Add ‘Do You Own A Gun?’ To The List Of Questions You Ask Parents Before Sending Your Kid On A Playdate

gun safety for kids

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.

Do you ask parents if they have guns in the home before okaying a playdate?

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(photo: GlebStock / Shutterstock)

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  • N.

    In Australia we have fairly stringent gun laws too. All of our rifles are kept in a safe that has to be secured to a wall, and all bolts and ammunition have to be stored in a separate locked box. We are issued permits that list each individual weapon we own, and semi-automatic and automatic weapons are banned.

    None of this stops my brother-in-law from tossing his rifles under a bed because he is just too damn lazy to clean them and store them away properly after an overnight hunting trip. And this is exactly the reason my son does not get to visit there to play with his cousins, unless I am with him and he stays in their living room only.

    • Iwill Findu

      If you only think about the amount of money being spent on fire arms your BL is a fool at lest here if the RCMP were to find out my firearms weren’t stored correctly all my guns could be seized, with very little chance of being able to own a firearm ever again. I’m not flushing thousands of dollars down the toilet because I’m lazy

  • Blueathena623

    And what question do you suggest for finding out how a parent secures their guns?

    • Lastango

      None. I also don’t intend to ask questions to find out if they secure:
      - household under-the-kitchen-sink chemicals.
      - paints, solvents, fertilizer, insecticide, etc.
      - edged kitchen implements.
      - hand tools.
      - power tools.
      - vehicle keys.
      - freezer lids.
      - liquor.
      - prescription medications.

      I also won’t be asking if their dog has ever bitten a person, or if anyone in the home has a criminal record, or if anyone there uses illegal drugs.

  • Blueathena623

    America doesn’t have these restrictions, sadly.

    • Iwill Findu

      Maybe I’m just use to it, but to even be able to own a firearm a Canadian has to first pass a fire arms safety class to get a permit to buy said fire arms. I don’t see a problem with this. I need a permit to drive a car why not to own a gun. People don’t whine that needing a drivers permit is somehow an infringement on their rights.

      If I had a criminal record I wouldn’t be able to own (legally) a gun, just like if you get caught drunk driving they can pull your drivers.

    • Rachel Sea

      Some states will allow anyone to buy and keep as many guns as they want, however they want, without background checks, or safety training.

  • PSG

    My husband and I own firearms and weapons, all secured in two very large gun safes.
    I would not be insulted if someone were to ask me about this, prior to a visit. Well, depending of course on how the question was presented.
    However, my concern would be that the few people who don’t take the time to lock up when the kids are around (or to lock up at all) because they don’t see the need, might think nothing of telling another parent that they do just to placate.
    (Be glad if someone does become bothered by an inquiry.)

    I don’t understand the careless mentality that results in children acquiring firearms.

  • CW

    I don’t personally own a gun, but if a fellow mom had the nerve to judgmentally question me about it before agreeing to a playdate, I probably would tell them to forget the playdate because obviously our family’s values are too dissimilar. I have the legal right to own a firearm if I so choose, and it’s nobody’s beeswax whether or not I choose to exercise that right.

    • Lastango

      Absolutely. There are already pressures to have health care outlets (hospitals, etc.) ask as part of admissions whether there are firearms in the home, and to have it be legitimate for teachers to ask schoolkids the same question. Next would come various manifestations of “concern” — all for safety reasons, of course — and the establishment of an official record. Then the system can gear up to target the family from a variety of directions.
      Rule #1 of gun ownership: never tell anyone else. Like the people who smash a car window in a parking lot when they see a dog inside, there’s no telling how they’ll react if they think it will confer social advantage and they think they can get away with it.

    • Iwill Findu

      Why would it be a health care outlets business if I own a gun. I go see a Doctor for things like illness and broken bones, being around guns isn’t going to give me a fever. Unless I’ve been shot a gun doesn’t even play into my health care 99.99% of the time. Leaving that 0.01% in case I’m ever shot by some wako.

    • M.

      This conversation has nothing to do with whether people should have guns or not. Try reading next time.

  • Amber

    I won’t tell you. My guns are locked up in my safe and they are not your business. Keep your kid home if you have a problem with that.

    • Amber

      Also, asking me if I have peanut butter in the house is going to get you the same answer. “This isn’t going to work out. Buh-bye now.”

      Who are these people who think they have a right to micro manage other people’s homes? Sure, tell me your kid is allergic to peanut butter so I know. If you tell me to get rid of my peanut butter you can get the hell out. That’s so unbelievably rude.

  • once upon a time

    Wow, I’m really surprised by the responses.

    This is an entirely moot point because I’m not an American and if my child grew up in America he’d probably be exposed to guns. However, if we were to move there tomorrow, I’d definitely be asking. No judgement here, I just want you to know that my son has no experience with guns or gun safety so if he’s going somewhere where guns aren’t secured, I’d want the parent to know that. Kids get into things. If (general) your child grows up with guns, he probably knows not to pick them up and fling them around. I would hope that my son would have enough common sense not to do that when he’s older, but kids do dumb shit all the time.

    • Lastango

      “if my child grew up in America he’d probably be exposed to guns… my son has no experience with guns or gun safety”
      Familiarity and experience don’t happen by themselves. That’s why firearms safety instruction is important and readily available at levels tailored to each age group. I consider it part of good parenting, just like making sure children know about drownproofing, and how to swim.

      One not-so-obvious benefit of safety instruction is that it demystifies firearms. Guns become tools and items of sporting equipment, not magical devices infused with power. In my experience, the worst offenders in this regard are the city types who have reached adulthood without ever having handled or fired a gun. At the sight of a gun they become goggle-eyed or unnerved. Frankly, it’s ridiculous.

  • Rachel Sea

    I’m fine with people knowing that I have guns, and how I have them secured (I honestly doubt anyone is going to break into my house to steal a gun, with a trigger lock, kept in a locked case, inside a gun safe, with the keys to the trigger locks hidden in a different safe), and I would feel comfortable asking another parent whether they have any, and how they keep them, but I’d be more concerned about whether they would be driving my child, and whether they have a pool.

  • M.

    And my answer to that would be “I own a weapon and it is secure. I am not telling you what kind of weapon it is or how I secure it”.

    • D W

      And my child would not be playing at your house. Done.