Parents want their children to be safe. I’m a parent. I get it. I truly do.
If your kid is going over to hang out with someone and you don’t know their parents particularly well, you’re going to have questions. You should.
One common concern among some is whether there are guns in the house.
While I could take issue with that being a concern, I won’t. After all, irresponsible gun owners may leave a firearm around and a curious kid could pick it up. Even if it’s not your kid doing so, they could still get hurt.
So yeah, I get the concern.
But a lot of people really think this is good advice:
“Do you have a gun in your home?”
It’s not an easy question to ask, and some parents may have difficulty bringing up the topic before a sleepover or play date, but it’s something every parent has a right to know — and the answer may save a child’s life.
Pennsylvania mom Kate Baer told TODAY Parents that gun violence is a topic she can’t let go of. The best-selling author said the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School is never far from her mind, but it’s something she rarely discusses.
Baer, a mom of four, told TODAY that Moms Demand Action, founded by Shannon Watts after Sandy Hook, has been a tremendous help for people like her who need something to do with their grief.
“One of the things they talk about is having conversations before play dates about if there are guns in the house, and if so, making sure they are stored safely,” Baer said. “Yeah, it’s kind of awkward, but it’s also a pretty easy action step.”
Parenting expert Jo Frost, formerly of the television series “Supernanny,” agreed.
“Americans have a right to bear arms in the Second Amendment,” Frost said, adding that the issue is not a debate over personal views on gun ownership. “And parents have a right to ask questions.”
Oh, they absolutely have a right to ask questions.
But maybe taking your cues on which question to ask from a group whose end game seems to be effectively ending private gun ownership in this country isn’t the best option.
See, the question, “Do you have a gun in your home?” is a rather personal one. Especially in a day and age when a lot of people would like to make it illegal for anyone to have one and when gun owners are constantly stigmatized.
Asking that question is blunt, but more importantly, it’s rude as hell.
You don’t have a right to know whether I have a firearm or not. You have a right to know whether your child will be safe, but not what I own or don’t own.
Rather than asking if someone has a gun, it might be better to say something like, “I just want to make sure that anything dangerous like knives, guns, cleaning chemicals, etc are kept out of reach?”
Not only does that cover guns, but you’re also not actually asking if they have one. You’re covering a lot of bases–bases that should also be covered if we’re being honest because kids can hurt themselves with plenty of other things.
Couple that with instructing your child what to do if they do find a gun lying around–as well as what to do if one of their friends finds one and picked it up–and you’ve covered pretty much all the relevant basis without prying into the lives of someone else.
The truth is that many gun owners aren’t going to tell you they own a gun. It’s none of your business, for one thing, but there are also concerns about people knowing what we have. If gun confiscation ever becomes a thing, a lot of us would just as soon no one knew if we had a gun or not.
By asking that question, you’re prying into something they’re necessarily going to be honest about.
But by asking the question more broadly without delving into just one specific item, you cover the same basis without looking like a prying, nosy ass.
I know Shannon Watts thinks you should do things differently, but what else do you expect from the original Karen?