Originally Posted by greenemami
I would be freaking out too...
If it were me, I would immediately begin teaching my kids about gun safety. if you aren't personally knowledgeable (I'm certainly not!) then I would have a friend/family member/gun range employee/police officer, etc. do some one on one teaching about what guns can do, how they should be handled (or not), etc. You can't keep your ex from having guns around your kids in an irresponsible way, but you can make sure your kids are aware of the responsible way to treat them.
This is also one of those times I think it is absolutely okay to tell them that daddy was very wrong for letting that happen and let the kids know it is okay to speak up and tell him that they will not play with guns.
If their dad's a gun owner, there's no sense telling them guns are bad (IMO, they aren't
). But it's critical to make the kids understand that playing
with guns makes one seem ignorant and immature, not cool or grown up. The mark of seeming grown up, around guns, is being responsible
. I would make them take a kids' gun safety class, since you can't control that they're going to be exposed to guns.
I don't know whether CPS, police or regular courts would be helpful. Maybe they would. But if he owns it legally, there might not be much officials could do...from a criminal
standpoint. However, family court is civil, leaving judges a lot more leeway. You don't have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that something's a crime, for a family court to react to it based on the best interests of the child.
In your shoes, I'd try to get an in-chambers interview between the standing judge in your custody case and your kids, to discuss the incident and request an order that your ex not be allowed to keep a gun in his home (at least during visits); or at least that he keep it in a gun safe and not let the kids play with it again - with the threat that violation of the order could result in supervised visits. My argument would be not that gun ownership, of itself, constitutes irresponsible parenting, but that his actual behavior around the kids with the gun is gravely irresponsible.