Gun in a drawerThe recent news of a 9 year old being shot and killed by his 12 year old brother hit a little close to home – both because it is here in Massachusetts, and because of the ages of the children. Nearly exactly that of my own kids.

We don’t own guns, but as someone who both took and taught riflery at summer camp, I have a healthy respect for firearms, and was taught basic safety rules – don’t touch, don’t point, don’t joke around.

And while it may surprise people, I am also not anti-gun. I think some guns have their place, it’s just not in the hands of children (or others, but let’s not go there today).

But my children haven’t had the same exposure to firearms, and while I haven’t asked, I know that among their friends’ parents are hunters and, I assume, gun owners.

With the news of the shooting playing in the background, and while I cooked dinner, the kids and I talked about guns and gun safety. We discussed what to say if a friend asks if they would like to see a gun (“no”), or if they take out a gun (“leave and find a parent”). We talked about basic gun safety (never trust if someone says it’s not loaded; never touch or play with a gun unless their father and I are there and overseeing; never point a gun at someone). And we considered how the lives of the boys from this recent shooting had changed forever – a life lost and a life ruined.

By the end Sophie was weeping, but both seemed to get what we were talking about.

But it has me wondering – have you spoken to your children about guns and gun safety?

Have you asked their parents if they have guns in the home and what procedures they use to assure they are out of reach of the children?

Gun safety resources I probably should have looked at before talking to the kids:

 

6 Responses to Have you talked about guns?

  1. tela thomason says:

    Oh, this is a topic that is near and dear to my heart – a girlfriend and i trade stories on FB frequently about children who get access to guns and accidently shoot themselves or others.

    I have a gun and it’s locked away and both my children know it. But I live in a region where there are lots of military and lots of hunters. So who’s to say that on a playdate my 8YO wouldn’t be asked by a friend to look at “daddy’s gun” — what then? I routinely grill my boys about what to do in the event this might happen, but does that mean they will do what they promise??

    I can also ask the parents of my children’s friends – and then I’ve done my due diligence — but we can’t be there all the time – can we?

  2. catherine says:

    Yes, we have! After I told my husband I was pregnant with our first child he went out and bought trigger locks and a double locked gun safe and created a locked room in our basement for them. Hunting culture is huge in the Midwest where we live and guns are everywhere. We have taught them guns are for adults who are trained to use them never for children. While children are naturally curious about these things we have talked extensively about accidental shootings and how important it is to respect all weapons. My kids have Nerfs and our policy is target shooting only- even with a foam dart- if they are ever turned on another person or a pet the guns are gone.

  3. dana w says:

    I think all kids should learn about guns. Have respect for them.know what the guns can do. Not be in the dark about them.

  4. Wendy says:

    My husband is an amateur gun collector. We have a gun safe that we keep everything in, unloaded, and LOCKED all the time unless he is standing there. I agree with you about teaching your kids about guns. I think we are doing our children a terrible disservice when we just say “no these are dangerous!” and never explain why or how to make them not so dangerous.

    With that being said, we haven’t done much more than say “don’t point guns at people”. We say this about water guns and toy guns. We’ve had to say it more now that we have a son rather than with his older sisters.

  5. Angel says:

    We talk gun safety with our boys because we own guns that are locked in a safe. But I’ve never thought about talking about what would happen at a friend’s house. Thanks for reminding me that we need to talk about being safe at other people’s houses.

  6. Lara says:

    Wow. Words fail me. These ideas are gobsmacking to people in other countries. I am Australian, I am proud to say there is no need for this conversation here. This is just not an issue. There is absolutely no danger of me or my children ever coming across a gun. Thank goodness.