I don’t really expect to see anything regarding guns to be handled sanely over at Slate. They’re vehemently anti-Second Amendment over there and we all know it. It’s part of their “charm,” apparently.
However, like many large sites out there, Slate has advice columns. Some of these advice columns include people offering horrendous advice, but a recent one caught my eye.
Why? Because the advice doesn’t completely suck.
Let me set the stage for you. A man had a custom-built firearm made for the express intent of creating a family heirloom. He paid around $5,000 for this firearm. Then, he died fairly young. His son was too young to have the gun yet, so he handed it to a trusted friend. Now, the son is 21 and can legally have the gun.
The problem is the mother doesn’t want Junior to have it, saying the guy should keep this family heirloom. Of course, the mother and father weren’t exactly getting along when the guy died.
The asker admits he doesn’t know the kid’s mental health history, so it’s possible there’s a legitimate reason she doesn’t want the kid to have a firearm, but it could also be that because she had ill will toward the dad, she just doesn’t want the son to have something that makes the father appear to not suck.
In response, here’s what Slate’s advisor said:
Dear Giving Young Men Old Guns,
I think you should ask the mother why she doesn’t want her son to have the gun. If she mentions any history of self-harm, aggression, or anything similar, then you have reason to be cautious. But your friend intended for his son to have it as something that would be meaningful to the family, and absent any red flags that indicate that the son might not be capable of taking care of it responsibly, I think you have to honor your friend’s wishes. If the mother believes that the heirloom presents a danger to the son, you could sell it and give him the proceeds, but you have to use your judgment about what your friend would want you to do in that situation.
But if you don’t have cause for concern, I don’t think it’s fair to the son to hide the fact that his father intended him to have the gun, regardless of what his mother says. This should be a conversation you have with both of them.
And, well, I actually agree.
If the son is someone who likes to murder puppies in his spare time or has been hospitalized a dozen times for suicide attempts, then maybe giving him Daddy’s gun is a less than stellar idea. But most likely, there are no appreciable issues there. Maybe the mother just doesn’t like guns or believes nonsense like having a gun makes you more likely to die of a gunshot. Who knows, but yeah, if there aren’t any red flags, you give the kid the gun.
However, I wouldn’t necessarily trust the mother. If she has animosity toward the father still, she may say anything to get her way. Or not. I mean, I don’t know this woman, so I can only imagine things, and my imagination tends to be a kind of scary place full of awful people. Sorry, occupational hazard.
But still, advising that the letter-writer talk to both of them is pretty good.
I’m particularly impressed with the fact that an advice columnist–yes, it’s financial advice, but still…–didn’t immediately jump toward saying that guns are dangerous and evil and should never be given to anyone. That’s far too common these days.
Good for Slate for once.