my ex let the kids play with a gun - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 15 Old 04-29-2015, 06:21 PM - Thread Starter
 
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my ex let the kids play with a gun

my dd told me tonight her dad let her play with his gun, that the gunh was not loaded but she pointed it at her brother and pulled the trigger. I asked DS and he confirmed this but said it was a couple months ago. He keeps it in his house on the high shelf according to dd, she knows exactly where it is.

WTH should I do? I am freaking out right now!

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#2 of 15 Old 04-29-2015, 07:11 PM
 
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I would be freaking out too. Definitely not okay-I have no idea though if it is something that officials (i.e. police/CPS) would be concerned with or able to do anything about I would call the local office and ask though-having a 3-year-old learn it's okay to point a gun at someone and pull the trigger is just...beyond words for me. I can't imagine.

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.

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#3 of 15 Old 04-30-2015, 02:54 PM
 
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Originally Posted by kindofcrunchy82 View Post
my dd told me tonight her dad let her play with his gun, that the gunh was not loaded but she pointed it at her brother and pulled the trigger. I asked DS and he confirmed this but said it was a couple months ago. He keeps it in his house on the high shelf according to dd, she knows exactly where it is.

WTH should I do? I am freaking out right now!
Wow. You have every right to be concerned. Definitely do some research and discuss this with their dad immediately. I know of a faith-based org that offers free counseling where you could ask this question...might be good to take advantage of it to find out what you should do. PM if you want the details. Will be praying for you and your children.

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#4 of 15 Old 05-01-2015, 08:14 AM
 
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This is just not something you do, I mean letting children play with guns, so I totally understand your concerns. You should first talk to your ex and tell him never do that again before checking with you first and second you should talk to the children and explain what guns do and why they shouldn't play EVER with guns.
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#5 of 15 Old 05-02-2015, 04:38 PM
 
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If you have any concerns about yours or the childrens' immediate safety, then I might contact the police and ask for their advice in this situation. They may decide they want to take a statement from the children to warrant whether or not charges for illegal storage or careless use of firearms are warranted. But if you don't fear for yours and the children's immediate physical safety (ie. him assaulting you or them), then I would be getting this documented by email to xh....for several reasons including demonstrating to the court that you attempted to address it with him (CPS and courts like to at least see an attempt to address it), and the possibility that he may actually admit to this and defend himself. Often the malignant narcissist will fail to see anything wrong with what they did, and will defend it by pointing the finger back and accusing you of something in response (basically admitting the allegation is true). Don't reference the law in the first communication (he is more likely to deny).

Are the children in counselling? Have other trusted adults to talk to? I think it's also very important to let them know just how important and brave it was for them to share that with you, and how much you appreciate it. In my own case, I often worry that addressing issues will result in passive aggressive retaliation that essentially makes the children afraid to tell me things...why I asked about counselling, in case the children deal with that sort of backlash and ongoing emotional abuse/intimidation - so they are supported.
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#6 of 15 Old 05-02-2015, 09:34 PM
 
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You're going to be surprised to hear this. Not every state in the US has laws about gun safety. Most do, about 28:

http://smartgunlaws.org/child-access...olicy-summary/

The rest don't have a law about keeping guns in a gun safe, or keeping children from gaining access to them. In my state, the ban is very broad and a person can get in trouble for storing guns where children may get access to them. In other states, there's only criminal liability if the child uses or carries the gun.

In other words, calling the cops might not do anything.

It seems to me that the first line of communication should be with the ex-husband, unless he is abusive or your relationship is so bad that you cannot talk. (Of course the OP has probably spoken with her children, but that is not sufficient protection.) You cannot keep a three-year-old and an eight-year-old safe long distance through admonitions. It's not enough. Their dad has to keep them safe by using appropriate storage techniques. He needs to tell you exactly how he's doing this.

This is the kind of situation that can break your custody arrangements. You can't send your little kids into a house where there's an unlocked gun they can reach.

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#7 of 15 Old 05-03-2015, 07:36 AM
 
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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.

Good luck!

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#8 of 15 Old 05-03-2015, 08:33 AM
 
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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 them understand that playing with guns makes you 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 that.
This is not about whether guns are bad.

This is about whether a three-year-old with a gun could accidentally shoot someone and kill them. The answer to that question is yes.

We also don't allow three-year-olds to drive the car. Cars are very useful, whether we think they are categorically "good" or not, and many people have cars and children at the same time. We don't merely admonish the three-year-old that it's not cool to pretend to drive the car like Daddy. We don't leave her unsupervised to get into the car and pretend drive it.

I don't think the OP should ever get into a conversation with her ex about whether he should own a gun. This isn't about whether to own a gun. If it turns into that discussion, the OP will lose. This is about how you handle and store guns when you have children.

In general, it's good for children to have access to both parents, and you want to facilitate that. Just owning a gun isn't enough to disqualify the dad as a good parent. Giving the gun to the three-year-old to play with, is.

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#9 of 15 Old 05-03-2015, 11:49 AM
 
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This is not about whether guns are bad.

This is about whether a three-year-old with a gun could accidentally shoot someone and kill them. The answer to that question is yes.

We also don't allow three-year-olds to drive the car. Cars are very useful, whether we think they are categorically "good" or not, and many people have cars and children at the same time. We don't merely admonish the three-year-old that it's not cool to pretend to drive the car like Daddy. We don't leave her unsupervised to get into the car and pretend drive it.

I don't think the OP should ever get into a conversation with her ex about whether he should own a gun. This isn't about whether to own a gun. If it turns into that discussion, the OP will lose. This is about how you handle and store guns when you have children.

In general, it's good for children to have access to both parents, and you want to facilitate that. Just owning a gun isn't enough to disqualify the dad as a good parent. Giving the gun to the three-year-old to play with, is.
Hopefully, if you read the rest of my previous post, you'll see that I agree with you.

An earlier poster seemed to say that, in this case, telling the kids what their dad did was wrong would not be tantamount to an attempt at parental alienation. I agreed. But I know a lot of people are vehemently anti-gun and, if the OP is, I didn't think it would be useful to get into that discussion; only one about proper behavior with guns.

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#10 of 15 Old 05-03-2015, 02:59 PM
 
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The issue, imo, is one of neglectful parenting, inadequate supervision (just like any other neglect issue such as having a pool without a fence and no life jackets and letting kids run around it unsupervised).

I do think some third parties need to be involved before addressing it directly with xh. If it were me, I would be calling a lawyer first thing Monday morning. It's one thing to not know and to send the kids not knowing the dangers. But now that you know the danger (improper supervision around dangerous firearms, and allowing a 3 year old to pull a trigger aimed at sibling), you are in a pickle in that it sends a mixed message if you don't do anything to productively address the risk. I think the children should not go back to him until you have a written contract that he has the guns locked up and is not allowing the children access to them - period. Either way this needs to be documented, and an email documented to xh to demonstrate your attempt to do everything reasonable to protect your children. A 3 year old is far too young to learn anything about gun safety other than "Don't touch it".

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#11 of 15 Old 05-04-2015, 09:33 AM - Thread Starter
 
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as of yet I haven't done anything except talk to my kids about not playing with the guns and I have asked them both to tell me if their dad has it out again...I have a couple friends that husbands are therapists, and I have discussed it with one and she is going to ask her husband what to do. He deals alot with coparenting issues. I haven't heard back yet from them. I will ask my other friend this week when I see her. I have not discussed this with my ex yet. I just rocked the boat about not letting the kids go to india so we are not on speaking terms right now. I don't do many child exchanges with him anymore, mostly with his girlfriend. I am trying to remain calm.

And tbh I ham not anti gun, I knew he got this gun a while back and asked him to put it in a gun safe. He told me he doesn't keep bullets in the house at the time. But he is not one for organization. And it would not stop my kids from seeing other real guns and shooting them. It is just not safe. I will look over my options this week. As of now my kids are not in counseling.

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#12 of 15 Old 05-04-2015, 10:28 AM - Thread Starter
 
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btw i am in kansas, it has extremely lax gun laws

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#13 of 15 Old 03-31-2020, 03:39 AM
 
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The time pass, the problems still the same. Right now I have a similar problem. OP, how did you deal with this problem?
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#14 of 15 Old 03-31-2020, 03:50 AM
 
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The time pass, the problems still the same. Right now I have a similar problem. OP, how did you deal with this problem?
The people are careless this day as much as they were 5 years ago. Everything about the guns must be secure. For example, I'm a hunter and my kids once found my rifle... thank God it wasn't loaded. They even broke my scope and I was forced to buy new one using information from review on the https://consumerepic.com/ site (I bought a better than last one, BTW) Now I have a brand new safe with a complicated locking device. Nobody except me knows how to unlock it. And I think any gun owner should do something similar.
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#15 of 15 Old 04-01-2020, 12:00 AM
 
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The people are careless this day as much as they were 5 years ago. Everything about the guns must be secure. For example, I'm a hunter and my kids once found my rifle... thank God it wasn't loaded. They even broke my scope and I was forced to buy new one using information from review on the https://consumerepic.com/ site (I bought a better than last one, BTW) Now I have a brand new safe with a complicated locking device. Nobody except me knows how to unlock it. And I think any gun owner should do something similar.
Could you tell me some more information about it? Let’s talk in PM
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