Guns at my friend's house: WWYD? - Mothering Forums

View Poll Results: How would you handle this situation?
Tell my friend my son can't be there without me again, and why 14 12.73%
Do nothing until the kids are older and more liable to break into the cabinet 5 4.55%
Talk to the friend and find out more about the situation 82 74.55%
Other 9 8.18%
Voters: 110. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 08-28-2008, 03:00 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My laundry is broken, so my friend kindly offered to have me do it at her house; she also needed babysitting, so I brought my son and her son to the basement and did my laundry while she went out for a few hours.

I've never been down there before. I discovered a cabinet full of guns. There are six large guns, I can't tell the difference between rifles and shotguns but I know there's at least one shotgun because it has shells in little storage compartments in the handle part (the butt, is it called?). Above those is what looks like a machine gun, but it may be a paintball gun. Below is a collection of six handguns. And there's a drawer at the bottom which I assume contains ammo. Everything is locked tight.

I'm shocked and not sure what to do. This doesn't come up a lot in my area. Her husband is from the south, where gun collecting I know is more common. I had always planned on a "no guns in the house" policy, meaning no guns in our house and my kid isn't allowed at a house with guns. Now, my dad is from Montana and grew up hunting. We had a shotgun in our house for a while when I was little before he gave up hunting, but he is obsessive about gun safety- partly because his brother was shot with a shotgun in 7th grade by a friend who didn't know the gun was loaded. He almost died. If we visited our Montana relatives more and they had guns in the house, kept safely, I would probably let my kids stay there and wouldn't worry, because I trust them to be safe about it. But I don't know my friend's husband at all.

My kid is a toddler (2 yrs) and goes over there all the time. This friend is my go-to person for babysitting, and vice versa. I've known her since my son was a few months old. She is 10 minutes away. I was planning to have my son go there when I have my home birth in November. I don't know what to do.

My inclination is to first talk it over with my hubby of course, then talk it over with her. I would like to find out more about the ammo situation, and whether her husband has taken gun safety courses etc. And then I guess I'll decide what to do from there. It's tough because on the one hand, I feel very uncomfortable about the whole thing. But on the other hand, they're in an area where the kids would never go unsupervised. The stairs to the basement are babygated, and then there's a door the kids are not able to open without adult help, and then the guns are in a locked cabinet. But even so, I know something could still happen. It's not too likely the kids would get in there...but I know the couple has had marital problems and bad arguments. The husband could come home from work while she's babysitting my kid and go down for the shotgun. Again, not likely. But possible.

WWYD?

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Old 08-28-2008, 03:06 PM
 
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I guess I vote other, but I don't really know based on those options.

I do think you should talk to dp about it, but honestly I'm not sure if that is something you can enforce over a childs entire life.

You saw they were locked tight. It sounds like the husband is very responsible about it. (And I would doubt it's a machine gun, they're illegal.)

If your dp agrees, I'd probably then ask the friend if there were other guns in the house.
"I wanted to thank you again for letting me come over to get my laundry done. I noticed you guys have a gun case down there. Are they the only guns in the house? I only ask because they make me very nervous." or something like that.

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Old 08-28-2008, 03:18 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Katielady View Post
My laundry is broken, so my friend kindly offered to have me do it at her house; she also needed babysitting, so I brought my son and her son to the basement and did my laundry while she went out for a few hours.

I've never been down there before. I discovered a cabinet full of guns. There are six large guns, I can't tell the difference between rifles and shotguns but I know there's at least one shotgun because it has shells in little storage compartments in the handle part (the butt, is it called?). Above those is what looks like a machine gun, but it may be a paintball gun. Below is a collection of six handguns. And there's a drawer at the bottom which I assume contains ammo. Everything is locked tight.

I'm shocked and not sure what to do. This doesn't come up a lot in my area. Her husband is from the south, where gun collecting I know is more common. I had always planned on a "no guns in the house" policy, meaning no guns in our house and my kid isn't allowed at a house with guns. Now, my dad is from Montana and grew up hunting. We had a shotgun in our house for a while when I was little before he gave up hunting, but he is obsessive about gun safety- partly because his brother was shot with a shotgun in 7th grade by a friend who didn't know the gun was loaded. He almost died. If we visited our Montana relatives more and they had guns in the house, kept safely, I would probably let my kids stay there and wouldn't worry, because I trust them to be safe about it. But I don't know my friend's husband at all.

My kid is a toddler (2 yrs) and goes over there all the time. This friend is my go-to person for babysitting, and vice versa. I've known her since my son was a few months old. She is 10 minutes away. I was planning to have my son go there when I have my home birth in November. I don't know what to do.

My inclination is to first talk it over with my hubby of course, then talk it over with her. I would like to find out more about the ammo situation, and whether her husband has taken gun safety courses etc. And then I guess I'll decide what to do from there. It's tough because on the one hand, I feel very uncomfortable about the whole thing. But on the other hand, they're in an area where the kids would never go unsupervised. The stairs to the basement are babygated, and then there's a door the kids are not able to open without adult help, and then the guns are in a locked cabinet. But even so, I know something could still happen. It's not too likely the kids would get in there...but I know the couple has had marital problems and bad arguments. The husband could come home from work while she's babysitting my kid and go down for the shotgun. Again, not likely. But possible.

WWYD?
Just be honest with her about how you feel about guns and how uncomfortable they make you. She sounds like a good friend, reassure her that it is nothing against her personally and that you understand she is careful but that they simply make you extremely uncomfortable /protective.

If she is close by maybe she can come to sit over at your home. This would let her know that you trust her just not guns.

If she is a friend she should understand.

I know it's not the same but my friend can rarely visit because her girlfriend is extremely allergic to cats. She can only come by herself which stinks. I know her girlfriend likes me , just can't be by the cats so when we hang it can't be at my house. I don't take that personally. But as in your situation we chose to switch meeting/hanging out spaces. This is what I would do in your situation just switch up the sitting area. I wouldn't be comfy having my son in a house w/ guns without me, no matter how locked down they were.

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Old 08-28-2008, 03:19 PM
 
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I think it's good that you are aware of the situation, but I personally wouldn't make a big deal out of it. They are locked up tight, exactly where they should be, so that's a good thing. You know they are responsible gun owners, and that's one relief. I might mention to your friend in a light tone, hey, I noticed you have a collection in your basement...and sort of open a dialogue and see how she responds. If she gets extremely defensive or stand-off-ish I might be concerned, but if she is open and honest about it I'd hear her out.

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Old 08-28-2008, 03:23 PM
 
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a husband could also stop at a Walmart in many states and purchase a gun on the way home to blow his wife's head off, if he wanted.

i used to be very much against guns in teh house, until i met my DP. he has ALOT of guns. they would probably scare alot of ppl but its a hobby that his father started and he has continued (he has civil war guns, etc. etc.). they are in a locked gun cabinet downstairs beside our laundry also (you cant see them though b/c the safe is a huge taller than me steel safe and no glass).

I guess I don't see how your son would be in jeopardy in the situation you describe, any more so than another home.

I'm surprised that your friend did not tell you they own guns, however. I konw that in my area its not that common and esp. around AP parents I know it can be a touchy subject (it used to be w/ me)....so i talk about it (a little) so that everyone knows we do own guns.

machine guns aren't illegal in all states though. and "machine guns" is a very broad category. where we live, almost all guns are legall but in the neighboring state one is hard pressed to own most types of guns...so it really does depend on the state you live in.

i guess to sum it up, it sounds like they are responsible gun owners. but i would initiate a conversation. to make yourself feel better and to give you some perspective on their view of gun ownership (we also have 2 hand guns in our bedroom, in a smaller safe).

i know guns can be scary..but w/ responsible gun owners who are diligent about safety, i think the fears are often unfounded.

talk to your friend...and then decide what to do based on what you learn. thats my advice (i didnt vote b/c thats not an option)
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Old 08-28-2008, 03:29 PM
 
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I would never feel comfortable in her house again. I wouldn't go there myself or let my children play there again. IMO guns are not okay, ever.
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Old 08-28-2008, 03:29 PM - Thread Starter
 
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talk to your friend...and then decide what to do based on what you learn. thats my advice (i didnt vote b/c thats not an option)
Yes it is, it's option 3.

I don't feel like I *know* that they're responsible gun owners yet. I've seen some evidence of it, but I won't know the whole story til I talk to her. They might have a gun under their bed too, who knows.

Isn't there a gun safety rule that you're not supposed to keep the ammo with the guns?

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Old 08-28-2008, 03:40 PM
 
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We have guns in our house. They're in a huge, secure safe that DH bought when we decided to have kids. The kids DO NOT know the combination. Our kids aren't allowed guns as toys. I mean, they could make a "gun" out of LEGOs and that would be ok, but no toys that look like guns. It's too risky to blur that line.

I'd talk to the friend, tell her your concerns. If the cabinet is a proper gun cabinet with secure locks that the kids CANNOT open, then it's fine. Guns are a part of life for many people--hunters, target shooters (heck, target shooting is an Olympic sport!), former and current military folk.

Guns don't hurt people on their own, but poorly secured guns are a huge hazard.

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Old 08-28-2008, 03:45 PM
 
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I think it's good that you are aware of the situation, but I personally wouldn't make a big deal out of it. They are locked up tight, exactly where they should be, so that's a good thing. You know they are responsible gun owners, and that's one relief. I might mention to your friend in a light tone, hey, I noticed you have a collection in your basement...and sort of open a dialogue and see how she responds. If she gets extremely defensive or stand-off-ish I might be concerned, but if she is open and honest about it I'd hear her out.
Yes. This.

We grew up with guns, safely locked in the cabinet. We took hunter safety. We all learned to shoot. It's just not a huge deal to me.
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Old 08-28-2008, 03:48 PM
 
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You should ask more about it.

And then ask where any dangerous chemicals are stored and how well they are locked up. And the medicines. And the kitchen knives.

My DD (16 months) can break through most child proof cabinet locks. She opens the dishwasher at will. She climbs on anything that stands still.

She cannot, however, get into the locked room that has our locked gun safe.

Supervision is much more important, IMO, than the presence of "dangerous" items. And the guns may not be the most dangerous thing in a typical house.

YIKES! As I was typing this, DD just ran up with a very sharp kitchen knife and a banana. Now I need to go check the counter tops for other dangerous items.

I need to remind DH and DS that she can reach the countertops now.

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Old 08-28-2008, 03:53 PM
 
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I don't feel like I *know* that they're responsible gun owners yet. I've seen some evidence of it, but I won't know the whole story til I talk to her. They might have a gun under their bed too, who knows.
Yes, this. I think that a conversation about guns and gun safety is definitely in order before you can make any decisions about future visits.

Also, two years old is not too young to get into a gun that no one was expecting you to find: http://www.wtnh.com/Global/story.asp...0&nav=menu29_2

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Old 08-28-2008, 03:55 PM
 
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I would definately talk to your dh and then talk to your friend some more. Ask if there are any other guns in the house, where they are, etc.

We are gun free. We don't own guns. DS doesn't have any gun/weapon like toys. At all (not even water guns).

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Isn't there a gun safety rule that you're not supposed to keep the ammo with the guns?
I believe guns should be in a locked case and the ammo should be in a seperate locked case.

My dad has guns, and has since we were little. He uses them for hunting (very rarely) or for safety (shooting a rabid animal that's near the house). He lives in the country. His guns are all locked up. The ammo is all locked in a seperate place (different room even, I believe). The keys to these are on his key chain (along with a billion other keys), which means that when he's out of the house (at work or whatever) the keys to the guns are with him. I am okay with this, despite my no gun rule, because I know he is a responsible gun owner and I know they are all locked up and out of kids reach.

I wouldn't be okay with sending ds to a friends house who has guns (and, in fact, that'll be one of the first things we ask the other parents when ds starts going to others houses). Not unless I know these people very well and I know with all my heart they are responsible gun owners.

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Old 08-28-2008, 04:05 PM
 
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If your dp agrees, I'd probably then ask the friend if there were other guns in the house.
"I wanted to thank you again for letting me come over to get my laundry done. I noticed you guys have a gun case down there. Are they the only guns in the house? I only ask because they make me very nervous." or something like that.
I agree with this. I think that those particular guns in the basement, being in an area that the kids don't go and locked securely, are not a problem. If there are other guns in the house, that may be a problem. Like one in their nightstand next to the playroom or kids room, or other place where the kids may go regularly (and sometimes unsupervised). She seems like a good friend and a mama who you trust, so I doubt that she would get all funky with you. At least, I hope!

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Old 08-28-2008, 04:09 PM
 
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I agree with this. I think that those particular guns in the basement, being in an area that the kids don't go and locked securely, are not a problem. If there are other guns in the house, that may be a problem. Like one in their nightstand next to the playroom or kids room, or other place where the kids may go regularly (and sometimes unsupervised). She seems like a good friend and a mama who you trust, so I doubt that she would get all funky with you. At least, I hope!
Yes, I also agree with AutumnBreeze. They are locked up, but I think it would be wise to have a conversation about keeping the kids safe from guns with your friend. I wouldn't bar my kids from going over there if I believed that they were being supervised and the guns were always locked away.

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Old 08-28-2008, 04:11 PM
 
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If I'm aware a home has guns, I do not go there. I'd find other solutions to babysitting and laundry. It's just not worth it.

However, I'm a vegan pacifist. Guns have no acceptable place in my life.
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Old 08-28-2008, 04:27 PM
 
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I would never feel comfortable in her house again. I wouldn't go there myself or let my children play there again. IMO guns are not okay, ever.
You do realize that unless you have thoroughly searched every house that you enter that there is the chance that some of your friends/relatives/acquaintances may own guns right? If a person is a responsible gun owner, which IMHO the OP describes in her post, I have no problem with it.
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Old 08-28-2008, 04:41 PM
 
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Locked guns in a gun cabinet isn't anything I'd feel a need to say anything about to the owner. Even if my kids were in their house. I would talk to my kids though. They need to be instructed by me what is appropriate and what is not. My rules might be different from the family with the guns, so my kids need to know what is and isn't okay for our family.

I have hand guns. I secure them as I see fit. I don't publicize to friends and neighbors that I own them. I also don't have them in a place children play either.

I have a hard time chambering a bullet in my gun and the trigger is a safety trigger requiring two types of hand strength at the same time. It takes me 2 hands to fire it, I nearly failed my gun class for my concealed carry permit which required 1 handed firing in both the left and right hands. I know my kids would never have the stregth as young as they are to manage that particular handgun.

I think people in general think guns are easy to load and to fire and therefore accidents are easy. I have yet to meet a shot gun, riffle, or hand gun that was "easy". People fear guns because they don't understand how they work or fear someone with bad intentions will use one on them or their children. Someone with bad intentions is going to be nasty with or without a gun.

Do you know the time and dexterity to load a revolver is not something a little, little child is going to do quickly or effectively. Adults need practice to get fast. The movies make it look easy, it all has to click back into place to work properly and then you have to pull the trigger. Most newer guns have locks and safeties to undo before the trigger can be pulled.

Have you ever tried to load a shotgun? There are several steps involved that small children are not going to manage, normal small children that is.

A well broken in one might fire more easily, but the kick back from a shot gun, riffle or 45 cal handgun will throw you backwards to the floor if you are not expecting it and even if you are it can jar you off balance. The action of the kick cause the gun nuzzle to aim up (usually or up to the side) as it is firing as well.
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Old 08-28-2008, 04:53 PM
 
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First, the thing about the husband going downstairs and grabbing a shotgun after an argument with his wife, well, he could just as easily grab a knife. In my life, guns are perfectly acceptable. I look at it as my constitutional right to have them, and if someone has a problem with them being in my home, that's their problem, not mine. We have safety standards we adhere to and would never take gun safety lightly. I wouldn't be offended if a friend wasn't comfortable having her kids at my house because of the guns, but I also wouldn't go over to a friend's home to baby sit her children because she didn't want her kids at my house. I just wouldn't. Though I do absolutely understand not wanting your children even in the same home as certain things. For me, any sort of illegal drugs is a dealbreaker. My kids would never be there again. So I can understand that people don't feel ok with their kids being around certain things.

I say talk to your friend, voice your concerns, and ask her about what they've done to keep the keeps safe, etc. I'm sure she'll understand that.

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Old 08-28-2008, 04:59 PM
 
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My husband and I might have the only house in southern Illiniois without a gun. LOL. Ok maybe I exaggerate.

But guns are a reality here and I simply understand that any house my daughter goes into is likely to have a gun.

Here's what I've taught her. If she ever sees a gun, in any circumstance, including if a child has one, she is to RUN. Gun = run. Run run run away. Don't talk about it, don't tell the other child to do anything, don't talk at all, just run home and I'll call the police to have them take care of it. I've quizzed her every so often on this. "What do you do if you ever see a gun?" "RUN!"

I still worry but that's where I'm at.
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Old 08-28-2008, 05:16 PM
 
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If the guns are locked up, and in an area of the house where kids don't go, I would have no problem with it. We are gun owners. Guns don't scare me. People do. That is, irresponsible people. It sounds like they are responsible gun owners. If you are concerned, talk to your friend. Maybe she will put a lock on the door that goes to the basement to alleviate some of your fears. Then the basement would be locked, the guns locked in the cabinet, etc. That way you could have more peace of mind. You could ask her to remove any magazines from the guns and separate the guns from the ammo. That allieviates fears for many.

I had to have a conversation with my parents about guns recently. We are both very pro gun families, but they were clearly unsafe with their guns when we would visit. They were left loaded on table tops, etc. and I wasn't comfortable having my kids (ages 34 months and 8 months) there for a visit. They did not lock the guns up after our talk, but they put them in an upstairs room where the kids don't go and I am fine with that. The kids don't go in that room, and the kids aren't left unattended. Everyone has their own comfort level.
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Old 08-28-2008, 05:20 PM
 
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First, the thing about the husband going downstairs and grabbing a shotgun after an argument with his wife, well, he could just as easily grab a knife. In my life, guns are perfectly acceptable. I look at it as my constitutional right to have them, and if someone has a problem with them being in my home, that's their problem, not mine. We have safety standards we adhere to and would never take gun safety lightly. I wouldn't be offended if a friend wasn't comfortable having her kids at my house because of the guns, but I also wouldn't go over to a friend's home to baby sit her children because she didn't want her kids at my house. I just wouldn't. Though I do absolutely understand not wanting your children even in the same home as certain things. For me, any sort of illegal drugs is a dealbreaker. My kids would never be there again. So I can understand that people don't feel ok with their kids being around certain things.

I say talk to your friend, voice your concerns, and ask her about what they've done to keep the keeps safe, etc. I'm sure she'll understand that.
ITA!!! Owning a gun is my constitutional right. Thats fine if someone does not want to bring their kids here due to guns being here. I wont be offended. If you want me to do certain measures like put the ammo in another area while your kids are over I am willing to do that. But I am not going to babysit their kids at their house b/c of my house containing guns. Illegal drugs in a house is also a deal breaker for me. No way will my kids be going anywhere that I know has any illegal drugs, not even MJ.
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Old 08-28-2008, 06:06 PM
 
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Yes it is, it's option 3.

I don't feel like I *know* that they're responsible gun owners yet. I've seen some evidence of it, but I won't know the whole story til I talk to her. They might have a gun under their bed too, who knows.

Isn't there a gun safety rule that you're not supposed to keep the ammo with the guns?
which is why i suggested that you speak w/ them more. I only stated that they "sound" like responsible gun owners.

i guess no. 3 is an option...just didnt fit what i was thinking so much, at the time.

there is a gun safety issue re: ammo being stored w/ guns. there was an interesting thread here a few months ago re: that issue. Thats an interesting read.

for those of you who say your children are never allowed in homes w/ illegal drugs, even MJ.....that is another thing that you may or may not know about. I know many responsible adults who would have MJ in their home but certainly not advertise it.
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Old 08-28-2008, 06:08 PM
 
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I would never feel comfortable in her house again. I wouldn't go there myself or let my children play there again. IMO guns are not okay, ever.
I agree.

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Old 08-28-2008, 06:16 PM - Thread Starter
 
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which is why i suggested that you speak w/ them more. I only stated that they "sound" like responsible gun owners.
Right. I'll speak with her when I get a chance (maybe not til after I go on vacation next week) and will update here. She is a really good friend, I'm sure it'll go well. I don't want to be judgmental about it, just more like "hey, I noticed you have a gun collection, could you tell me a little bit about how you handle gun safety in the house?" And I'll ask if there are any unsecured guns. Unless they have unsecured guns under the bed in a shoebox, I'm probably OK with the current situation.

I spoke with my dad and he says it's a New York State law that ammo must be stored separate from the guns. Can anyone confirm? I tried looking it up but couldn't find an answer.

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Old 08-28-2008, 07:21 PM
 
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I would never feel comfortable in her house again. I wouldn't go there myself or let my children play there again. IMO guns are not okay, ever.

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I agree.
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You do realize that unless you have thoroughly searched every house that you enter that there is the chance that some of your friends/relatives/acquaintances may own guns right? If a person is a responsible gun owner, which IMHO the OP describes in her post, I have no problem with it.
None of my friends or relatives own guns. Guns are a deal breaker. I want nothing to do with them. If a friend of mine had a gun in their house I would never go there again. IMO responsible people don't have guns.
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Old 08-28-2008, 07:53 PM
 
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IMO responsible people don't have guns.
wow..thats a pretty harsh statement.

NO responsible ppl have guns???

Talk about a judgmental statement.

I'm a mother to 3 (soon to be 4 sons), professional (when not a SAHM), law abiding citizen....and IYHO, im irresponsible b/c we own guns???

*shaking my head***
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Old 08-28-2008, 07:55 PM
 
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IMO responsible people don't have guns.
Rather narrow minded opinion, IMO. I guess I'm irresponsible. As are every police officer, every US Treasury Agent, every FBI agent, etc. Being responsible or not being responsible has nothing to do with gun ownership.
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Old 08-28-2008, 08:16 PM
 
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I would never feel comfortable in her house again. I wouldn't go there myself or let my children play there again. IMO guns are not okay, ever.
Sorry, I agree with this. And I realize that I can't KNOW everyone who has a gun, but if I do know we don't visit there. Ever. That includes DH's brother in BC, and all his uncles in this province. Collecting deadly weapons is just not a good thing to mix with children, IMO.

I would let her know though, and I would still thank her for letting me do my laundry there, I would just say something like "I didn't realize you own guns, it may be over the top, but I am uncomfortable in the same house as a gun, and I worry about DS. Let's get together at the park (or wherever)"

(This appears to be a Canadian thing...)

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Old 08-28-2008, 08:53 PM
 
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Collecting deadly weapons is just not a good thing to mix with children, IMO.
So people who own steak knives shouldn't have children either? I have an entire steak knife collection. It was given to me as a wedding present. Does that mean I'm irresponsible for wanting to cut steak properly? Of more relevance is *where* it is stored and how easily accessible it is to my children or any other children who come here. The whole block of knives is up on top of my fridge, and I have to stand on my tiptoes just to reach it.

*Anything* can be a deadly weapon - a car, a knife, medication ... if used improperly. Owning guns doesn't make a person irresponsible or a bad parent. Storing them improperly does. That is a big difference and the distinction that must be made. To say otherwise is a harsh judgement that has no basis in reality.
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Old 08-28-2008, 09:09 PM
 
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IMO responsible people don't have guns.
What about those parents who work in law enforcement? Most are expected to bring their service revolver home. Are they not capable of being responsible parents?
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