Thoughts on Parenting with Guns in the House.
We’ve all heard the news stories. Some kids find a gun, treat it like a toy, and an innocent bystander is injured. Or worse.
As a parent with guns in the house, this subject is never too far from my mind. We have 3 sons, and another child on the way. We also have several firearms.
As a hunter, and recreational shooter, I’ve had guns around the house since well before my children were born. It was easy at first. I kept my firearms locked, or put away, where my young kids could never access them. Now things are changing. The kids are old enough to be curious about guns. They are able to climb up things, search for keys, and remember secret stashes. To be honest, I worry.
Even though gun related accidents and deaths have been on a steady decline for 20 years, it seems that the politics and emotions surrounding the issue continue to rise.
It’s a hot topic – having kids with guns in the home. I read stories like this and cringe about the state of gun politics in our country. It even makes me hesitate to post an article like this on a public website.
Even in this thick political climate, over 1/2 of american homes have a gun. Including mine.
Part of our mission here at RusticMan.com is to discuss and educate on topics that our Grandpa’s should have taught us as young men. Gun safety falls right smack in the middle of that target. So let’s talk a little about parenting with guns in the home.
Guns and Kids?
Most of the articles you’ll find on parenting with guns in the house from major news sources are awful; recommending over the top precautions. “Lock the gun in a safe” and “keep the ammunition separate” from the gun. I read one that even advocated “turn in your guns at the local police station to be disposed of” until the kids are out of the house, then buy another one should you choose. Really?
I keep my hunting and recreational guns locked up, sure. But what about my home defense and carry weapons? If they were locked up, they wouldn’t serve their purpose. How can I be safe and careful, but still have a gun ready for home defense?
This must be an issue for others as well. The majority of Americans who own guns give defense/protection as their primary reason. (more on that here) How can we keep a home defense weapon stored safely?
Maybe my home defense plan should include hustling from room to room, unlocking safes and loading magazines while the intruders are distracted by the left over gluten-free cupcakes on the counter, but it doesn’t. No, my plan is to have a weapon ready should the need arise.
So if I am going to have guns in the house, how can I do it safely? How can I store the gun somewhere accessible in an emergency, but also keep my family safe? How can I keep a gun ready for home defense and still secure from curious kids? Is there an answer?
Safes and Safety.
Thanks to a little ingenuity, and modern technology, we have several options available today to help parents keep their defense guns close and secure. There are simple quick-access gun safes like the GunVault, and even biometric fingerprint opened safes like this one. These are a good option for quick access in an emergency, while still keeping everything out of curious hands.
Is there an even better way to keep our children protected than locks and safes?
As I think about what my Grandpa would have told me, I imagine him saying something like, “Nothing will keep them safer than education and training” (insert a spit of tobacco here). I tend to think he’s right.
I grew up in a home with guns. My parents did too. Guns were tools. Used for hunting and defense, they were treated like any other tool. Sure, they can be used in a dangerous way but so can butcher knives, automobiles, and bleach. Perhaps the safest thing to do isn’t to coddle our kids, but rather to teach them?
Crowd-sourcing the Answer.
In doing research for this idea, I asked just about everyone I knew how they handled the situation. Some had some great ideas, tips and thoughts. Below, I’ve compiled a list of things I heard from friends, read in articles, or received in messaged from readers.
Look at the list and let me know what you think. Did I miss an obvious one? Do you have some experience that would help parents of young children? Please use the comment section below and let’s help one another navigate this issue.
“What are your thoughts on having guns and kids in the same house?”
1) Guns are always loaded, even if they are not. Never point a gun at anything, or pull the trigger, unless you are shooting.
- This one came up a lot. Basic gun safety 101, always treat a gun as if it was loaded.
2) Guns have a purpose, and we only use them for that purpose – shooting.
- Whether that’s hunting, targets, competition or defense, we never use a gun as a toy. They are to be respected as any other dangerous tool (ie, knives, saws, drills, bleach, cars, etc)
3) Touching a gun without permission is punishable by the highest penalty.
- There is no room for warnings on this one. Trust is paramount on issues such as these.
4) You can see the gun anytime you want, as long as you ask me and I am with you.
- One of my colleagues had this idea. He has a standing rule that anytime his kids want to look at his gun, he will get it down, make sure it’s unloaded, and allow them to look at it under his express supervision. The idea is to remove the mystery and curiosity that often leads to danger.
5) Experience is safer than restriction.
- I heard this from several of you. Many feel that by teaching their children about gun safety at a young age while allowing them experience using firearms, their children were much safer than if they had restricted access to guns period.
So what do you think? What is the safe way to raise children in a home with guns?
Did you raise your kids with guns in the home? What has worked for you as a parent?
Was there something I missed? Did I overlook a key point or are folks wrong with these points? Please – share your thoughts below…