Before the play date, the gun talk

Discussion in 'Lounge' started by lklawson, Sep 25, 2014.

  1. lklawson

    lklawson Staff Member

    I stumbled on this link while reading another story. It's about a year old by now, but I still found it an interesting read.

    (CNN) -- It was a bit awkward the first time Kate Daggett asked the question.

    She didn't want to offend her friends, after all, and it seemed rather personal. She stammered, she stalled. "I probably rambled for two or three minutes," she said.

    Finally, she got it out.

    What do you do with the guns in your house? the mother of two asked the parents of her teenage son's friends, both avid hunters.

    It's not a new question -- about 19 million parents were asking it back in 2006, according to a survey conducted by the Center to Prevent Youth Violence.

    But in the wake of December's Newtown, Connecticut, school massacre -- and recent accidental shootings involving children -- it appears to be one that parents are asking more often before sending their kids on play dates and sleepovers.

    The Center to Prevent Youth Violence has been getting a lot more calls since the Newton shooting, said Becca Knox, a senior manager.

    The group is behind the ASK campaign -- "Asking Saves Kids" -- which encourages parents to ask questions about guns in homes where their children play.

    In a discussion about guns in homes on CNN's Facebook page, commenters agreed that asking the question is good parenting.

    While some parents said they would never allow their children into a home where guns are kept, others were comfortable knowing that the guns were secure.

    "You should be asking, 'Are your guns locked up?' " commenter Kristine Caster said. There's "no crime in having legal guns in your home."

    Injuries are rare

    Despite incidents such as the recent death of a 6-year-old New Jersey boy shot in the head by a 4-year-old playmate, as well as the accidental shooting of a Tennessee sheriff's deputy's wife by a 4-year-old boy, accidental firearms deaths are rare among children.

    According to the CDC's National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, 703 children under the age of 15 died in accidental firearms deaths between 2001 and 2010, the latest year for which the agency's statistics on fatalities are available. During the same period, 7,766 children under the age of 14 suffered accidental firearms injuries -- about one injury for every million children.

    But statistics don't matter much if it's your child that's shot, said Missy Carson Smith, founder of Gun Safe Mom, a campaign to make the gun question as common as asking about food allergies, swimming pools and video game limits.

    "It just shreds your family," said Smith, whose own teenage brother died in a shooting. She started the campaign in 2009, after learning during a carpool trip that unsecured guns were in the home of a family where her daughter had played.

    "The kids knew where they were, they could get to it," she said. "That's when my heart just dropped in my stomach."

    She resolved to ask the family about their guns, but first she had some housekeeping of her own to do. Her family had an unsecured gun, owned by her husband. After getting it out of the house, she reached out to the other family to ask about the weapons there.

    "They didn't realize that the way guns were stored in their home posed a threat to other people," she said. "It was a good conversation."

    Since then, she has reached out to friends and leaders in her Traverse City, Michigan, community to press her cause and encourage parents to routinely ask the question. She's had the conversation with friends of her children probably 50 times, she says.

    It's not about gun rights, she stresses. In fact, she counsels parents to make a point of saying they understand and accept the rights of gun owners to have firearms -- even loaded, unlocked weapons.

    The point, she says, is to make sure you're comfortable with the environment where you're sending your kids.

    CNN Facebook commenter Kathe Valeri said she only allows her children to go on playdates with children of families she knows well.

    "We pick our friends and our social circle very carefully. If I don't know the parent well enough, then my kids don't play. That's it," she said. "Being that they are trustworthy friends, I have no problems worrying about if my children will be safe in their homes."

    Gun owner's reaction

    Gun owner Timothy Turner said he asks if guns are in his kids' friends' homes and how they're secured. If they keep a loaded gun, he specifically requests that they remove the ammo and keep it in a separate place when his daughters visit.

    He's not worried about his daughters finding them "because they know what to do if they find a gun," Turner said on CNN's Facebook page. He's worried about others who don't know how to handle a gun.

    If they don't agree to keep them locked up or are unable to keep the ammo and gun separate, "my daughters don't go," he said.

    In turn, he makes sure to inform every parent whose child is visiting that he keeps a gun in the home. He said he keeps one gun in his home "for protection," locked in a fingerprint-scan safe. He has more, but he keeps them in vaults off his property at a location that only a few trusted people know about.

    As for Daggett, she said her friends responded well to the gun question the first time she asked it. The avid hunters assured her that all of their weapons were locked up in a gun safe.

    She's gotten better at asking the question since. It's part of her standard rundown now, anytime she ponders allowing her kids to visit another family's home.

    With a curious 4-year-old daughter she calls "the raccoon" and a 13-year-old son -- the age of so many school shooters and victims -- she feels like she doesn't have much choice.

    "I could so easily see my son or one of his friends picking up a pistol and saying, 'This is so cool!' " Daggett said.

    Starting the conversation

    Here are some tips from Knox and Smith about having the gun conversation with other parents:

    -- Start by having a family policy on firearms safety that you're already following, Smith said. "If you're not thinking about it ahead of time, you don't really know what you like or don't like," she said.

    -- Don't make gun safety a bigger deal than, say, pool safety or food allergies, but do make sure to clearly cover it, Knox said. "Blend it in with other topics," she suggests. "It's important to not make this too heavy or a subject that shouldn't be talked about."

    -- Don't make judgments. "It's not just what you say and the content of your question, but the manner you express your question," Smith said.

    -- Don't worry about offending other parents, Knox says. She said the group's field work shows gun owners are rarely offended by the question, but concern about opening up a rift between families keeps some parents from talking about the issue. "It's a barrier of anticipation," she says.

    -- Have the conversation when kids aren't around, Smith suggests. She recounted the experience of a friend who brought up the issue when her son's young friends were around. Their mother froze -- she hadn't told the children that a gun was in the home. It turns out the weapons were secured, Smith said. "But she didn't want the kids to know they were there." Whether you agree with that or not, respect the other family's values, Smith said.
  2. ajole

    ajole Supporting Member

    NE Utah
    Pretty decent article and ideas, IMHO. I think I owe it to others to ensure my guns are safe from their stupid kids if they are in my house. Thus making their kids safe from my unattended guns.;)

    Sure, they should be taught, and they shouldn't touch...but we all know that kids do dumb things. If I can prevent a tragedy with a $5 tool like a trigger lock, I'm doing it.

    And I'm not going to be upset by anyone asking. I assume they don't know, are worried for their kids like any parent should be, and I look at it as an opportunity to show that even us gun nuts are responsible folk who share their concern for the children, and are safe. You ask me about guns, I'm offering to take you shooting.:)

  3. ArmyScout

    ArmyScout Supporting Member

    I don't have an young kids at home now, so I keep one firearm loaded and in an easily accessed location. Whenever anyone comes into our house who brings kids and/or teenagers, I use the integral lock on the firearm, when they leave I unlock it. All other firearms are locked in a gun safe.
  4. "In turn, he makes sure to inform every parent whose child is visiting that he keeps a gun in the home. He said he keeps one gun in his home "for protection," locked in a fingerprint-scan safe. He has more, but he keeps them in vaults off his property at a location that only a few trusted people know about."

    Because that's possible for most parents.
  5. LOL, I found that funny. "Keeps one in a fingerprint scan safe" at home, but off his property he has vaults of just sounds like such a fake answer and almost retarded.
  6. lklawson

    lklawson Staff Member

    Yeah, I know. But most people can afford at least a simple sheet metal, locking, "cash box" or even a cheap "tackle box" with a cheap pad lock on it (if your tackle box has a lock hole).


    Many handguns come with a hard plastic clamshell case such as from Plano or Doskasil, or just buy one from Wal-Mart for $9 ($12 if you have up to 4 handguns) and a $3 pad lock.


    That's enough to deny access to inquisitive young children. You don't need a biometric fingerprint scanner and off-site hidden vault to keep kids from accessing your firearms. :p

    Peace favor your sword,
  7. Branth

    Branth Member

    I really like the button lock on mine. It' snot biometric, 'cause I don't really trust those locks to be reliable in adverse circumstances, but the push-button ones are cool. They are pretty expensive, but I decided I needed one when I got a roommate.

  8. lklawson

    lklawson Staff Member

    I like those too. I own the to cell model. You're right that they can be a little pricy when compared to the simple, yet oh so affordable, sheet metal lockbox.

    Peace favor your sword,
  9. Bull

    Bull Just a Man Supporting Member

    Funny how these people never ask stuff like, are there illegal drugs in the house?.... Or if they lock up their prescription drugs. Or if they've got their household cleaners and insecticides properly stored... Or how about do the parents drink while my kids are there without me.... ALL of these are way more commonplace, but you won't see them ask that.... Because that would be rude to invade people's privacy...... Unless it's liberally fashionable to do so.
  10. I keep everything high, and unloaded. Except for my carry pistol. its in one of those dirt cheap lock boxed in a dresser drawer.

    I dont beleive in letting my kids has easy access to loaded guns.

    But i brought up in a house where the guns were in a normal unlocked gun case. i didn't play with them, because i wasn't curious. my dad would take me shooting anytime i wanted.

    I didnt get why he had to call a friends parents when he wanted to shoot. lol I just didn't comprehend why a parent would be against it.

    I shot pop cans last night while my son sat beside me and watched them blow up. We practiced safe gun handling, and both had a great time. wont be long before he will be able to shoot the 22 with me.

    anyway, no one has asked us about guns while dropping there kids off. im not sure how i would react. other than. "you have nothing to worry about, you should teach your kid not to touch them though"

  11. Next time i drop my kid off I will ask if they keep the bleach locked up. And are there any needles in the house?
  12. lklawson

    lklawson Staff Member

    And the, a few years after that, you won't be able to get him off of the video game console to come shooting because guns will have lost the mystery of the forbidden. He'll be totally "ho hum" and prefer to shoot cartoon guns on his video game. :(

    Ask me how I know... :p

    Peace favor your sword,
  13. FlashBang

    FlashBang I Stand With Talon Lifetime Supporter

    I would be very interested in seeing any statistics of the number of kids killed by unsecured firearms while at someone elses home vs. the number of kids sexually abused, obtaining prescription drugs or alcohol, or obtaining cigarettes while at someone elses home.

  14. Bull

    Bull Just a Man Supporting Member

    I'd be willing to bet you'd see somewhere in the neighborhood of 100-1.... But I'm probably way under.
  15. Branth

    Branth Member

    Or swimming pools. Pools are something like 8 times more likely to kill a kid by accident than firearms, per capita.
  16. Branth

    Branth Member

    I doubt that... Most video game nerds I know would love the opportunity to shoot a gun IRL. I don't care how good your surround sound or VR system is, nothing beats the weight of a gun in your hand and the boom of the muzzle blast at the range.
  17. Bull

    Bull Just a Man Supporting Member

    True nuff!!!
  18. lklawson

    lklawson Staff Member

    Kids, not adults. And, yes, that's exactly what happened with my son. Guns just aren't "cool" to him any more because he's been able to shoot with me for years and has had his own pistol (under my control) for 2 years now. It's just something that makes holes in something else downrange to him. Not like a video game conference with his friends. :p

    Peace favor your sword,
  19. Bull

    Bull Just a Man Supporting Member

    Well the good side to that is he's not likely to do anything stupid with it.
  20. ajole

    ajole Supporting Member

    NE Utah
    Sure...until the reach about 12. Then they realize the AC in the house is better than 95 degree sunshine, the reloading is easier on the X-Box, and it's also easier to hit your target...which are Zombies that move! Plus, no cleaning afterward! Not to mention, Mt Dew in the fridge, and eats when you want.

    No contest, the games win.:rolleyes:

    You can still get them to come out once in a while, but it's old hat to them, they don't want to play with guns anymore.