Guns and gun safety : LUSENET : Country Families : One Thread

Dh and I have been struggling with this for awhile. We have guns, locked in a cabinet. Ammunition is locked up separately. Quite safe from children but a bit slow to get to in an emergency. We have a 3 yo granddaughter who lives with us half of each week, also have other small children visit on occasion. Living where we do, we figure the chance of a child getting hurt with an unsecured weapon is considerably greater than our being hurt by an intruder.

However, times are changing and I would like to have a weapon more readily available in an emergency. What do the rest of you do, or what suggestions do you have? We don't consider putting a pistol high on a shelf, or other method of hiding a weapon safe by any means, our granddaughter is very attentive to details so I'm sure she'd discover any hiding place very rapidly. Same goes for gun locks. You know how they say if you want to remove a child-proof cap, get a child to do it. Is there any SAFE way of keeping a gun handy with children around?

-- Lenette (, January 30, 2002


Your right Lenette, the chances of your children getting hurt from an unsecured gun are astronomically higher than the risk of you EVER needing the gun for self defense, unless you live in a crack neighborhood.

We have hunting rifles, they are kept locked up at all times, we also have large, deeply protective German Shepards that have the run of our property, they have a much keener sense of potential danger approaching or making a judgement about a trespasser than a mere human ever will have. They KNOW when someone is a threat to us or our property, they have never been wrong.

I'll take my dogs over carrying a concealed weapon or having a gun "handy" in the house any day, the day I feel I must have a gun "handy" is the day I better consider moving to somewhere farther in the boonies!!!

Guns are like matches, there is no SAFE way for either to co-exist, you must remove the object of endangerment physically from each other, guns kill more children by the hands of each other than ANY other form of endangerment.

-- Annie Miller in SE OH (, January 30, 2002.

teach the grandchild about guns and gun safety,, let her respect the gun and not to touch it,,let her get her finger pinched once,, (that will do the trick),, that way,, you wont HAVE to hide it.

-- Stan (, January 30, 2002.

First, DONT hide the guns from the kids. Teach them what it is and its dangers. Eddie Eagle or other similar programs are available. Our local pre-school and elementry school have a safety day and it includes eddie eagle gun safety program.

Now how to get to it. I would suggest a speed safe. These are safes that fit a pistol and have a quick combo. They have a hand shape on the top of them. You put your hand in the fourm and press the right keys. They keys are two far apart for most kids. There are other similar safes. Also a through the barrel gun lock can help. No way to accidently fire the gun with the lock in place. Trigger locks are marginal safe and there have been lots of recalls on those.

-- Gary (, January 30, 2002.

Years ago, I had a group of people over to visit, 5 adults, 7 pre schoolers, four pre teens. There was a scream outside, (turned out to be a snake), I went through the door grabbing my .22 from its perch over the door where it stood loaded and ready. Later, the adults who had been at my place dozens of times related that they never saw it hanging there, brown on brown paneling. As a child there was a loaded 12 gague shotgun behind the front door, we knew it was there, we did not touch Dads gun, nor would we let any visitor touch it; thats the way it was and the way it should be. Touching that gun would have been worse that being in front of it.

-- mitch hearn (, January 30, 2002.

You can pick up a trigger guard for your guns at any sporting goods store and keep the key with you in case of a emergency and make sure your husband has one too...The key seals off the trigger and no one can fire it without unlocking it....I have several and they are nice and I keep the key on my keyring...

-- Bob (, January 30, 2002.

20 years ago when my children were small, I was 100% against having a loaded gun in the house. We had pistols, but they were loaded and locked and therefore useless. Having said that, I will say that 20 years ago we did not have so much spontaneous craziness in this country. I sure never went to school wondering if some fruitloop with a semiautomatic was going to interrupt my lunch! Same with my children,I never worried about them in that regard. Teen agers concern me. As a group, they are learning impulse control and some do that better than others. I am a person who enjoys and believes in statistics because numbers do not lie..people do..of course the statistics are only as valid as the folks gathering them are experienced and moral. Statistically speaking, in the USA, teen-aged males are more likely to commit suicide than any other group, and, when there is a gun in the home, it becomes the tool of choice to carry this ideation out. For most modern parents who do not even know who their teen aged sons' friends are, never mind sitting down for a meal and asking him how his day was..this has become a problem. As an avid fan of guns and a card-toting member of the NRA, I agree with guns in the home except when there are teen-aged boys around.UNLESS the parents are aware of that kiddos mental status 24/7 which, IMHO is impossible. When I was a child, my father also had a loaded gun in the house. Times were different was the 50s where kids were not exposed to drugs, TV sex and violence, it was "cool" to get straight As and everybody worked for their first set of wheels. In the average public high school in the 90s, straight A's gets a kid picked on as a nerd, parents buy their kid a Mercedes or a Toyota depending on the neighborhood, and kids have seen more sex and violence on TV than their parents ever experienced in real life. Kids in the grade schools are introduced to pot in the third and fourth grades and LSD and Ecstacy before they learn how to change rooms in high school. It is unfair to compare what we experienced as children in homes with guns and the realities of our modern immoral society. Small kids? Sure have guns if the children are taught how to respect them...boys over 11 years old? IMHO, it is not worth the risk to have anything except long guns which are locked securely with ammunition locked elsewhere. It is a very different world out there and our children are experiencing stressors that we have no frame of reference for. One day my very intelligent 16 yer old son came home from school and ran up to his room crying his eyes out. When I went to see what was the matter, he sobbingly told me how this girl had not only rejected his asking her to the football game, but had laughed at him in front of all the kids in the hall, loudly saying she wouldn't be seen with such a nerdy guy. He was out of control and said to me "I cannot go back to school, I just wish I could die." Ok, so now 6 years later he can't recall her name,but what if I hadn't been home that day and there had been a loaded gun in the house? Scary, eh? All other statistics show that guns are not inherently evil, DO prevent crimes of violence, DO deter criminals, ARE safe in the hand sof folks who have been taught to use them. etc.....but this one large statistic is enough to convince me that modern teen-aged boys and guns in the house do not mix...

-- lesley (, January 31, 2002.

I grew up in a home with guns. They were in my parents' bedroom in their proper places. NO ONE was allowed in that bedroom without a parent. When I was 4 years old, I sat through my first NRA safety course that my older sisters were taking. My sisters got to fire 22s at the end of the class.

That weekend my dad took us out shooting. I can tell you from experience, that shooting a gun at 4 years old makes a serious impression on a kid and that impression is that you don't touch guns without Dad there or in a very serious situation. I learned to respect firearms and my parents' authority at a very young age.

Teach children about the guns you own. Let them shoot a pumpkin or watermelon and let them see there is no putting it back together like Daffy Duck on Looneytoons. If anyone in the family hunts, take the kids out to shoot ground squirrels or whatever the local vermin are. Let them make the connection, guns = death. Kids want to play with guns because they are kept a mystery to them.

Whatever area of your home your guns are stored, make this off limits to everyone. Like my parents bedroom, there is nothing in there that is any business to anyone except Mom and Dad. Children should always be supervised anyway but most child/gun accidents happen with unsupervised children. I would say most childhood accidents happen because of lack of supervision.

Did firing guns at 4 years old damage my psych for life? No, now that I have kids, mine is kept over the door like Mitch's and is simply a serious tool that has come in handy many, many times.

-- Laura (, January 31, 2002.

Someone posted a really effective way to teaching a kid what can happen to a person who is shot with a gun. I wish I could remember his / her name, but the advice the person gave will be passed along by me; I tried it myself and was very impressed.

Find yourself a five gallon plastic bucket with a lid. Fill it with red Kool-Aid and water, the amount of Kool-Aid isn't important, just as long as the water is pretty red. Then put the lid on tightly. Put a white t-shirt on the bucket, (as if it were a person) and put it out where you can safely shoot a shotgun. Move back at least 15 yards, this is pretty messy and splashes a lot.

Now you, the shooter shoulder the gun and fire the gun, hitting the bucket. Because the lid contains the pressure, a large hole result from the hit. The child will be impressed and say "Let me do it". Your response should be "No problem. . . we just have this one bucket, so we will have to patch this bucket up and use it again". After attempting for a few minutes at this futile task, you can gently tell the child that the same experience will happen to a human body hit by a bullet. The same amount of gore (pools of red Kool-Aid and torn clothing) really make an impression that words of warning cannot convey.

Dad's method of training my brother and I was quite simple. When we were old enough to understand, he pulled out one of his pistols, and one round of ammunition. He explained at great length what happened when the trigger was pulled, and how the round was detonated. He answered all our questions as simply as possible. When we had finished, he told us that as long as he was around, if we wanted to see the gun, he would show it / them to us. BUT if he found out we were pulling the guns out without adult supervision . . . we would find out if we were as well reared as we thought we were.

Once the mystery is out, kids pretty much take the info for granted and won't bother with them. At least, that is how it worked for my brother and I.

-- j.r. guerra in s. tx. (, January 31, 2002.

We've never kept guns, for exactly the reason listed by Lenette. I'm more afraid of a gun in the house with children than I am of the chance we will ever have an intruder. Unlike others, I was not raised with guns. My dad kept a shotgun in the closet, for varmints, that's it.

I do, however, believe strongly in the right to have a gun, and the right to defend one's own person and family. And I certainly agree that if you are going to have guns, and teach your children about them, you need to take the extra time to teach them a lot of respect for them--yourself. Our neighbors in Texas bought their young sons rifles and shotguns, and were proud of the fact that their kids took the safety course, but it was nevertheless astonishing to see how careless those boys were, playing with those guns as they did, unsupervised, of course.

-- mary (, January 31, 2002.


My 7 year old knows exactly what a firearm is. WE took her out and filled a 2-liter bottle with water and red food dye. After seeing it shot by her mother and the red water running out we explained that people die and her friends could easily bleed if anyone touched a firearm (she also got a lesson on knives the same day). Twice she's had several friends over. (I left an uloaded black powder pistol laying on the bed to see what she would do.) She made us proud she locked our bedroom door and told her mother that we should "load" the pistol and return it to the Gun cabinet. REMEMBER she's 7. I just wish the so-called adults that visit us were that smart.

If your really scared there's a pistol safe that operates off fingerprints. It's electronic. You place your thumb on a screen and in 30 seconds or less it unlocks. (at least that's the sales pitch)

We started teaching our daughter when she was about 3 and a half. Since she didn't like the noise wse showed her what made the noise. That was all the deterrent she needed.

My wife says it's a personal thing YOU have to decide what works for you and yours. I guess I have to agree with that.

-- Kenneth in N.C. (, January 31, 2002.

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