I’m a proponent of locking up your guns when they’re not in use. I really think a lot of problems can be avoided if firearms are secured, particularly with young children running around the house.
However, I’m constantly amazed at how many people think that those who fail to do so are universally the ones at fault when a child–usually not the gun owner’s child–finds a gun.
In fact, some think it’s justified to cut off contact with grandparents who don’t lock up their firearms.
Regardless of where you fall on the political spectrum and gun control, we trust that everyone agrees that firearms should be kept out of the hands of young children. The statistics on accidental gun injury and death of children in the U.S. are nothing short of nauseating — 102 deaths, 141 injuries so far in 2020, according to Everytown. So when one mother put her foot down about not letting her children visit her gun-toting in-laws’ house, we absolutely get where she’s coming from.
“My in-laws (80M and 70F) have a gun for protection,” Reddit user Katzchen wrote in the AITA forum. “They do not keep it locked up in a safe. They will not tell us where it is except that it’s in their bedroom, but my husband is fairly sure it’s under their mattress.”
Though Katzchen used to let her children visit the in-laws on their own, now that her gun-curious son is 5 and her daughter is 3, she has determined that they’re not safe in a house with unsecured guns. She won’t let them go over unless she or her husband are there to make sure the bedroom door is locked. When the mother-in-law found out that the kids stay unaccompanied at their maternal grandparents’ house all the time, and Katzchen explained why, the grandmother started to cry.
The father-in-law argued his case again. “He told me it wasn’t even loaded,” Katzchen wrote. “I asked him to show me and he refused. He said there is no point in keeping it in a safe because it needs to be accessible for self-defense.”
The article then goes on to bring up all the cases of kids finding guns with many of them hurting themselves. Now, these are all tragedies. No one will dispute that fact. Not really.
However, I’m going to point out something that most people aren’t interested in talking about, and that’s how the fault in many of these cases rests with the parents.
Like the ones above in the quote above, they put the entire onus on safety on the gun owner, but what about teaching your children not to plunder through other people’s things? A firearm kept in a grandparent’s bedroom should be just as secure from young hands that have been taught not to rifle through other people’s possessions as one locked in the most secure gun safes imaginable.
Yet parents don’t.
Correction, anti-gun parents don’t, apparently. A firearm locked up, as the father-in-law above notes, isn’t available for self-defense purposes. Even an unloaded gun can be made ready much faster than it can be unlocked, thus making it a viable option in many people’s minds.
Parents asked about whether there’s a gun in the house may well say there isn’t. After all, it’s no one else’s business if there is, so there’s no reason to answer such a question honestly. You can never be sure if a parent is being honest with you.
If you teach your kids to respect other people’s property–especially in conjunction with actual firearm safety lessons–then you’ll do more to keep your kids safe than complaining that someone isn’t meeting your arbitrary standards of safety.