a heart to heart conversation folks!
Just advise from a mom who had kids in her home, who carries on person or in purse, who changed how she did things with respect to guns for the safety of herself and her children. If you have any questions, feel free to ask privately or leave a comment below.
So many good points here as well as questions to ask ourselves and others. I think firearm safety education is so important for everyone. Kids and adults. I think it could only help and not hurt when people know what to do when they see/find a firearm as well as know how to handle it whether they ever plan on having a gun or not. As we have seen some serious basic firearm safety violations in the news recently with one resulting in death.
And yes, our children’s safety should be top priority. When my kids were children it never crossed my mind to ask about guns. I too was the parent who met the other parents, asked questions, etc. but didn’t think about guns because they were not a part of my life at all back then:(
Something I hadn’t really thought of either… but then again, I was, like you, at least the type of parent to get to know the other parents, so it might have come up.
Absolutely agree. I had a teenage boy who fought depression. I wouldn’t keep any guns in the house for fear he might make an emotionally catastrophic decision.
That is an excellent point… either that or have them locked up when you have any children in the home.