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post #141 of 163
Quote:
Originally Posted by SaoirseC View Post
Okay, just reading your post and responding- I don't really have the time to read 7 pages of responses! Anyway, I'm speaking from personal experience here. I have grown up in a household with guns, and my children have been in households that have guns. They are everywhere even if you don't realize it.
So the question is about playing around with toy guns and shooting people? It sounds like there are two issues here: One is that you don't like the play shooting (and especially being the target), and the other is that you are worried that the play shooting might lead to a real shooting in the case that he actually gets a hold of a gun?

First, I cannot underscore the importance of teaching gun safety. Most likely, you have been in several houses with guns and haven't even known about it. Many gun owners choose not to disclose that they own guns, and some gun owners may not be very cautious about gun storage. Chances are, your ?grandfather? (or was it your DS's grandfather?) is a great person to teach this. This is how we've dealt with it in our household. We, of course, give the whole schpeel about how if someone is hit by a bullet it can maim or kill them. My oldest has seen some violent media (not a part of the gun safety training), so he gets the point, and we're quick to point out that in real life the person shot does not just get up and walk away. We've talked about it at length, that if a trigger is pulled, the bullet has the capacity to kill. THere are some basic safety rules, I'm sure you can find a comprehensive list of these online.
The first rule that applies to every child is:
If you see a gun, and you think it might be real, DO NOT TOUCH IT. Run and get an adult. Even if it might be a toy gun but you're not sure.
The general rules that apply to young and old:
Treat each and every gun as if it's loaded, even if you think it isn't.
Do not point a gun at something unless you intend to shoot it (clarification here is needed for a 3 yo- maybe simply "never point a gun at people or animals")
Always keep your finger off the trigger until you are pointing the gun at what you want to shoot (this is called trigger control)
Always point the gun at the floor when you are looking at it (muzzle control)

If those rules were always followed, no one would ever get unintentionally shot. You can drop a gun and it won't go off. The only thing that will make a gun go off is if you pull the trigger while it's loaded and "cocked" (there's a round in the chamber) with the safety off.

That basic education, given as occasional reminders (in the same way that you might randomly quiz him on what he would do if he got lost) is only part of what I consider to be a true safety course on firearms. The second part isn't for the squeamish, but I consider it to be very important as well (and yes, I think 3 is an okay age for this, but you're his mom so you know best).

We all know that kids like to explore what intrigues them. And if something is completely prohibited, then it's even more interesting. That's why I consider it to be almost as important to let the little one actually handle a gun IF HE'S INTERESTED. Have someone who is completely familiar with the gun unload it, and double check that it's unloaded (no round in the chamber or magazine). Do this in front of the kid while talking through the gun safety rules again. Then carefully hand the gun to the child, reminding him of the rules (tell an adult IMMEDIATELY if you see a gun; never touch a gun unless I'm present; when handling a gun, keep the muzzle down and finger off the trigger; treat every gun as if it's loaded). Let him look at the gun, making sure that he's following the rules while he does so. Then, let him point the gun at an inanimate object and attempt to pull the trigger. Put the gun away carefully after he's done exploring, and remind him of the rules again. Then let him know that anytime he wants to look at the gun, you will try to say yes, but he ALWAYS needs to ask and you must be present. Keep the gun under lock and key. Whenever he wants to look at the gun, try to say "yes" and then repeat the rules as he's looking at it.

This little exercise is beneficial in a few ways.
It helps to satisfy his curiosity about what a real gun looks and feels like.
It brings the issue out into the open, facilitating further discussion.
Having him actually pull the trigger allows you to see when he's actually physically capable of doing so (though keep in mind that guns vary in this respect, but your average 3 yo isn't going to have the strength or hand size to pull the trigger on your average gun).
Actually handling the gun and practicing the safety rules will help to cement them in his mind.

As far as playing with toy guns, I view this as inevitable. I don't really think that refusing to let him have a toy gun is going to help keep him from being hurt by a real one (knowing the rules and keeping the lines of communication open are much more likely to prevent injury or death). But if being "shot" or seeing him point "guns" at other people or animals makes you feel icky, maybe you could tell him so. Maybe you could express that you know he's just playing, and it's just a toy, but when he does that you can't help but think of what real guns do to real people. I've read the "Playful Parenting" take on playing with toy guns (making it a kissing gun), and while I think that has its merits, it left an icky feeling my stomach as well because I consider this to be a very sober topic. So I would try to be honest with him about it.
Wow, well said and I second all the advice. My sister and I grew up with 2 or 3 guns in our home and we were taught just about every single rule that's mentioned in this post. We were taught at a very early age (maybe 5 or 6 yo) all of these rules and you know what? It saved us dearly as we got older.

There was more than one occasion I was exposed to peers holding and 'playing' with their parents' guns and on those occasions I knew to leave the room at once.

My dad had us practice shooting with an air gun (bb gun) when we were still in elementary school. I'm so thankful as I look back for his straightforward approach and I think its the only approach that'll prepare your children for inevitable situations.

Also, I have no issue with DS playing guns as long as he's "shooting" people that are playing along. I remember cap guns and small guns and playing games with all the neighborhood kids growing up and had a blast (and I was otherwise a super gentle and shy gal!)
post #142 of 163
We're not a fan of guns in the house. I don't know anyone outside of military/hunters or law enforcement who owns one and they're super duper careful.

Growing up, for me, having a gun was a sure way to get killed or arrested. Having a fake gun that was not brightly coloured could even get you there. We had super soakers and colourful waterguns, but that was about it. Funny, no one in my community as kids really played gun related games (other than waterfights). I guess when you hear gun fire and see police investigations regularly, it has a different effect on you and your play.

Elsewhere in the same city, in a more quiet community, MIL out and out banned them from her house. Somewhere in our basement, there is a giant branch. It's hand painted and has all sorts of knobs and screws twisted into it. Each one controls a "death ray" or "freeze ray" or "machine gun". DH of course had to save his creation. I think kids will make due if they are denied. DH was denied Star Wars toys when he was a kid, so he ended up pretending some gorilla from a Fisher Price playset was Chewie's long lost cousin to play with the kids on the playground. His mom wonders where DH gets his gift of Blarney, I say she created it. lol

I don't like taking too many hard line stances on issues, DH interestingly enough is more rigid than me. I don't really see it being a big deal with my oldest based on his personality. My younger guy is a bit more rough and tumble. I have to say this thread has given me a lot of food for thought if the time comes when we have to deal with my kids and guns.
post #143 of 163
Quote:
Originally Posted by gcgirl View Post
My dad was vehemently against gun play, in a kind of emotional, disgusted way. I still played, but I've always carried this weird guilt about it
This is one of the reasons I wouldn't even consider banning gun play. I don't want to make my child feel guilty over what's going on in their heads. Provided the play is consensual and nobody is actually being hurt, I see very little difference between what a child is doing in pretend play, and what they're thinking in their own heads. I've never been able to see myself controlling what a child is pretending as being a whole lot different than trying to control what they think and imagine, and that's a level of control I'm not interested in having over anybody. (Yes - I try to guide my children's thoughts, values, etc...but I see a big difference between guidance and control. I'm not in the thought control business.)
post #144 of 163
Quote:
Originally Posted by Storm Bride View Post
(Yes - I try to guide my children's thoughts, values, etc...but I see a big difference between guidance and control. I'm not in the thought control business.)
definitely agree. if something in my kids' play disturbs me, i talk with them about it after the fact. I certainly don't shame them or try to make them feel as if they play was wrong, but sometimes I ask if they've seen those themes before (for example, if I saw my kids playing out a domestic violence scene as mentioned before, I would ask why they thought to play that way). Simply asking (rather than immediately giving an opinion about what you see) opens so many doors of communication. For example, my 6 yo son came up with "black people want to kill us just because we're not black"! I had to handle that one VERY carefully. We live in the midwest, and there just aren't that many POC here (besides NA). And I don't think he really knew what "black people" are- when he wants to describe people who are black, he generally describes their hair color and says they have darker, brown skin. Anyone, if I had immediately voiced my opinion about racism or snapped back "no they don't!" I never would have found out that he heard that in a song on the radio, and I would have missed the opportunity to explain to him about racism, etc.
post #145 of 163
Quote:
Originally Posted by odenata View Post
PeainthePod has asked repeatedly for stats and links, so I wanted to provide at least one. Might have time to post more later.

Study done in the Journal of Trauma, August 1998, entitled, "Injuries and deaths due to firearms in the home."

from the abstract:
Thank you odenata, I still haven't had time to really look any up.

And also thank you because I completely forgot about suicides. That of course further increases the number of non-self-defense uses of legal guns that occur with much greater frequency than legal guns used for self-defense.

I simply look at the fact that not even the NRA or other gun rights groups tries to seriously make the point that legal guns are more likely to be used in self-defense than some other action involving someone you know. If they thought they could make that data work for them, they'd be all over it. But they don't even try. It would be ludicrous. Police reports all over the country (including suicides reports and reports of self-defense shootings) back that up in the simplest way, but there are many other studies as well like the ones you cite.
post #146 of 163
Quote:
Originally Posted by LROM View Post
Thank you odenata, I still haven't had time to really look any up.

And also thank you because I completely forgot about suicides. That of course further increases the number of non-self-defense uses of legal guns that occur with much greater frequency than legal guns used for self-defense.

I simply look at the fact that not even the NRA or other gun rights groups tries to seriously make the point that legal guns are more likely to be used in self-defense than some other action involving someone you know. If they thought they could make that data work for them, they'd be all over it. But they don't even try. It would be ludicrous. Police reports all over the country (including suicides reports and reports of self-defense shootings) back that up in the simplest way, but there are many other studies as well like the ones you cite.
I don't know the stats (have never looked as most of them are USA related and I don't live there), but there is a difference between saying that guns are more likely to be used in self-defense than for X, Y, or Z and saying that having guns/legal gun ownership is safer than not having them.
post #147 of 163
So earlier dd1 found a long rectangular wooden stacker and promptly turned it upside down to use it as a gun (a gun that shoots out walnuts ) I immediately thought of this thread!
post #148 of 163
Quote:
Originally Posted by Storm Bride View Post
I don't know the stats (have never looked as most of them are USA related and I don't live there), but there is a difference between saying that guns are more likely to be used in self-defense than for X, Y, or Z and saying that having guns/legal gun ownership is safer than not having them.
I agree, that's really the point myself and a few others are making.

A huge sector of the pro-gun/2nd Amendment "Right to Bear Arms" arguments for legal guns is that they have a right to defend family and home against intruders and to act in self-defense.

But when you look at the fact that if you have a legal gun in your home, if it's ever used at all against a human, the odds are far far greater that it will NOT be in an act of self-defense against an intruder. Odds are far more likely it will be used against someone you know in a non-self-defense way.

This raises 2 major issues, but only one of them is really at issue in this conversation and that is whether legal guns in the home generally make your home MORE safe or LESS safe. I'm actually *not* advocating that across the board it makes a home less safe. I'm simply pointing out that a large % of people who get the legal gun with visions of self-defense... if the gun ever gets used, they are very likely not to use it in the way they thought they would. And someone they know is likely to be on the receiving end. Which for me is definitely part of my "Is it worth it?" equation.
post #149 of 163
I was anti-gun. Then DS at 2 and a half, maybe a month or two older, chewed his piece of toast into a gun-sort-of shape (he'd been to Disneyland and rode Buzz Lightyear's Astro Blasters a few months before, though I actually didn't realize they'd ridden that, as they *wanted* to ride Astro Orbiter but got turned around, and that's how he got the idea for a "blaster"), and started "bew, bew bew"ing. And that's when I chilled out.


The ONLY types of "guns" he has are "blasters" that don't really exist in the world. Star Wars and Buzz Lightyear, really.

And we talk All The Time about real life and pretend.


And none of us point at each other and shoot; we have to point slightly away, so that no one ever has some barrel pointed at them. (that's how I was raised, but with BB guns and with a brother and stepdad that had handguns and went target-shooting)
post #150 of 163
Our house is definitely a no gun household. By that I mean that we have never had any sort of manufactured toy gun in our house, & as adults we certainly don't have any real guns.

However....

Our DS, kind, gentle, pacifist, animal loving to the point of rescuing insects out of the shower before he will use it kind of kid...

Has a whole bloody arsenal of fighter jets and guns made out of lego in his room.

Just the other day, he was looking up the Stealth Bomber on the internet, & reading interesting facts out to me, so clearly he has a real interest in the design of such things and I really can't see how I would ban it, or even discourage his interest. I just live with it, & hope that he decides to build bridges one day.... But he really, truly loves planes. And the idea of bombs, although he assures me that there are no people underneath when the jet drops them. *sigh*
post #151 of 163
Quote:
Originally Posted by MusicianDad View Post
You don't need a database to know...
I asked him and he said, "A lot. I couldn't give you an exact figure." YEAH. I think he has over a hundred.

I see you are in Canada, so perhaps you have not had the exquisite joy of meeting one of these types of Americans. I never thought I'd sit in a house with that many guns, I really didn't. C'est la vie!
post #152 of 163
Quote:
Originally Posted by EdnaMarie View Post
I asked him and he said, "A lot. I couldn't give you an exact figure." YEAH. I think he has over a hundred.

I see you are in Canada, so perhaps you have not had the exquisite joy of meeting one of these types of Americans. I never thought I'd sit in a house with that many guns, I really didn't. C'est la vie!
As another Canadian, this discussion has been truly fascinating to me. Personally the only people I know who own guns are those who use them for hunting. Mostly they are older people (uncle, grandfather) but there are some in my age range in my hometown (very small rural community) that hunt. I don't know anyone here in the city who owns a gun.
post #153 of 163
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cujobunny View Post
As another Canadian, this discussion has been truly fascinating to me. Personally the only people I know who own guns are those who use them for hunting. Mostly they are older people (uncle, grandfather) but there are some in my age range in my hometown (very small rural community) that hunt. I don't know anyone here in the city who owns a gun.
There are some "crazy" Americans who stockpile, but they are few and far between (and unlikely to tell you about it). Others like to collect- it's like an investment because the price of a gun almost never goes down (provided it's taken care of), and ammo has been going up precipitously. Antique guns, however, will also increase in value.
post #154 of 163
My husband is a police officer and we have a gun in the house (service weapon). Properly stored. I see no issue with my son wanting to learn how to shoot when he is older. Guns are not evil in our home - but proper use, safety, and respect for the law is.
post #155 of 163
Quote:
Originally Posted by EdnaMarie View Post
I asked him and he said, "A lot. I couldn't give you an exact figure." YEAH. I think he has over a hundred.

I see you are in Canada, so perhaps you have not had the exquisite joy of meeting one of these types of Americans. I never thought I'd sit in a house with that many guns, I really didn't. C'est la vie!
I know people who own that many guns, but they still know exactly how many, and what types, they own. Also American, here.
post #156 of 163
I'm Canadian and I also work in a police department - I do firearms registration queries on a daily basis. A lot of Canadians, including in the city, have {registered} guns in their home. A lot more than the average Canadian would think. Unless someone is a very close friend or relative, they probably don't say.

It is very foolish to brag about your "stash" of guns (legal or not, for hunting or self-defense, doesn't matter) - that is how some home robberies occur - so very few people talk about it.

Again, safety, safety, safety. Our son would likely never even find our gun safe as it is hidden - and even if he did - he would need both a key and the combination code (which even I do not know), plus be able to then go to the other hidden safe and find the magazines!
post #157 of 163
Quote:
Originally Posted by JavaJunkie View Post
I know people who own that many guns, but they still know exactly how many, and what types, they own. Also American, here.
Oh, yay, that fun old Internet argument.

I know someone who does X.
Well I know LOTS of people who don't!
Okay, well my friend still does X.
Well that's stupid.
He still does it.
I don't know ANYBODY who does X.
My point is, it happens.
Are you sure? I don't believe you because that's not within my realm of experience.
Well, that's good for you, then.
No, really, lots of people don't X.
Good for them. I know someone who does.
Well that's not common.
It was just an example.
Well it's a stupid example, because not EVERYBODY does it.
Um...
post #158 of 163
Quote:
Originally Posted by EdnaMarie View Post
Oh, yay, that fun old Internet argument.

I know someone who does X.
Well I know LOTS of people who don't!
Okay, well my friend still does X.
Well that's stupid.
He still does it.
I don't know ANYBODY who does X.
My point is, it happens.
Are you sure? I don't believe you because that's not within my realm of experience.
Well, that's good for you, then.
No, really, lots of people don't X.
Good for them. I know someone who does.
Well that's not common.
It was just an example.
Well it's a stupid example, because not EVERYBODY does it.
Um...
Oh hell, I wasn't saying that you were lying or using a stupid example. I was just pointing out that it there are definitely Americans out there that are not like your BIL at all. I knew I should've put a disclaimer on my post to this effect...
post #159 of 163
Quote:
Originally Posted by happysmileylady View Post

Having said that...I do 100% believe that if there are going to be real guns where the kids are, it's way way way safer to expose them to the guns and teach them proper gun safety than it is to try to pretend the guns don't exist. To me, it's like water safety...it's safer to teach a child to swim than to never bring the child around water.
I completely agree.

Quote:
Originally Posted by peainthepod View Post

Guns for us are not toys, any more than a chainsaw or a power saw is a toy. They're extremely useful tools that, used unsafely, can kill human beings. So I don't think toy guns that aren't brightly colored neon water guns will ever be welcome in our home. I don't want to confuse our children and I don't want them to associate guns with careless play. Not that shooting isn't a fun sport! But like many other sports, it must be done with the proper equipment and only after taking the proper precautions.

Not teaching your children the basic rules of gun safety just because you yourself do not own guns, seems to me to be as shortsighted as not teaching them to swim just because you don't own a pool or go to the beach. Guns are everywhere and knowing to

Stop! Don't Touch! Leave the Area! Tell an Adult!

could literally save a child's life.
Yup.





Quote:
Originally Posted by peainthepod View Post
I don't believe that a woman lying raped and strangled to death with her own pantyhose is morally superior to one who is explaining to the police why that same rapist is lying gunshot on her bedroom floor.

Again, the right to defend oneself from harm is sacred to my family, and to most others I know who are firearms owners. We do not believe that an attacker has more right to safety and security than his intended victim. You are welcome to disagree, and I assure you that if it makes you so uncomfortable, we will never use our guns to defend you and your family.
As the victim of a 3-day rape, I would have loved to have had a chance to shoot the cracked-up a$$hole who raped me and made me lose my baby (6 mos pg). Chances are very high that if I'd been carrying I would have never been hurt.

This reminds me of an email I received recently. A neighbor squabble that ended in one neighbor posting a sign that read, "My next door neighbor wants to ban all guns. Their house in NOT ARMED. Out of respect for their opinions I promise not to use my guns to protect them!"

Quote:
Originally Posted by SaoirseC View Post
There are some "crazy" Americans who stockpile, but they are few and far between (and unlikely to tell you about it). Others like to collect- it's like an investment because the price of a gun almost never goes down (provided it's taken care of), and ammo has been going up precipitously. Antique guns, however, will also increase in value.
My FIL is one of those "crazy" Americans who stockpile. (Um, that could have been more respectfully worded, btw.) He has hundreds. He is an avid gun collector. When he dies, all of his guns will be split between my dh and his sister. If they sold all of them, plus all his ammo, we would be seriously well-off financially. If the SHTF, I sure as heck know where our family would go!

We have 8 guns in our home. We live in the country, and I used one to protect my livestock just last week. My dh saved one of our birds from IN THE MOUTH of a predator by shooting the predator. Our livestock feeds our family and I would never ever apologize for putting our family's needs before someone else's fears. My oldest dd uses a .22 rifle to dispatch our rabbits, about every 3 months when it's butcher day. My dh uses a 9 mm to dispatch a goat or a pig for butchering. My dh just recently got a working replica of a black powder pistol (think Yosemite Sam). My 2 middle children received their first .22 rifle from their Grandpa, and had a blast (pun intended) shooting holes in old freezers so that I could use them for growing our vegetables. We have a very safe place to shoot and teach our kids from a very young age about gun safety. Just yesterday my 3 yo said, "Mommy, I can never ever touch a gun w/out you or daddy helping me." She was watching her dad ready his shotgun because we're having a horrible problem w/coyotes, and the dogs were going nuts.

I'm not arguing anyone's right to decide for themselves what is best for their family. The main reason we have guns is not to protect our family, but to protect our livestock. Many a time I've been very glad to be able to do so.
post #160 of 163
Quote:
Originally Posted by JavaJunkie View Post
Oh hell, I wasn't saying that you were lying or using a stupid example. I was just pointing out that it there are definitely Americans out there that are not like your BIL at all. I knew I should've put a disclaimer on my post to this effect...
Then why even quote my post?

I guess I felt that somehow you were posting a counter-point... and I don't believe the fact that different people live differently is a counter-point to "such and such exists, and it's scary".

I mean... we don't even OWN a gun and we're Americans. LOL. So, retroactive disclaimer has been registered and I take it back.
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