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Problem with holiday visiting and guns -- what would you do?

post #1 of 25
Thread Starter 

Hi there, 

 

If this is not the right forum, please move it. I am unsure if this is the right place for this question.

 

My mother has guns. She is a DHS worker and they live out in the country. Personally, I am against guns. There was just a 3 year old who found an unsecured gun in OK this past weekend who shot himself in the head. And then of course the school shooting in CT. So this is a charged issue right now.

 

My husband does not feel comfortable going into my mother's house with our kids. I understand his fear, but I think that if the guns are fully locked, unloaded with the ammunition stored separately, those are acceptable measures.

 

Sigh....we are supposed to go visit for Xmas and now our plans may be changing.

What do you think? Has anyone else dealt with this?

Thanks!

post #2 of 25

For me, I would be comfortable, if the guns were properly locked up in a gun safe where the kids COULD NOT get to them, ammo locked seperately. I would talk about it ahead of time and check.

I grew up with hunting rifles in a locked gun safe in the basement and it was never an issue. But I ask before we go to a playdate at someone's house.

post #3 of 25

I understand your discomfort. If you do visit, those sound like some reasonable steps to take. In addition, educate your children about being safe around guns. Explain that they are not toys. If they see a gun, they should not touch it, they should leave the area and report it to an adult. I'm not sure how much it will help in making your family more comfortable in your mother's home, but it's someplace to start.  

post #4 of 25

Is there a place your mother can store her guns while you visit?  What I mean is, is there another close friend or relative that will allow your mother to move her lockers to their home?  Will your mother accept this solution?

post #5 of 25
Thread Starter 

Thanks! I should clarify that I am comfortable with the guns being unloaded and locked up. My husband is not and doesn't have the same level of trust that I have with my mother.

 

Not sure about taking the guns elsewhere. But that is something to talk about...


Rachel

post #6 of 25

Sounds more like he's looking for a reason not to visit, if they are unloaded and locked up with ammo locked up separately...what exactly can he not agree with?

post #7 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by micah_mae_ View Post

Sounds more like he's looking for a reason not to visit, if they are unloaded and locked up with ammo locked up separately...what exactly can he not agree with?

I totally agree.  If all percautions are taken then I don't see what the issue is.

post #8 of 25
If it were me, I'd be fine with a short visit knowing they are safely locked up, but there is no way my family would stay there over night or for an extended period. I would hope my SO would respect my concerns and be ok with finding other accommodations.
post #9 of 25

Does your husband ask the owners of every house you take your children to if there are guns there? I'd say to him that at least you can confirm that your mom's guns are locked up.
 

post #10 of 25

My 3 siblings and I grew up spending Christmases and sometimes summer vacations of a month or more around gun-friendly relatives.  

 

My grandmother slept with a loaded pistol under her pillow (and actually shot an intruder with it, once).  I used to sleep next to her, during visits.  My parents can't possibly have known about that gun.  That was a bit over the top.  

 

But my favorite uncles and aunts were all hunters.  There were plenty of guns in their houses and they took us hunting.  Their guns were stored unloaded, although ammo wasn't exactly hidden.  There was a clear, frequent and consistent message that it was immature, irresponsible and unacceptable to treat guns as toys.  And none of us wanted to be seen as immature or irresponsible.  Amazingly, even my ADHD male cousin (who lived there and had no impulse control whatsoever) was very safety-conscious and responsible about guns.  His dad's gun cabinet was in his (the kid's) bedroom.  When he was pretty little, we overheard a friend suggest that they get some of the guns out of the cabinet and "check them out".  My cousin scornfully refused, telling his friend, "Guns aren't toys."  (This, from a person who - as an adult - still does things like spontaneously "tar and feather" kids with chocolate syrup and mini marshmallows...)

 

I have a lot of respect for my aunt and uncle, to have raised a kid with such impulse-control issues, who has always been unwaveringly responsible about guns and who derives such pleasure and such a sense of identity from hunting (and using the meat).

 

Nevertheless...would I let my kids be in that environment without constant supervision?  Not on your life.  It only takes one accident.  It only takes one impulsive kid.  And the kids who AREN'T exposed to guns as part of their regular life are more likely to be irresponsible (or simply ignorant) with them, when they encounter them.  My parents, aunts, uncles and cousins grew up in a community where guns were prevalent.  My kids have not.  The trite phrase "better safe than sorry" has never been more profound than when applied to having kids around guns.

 

I do think it would be OK to visit people as important as grandparents, if the guns are stored unloaded and the ammo is locked somewhere completely inaccessible to the kids.  But I would want to see that for myself.  I would not have my kids out of my husband's or my sight, during the visit.  And I'd hesitate to spend the night there.  Just my $.02

post #11 of 25

I ran into this issue, except I was on your dh's side initally and then had to eat my words :) I always said I wouldn't be comfortable with my kids in a house with guns, period.  Then my sister married a gun-owner-luckiliy a very responsbile gun owner who I totally trust to keep his guns/ammo, etc. locked up separately.  I do allow my kids there, both with me and with them.  I do ask that the kids not go into the room where the guns are locked up (especially unsupervised, but just in general I ask that they not be in there). 

 

Can the kids stay out of the area where the guns are?  Can you reassure your dh that you will keep a super close eye on the kids and make sure they are out of that area and reassure him that the ammo etc. is kept separate? 

 

This is a tough one-good luck!

post #12 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by VocalMinority View Post

Nevertheless...would I let my kids be in that environment without constant supervision?  Not on your life.  It only takes one accident.  It only takes one impulsive kid.

I would not have my kids out of my husband's or my sight, during the visit.  And I'd hesitate to spend the night there.  Just my $.02

I agree w this. I would feel very uncomfortable about having my child in a house with a gun.
post #13 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by VocalMinority View Post

My grandmother slept with a loaded pistol under her pillow (and actually shot an intruder with it, once).  I used to sleep next to her, during visits.  My parents can't possibly have known about that gun.  That was a bit over the top.  

 

 

Holy %@#&!! 

post #14 of 25
I think the only way I'd be willing to visit is if all ammunition was out of the house. Unloaded guns locked away would feel like collectibles if I knew with 100% certainty that there was zero ammunition on the premises. I'm completely gun ignorant (I've only ever seen one in its holster worn by a police officer or in a museum) but I imagine it would be easier to move the ammo than the guns anyways. Just my two cents.
post #15 of 25
Thread Starter 

Thanks for all the thoughts and feedback! There is SO much to think about and process...

 

:(

Rachel

post #16 of 25
I grew up around guns and was shown them supervised from a very early age. I really think that is a great way to keep guns from being a taboo thing that kids are dying to get their hands on. I knew if I wanted to go target shooting with Dad, all I had to do was ask. Dad was always willing to take me and my sister shooting. We also knew not to mess with guns without Dad and when we were older knew to only handle one after personally checking to make sure it was not loaded. They aren't evil; just tools. It sounds like your mother is taking plenty of precautions.

I agree with the PP who said it sounds like he's trying to avoid going. I also agree with a PP who pointed out that you have no idea which homes you visit have guns. Around here, I'd be shocked to find someone who DIDN'T own at least one gun.

On a related note, while I was growing up I went to visit Chicago with my friend's family. Mom and Dad only allowed me to go when they found out her dad would be carrying a concealed handgun the whole time. He was a police officer.
post #17 of 25
I think there is a difference between being raised around guns and visiting. As a visitor, I would be concerned that a curious child could shoot him/herself. If the child lives with the guns and knows there will be a day he/she gets to handle a gun would have mor self-control than a child who thinks "who knows if I'll ever get another chance to hold this". For that reason, I would hesitate to spend the night in a house with guns. If I visited, I'd keep tabs on my kids at all times. It's a temptation for the curious.
post #18 of 25

I know this is too late for Christmas...

 

If the guns are stored responsibly, that is, locked and totally inaccessible, I don't see what the problem is.

 

I totally believe that children who aren't raised around guns should not be trusted around them. But keeping them locked in a gun safe is not the same as trusting kids around them. 

 

Our guns are stored unloaded in a gun safe, which is installed in a hidden location. The key is always on DH's person, not somewhere a kid could get a hold of it. The ammo is locked and in a separate hidden location - I don't even know where it is. Let's say an untrustworthy kid were visiting our house. The kids would have to be left totally unsupervised for hours to even locate both the gun safe and the ammo, and even then the only way for them to be that unsupervised would be if no adults were home, in which case the keys to the safes would not even be on the premises. 

 

I agree that OP's DH is looking for an excuse not to visit. Either that, or he has an unrealistic phobia of guns. Guns can be dangerous in the wrong hands, yes, but so can knives, stoves, hot water heaters, fire places, and bath tubs. A lot more young children die from drowning every year than from accidental gun shot wounds; would your husband feel the same way if your mother owned a swimming pool, fish pond, jacuzzi, bath tub, or cleaning bucket? Or lived near a body of water? Proper storage of the guns combined with proper supervision will eliminate the risk of a gun related injury. All cases of accidental child shootings (meaning, a child gets a hold of a gun and shoots himself or another child) involve either improper storage or improper supervision; usually both. 

 

If you call your mother and she tells you she's unwilling to lock up her guns for the visit, or if she refuses to not carry one on her person and you and/or your DH are uncomfortable with that, then that's a different story entirely. In that situation you are justified in not visiting. 

post #19 of 25

I don't think her husband is necessarily looking for an excuse.  I live in Canada and I don't know anyone who owns a gun.  Hunting ... yes.  Any other kind of gun would freak me out around my children.  I think it all depends on how you are raised and what you are used to.  

post #20 of 25

tribalmax, what happened?  Will you give us an update please? 
 

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