With all the craziness going on in the world, parents should be able to feel safe letting their kids enjoy every day activities such as playing in the backyard or going on a playdate. However, with the gun violence that has a occurred as of late, as well as accidental shootings by children, a new and legitimate concern is arising for parents letting their children go to someone else’s house to play. Are there any guns in the house?
Obviously guns and gun ownership is a hotly debated topic to say the least. Asking a parent you don’t know very well about that status of guns in their home has the potential to be all shades of judgey. But as someone who’s always believed in the old adage “better safe than sorry,” I think if a parent wants to know they should feel free to ask. What can it hurt? If the parents do own guns they have the opportunity to explain whether or not their guns are stored somewhere safely. The other parent can decide for themselves if they want their child there playing or not:
Becca Knox, senior manager of public health and safety at the Center to Prevent Youth Violence, said for “virtually all parents” it’s OK to ask. “People welcome the chance to demonstrate that they are also responsible parents.”
In support of that effort, the center started the ASK campaign — “Asking Saves Kids” — which was created as an empowerment tool for parents to help protect their families. She said while people often anticipate that exchanges about guns will be more difficult than other encounters, “I don’t think in reality that’s the case.”
The key is to find a comfortable conversation strategy. Parents can focus on what they share in common, which is keeping kids safe, Knox said.
If your child was allergic to peanuts, you would be sure to tell the other parent that up front to protect your child. Is asking do you have peanut butter in the house any different than asking do you own any firearms? Some may think so, but I think getting an open discussion started about guns and gun safety can’t be a bad parenting move.