Childrearing

I’m Asking Parents If They Keep Guns In Their Home Before Every Play Date My Son Has

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tumblr_ly5mj6DH0A1qcprm9o1_500__1384880254_142.196.156.251Since moving to a state with a large percentage of gun owners – I’m terrified of allowing my child to go on play dates. How do I broach the subject of gun ownership with other parents? I certainly do not want my child in a home that keeps firearms.

I know gun owners will think this is over zealous. Every time I write a story about another gun-related accident – those comfortable with having firearms in the home always chime in with anecdotes about their own responsible gun ownership; their locked safes, their unloaded weapons, their proficiency in handling said weapon. I just find it hard to believe that with all of the accidents that happen, people are truly as “responsible” as they think they are.

Frankly, it doesn’t matter how I feel about people who are comfortable having guns in the home. It’s not up to me to decide who is responsible enough to have a gun. But is up to me to decide where my child plays, and my child is not playing in a home that has guns. Period.

I live in Florida now. A lot of the population owns weapons. I can’t tell you exactly how much of it – because Florida has some of the laxest gun ownership laws in the country. Florida has no gun registration or licensing requirements – therefore the statistics are just off. I remember looking at a graph of gun ownership by state and thinking, Cool! I was wrong about Florida! There aren’t a lot of guns here. Right. There is just no requirement to register them – hence no records. Florida does require a concealed weapons permit. Guess what? My state leads the country in those at over one million. Hence my paranoia.

From ABC News:

Almost one-fourth of 3,754 parents with young children — surveyed at 96 pediatric practices in 45 states, Puerto Rico and Canada — keep a gun at home. Yet in 70 percent of those homes with guns, parents said they hadn’t taken adequate precautions to safely store the weapons, researchers report.

How do I broach this with parents? The only way I really know how is to ask before my child has a play date – so that is what I will be doing. Those of you who are uncomfortable with guns in the home, do you ask about ownership and how they are kept before you allow a play date?

[poll id=”23″]

(photo: Tumblr)

246 Comments

  1. keelhaulrose

    November 19, 2013 at 1:38 pm

    My husband’s family are gun owners. I have no qualms about inspecting the gun situation before leaving my kids with them. My MIL even hands me the key to her gun safe so I know it’s not going to be accidentally opened. I do have a family member who owns guns I would never allow my children to visit because he’s an irresponsible idiot who shouldn’t have guns and hopefully won’t breed.
    Don’t be afraid to ask, and if you don’t trust them, don’t leave your kid there. But be prepared to host a lot of play dates yourself or risk your kid not going on any at all.

    • EX

      November 19, 2013 at 2:08 pm

      My daughter is still young and we haven’t left her with her grandparents alone at their house but I know that day will come and I still haven’t figured out how to broach the subject of gun storage and safety without causing a family feud. But I think (hope) my MIL would be understanding and supportive. It’s definitely something I worry about.

    • whiteroses

      November 19, 2013 at 2:58 pm

      I would say that “don’t be afraid to ask, and if you don’t trust them, don’t leave your kid there’ is universally applicable, not just for gun owners.

  2. Annona

    November 19, 2013 at 1:44 pm

    We make sure all our guns are locked up in a safe, which one of us adults has the only key to, and also behind a locked bedroom door before any children come over to visit. I think “No, junior, you can’t go play over there because those people have a locked safe in a locked room that has guns in it” is pretty overkill. I don’t think it’s out of line to ask if the home has guns in it, and how they are stored, or even to ask to see said storage setup. And if you’re not comfortable with it, let the kids come play at your house.

    • JLH1986

      November 19, 2013 at 2:16 pm

      Agreed. We are responsible gun owners (safe, ammo stored elsewhere) etc. and I wouldn’t be offended if someone asked us how we stored our guns. I may not give specifics (as in stored in x room with x safe) but I would be more than happy to explain we have a gun safe the key is not near the safe, the ammo is stored elsewhere etc. I don’t think it’s an out of line question for a concerned parent to ask.

    • Annona

      November 19, 2013 at 4:58 pm

      I don’t store guns and ammo separately. In fact, when I’m home, the gun is loaded and where I can reach it if I need to get to it. I’m not some dumbass who shoves it down in the couch so a 2 year old can find it and shoot himself (like someone just did recently in my state) but it lives where an adult can have easy access to it, loaded. If I have to run across the house to load my gun, it negates the purpose for which I have it. I might as well huck a rock at the guy who is kicking my front door down. Since I don’t typically have children in the house, I don’t feel this makes me irresponsible. If we leave the house, the guns go in a safe that can’t be taken from the house without serious trouble (couldn’t be done within the time frame between our alarm going off and the cops coming) because I seriously worry about any gun I own being stolen by a criminal and used to hurt someone else. If kids are coming over, any firearm that isn’t already locked up gets locked up, and the bedroom door is locked. Parents of said children know that that room is off limits. (There are other things that get locked up in there as well, valuable things that I can’t replace if they get kicked over and broken.) This has so far been good enough for everyone, including my bless her heart sister in law who thinks guns are of the Devil. I wouldn’t mind any parent questioning me about whether or not I had unsecured guns in the house. If I had a child, and their friends parent refused to let them visit strictly because we’re gun owners, not irresponsible ones, I probably wouldn’t want my kid playing with that kid anyway.

      And past a certain point, it becomes less about how I store my property and more about the parent teaching their child not to go messing around with other people’s things.

  3. CW

    November 19, 2013 at 1:45 pm

    I don’t own a gun, but I would be offended to get asked as it’s none of your business one way or the other. I wouldn’t ask you if you & your husband had a p*rn collection because that’s none of my business. I would just trust that IF you did, you’d keep it in a place where the kids could not access it.

    • TheGiantPeach

      November 19, 2013 at 1:48 pm

      Yeah, but if the kids snuck into the porn it’s not likely that anyone would die. Not so with a loaded gun.

    • CW

      November 19, 2013 at 2:00 pm

      A liquor cabinet, then.

    • Angela

      November 19, 2013 at 2:17 pm

      A liquor cabinet is still no where near as dangerous as a loaded gun. Plus once kids are out of the toddler years they’re not likely to be too interested (at least not until they’ve outgrown the play date stage). Even if they got into it the taste would probably deter them from drinking enough to be dangerous and on the off chance they did ingest large amounts there would likely be time to get medical attention.

      Usually toddlers don’t have play dates without their parents along but if someone was babysitting my toddler I think it would be totally appropriate to ask how childproof their house is including whether hazardous chemicals, including alcohol are safely stowed out of reach.

    • Eve Vawter

      November 19, 2013 at 2:31 pm

      Yeah because so many kids enjoy the taste of liquor and can open the bottles themselves. PS: If you kid drinks my booze I will push him into my pool

    • CW

      November 19, 2013 at 4:42 pm

      Alcohol poisoning kills FAR more children in the U.S. each year than accidental firearm discharge (1400 vs. 62).

    • Poogles

      November 19, 2013 at 6:17 pm

      “Alcohol poisoning kills FAR more children in the U.S. each year than accidental firearm discharge (1400 vs. 62).”

      I would assume that that statistic uses the definition of children as anyone under 18, and my guess would be that the vast, vast majority (if not ALL) of the alcohol poisonings are for children who have outgrown the “playdate” age, i.e. teenagers and maybe some preteens/tweens.

    • AlbinoWino

      November 19, 2013 at 10:28 pm

      Uhh…not sure where you’re getting your statistics from. In a year there are around 900 accidental firearm deaths http://www.policymic.com/articles/21002/gun-control-debate-6-chilling-facts-about-guns-in-the-u-s

    • CW

      November 20, 2013 at 1:17 pm

      Deaths of CHILDREN. A lot of those 900 deaths come from adults who were careless while cleaning their guns. My DH was an Army officer and one of his privates accidentally shot himself while cleaning his personal gun off-duty. The guy survived, but if he hadn’t, he would’ve been included in that 900 deaths statistic.

    • Eve Vawter

      November 20, 2013 at 6:06 am

      OK so seriously, would you rather:

      1: Have you toddler in a room with a bottle of vodka on the table

      OR

      2: Have you toddler in a room with a loaded gun on the table.

      You cannot pick 3: Neither I would be with them, and I would supervise and etc because I am only giving you 2 options and this is my poll. Haha.

    • SA

      November 19, 2013 at 2:17 pm

      I have read this discussion on many boards & most who consider themselves responsible gun-owners say they would not mind.

    • CMJ

      November 19, 2013 at 2:18 pm

      I really just don’t understand why any responsible gun owner would be offended if they were asked about it – especially when it comes to young children.

    • alice

      November 19, 2013 at 2:30 pm

      i think the offense is taken if “do you own a gun?” is the end of the conversation.

    • CW

      November 19, 2013 at 4:36 pm

      Because it is none of your business whether or not I choose to assert my legal right to own a firearm.

    • EX

      November 19, 2013 at 9:15 pm

      But no one is challenging your legal right to own a firearm, but as a parent Maria has the right to ask the parents of her child’s friend if they own one and she then has the right to choose not to send her child there to play. The gun owner also has the right to be offended. No one is stepping on anyone’s rights here.

    • whiteroses

      November 19, 2013 at 10:55 pm

      This. And if you’re a responsible gun owner, then expressing to a child’s parents that you keep them locked up isn’t that big of a deal.

    • Kelly

      November 19, 2013 at 6:40 pm

      I don’t advertise the fact that I own guns. I don’t tell people. I don’t take them out and show them off. I would prefer that no one even knows I own guns.

      The only way anyone would find out I have a gun is if they broke into my house and threatened my family. That’s pretty much it. So, no, I’m not going to tell every mom in my neighborhood about it.

    • Eve Vawter

      November 19, 2013 at 2:28 pm

      Porno doesn’t kill people, guns kill people

    • anon87

      November 19, 2013 at 2:29 pm

      Beat me to it, I was definitely going to say that.

    • Eve Vawter

      November 19, 2013 at 2:29 pm

      But did you LOL like I did?

    • anon87

      November 19, 2013 at 2:30 pm

      I LOL’d AND said it a little louder than I meant to..I woke my dog up from her nap

    • CMJ

      November 19, 2013 at 2:30 pm

      hehe…beat.

    • anon87

      November 19, 2013 at 2:30 pm

      Hahaha I had to say it out loud 3 times before I understood. Too funny 🙂

    • Edify

      November 19, 2013 at 7:38 pm

      But think of all the potentential people that were sacrificed to porn! I feel a personhood bill coming on…

      Hehe… Coming…

    • Julia Sonenshein

      November 19, 2013 at 2:38 pm

      You are wrong.

    • SarahJesness

      November 19, 2013 at 10:00 pm

      If a parent is going to send his or her child to another person’s house, I think it’s perfectly understandable for the parent to want to know some things. A lot of people ARE irresponsible with guns. If the author of this article lives in a place with a high gun ownership rate, it sounds pretty understandable to me that she’d want to know the situation on that. If her kid is going to someone’s house, I think it is her business whether or not there are unsecured guns in the house.

  4. NYBondLady

    November 19, 2013 at 1:50 pm

    It’s a legitimate question/concern, but maybe a bit overblown. I’d be much more wary of sending a young child to a home with a pool or one located on a busy street.

    • Angela

      November 19, 2013 at 2:34 pm

      This is a good point. If there was a pool I would definitely want assurance that my kid would not have unsupervised access to that either although in my area almost everyone owns guns but I don’t know anyone with a pool.

    • Tinyfaeri

      November 19, 2013 at 3:03 pm

      I agreed with you twice! One more time, and an angel gets her wings…

    • Eve Vawter

      November 19, 2013 at 3:03 pm

      LOL!

    • CMJ

      November 19, 2013 at 3:07 pm

    • AE Vorro

      November 20, 2013 at 4:55 pm

      Is that John Lennon?

  5. ABC

    November 19, 2013 at 2:01 pm

    So you child can never play with the children of law enforcement or military personnel. I get your concern about guns. I didn’t grow up with them and do not understand the need for them. But my husband is a cop. So obviously there are guns in our home. In addition to his duty weapon, he has a smaller gun that he uses when he transports prisoners on commercial flights (yes that’s right, my husband carries a loaded weapon on commercial airplanes) or is in plain clothes. It makes me sad that you wouldn’t let your children come to our house because my husband’s profession requires him to carry a gun to protect you and your family.

    • JLH1986

      November 19, 2013 at 2:22 pm

      I think it’s a legitimate question. I read last month a police officer left his loaded gun on a table and a kid was shot. Just because someone is a police officer or military personnel doesn’t make them responsible gun owners (I’m also not suggesting you and your husband fall into that category, I think most cops are probably very diligent). But sometimes being around guns daily could make someone be less awed by their power and danger. I wouldn’t say a person should say “hell to the no!” but a discussion about “how are your guns stored?” should be had and if a parent is comfortable ok kiddos can play, if not, then while it’s unfortunate I think it’s a reasonable step to tell Johnny he can’t go over to Tommy’s house. I wouldn’t let my child go over to someone’s house if I didn’t feel comfortable they monitored their pool properly or their liquor cabinet etc.

    • Angela

      November 19, 2013 at 2:29 pm

      To me it would depend. Personally I feel that it’s irresponsible for any parent of small children to have guns that are not locked up but as long as they agree to keep them under lock and key while my child is there I would be fine with letting him come and play. And BTW, I am very grateful to your husband and others who risk their lives to keep us safe.

  6. AP

    November 19, 2013 at 2:03 pm

    I think a better way to phrase it would be, “If you own any guns, will they be locked away in a childproof manner during the playdate?” That way, you’re respecting their choice to own a gun, but not respecting anyone who chooses to store their guns irresponsibly.

    And for what it’s worth, I grew up in an area of NYC where a lot of dads were NYPD. We all learned that guns are dangerous AND that touching a service revolver comes with Serious Consequences for you and the officer who permitted it. Once your kid is old enough, he should learn to leave the area if he sees a gun.

    • alice

      November 19, 2013 at 2:13 pm

      Agreed. I’d even say that the concerned party should be permitted to see where and how the gun is stored.

      I can see the author’s fear. I hate handguns too.

      But statistically, it doesn’t make sense to have “do you own a handgun?” be your only playdate test. For instance, drowning is the leading cause of death for young children (i believe). So if you let your child play at someone’s house with a pool, or near a body of water, you’re less safe than letting them play in a house w/ a gun.

      EDIT: i checked some stats. drowning is the leading cause of accidental death for children between 1-4. between the ages of 1-14, the five leading causes of accidental deaths are attributed to car accidents, drowning, fire, suffocation, and other forms of transportation.

    • emensa

      November 19, 2013 at 2:40 pm

      I read somewhere that when a kid dies of a gunshot wound it’s usually classified as a homicide by the coroner even if it’s accidental, so that would throw off these stats.

    • alice

      November 19, 2013 at 3:08 pm

      i did a little a research and you’re right that there aren’t perfectly clear stats on “accidental gun deaths” because some do get ruled homicide. from what i could find though, the numbers still wouldn’t put firearms at the top of the “accidental fatal injury” list.

      check out this from the cdc from two years ago: there were 58 “firearm homicides” in the 5-9 age bracket. those could’ve been accidents.

      but i still think the bottom line is that we stay as rational as possible when weighing risk. for instance: multiple news outlets probably reported every single one of those 58 firearm homicides from 2010 for the 5-9 age. but the 354 traffic deaths certainly didn’t receive that individualized attention.

      so in an effort to raise gun safety awareness, we may risk some gun hysteria. is that necessarily bad? probably not. but if, as a parent, you’re more concerned about accidental firearm deaths than you are about your kid drowning or getting in a car accident, you may be missing opportunities for more practical safety.

    • brebay

      November 19, 2013 at 4:17 pm

      Criminally negligent homicide is still homicide. That’s why leaving a loaded gun where a child can reach it is ruled homicide if the kid gets killed as a result.

    • Madame Ovaries

      November 19, 2013 at 2:58 pm

      I read that bit about the drowning in Freakonomics and it really made me think. My son is only 7 months, but when the time comes I will be asking parents how they store their weapons AND whether they have a pool with a locked gate. And I guess I’ll be that annoying parent that no one likes but WHATEVER.

    • Maria Guido

      November 19, 2013 at 2:59 pm

      Yeah, I really don’t care how crazy people think I am. It’s my kid – I can be as paranoid as I want to be. I’m not telling other people what to do with their children.

    • elle

      November 19, 2013 at 3:03 pm

      Yeah I’m surprised but not….people get really defensive when it comes to their right to own guns….

    • Tinyfaeri

      November 19, 2013 at 3:08 pm

      I think the offense is more to lumping responsible gun owners (people who get a decent safe and make sure to never leave their guns around children, keep firearms unloaded, etc) in with people who leave their 9mm on the back of the toilet for their 5 year old to find and at best shoot his thumb off. And, for me, the way the question at the end was phrased.

    • elle

      November 19, 2013 at 3:11 pm

      You know what? You are right. I actually don’t disagree and I most definitely phrased my reply poorly.. or perhaps too generally? Too something..if only I would ever sign up for a disqus account instead of being a guest…

    • Mikster

      November 19, 2013 at 3:11 pm

      No one sees where we store our guns and ammo- with gun theft being a chief reason for area break-ins and home invasions, that’s a deal-breaker. I can understand if you don’t trust our reassurances and choose to not let your kid over- that’s fine, your choice. But I am NOT giving out locations that may compromise MY family’s safety.

    • alice

      November 19, 2013 at 3:25 pm

      that’s a good point.

    • Lindsey Sweet

      November 19, 2013 at 7:01 pm

      Yes—this! Also, I don’t want them coming in my bedroom, and the kids getting curious as to why we are going in there, when they don’t even know where the guns are in our bedroom in the first place. Our bedroom door is always closed when DD’s friends are over, and we have a little one story house; they aren’t getting in my bedroom without me knowing.

    • the_ether

      November 19, 2013 at 3:37 pm

      On the other hand, you can teach a kid to swim, but you can’t teach them to be bulletproof.

    • Tinyfaeri

      November 19, 2013 at 3:37 pm

      Because swimmers never drown.

    • Andrea

      November 19, 2013 at 3:45 pm

      You can reduce it significantly though. Specially if the body of water is a pool.

      It’s one of the reasons I don’t have a whole lot of fear about my kids visiting homes with pools, they are excellent swimmers and I am confident they can survive an incident in a pool. But I am not at all confident they can survive an encounter with a gun. And I can’t very well send my kid to a playdate with a bullet proof vest can I.

    • TngldBlue

      November 19, 2013 at 4:06 pm

      You can also significantly reduce the risk of gun injury or death by teaching your kids gun safety. My daughter has never held a gun but she absolutely knows what to do if she finds one or someone else around her has one.

    • Tinyfaeri

      November 19, 2013 at 4:06 pm

      A fenced off pool is no safer than a gun when the gun is kept unloaded in a locked gun safe, and children are taught what one is and what to do around one (get an adult), but if it you want to believe otherwise, that’s up to you.

  7. Angela

    November 19, 2013 at 2:04 pm

    I live in a state where virtually everyone owns guns. Before each play date I say, “I’m pretty paranoid when it comes to guns. I’ve talked with my son about safety but he’s pretty fascinated with them. If you have any guns would you be able to make sure they’re all safely locked up while he’s there?”

    Most people don’t seem annoyed by that although I have no way of really knowing if they’re being honest. I really don’t think that many parents would say, “Nah, we leave our guns laying around.” I know at least one mother assured me that all their guns are safely locked up and then heard her tell another mom a few weeks later that she keeps a gun in her nightstand. Unfortunately it’s my son’s best friend and they only live 2 houses down from us. Also, my own mother refuses to lock up her gun when we come to visit (I’ve even offered to buy her a safe myself). She claims it’s ridiculous because the gun, the clip, and the ammo are all hidden and stored separately. I’ve reminded her how my little brother managed to figure out where the gun was hidden and would get it out when she wasn’t home. She denies this ever happened. She didn’t believe me at the time and she doesn’t now.

    • PSG

      November 19, 2013 at 2:53 pm

      That is frustrating because it shows a lack of respect for your concern, which is exactly how children find access to firearms…from those who don’t think this is a big deal.
      That your neighbor lied to you is bothersome, and that she doesn’t seem to understand (or care) how easily her son or another friend could get his hands on her gun is troubling.

      Concerning Mom – will your younger brother confess, perhaps setting the record straight?

    • Angela

      November 19, 2013 at 10:12 pm

      He has but my mom’s just convinced that we are all remembering wrong. She’s that way about a lot of things and nothing will convince her otherwise.

    • Madame Ovaries

      November 19, 2013 at 3:02 pm

      This is totally what freaks me out: if you were really lazy about locking up your gun, would you admit to it? Or aren’t there probably a lot of people who think their gun safety situation is perfectly safe when in fact it’s not? I do like how this way of phrasing it (“he’s pretty fascinated with them”) might compel even someone without a very safe setup to at least lock things up when your kid is there, if only to keep your kid’s mits off their gun.

    • Mikster

      November 19, 2013 at 3:12 pm

      Perfect way to put it!

    • cold_ember

      November 24, 2013 at 9:02 pm

      In fairness, my gun is also in my nightstand – in my gun safe. That could be the type of setup she has. It’s secure, but close by if I need it at night.

  8. allisonjayne

    November 19, 2013 at 2:07 pm

    I live in Canada (and not in the wilderness part where people legit need guns) so I don’t ask. But yeah…I’d be scared as hell if I lived elsewhere.

    • pixie

      November 19, 2013 at 3:09 pm

      As a fellow Canadian who also doesn’t live in the wilderness I share your sentiments of being scared as hell if I lived anywhere else.

    • C.J.

      November 19, 2013 at 6:51 pm

      I live in Canada too an it has never even occurred to me to ask other parents if they own guns.

    • Toaster

      November 20, 2013 at 10:36 am

      I live in a northern community in Canada and there are a lot of hunters around here, and drug dealers, and gun enthusiasts. In fact, someone in the city recently got busted with a huge collection of illegal loaded weapons. Yay! I’m not sure how to handle this when the kids are older and playing at friends’ houses without me..

    • allisonjayne

      November 20, 2013 at 11:22 am

      Eeep. I mean, I certainly don’t want to imply that no one in my city has guns…I live in a major city and there are definitely illegal guns here (as Americans have recently learned via Rob Ford, we do indeed have guns and gangs here!) but yeah, not much point in asking about those anyway since I’m guessing no one is going to tell me about their illegal guns.

  9. chickadee

    November 19, 2013 at 2:18 pm

    I am with you on this one. My two are teenagers now, but I still instruct them on self-preservation should they be in a house where a gun is being shown off or wielded by a jackass. Too many accidents happen in homes of people who were considered to be or who considered themselves to be responsible gun owners.

  10. JadePanda

    November 19, 2013 at 2:20 pm

    How about a 4th option to your survey: “I would only let my child play at a house where gun safety measures were taken and responsible adults were present”

    Our family is struggling financially, which unfortunately means we can only afford to live in higher-crime areas. I grew up in a middle-class neighborhood, and always swore I would never have a firearm in the house. I could never imagine a scenario why I would ever need one, as I never felt threatened in our little slice of suburbia. But in our current situation, and especially since the birth of our daughter, we went ahead and bought a home-security rifle and a safe. Everything is safely locked and unloaded, and the key is secured where a child could never reach. We have not had to use it, thank god, but it gives us peace of mind that we can protect our daughter in the event of a break-in (which does, unfortunately happen around here).

    It makes me feel sad and guilty to know that our little girl could be made to feel like something is wrong with her home, because we cannot afford Brinks or other security measures that we had in my old neighborhood. We do not have an arsenal, we do not own a gun because ‘Mericuh…we own one because it is all we can do at this time to feel safe in an impoverished community.

    Ultimately, your children’s safety is your responsibility, and you should absolutely make whatever decision you feel comfortable with. I just wanted to share our perspective, as there may be other friends your child comes across in similar situations.

  11. SA

    November 19, 2013 at 2:20 pm

    There is nothing wrong with asking about ANY concerns you may have about a house where your child will be spending time. Gun safety, pool safety, supervision, etc. And if the host is a responsible person, they should be more than willing to answer questions. I will say, I don’t think I would ask to see where they store the guns. Chances are the parents have a place only THEY know about and cluing everyone in on where might not exactly be safe.

  12. Al

    November 19, 2013 at 2:22 pm

    I think a little knowledge about guns is smart as well, so you aren’t freaking out about something that isn’t actually all that dangerous. For example, growing up (and still) my father crafted and collected muzzleloader rifles. There was always one on the mantle of the living room, and usually one leaning in the corner of a room or 2. Someone with no knowledge of guns might freak out about that- but it all reality you need serious experience, instruction and probably a textbook of sorts to even load one properly- no to mention tracking down all the components necessary. I have no concerns about my child being watched by my parents with these same guns out in the open- I think education is important.

  13. Kay_Sue

    November 19, 2013 at 2:24 pm

    We are gun owners. We consider it a significant responsibility to ensure that our children (and any children visiting our home) are safe at all times. It’s the reason we keep medications up too high for children to reach and keep childproof locks on drawers containing sharp and breakable items. The same responsibility extends to our firearms.

    For me, it is especially important. A very dear friend of my father’s went through the tragedy that was forgetting to secure a weapon once, and having his five year old accidentally shoot his two year old, which lead to the death of the child and many years of heartbreak for the entire family.

    I’d say a better way to handle it is to ask what safety precautions they take. For instance (I’m assuming you’re unfamiliar with firearms, forgive me if that is not true), do they store ammunition and the firearm in the same space, do they have a locking mechanism, do they keep personal protection sidearms locked up, do they keep them unloaded…all of those are potential precautions that can be taken.

    I know that there are Second Amendment proponents that will make you feel like a fool, but your concerns are absolutely legitimate and you have a right to have them addressed. I do hope that you’ll give responsible gun owners the benefit of a doubt. We love our children just as much as anyone else, and we want to protect them too. If you choose not to, however, don’t let people make you feel guilty about it. Your right to protect your child in the way you see fit is just as important as our right to own and carry.

    • Eve Vawter

      November 19, 2013 at 2:32 pm

      You are a RESPONSIBLE gun owner

    • alice

      November 19, 2013 at 2:36 pm

      but would maria let her kids play at kay’s house? 🙂

    • Maria Guido

      November 19, 2013 at 2:50 pm

      No. It’s not a personal blow to anyone – it’s something I am not comfortable with as a parent. I have every right to not let my toddler play in a home with weapons – just as I wouldn’t let my toddler play in a home that had a pool that wasn’t fenced in.

    • Tinyfaeri

      November 19, 2013 at 2:56 pm

      I’m surprised you would let them play at a house with a pool at all. Because gates can be left open, latches can fail, and you don’t necessarily know how closely the parents will be watching the kids while they play in or around the pool.

      A pool with a fence around it is no different from an unloaded gun locked in a safe with a combo lock. Some scary pool-related stats for you:

      -Each day in the United States, nine people drown.
      -For each death caused by drowning, there are 1-4 nonfatal submersion accidents serious enough for the victim to be hospitalized.
      -Drowning is the second leading cause of accidental injury-related death among children ages 1 to 14.
      -Drowning is the leading cause of accidental injury-related death among children ages 1 to 4.

    • Maria Guido

      November 19, 2013 at 2:58 pm

      Well then I guess I’d have to be there for the play date.

    • Eve Vawter

      November 19, 2013 at 2:56 pm

      What, I have a pool and it has a fence BUT you can get to my pool from my back door so like that part isn;t fenced so your kids can;t come over booooooo

    • Kay_Sue

      November 19, 2013 at 4:41 pm

      I don’t typically like toddlers besides mine at my home without supervision anyway. One toddler at a time is about the max I can handle. 😉

    • Maria Guido

      November 19, 2013 at 5:14 pm

      Haha! That’s a sane rule!

    • Angela

      November 19, 2013 at 5:00 pm

      I don’t like guns either. I personally wish that private citizens could not have them. But my child only has 1 friend whose parents do not own guns. Every birthday party my son has ever been invited to attend has been in a home with guns. That’s the reality of living in an area where the majority of people own guns. And as much as I don’t like the idea of sending him to a home where guns are kept I can’t imagine telling him he can’t attend any parties or ever play at a friend’s house unless I’m there breathing down his neck, especially as he gets older. I think that if you are serious about this rule then you need to move somewhere where your son will have more options.

    • Maria Guido

      November 19, 2013 at 5:15 pm

      You are totally right. I’m not comfortable living here.

    • Edify

      November 19, 2013 at 5:43 pm

      Maria, move here to Oz. We wouldn’t even dream of a need to ask these questions. And we have lots of wine.

    • James

      March 25, 2014 at 12:25 am

      Yeah like someone else said…move to Australia, in Aus firearms owners have to complete compulsory firearms safety education and by law they have to store firearms in a gun safe with ammo stored separate with bolts removed and or trigger locks installed depending on whether the firearm utilises bolt action or not. I personally have a class 1-2 cat A,B,C,D,H rated gun safe for the firearms themselves and a class 1 cat A,B gun safe for ammunition and a residential conceale keypad safe which I store a combination key store box in with all keys to the gun safes and locker which contains other dangerous tools like knifes, baseball bats,hammers etc etc on top of that every single safe and locker is monitored by CCTV and security alarm systems in a windowless room that only me and one other adult(mum) have a key to access said room.

    • Kay_Sue

      November 19, 2013 at 4:49 pm

      We truly believe that responsibility is the flipside of every right we are granted as American citizens.

  14. NicknamesAreDull

    November 19, 2013 at 2:33 pm

    This bothers me because I have guns. They’re in our closet, in a locked safe. They closet door is also locked. My daughter’s playdates should never be in my room, and they certainly don’t have a key to my closet and know the combo/have a key to my gun safe. Unless my husband and I are using the guns, they’re locked up.If we’re hosting a playdate, we aren’t using the guns.

    When parents ask me how I store my guns, I have no problem showing them. I take them upstairs,unlock our closet door, unlock the gun safe. I show them that 80% of our guns have trigger locks, the ammo is stored at the top in a case (and I can’t even reach it, I need a stool). The guns that don’t have trigger locks are either in their own cases, that are locked, or BB guns. I tell them that the only time a gun is out is if we are cleaning it, and it stays in our bedroom. My daughter has never seen our guns, and knows that they aren’t to play with. I have no problem with people asking, if they’re respectful.

    Frankly, if any parent wouldn’t let their child play in my home, because I own guns (regardless of the fact that they’re 100% safe), I don’t want my daughter playing with them because that’s closed minded, and I don’t want my kid around that.

    • Mikster

      November 19, 2013 at 3:17 pm

      Please be careful showing people where your guns are stored. In my area, burglaries and home invasions target guns as one of the main items. If someone is impressed with your arsenal and talks about it to the wrong person, you may be jeopardizing your own family needlessly.

    • NicknamesAreDull

      November 19, 2013 at 5:03 pm

      Thank you for your concern, but I live in a safe area and I don’t give the neighborhood tours of my bedroom. I’ve mentioned in previous articles that my husband is in the military, so we do live on a base, and there are safety measures in that alone. I’ve also been shooting for many years, and I can (and have) defend myself if I need to.

    • Annona

      November 19, 2013 at 5:08 pm

      That happened to our neighbor. He showed his girlfriend’s son his gun cabinet, the kid went and bragged to some little thug shits at his school that he wanted to impress, the little shits broke in and took the guns. They got caught and he got them back, but it could have been much worse. Street gangs where we live are big into stealing guns, and they often use underage kids to do it for them because the penalties are less for them. You don’t ever really know anybody, unfortunately.

  15. anon87

    November 19, 2013 at 2:36 pm

    If I was the parent who owned the guns, I wouldn’t be offended in the least by being asked about storage/safety of the guns, as long as it was said respectfully. In this life there are so many things within households that can injure/kill you. Pools, knives, guns, poison/cleaning chemicals. Obviously it is a bit unreasonable to go through a checklist of household dangers with the other parents, but to me, guns is a big one. When the day comes that I have another child over to my house to play with my own child, I will expect questions about my house, and will probably volunteer the information to help put the other parents’ mind at ease.

    • JadePanda

      November 19, 2013 at 2:39 pm

      Exactly. I am 100% comfortable with ensuring a child’s parents that our gun is secured, as I would ask any other caretaker the same questions.

  16. Aja Jackson

    November 19, 2013 at 2:39 pm

    I think you would be better off just not letting your kids spend time in houses with families that you don’t know well enough that you don’t feel comfortable asking that question. I’m not saying this to be facetious, it’s just that whether or not you have a gun in the home is just one question among 100 that you should probably be asking of someone you’re about to entrust your child to, and not the most important. What about, who else will be at the house with the child? Is anyone visiting possibly a sex offender? Do you have matches or lighters in plain view? Do you have any standing bodies of water anywhere close? A potentially violent dog? Do you know CPR? Not to mention, you would be surprised at the number or husbands who keep guns somewhere in the home that the wives don’t know about, so you also have to make sure you’re asking the right person.

    I am a gun owner and don’t think it’s wrong to ask, it’s just that I don’t know that the question alone is doing you any good. Better off to teach your child about gun safety and don’t leave him with people you don’t know and trust until he’s older.

    • Maria Guido

      November 19, 2013 at 2:45 pm

      You are absolutely right about this.

  17. Alicia Kiner

    November 19, 2013 at 2:47 pm

    Teach your children that guns are not to be played with when over at someone’s house. Period. As long as what’s going on is legal, you have no say in what goes on in someone’s home. Yes, it’s your son, I get you want to protect him and I totally understand that instinct. But, you may piss some people off.

    We personally do not own any guns at this point. But, both sets of my kids’ grandparents do, and my kids know they don’t touch those guns, they aren’t toys. When they get a little older, they will learn how to care for guns, and how to handle them, simply because they spend a lot of time in homes around guns. Maybe taking a safety course would help you figure out how to talk to your son about being safe if he were to be in a situation where guns were present. Taking a course would not require you to own a gun, nor would it necessarily change your mind.

  18. Guest

    November 19, 2013 at 2:50 pm

    Ok, brief background. I grew up around guns, none were locked up. There were at minimum three loaded weapons at all times. We knew where all the weapons were and the additional ammo. From the time I was three, I knew how to break them down, clean them, and put them pack together. I was allowed to shoot the smaller ones. But, we knew you don’t point it at something unless you intend to shoot it, etc. Guns weren’t a mystery to my myself or my brothers. We knew you only touched them with permission and supervision and we knew if it wasn’t ours don’t touch it. By the age of 10 or so, we were trusted to take the shotguns and rifles out on our own. I understand that most people don’t have my level of comfort with firearms. If someone comes over I will generally ask ( they are put up not laying around). Or if someone asks me, I will lock all of them up. I may think you’re a little paranoid, but it is your child and I will respect your rules. The easiest way is to just to ask. Some people may scoff, if so then don’t allow your child there. They have a right to own firearms, but you don’t have to let your child play there. For the most part, I’ve found that people are reasonable and will lock them up.

    • Guest

      November 19, 2013 at 2:57 pm

      I am replying to myself because I just thought of something that people tend to overlook. Be aware of bows. They are generally large and cumbersome and have a draw that makes it difficult for smaller children. But, they are equally dangerous. Compound, cross, long, or recurve.

    • pineapplegrasss

      November 19, 2013 at 7:38 pm

      Um.. ok. At 3 you could break down and clean and reassemble a gun?

  19. Tinyfaeri

    November 19, 2013 at 2:50 pm

    That is possibly the most skewed set of multiple choice answers I’ve ever seen. Not everyone who owns a firearm is all “go ‘Mericuh”.

  20. Mikster

    November 19, 2013 at 2:51 pm

    You should ask. Even though we are responsible gun-owners, I’d feel uncomfortable having any children of anti-gun parents in my home anyway. I think *I* should start weeding them out.

    • Eve Vawter

      November 19, 2013 at 2:58 pm

      I’m super anti gun but I think responsible gun owners can have them if they are locked up and I AM COMING OVER ANYWAY

    • Mikster

      November 19, 2013 at 3:07 pm

      LOL. They are locked up, but I’m not sure you’d want your children hearing about our kids’ latest markmanship stats 😉 And, to be honest, if anyone started on anti-gun rights rhetoric, they wouldn’t be asked back. My house, my rules. 🙂

    • Simone

      November 19, 2013 at 7:29 pm

      Yeah, that’s the spirit. That’s the ideology that ensures Merica has the highest rate of death by firearms in the world, and the highest rate of imprisonment in the world, and numerous other, equally unedifying ‘world firsts’. My house, my rules. Love my guns, fuck the rest of you.

    • Eve Vawter

      November 20, 2013 at 6:03 am

      Someone need to stitch this on a pillow. . My house, my rules. Love my guns, fuck the rest of you. LOL

    • Mikster

      November 20, 2013 at 7:51 am

      You’re only *fucked* if you are breaking into/invading my home. But don’t worry- if you are so anti-gun, and I see YOUR house being invaded while you are home, I won’t come to your defense. @@
      And, BTW- it’s not responsible gun-owners that are killing people, nor imprisoned-.

    • Simone

      November 20, 2013 at 7:15 pm

      Have you done any research into this? Nine times out of ten, it’s innocent people who are shot, not ‘bad guys’ breaking into people’s homes. I don’t need you to come to my defense. I live in a country where we don’t all have the need to own guns, and my home has never been invaded or burgled, I have never been attacked, I have never needed to own a gun and you know what? I bet you’ve never needed your gun either.

    • Mikster

      November 20, 2013 at 7:28 pm

      Why don’t we hear more about these public shootings?
      • A 1997 high school shooting in Pearl, Miss., was halted by the school’s vice principal after he retrieved the Colt .45 he kept in his truck.
      • A 1998 middle school shooting ended when a man living next door heard gunfire and apprehended the shooter with his shotgun.
      • A 2002 terrorist attack at an Israeli school was quickly stopped by an armed teacher and a school guard.
      • A 2002 law school shooting in Grundy, Va., came to an abrupt conclusion when students carrying firearms confronted the shooter.
      • A 2007 mall shooting in Ogden, Utah, ended when an armed off-duty police officer intervened.
      • A 2009 workplace shooting in Houston, Texas, was halted by two coworkers who carried concealed handguns.
      • A 2012 church shooting in Aurora, Colo., was stopped by a member of the congregation carrying a gun.
      • At the recent mall shooting in Portland, Ore., the gunman took his own life minutes after being confronted by a shopper carrying a concealed weapon.

      Winnemucca, Nev., 2008: Ernesto Villagomez opens fire in a crowded restaurant; concealed carry permit-holder shoots him dead. Total dead: Two. (I’m excluding the shooters’ deaths in these examples.)

      Santee, Calif., 2001: Student begins shooting his classmates — as well as the “trained campus supervisor”; an off-duty cop who happened to be bringing his daughter to school that day points his gun at the shooter, holding him until more police arrive. Total dead: Two.

      Appalachian School of Law, 2002: Crazed immigrant shoots the dean and a professor, then begins shooting students; as he goes for more ammunition, two armed students point their guns at him, allowing a third to tackle him. Total dead: Three.

      By contrast, the shootings in gun-free zones invariably result in far higher casualty figures — Sikh temple, Oak Creek, Wis. (six dead); Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, Va. (32 dead); Columbine High School, Columbine, Colo. (12 dead); Amish school, Lancaster County, Pa. (five little girls killed); public school, Craighead County, Ark. (five killed, including four little girls).

      • December 2012, San Antonio, California: Man Attempts to Open Fire on Crowd at Movie Theater, Armed Off-Duty Sergeant Drops Him

      • Palms Internet Cafe July 2012: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=gBYSau64LOc Internet Cafe Shooting. CCW Prevails.Assailants chased out by man with CCW

      http://dailycaller.com/2011/09/28/gun-crime-continues-to-decrease-despite-increase-in-gun-ownership/
      “The FBI recently released its Crime in The United States statistics for 2010. Overall, murders in the U.S. have decreased steadily since 2006, dropping from 15,087 to 12,996. Firearms murders — which made up 67 percent of all murders in the U.S. in 2010 — have followed this trend, decreasing by 14 percent.
      At the same time that firearms murders were dropping, gun sales were surging. In 2009, FBI background checks for guns increased by 30 percent over the previous year, while firearms sales in large retail outlets increased by almost 40 percent. The number of applications for concealed carry permits jumped across the country as well.”

      “As for the second half of the twentieth century, and especially its last quarter, a study comparing the number of guns to murder rates found that during the 25-year period from 1973 to 1997, the number of handguns owned by Americans increased 160% while the number of all firearms rose 103%. Yet over that period, the murder rate declined 27.7%.125 It continued to decline in the years 1998, 1999, and 2000, despite the addition in each year of two to three million handguns and approximately five million firearms of all kinds. By the end of 2000, the total American gunstock stood at well over 260 million—951.1 guns for every 1,000 Americans—but the murder rate had returned to
      the comparatively low level prior to the increases of the mid-1960s to mid-1970s period.126”
      “In sum, the data for the decades since the end of World War II also fails to bear out the more guns equal more death mantra. The per capita accumulated stock of guns has increased, yet there has been no correspondingly consistent increase in either total violence or gun violence. The evidence is consistent
      with the hypothesis that gun possession levels have little impact on violence rates.127” http://www.law.harvard.edu/students/orgs/jlpp/Vol30_No2_KatesMauseronline.pdf

    • Angela

      November 19, 2013 at 11:34 pm

      I’m pretty anti-gun but I don’t see this as a reason our kids couldn’t be friends. I would not be particularly troubled about him hearing about your kids’ target practice as long as you would be willing to honor my request to keep your guns safely stored in his presence. Just because I believe something doesn’t mean that I want to raise my son in a bubble where he’s never exposed to any ideas other than my own. I believe in explaining what I believe and why and then allowing him to form his own conclusions. At age 4 there’s no way I’ll allow him to handle a gun but by the time he’s 12 or so I would start leaving it up to him. I’ll never take him to a shooting range but I’d let him with my parents or other adult I trust. It’s not what I would choose for him but I believe that the more you try to force your ideas on your kid the more they’ll struggle to get free.

    • Mikster

      November 20, 2013 at 7:58 am

      And that request would be honored. Also, we don’t let other kids play with airsoft guns in the garage (we have targets set up) with our younger son without permission of their parents, and then either my husband or I have to be supervising, and protective eye gear is provided.

    • GunOwnerInFL

      November 19, 2013 at 3:37 pm

      We keep ours locked up, and have no intentions of telling our children. It is our own personal right and its for safety measures. It comes out when we decide to go to the gun range and practice. I am a great and fun gal, and I don’t mess around with the gun that we have. Everything I do with it is absolutely serious and safe. Learning how to handle it from a pro and getting comfortable is better to me than feeling scared of the gun itself. I took control and made myself learn it, and now I enjoy it.

    • elle

      November 19, 2013 at 3:01 pm

      But I don’t think just asking about guns and making sure they are secure should be that offensive to you should it? I admit I am extremely uncomfortable around guns but if my son was going to someone’s house who had guns as long as they were secure it wouldn’t bother me. So why does someone asking if guns are stored safely and securely bother you?

    • Mikster

      November 19, 2013 at 3:05 pm

      I think the author’s bias was pretty clear: she said her children would not be permitted to play in a house with guns at all, and her multiple choice answers insulting. As for someone who inquired if we had them and how they were secured- no problem whatsoever. I will let you know exactly we do have guns and that the guns and ammo are locked in separate locations. But you are NOT going to get a tour or description of where, due the home burglaries/invasions that target gun theft options. I will understand if that is not specific enough for someone and they decline, no hard feelings. But if you are rabidly anti-gun, well, our kids aren’t going to play together. We have vastly different outlooks and I doubt you’d want your kid hearing ours either.

    • elle

      November 19, 2013 at 3:22 pm

      I know next to nothing about guns….though now that it is pointed out I guess it does make a lot of sense at people would try and steal them. Seriously very gun naive here and always lived in very safe neighborhoods where (knock on wood) even breakins were unheard of so that thought never crossed my mind. I don’t think I’ll ever ask to look out of respect. I guess it would depend on how well I knew the parents/family if I would trust them. And I would never describe myself as Antigun though I would never personally own one…..I always respect your right to own them!

    • TngldBlue

      November 19, 2013 at 3:26 pm

      Those answers are pretty derogatory. Way to stereotype gun owners. The funny thing is something like 50 million people in the US own guns so chances are pretty good the author personally knows many people that have firearms but she isn’t aware of it-the gun owners I know don’t exactly broadcast it.

    • alice

      November 19, 2013 at 3:50 pm

      this. i think a lot of the flack that maria is getting is for what some of us perceive as a real narrow-mindedness on the issue. reinforced by those poll questions.

      a lot of people don’t know that my husband has a handgun in our house. should we be made to feel guilty and irresponsible for not announcing that fact to everyone who crosses our threshold? of course not.

      and if a family member or close friend, who normally trusts us implicitly with the safety of their children, discovered we had a gun and suddenly declared our house “offlimits by general principle” i would be sad.

    • Edify

      November 19, 2013 at 7:15 pm

      Totally get what you are saying but at the same time, isn’t it also good to let your kids spend time around people with vastly different outlooks? I don’t have to be comfortable with everyone’s views on everything, but I appreciate giving my child an opportunity to see other peoples viewpoints and exposing them to then think freely and critically where they see fit. The hurdle to cross here is that one parent has fears for their child’s physical safety whilst the other is ideological

    • Mikster

      November 20, 2013 at 7:47 am

      I do that when I take them to church and send them to PSR (Parish School of Religion), LOL.
      I see your point, but this is where I draw the line: you may not have guns, you may be uncomfortable and never plan to have them. But, if you are rabidly anti-gun, feel they and their owners and 2nd Amendment supported are the root of all modern evil, I would not want to associate with those people, nor want my children under their influence, KWIM? Another example would be: I’d let them associate with children of any faith- but if it was a rabid Southern Baptist (or radical Muslim, or any other religion that actively condemns other faiths for that matter) that condemned my own spiritually held beliefs (pagan) or infringed on those of others, Nope- not an influence I care to indulge, nor expose my children to. My kids are WELL aware of the anti-gun sentiment- schools and media are making their biases quite apparent.

      I give my children freedom to think critically and we discuss all sorts of issues. I’ve always told them, they can adopt different beliefs, but I would expect them to be able to articulate a defense of them appropriate to their age and development.
      So, in closing, if it’s a family where guns are vilified, and people are being mocked as “Muricans” for owning firearms or supporting the right to have them- why in the world do you think I’d invite those people or their children into our home and the lives of my children?

  21. Cathy

    November 19, 2013 at 2:57 pm

    Oh nice choices. Clearly you view anyone who owns a gun as some kind of hick Neanderthal who cleans them at the breakfast table. Get a grip.

    • Simone

      November 19, 2013 at 7:27 pm

      When dealing with items that keep on killing people, catering to the lowest common denominator is an unfortunate necessity. Do you understand this sentence? I can explain it more simply if you need me to.

    • Annona

      November 19, 2013 at 8:27 pm

      Wow, way to win people over to your way of thinking, you condescending twat. Do you need me to tell you what “condescending” means?

    • Simone

      November 20, 2013 at 3:01 am

      No. I know what it means 🙂

    • Seriously

      November 20, 2013 at 9:04 am

      So it’s an inanimate object that picks itself up and kills people?

  22. TngldBlue

    November 19, 2013 at 3:07 pm

    I wouldn’t have a problem if a parent inquired if we own guns and how we secure them. I would also hope they’d ask if we have a pool and how it’s secured, where we keep our cleaning supplies, if we lock up our matches and lighters, if our window blinds are child proofed, and if our yard is fenced so the kids can’t run into the street. Because it’s much more likely a child will be killed or injured by one of those items than a firearm. Fact is, when we let our children go to someone else’s home we don’t know what kind of people might be there, how safe the home is, or how much attention will be paid to the children. So even though personally I’d be worried about the risks that are way more common and dangerous, all a parent can do is ask and then trust their instincts when they have the answer. And if this is something that is a personal non negotiable, it’s your kid!

  23. WantonWhimsy

    November 19, 2013 at 3:20 pm

    I grew up in one of those communities where most everyone had guns, the kids grew up around them and we all got hunters safety fairly young (and the 1st day of hunting season was a school holiday) but I still knew too many kids who behaved recklessly (which, unfortunately did include fatalities) with them despite being taught gun safety…. familiarity breeds contempt and kids are just so impulsive/thinking they are badass. I hate the arguement that if you teach kids to respect guns they won’t ever do anything stupid with them.
    I won’t have a gun in my house, don’t hunt don’t need it. My child’s in-home daycare did have hunting rifles but they were upfront about it and showed me where they guns were stored and the ammo was in a totally different part of the house, they also had a pool but it had a very heavy duty fence and she didn’t let any kid in it until they had passed a swimming test and were of a certain age. We loved that daycare. 😀 But yeah, pools, guns and people talking/texting on their phone while driving are all my greatest concerns. I’ve been playing with the idea of teaching him a rude song to shriek if he’s in a car and the driver starts using their phone, because I find people lie / dismiss that concern more than any others.

    • Savannah61

      November 19, 2013 at 3:34 pm

      I grew up in a similar community with very similar thoughts on guns. This year on opening weekend of deer season, a high school aged kid was shot in the shoulder by one of his hunting companions. They thought he was a deer. He required extensive surgery, but is now in stable condition. This illustrates your point pretty well, I think.

  24. Evelyn

    November 19, 2013 at 3:21 pm

    Its hard for me to grasp this one as I live in a country with some of the strictest gun controls in the world. The idea of a house with a gun in it is an alien concept to me, not even our coppers carry guns. Because of our strict gun laws and an anti gun culture (the public backed tightening of already strict rules to almost total gun control after a man shot kids in a school in the mid 90s) we have the lowest gun fatality rates in the world, but before we get preachy here that just means we go for knife crimes instead. There is no way I could stop my kids playing in a house with a knife in it, if there isn’t a sharp knife in the kitchen that implies a family that has raised a kid without ever cooking a proper meal for them.

    As the mother of kids of school age I am wary of putting up barriers between my kids and the rest of the class. If you are making it clear to the parents that your kid can’t visit them because you don’t trust a family with a gun to keep your child safe (and that is what you are saying, although as someone with no contact with guns I do understand) that will put the parents’ backs up. If offended they could pass their resentment of you to their child with respect to their own. It is hard enough for kids to fit in and make friends without their parents’ disagreements getting in the way.

    But despite that, I do understand, I find the idea of a gun in a house with kids horrifying.

    • whiteroses

      November 19, 2013 at 3:23 pm

      Yes. This. Australia (and I’m assuming that’s where you’re from) also has a massive gang violence problem. If it isn’t one thing, it’s another. No guns doesn’t equal no violence.

    • Evelyn

      November 19, 2013 at 3:24 pm

      England, but as nations we have similar attitudes on a lot of things.

    • whiteroses

      November 19, 2013 at 3:26 pm

      Ah. Ok. I only ask because my husband is Australian and has a similar attitude towards guns. So I made a bit of a logical leap. Sorry 🙂

    • .

      November 19, 2013 at 5:31 pm

      The gang violence in Australia happens with illegal firearms. There is a shooting in Sydney almost every day related to gangs. A few weeks ago a 13 year old girl was accidentally shot in one of these incidents. It’s scary and I’m glad I don’t live in the areas where this is happening. The gun laws might not stop organised crime but they do stop the general population from owning handguns and I certainly feel safer for it.

    • whiteroses

      November 19, 2013 at 8:49 pm

      And part of the reason why massive gun control probably wouldn’t work here is 1) the criminals would still manage to hang onto them, thus only punishing law-abiding citizens like my dad who has never used a gun illegally in his life; 2) the US isn’t an island; 3) it’s written into our Constitution.

      I don’t feel unsafe knowing that some people own guns. At all. Mainly because, at least in my area of the county, nobody really goes around waving them at each other.

    • Edify

      November 19, 2013 at 7:25 pm

      I think saying Australia has a massive gang violence problem is over stating things. There are pockets of violence and generally, as in for instance the Melbourne underground shootings, they only really targeted each other.

      Where I live, I couldn’t say I’m aware of any gang situations and the only violence I’ve ever witnessed to (2 in my entire 35 years in different cities) have involved alcohol and fists.

    • whiteroses

      November 19, 2013 at 8:40 pm

      Ok. So- no gun violence. But there’s still crime involving knives.

      My point? If someone wants to hurt you, they will.

    • Edify

      November 19, 2013 at 10:07 pm

      Correct, if someone wants to hurt you they will, or at least attempt to. And correct there is crime involving knives and other weapons. I don’t know if that is statistically higher than knives in any other country or any other weapon. But that is most likely to be someone you know, often in your own home or near it and not an indication of some sort of massive gang problem.

      In a country with more relaxed gun laws and culture, my fear would be more the accidental shooting in someone’s home with a weapon that wasn’t stored properly more than the fear my kid would befriend the sociopath that was out to deliberately hurt someone. But maybe that’s just me viewing it through the prism of the society I live in.

    • whiteroses

      November 19, 2013 at 10:27 pm

      And that’s why I am planning on teaching my son that gun safety is nothing to be trifled with. Though- all he really has to do is look at his great-uncle as an example of what an unattended gun can do.

      I suppose I say “massive” because it seemed like I heard about biker gangs A LOT when I lived in Australia- more than I’d ever heard about them in the States. I don’t live near a particularly safe area, but I heard more about gang crime when I lived in AU than I ever did in the US. That’s probably why I connect it with “massive”.

      Responsible gun owners store their guns properly, and it wouldn’t even occur to most of them to leave their guns lying around where kids can get them. Accidental gun deaths happen, sure, but statistically you are far more likely to die by heart disease in the US than you are by an accidental shooting.

    • Edify

      November 19, 2013 at 10:57 pm

      Biker gangs, I see where you are coming from now. The state governments have been doing a lot of legislating to try to control them and I think that’s related to a lot of different criminal activity, not just violence. Drugs, prostitution etc. these are also where I would expect to see illegal firearms. But they are only pockets of society and unless you are involved, you generally aren’t likely to be at any real risk from them.
      I would say I heard about it 99% more than my life would bring me to encounter bikies and I lived in Adelaide which I think had the first government to start legislating against them.

  25. Givemeabreak

    November 19, 2013 at 3:22 pm

    I think your poll is tacky. “I love guns, go ‘Mericuh.” Really?

    Maybe the parents of the children your child is going to play with should ask you if your child is stupid enough to think that a gun is a toy? Or dumb enough to try and get into a locked cabinet?
    What about children of law enforcement? They keep their service weapons in their homes. But that is obviously a family that is completely unacceptable for your child to play with.
    Not all of us with guns are imbeciles. Not all of us are toothless rednecks that run around shooting in the air yelling GO MERICUH!!!!
    I enjoy your articles. This … was just … rediculous.
    I truly hope you never have the need to wish you’d owned a firearm.

    • elle

      November 19, 2013 at 3:27 pm

      I wasn’t a big fan of the poll and I have made my viewpoint about guns very clear in other comments but if a child had never ever been around guns how are they “stupid” to not know it’s a toy? I personally do not let my son play with toy guns but others might….I also think just because you are a police/serviceman doesn’t make you infallible to improper storage

    • Givemeabreak

      November 19, 2013 at 3:29 pm

      Is it just me or is it no longer a parents responsability to teach their children that they don’t touch sharp things, they don’t play with matches and they never assume a gun is a toy, EVER. Her article was not about proper storage, it was that no home with guns inside it, wether stored properly or not, is acceptable for her or her family.

    • elle

      November 19, 2013 at 3:32 pm

      You are right and I feel Maria’s viewpoint is too extreme and I have always taught my Son no touching but kid are kids…they do stupid things like touch anyway…..

    • Givemeabreak

      November 19, 2013 at 3:40 pm

      “they do stupid things like touch anyway” I have a cure for this. Watch Bambi with your kids. Explain that a GUN is what killed Bambi’s Mom.

    • elle

      November 19, 2013 at 3:48 pm

      That’s….actually an ok suggestion but I don’t think he is there yet he is only 2. But I’m putting it in my back pocket for later.

    • Givemeabreak

      November 19, 2013 at 3:50 pm

      Ok, so I am a bit hardcore about gun safety, I really am. And I say this from the bottom of my heart. No child is ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever too young for gun safety. Start it like anything else, guns are not a toy and if you point a gun at something it makes it gone forever. My five year old could tell you that guns make things dead and you can never ever ever ever ever touch or look at one with out an old grownup.

    • elle

      November 19, 2013 at 3:59 pm

      This is a very enlightening conversation and even though we don’t keep guns in our nor does our family I think we may need to start talking gun safety…..but I still don’t think I’m ready to show him bambi quite yet.

    • Givemeabreak

      November 19, 2013 at 4:28 pm

      Please do 🙂 If your child is old enough to be told that knives, glass etc, is sharp, then he is old enough to be told that guns can be dangerous.

    • Annona

      November 19, 2013 at 5:02 pm

      Yeah, my dad is a gun collector and hunter and competitive shooter…so we learned very early what guns are and that they are not for touching. Once we were old enough to learn to shoot, we learned; seeing what a gun can do to a soda bottle will forever divest any child of any illusion that a gun is a fun toy to play with.

    • pineapplegrasss

      November 19, 2013 at 7:16 pm

      Or a watermelon. My husband literally blew up a watermelon, red guts flying everywhere, big loud bang, a .45 or something. Then told both my (little at the time) girls ‘that’s your sister’s head if you ever touch my gun’ or something equally freaky. That story sounds kind of bad now, but it really made an impression on those girls at the time and they still remember ‘that time dad shot the watermelon’ and they definitely understand what a gun could do.

    • Maria Guido

      November 19, 2013 at 3:39 pm

      Well, it is a play date, so my child isn’t going to be the only one there. What about the other kids?

    • Givemeabreak

      November 19, 2013 at 3:43 pm

      Ok, so it’s not the others kids’ parents responsability to teach them guns are dangerous, matches start fires, and knives are sharp??? I don’t know how other people do play dates, but at our house and with our friends, it’s generally not anywhere near where all our firearms/bows are stored or unsupervised.

    • Givemeabreak

      November 19, 2013 at 3:45 pm

      I pray that if you EVER took your child to a playdate and there was a hillbilly running around with a gun treating it like a toy shooting in the air screaming MERICUHHHHH, that you’d hightale it out of there. I mean honestly, I’d do the same thing.. but to teach your kids that everyone with a gun in their house is BAD. Not OK.

    • Eve Vawter

      November 19, 2013 at 3:46 pm

      I need a gif of this

    • Maria Guido

      November 19, 2013 at 4:11 pm

      Who said anything about teaching my kid that anyone with a gun in their house is bad?

    • Givemeabreak

      November 19, 2013 at 4:17 pm

      What do you think you are telling your children when you say, oh you can’t play at Billy’s house because his Mommy/Daddy has guns. Seriously, if someone said that to me when I was a kid and I didn’t know what a gun is, I’d assume the worst. Because, if there is someone that my parents don’t want me playing with, it’s becuase they are bad people.

    • Maria Guido

      November 19, 2013 at 5:13 pm

      I don’t plan on including my toddler in those conversations – but I do understand what you are saying.

    • Simone

      November 19, 2013 at 7:24 pm

      You seem to think in black and white, and also misspell common words.

    • Guest

      November 20, 2013 at 8:29 am

    • Simone

      November 20, 2013 at 7:11 pm

      No, I just try to use my native language correctly to indicate that I have a brain that works well.

    • Givemeabreak

      November 20, 2013 at 8:31 am

      ha, so very sorry I made a mistake, for shame on me!

    • Allen

      November 19, 2013 at 6:11 pm

      I think it’s really important for parents to teach basic gun safety, even if they don’t own guns, themselves. But the problem is, not all kids are equally good at absorbing rules and safety messages at a young age. When kids are really young, they might be able to listen when their parents explain things like not touching guns or not going anywhere with a stranger, but they may not be able to fully understand the logic behind the rule and when actually put in a situation where they’re exposed to the danger, they might not react the way their parents told them to. I believe there have been multiple experiments where kids who had been taught not to talk to strangers or play with guns did just that when experimenters put them in a staged scenario. Young kids are unpredictable, and it doesn’t always have anything to do with them being “dumb” or the parents not doing their job. Also, I would imagine that a child who doesn’t grow up around guns might take longer to start internalizing safety messages because it’s all theoretical–they don’t get chances to actually witness adults handling guns responsibly.

      I do think that if guns are securely stored, then there isn’t as much of a risk. But until a child is older, I don’t know if I would put a ton of faith in just telling them not to play with guns.

    • whiteroses

      November 19, 2013 at 3:29 pm

      Proper storage is absolutely, absolutely vital. And if a law enforcement officer is improperly storing their weapon, that’s not a person I’d want out on the streets.

      To be honest, a lot of toy guns look incredibly realistic. Unless a kid knows better- that doesn’t make them stupid.

    • Givemeabreak

      November 19, 2013 at 3:31 pm

      If I had a parent ask me if we kept firearms in our home I would inform them yes, we do, and they are kept in a safe in our bedroom, where no child is permitted to play and our amo is kept in a seperate location in another locked box.

    • GunOwnerInFL

      November 19, 2013 at 3:31 pm

      I have to agree here. Im an educated New Yorker so it was hard for me to accept having a gun in the house. My hubby and I discussed it, especially with all the crap going on in the world and living here. We go to gun range, we did our training with experts such as ex cops and security, my hubby’s got his concealed weapons license and Im okay with that. The truth to the matter is, it’s either the criminal that goes down, or my family and I, and I am not going anywhere! We have a safe that requires our fingerprints only, and nothing else. In fact, I told a friend of mine that we own one and she wasn’t phased by it.

      If someone asked me, I would tell them the truth and show them where we kept it if they felt comfortable, and if they didnt, well then toodles. It wouldnt bother me in the least honestly. Everyone’s got their own opinion about it, but in this house, its a means for safety along with our security alarm. You can never be too careful!

    • Eve Vawter

      November 19, 2013 at 3:32 pm

      I made her say Mericuh because it is MY FAVORITE OF ALL TIME

    • Givemeabreak

      November 19, 2013 at 3:33 pm

      No, Eve, SAY IT ISN’T SO!!!!

    • Eve Vawter

      November 19, 2013 at 3:34 pm

      No srsly, her poll was all 1: yes 2: No and I was all THIS IS PUTTING ME TO SLEEP but then I had candy and now I feel better.

    • Givemeabreak

      November 19, 2013 at 3:48 pm

      WHAAAAAAAAAT!!!! I <3 candy SO hard. Seriously took my Mama out to Culvers to celebrate her last chemo and 60th birthday today and we had candy filled cement mixers.

    • elle

      November 19, 2013 at 3:49 pm

      Getting a culvers in utah was so fantastic! Love that place

    • Givemeabreak

      November 19, 2013 at 3:52 pm

      marshmallow, peanut butter, almond. Best mixer trio EVERRRRRR

    • Eve Vawter

      November 19, 2013 at 3:49 pm

      That is soooo sweet. Happy birthday day to your mom and congrats to her on the chemo. UGH, that must have been hard for her and you. That’s some straight up bravery there

    • Givemeabreak

      November 19, 2013 at 3:52 pm

      She’s a tough broad 🙂 If she’s made it this long putting up with my Dad, and two brothers… and maybe a little bit of me. Cancer never had a chance!

    • elle

      November 19, 2013 at 3:54 pm

      Um that is adorable! And you really do seem like an awesome person. Also love how seriously you take gun safety!

    • Tinyfaeri

      November 19, 2013 at 3:34 pm

      The way it’s phrased, you might as well have gone with “I think guns are evil and no one should ever have one” or “I love guns and think all kittens and puppies should die” as the only two options and called it a day.

    • Eve Vawter

      November 19, 2013 at 3:35 pm

      I think I told her to include the puppy and kitten one but she basically never listens to me, ever

    • Tinyfaeri

      November 19, 2013 at 3:36 pm

      You could have added a 4th option…

    • Eve Vawter

      November 19, 2013 at 3:36 pm

      Hey I told her to add like 10 but noooooo

    • Andrea

      November 19, 2013 at 3:51 pm

      She’s paying you back for making her write about the vagina cakes. I told you she was being pushed over the edge.

    • Givemeabreak

      November 19, 2013 at 3:54 pm

      I need to stay off here cause I sporadically laugh out loud and I think my coworkers (all old single middle aged men) are starting to think I’m loosing my mind and menopausing or somesuch.

    • Eve Vawter

      November 19, 2013 at 3:55 pm

      I’m pretty much the worst boss ever

    • Maria Guido

      November 19, 2013 at 4:06 pm

      Someone finally understands me.

    • Givemeabreak

      November 19, 2013 at 3:36 pm

      I’m just saying, we have guns in our home. We have a shooting range in my parents backyard. I have three children. 11, 5 and 1. My kids and their friends that come our home all know that guns are NOT a toy. I wish more people would sit down and properly educate that guns can kill. If a child can be taught not to play with a steak knife they can understand that guns are not toys.

    • Givemeabreak

      November 19, 2013 at 4:02 pm

      How bad would everyone freak if I posted a picture of my baby at his 1st birthday last week when my Daddy gave him his first rifle?
      But seriously, I wish it was a legal requirement to pass an IQ test to own guns, or have babies, or both.

    • Simone

      November 19, 2013 at 7:22 pm

      I couldn’t agree more.

    • AlbinoWino

      November 19, 2013 at 7:10 pm

      I don’t think anyone is disputing the fact that children should be taught that guns are not toys. The issue is more that as children, they can’t always be trusted. I was a very well behaved child but for years I snuck into my parents room and looked at our Christmas presents ahead of time. I was always told never to do this but I couldn’t resist and always managed to find them. My mom never even knew until I was an adult. In the scheme of things this wasn’t all that bad and it didn’t make me stupid. I bet the majority of those kids who are shot on accident had been taught gun safety. They just chose not to listen. I met a man whose son at the age of 12 went to the neighbor’s house where the neighbor showed him his father’s gun. The neighbor had training and unloaded the weapon. He forgot there was still a bullet in the chamber and shot the kid in the head. He died instantly. Any parent knows kids aren’t always going to listen so it’s up to the parents to take the rest of the necessary precautions.

    • Maria Guido

      November 20, 2013 at 4:48 pm

      I never called anyone an imbecile or a redneck. The poll wording wasn’t my choice – but your whole “is your child stupid enough” or “dumb enough” is pretty over-the-top. Not as creepy as your last sentence though, “I truly hope you never have the need to wish you’d owned a firearm.”
      Is it possible to disagree with someone without being that awful? My article was my honest opinion and I didn’t insult anyone. You took one word out of a poll at the bottom and used it as justification for a pretty fucked up attack. Who is being ridiculous?

  26. whiteroses

    November 19, 2013 at 3:24 pm

    My father is ex-military, and has what my husband refers to in his more tactful moments as an “arsenal”. Historic guns, modern guns, a crossbow, a longbow, three or four swords and at least two bayonets- mainly things my dad has picked up over the years and during his travels. There’s a reason my son is never allowed inside Granddaddy’s locked study, and also a reason why my father has three gun safes with combination locks. As my son and I currently live with my parents, my son is part of a gun-owning household. I’m also a gun owner. My son will be taught- when he is old enough- that guns are not playthings. All of my friends know that my father is a gun owner and that I am as well. Personally, I HOPE people ask me about how the guns and other weaponry in our house are stored. But as far as I know, my son has never, in his entire life, even seen a gun without an adult holding it. And he’s never been allowed to touch a gun either. He’s far too young to have the remotest understanding of what it can do. We don’t leave gun parts or bullets lying around and never will.

    Our guns and ammo are always kept locked in separate safes, and the guns are always unloaded unless they are actually being shot. Nobody besides my dad actually knows the combination. The other weapons are also stored in the gun safes.

    We are extremely careful about gun safety since my uncle accidentally shot himself at the age of six. Thankfully, he lived and has a perfectly normal life, but it changed the trajectory of the entire maternal side of my family. My uncle is a huge proponent of gun safety for obvious reasons.

    I would also ask this question- if you don’t know the parents of the kids that your kid plays with, why would you allow them to go to that home anyway?

  27. nikki753

    November 19, 2013 at 3:28 pm

    I think you need a fourth option *I ask and have an adult conversation and THEN I make a judgement. “My child is not playing in a home that has guns. Period.” Is a pretty harsh blanket statement. Then again, never having to have playdates at my house…hmmm… maybe I’m okay with that…

    Better than a blanket statement like that, perhaps you start now teaching your kids about safety. From my perspective, when guns are kind of fetishized, that’s what leads to kids sneaking to get a hold of them and playing with them when adults aren’t around. Take your kids to meet someone who is a safe owner – a shop, a range, a friend, and let them touch an unloaded gun and ask questions all they want with adults present. Then, talk to them about what to do if another child gets a gun out without an adult present. “See kid, that’s all they are. Not too thrilling, not too badass. Just a tool. But something with the potential to do something very bad so that’s the reason we don’t want you playing with them.”

    I grew up around a lot of guns. Like I once realized how sensational it would sound in mainstream media when they were reporting how many guns and how much ammo someone had in a home and I’m thinking “Psssshhh. That’s not much at all.” But, the rules were so ingrained in me, that even now, I feel weird holding a gun without my dad around (where’s my adult?!?). We were allowed to touch, hold, and shoot under strict supervision. But at the same time, if any of my friends had wanted to play with a gun at their house a) boring… what is cool is that whatever toy I don’t have at home and b) I would have run straight away to find an adult and c) I certainly would never have gone pawing through drawers in any of the adult areas anywhere because that’s freaking rude. I didn’t go in grownups’ bedrooms or snoop through garages.

  28. nikki753

    November 19, 2013 at 3:37 pm

    “Never point a gun, even unloaded, at anything you don’t want to destroy.” I just realized the wisdom in my parents phrasing it that way. To a kid, death is kind of such a foreign concept that it’s hard to impress them with “it could kill you or someone you love.” Destroy, on the other hand, I think you grasp a lot younger.

    Debate all you want, but the bottom line is that you should cover your bases. Will never have a gun in your home or let your kid be around them? Cover your bases anyways and teach safety. Don’t have a pool? Teach them to swim and that if anything falls in a friend’s pool, don’t worry about grownups getting pissed, ask them to get it out.

    I feel like half the dangerous stuff kids do stems from a fear of getting in trouble. Teach them that they’re not going to get in trouble for X,Y, or Z as long as they handle it the way you taught.

    • Givemeabreak

      November 19, 2013 at 3:46 pm

      I think I love you.

  29. Eve Vawter

    November 19, 2013 at 3:39 pm

    OH as long as we are confessing things! and people will get so mad AT ME ABOUT THIS, but if someone had a pitt bull or a few I would be scared of having my kids go over. 🙁 now you can flame me

    • elle

      November 19, 2013 at 3:45 pm

      Lol I agree! OMG am I a helicopter mom? Ok I don’t think I am but I always have been extremely safety conscious. And I live in utah so not a lot of people have pools but if they did I would be questioning about that as well. I also broke my wrist rollerblading in college and my son will never have rollerblades. Well he is only two I may change my mind on that but for now it is a hard no.

    • pineapplegrasss

      November 19, 2013 at 6:05 pm

      I live in Arizona and I own a pool, and this is a big fear of mine when my kids go to other peoples house, bc, its like really super hot here most of the time, and half the city owns pool. I am soso scared of my kids falling in somebody elses pool. You guys are totally freaking me out. guns pools dogs..where are my children right now?

    • elle

      November 19, 2013 at 6:34 pm

      Honestly a a certain point we at just being over paranoid right?

    • Eve Vawter

      November 20, 2013 at 6:01 am

      we al are! which I think is one of the joys of parenting!

    • pineapplegrasss

      November 20, 2013 at 3:00 pm

      yes. no. seriously, half tongue in cheek, but at least we’re thinking about it all. But you know, I did go home last night and say to my husband (in that knowitallwifeytone) that drowning is the leading cause of accidental death of children ages 1-4.

    • nikki753

      November 19, 2013 at 3:45 pm

      I’d probably talk to anyone who has a larger dog and ask how the dog does with little kids. We actually had an amazing Springer Spaniel (he was one of the best dogs EVER and I’ve had a few to compare) but little kids freaked him out bigtime and he felt a need to protect people from them. So if anyone under a certain age/size came over, he spent the entire time confined to one room and everyone made sure to keep the kid away. Really it’s all about people’s awareness of all types of safety.

    • Eve Vawter

      November 19, 2013 at 3:46 pm

      yeah see, but then you know how kids are and they are always opening doors etc

    • pineapplegrasss

      November 20, 2013 at 3:02 pm

      Add another thing to worry about to the list, Eve!
      We need a list of things that makes moms paranoid illustrated by cats in diapers.

    • CBillard

      November 20, 2013 at 9:51 am

      It shouldn’t be restricted to larger dogs. Some of the nastiest dogs I’ve met are the little “punt” dogs.

    • Shea

      November 20, 2013 at 10:23 am

      Yep. I have facial scars (fortunately minor now, they’ve faded a lot) from being bitten by–wait for it–a Dachshund when I was 11. All the nasty, bitey dogs I’ve known have been purse-type dogs, whereas all the pit bulls I’ve known have been lovebugs. I used to volunteer at an animal shelter, and we had tons of pits come through. 95% of them just wanted to play with a tennis ball and then sit in your lap and lick your face.

      The bottom line is, no one should ever leave a small child alone with a dog, whatever the breed and no matter how well-behaved and gentle they’ve always been. Animals and young kids should ALWAYS be supervised, whether that animal is a teacup poodle or a Rottweiler.

    • nikki753

      November 20, 2013 at 12:06 pm

      Hahaha. Touche. I was thinking strictly in terms of ability to severely maim a child before it could be stopped but that’s definitely true. There are some nasty little dogs that would bite a chunk out of a kid for looking at them cross-eyed while there are some giant dogs that patiently let kids climb all over them and yank at them.

    • JadePanda

      November 19, 2013 at 4:04 pm

      I feel the same way. I have known some loveable pits, and I love dogs, but this breed (and a few others) have a tendency to react *very* strongly to sudden movements or any perceptions of a threat. And kids are generally wiggly, grabby, loud, etc…all things that can put an animal on-edge.

      Most dogs might respond, in the worst case scenario, with a nip, a growl, or even a single bite on the hand. Pits and other strong breeds…well, their response to perceived threats is much more volatile.

    • Eve Vawter

      November 19, 2013 at 4:06 pm

      Totally. I love discussing parenting fears.

    • JadePanda

      November 19, 2013 at 4:08 pm

      Me too! We all parent differently, but we are all pant-crappingly terrified of something. 🙂

    • Eve Vawter

      November 19, 2013 at 4:10 pm

      OH also! If a neighbor was a convicted sex offender, that would really creep me out

    • JadePanda

      November 19, 2013 at 4:13 pm

      Oh my gosh, yes. They would likely start to think I was a creeper, since I would pretty much be staring at them out the window 24/7. Who needs sleep when you have paralyzing fear?

    • Annona

      November 19, 2013 at 5:10 pm

      Eve, I have been an animal shelter volunteer for 10 years now, and I agree with you. I’d be more worried about that than a locked gun behind a locked door…

    • whiteroses

      November 19, 2013 at 10:51 pm

      I have a dear friend who owns a rather large dog. This dog is so gentle that her eighteen month old daughter uses the dog as a pillow. My 16 month old son has known this dog since he was tiny. She is very familiar with him- his scent, his mannerisms, and his tendency to not know his own strength.

      I trust and love this dog, but I have never and would never leave my son alone with her. As lovely as she is, she’s still a wild animal, and if he were to accidentally hurt her she would likely attempt to defend herself. An animal isn’t a human being, doesn’t think the way we do, and doesn’t react the way we do. It’s not just because I love my son that I constantly keep an eye on him whenever he’s around her. It’s because I love my friend’s dog too.

      I don’t see that a gun is much different. You teach your child to be careful around dogs- so teaching them to be careful around guns isn’t that much of a stretch.

    • Eve Vawter

      November 20, 2013 at 6:00 am

      Yeah I don’t care what kind of dog it is, I always want a grownup around.

    • Toastlette

      November 19, 2013 at 5:18 pm

      I get weirded out about the breed-specific thing because I’ve got a fluffy, sweet looking (90lb) Bernese/Retriever mix. I worry that when people (not necessarily you) get hung up on breeds, they forget that all dogs can be dangerous (including tiny ones). My dog looks like a damn teddy bear, but he had a rough life before we adopted him and responds to strangers by growling (if people don’t back off, and we weren’t there, he’d bite). He’d probably take a kids hand off, we watch him very carefully and he’s never off leash outside, but we have had kids run towards him several times. The last thing I’d ever want is a kid hurt and our dog put down.
      We don’t have kids, btw 🙂 I read this site for perspective and all that.

    • Simone

      November 19, 2013 at 5:51 pm

      I agree. For every thousand well-behaved, balanced, loving and adored pit bulls in families, and there are thousands, there are another thousand mismanaged dogs who have the misfortune of being owned by people who don’t understand them or respect the risks they introduce.

  30. Mimi James

    November 19, 2013 at 3:51 pm

    What about guns that are secured properly? I always ask the parents of children my kids are visiting if they have a gun in the house. But it’s not the presence of the gun that determines whether or not my kids can go play. My husband is in the military and we own several guns. They are all locked in a biometric safe that can only be opened with my husband or my fingerprint. I’m ok with my kids going to a house that has guns, I just want to make sure that they can’t be accessed by the children.

    • Gangle

      November 19, 2013 at 4:33 pm

      I get what you are saying. I have family members who are incredibly vigilant with their guns… I don’t think *I* could access them if I wanted to. But everyone likes to think they are responsible and sensible, even if they prove otherwise. Just look at the crazy people who ‘protested’ against the four mothers against gun violence in a car park. I am sure they all love to think how responsible they are, despite the fact they thought using weapons as intimidation against 4 women minding their own business was completely sane.

  31. Gangle

    November 19, 2013 at 4:29 pm

    It’s your kid, you have every right to ask what sort of environment your kid is going into. I dislike guns too, and although I have a few trusted family members who own guns (in a safe. In a locked room. With the ammo stored in a locked cabinet in a different location.) I wouldn’t think twice about, I don’t think I would be cool with sending my hypothetical child to a house with guns either. Everyone likes to THINK that they are responsible with their weapons… who would admit to being otherwise? But familiarity can and does breed contempt.

  32. scooby23

    November 19, 2013 at 5:26 pm

    Honestly, I don’t classify responsible gun owners as the “I’m a responsible gun owner and so are my friends so f- life-saving gun laws!” I classify a responsible gun owner as a person who accepts the levels of shootings in this country and understands the need for some more gun control, and keeps their firearms in a reliable, safe place, unloaded. I agree with you about the playdate rule. I’m not exactly sure I’d want my future children going to a ” DIS IS ‘MURICAH AND I’M RESPONSIBLE AND SECOND AMMENDMENT RIGHTS AND STOOPID GUN LAWS BLAH BLAH BLAH G’VMENT CONSPIRACY…….” If the person was more like “We understand the risks of firearms in our country and we have kept our firearms in a safe place unloaded..” then I may consider letting my future kids play there, though.

  33. freemane

    November 19, 2013 at 6:12 pm

    I plan on doing the same thing my mother did (starting over 30 years ago) “Hey, I don’t want to seem like a weirdo, but I’m really paranoid.””Do you have any guns and do you keep them locked up?” It always worked pretty well for her. I also plan on teaching my own kids gun safety, ’cause why on earth not?

  34. Kelly

    November 19, 2013 at 6:30 pm

    I wouldn’t tell you I had guns. The contents of my gun safe are none of your damn business.

    • Eve Vawter

      November 20, 2013 at 5:59 am

      Listen, this is all fine and good, but you aren’t being a very good friend here. If I told you what is in my junk drawer your only choice would be to reciprocate with telling me what is in your gun safe. WAIT, is that where you hide the candy?! 🙁

  35. Rachel Sea

    November 19, 2013 at 6:59 pm

    I think the reason you hear so many of us talking about our precautions, is because the people who casually leave their loaded, unsecured firearm under their pillow or next to the front door either aren’t fessing up, or aren’t readers.

  36. AlexMMR

    November 19, 2013 at 7:02 pm

    I face this decision because my brother owns a gun and his in-laws wear a firearm everywhere they go including visiting his home. I know my brother is the most safety minded person on the planet, like to bizarre lengths, but I don’t know that my 8 year old nephew is so responsible. I’m certainly not comfortable having my girls there when his in-laws are visiting with a visible firearm on their belt.

    I just blame my own paranoia rather than put the blame on any gun enthusiasts and I simply say “I’ve already lost 2 babies to a one in a million chance*, I’m not going to give myself any opportunity to lose any more children to another one in a million chance. Unfortunately my children are simply going to have to live within the parameters of my fear whether it makes sense or not.”

    *Lost my first twin pregnancy to an infection during the second trimester. One in a million chance of that happening, but I hit that brutal lottery.

    • Maria Guido

      November 19, 2013 at 7:58 pm

      Well, that makes sense to me. I’m so sorry.

  37. AlbinoWino

    November 19, 2013 at 7:32 pm

    I see no issue in asking. Honestly, I’m grateful to be living in a place without a whole lot of gun nuts. I should preface by saying my brother was shot in the face at close range with a gun at the age of 15. I know that a lot of gun owners are totally respectful, normal people so I don’t want to unfairly group them all together. I don’t wish to group all the gun crazies together but if I got some angry look from the parent or comment about how it wasn’t my business then no, I wouldn’t let my kid go over there. My family has been relentlessly harassed by a lot of the more extremist gun owners since my dad has supported various gun control measures so I honestly yes, I do have a bias against those particular kinds of gun owners. I have met a mother who lost her daughter when the neighbor (a gun safety instructor) was cleaning his firearm, it accidentally discharged, and struck her daughter in the head from the next apartment over. There are a lot of things you can be paranoid about as a parent but after meeting countless other families of gun violence victims over the years, I think it’s something I can reasonably feel paranoid about. If you don’t believe that sort of thing happens, check out this site: http://kidshootings.blogspot.com/

  38. Momma425

    November 19, 2013 at 7:58 pm

    I completely understand Maria. You have a right to parent your children the way you want to. Sure, most people consider themselves responsible gun owners, and I’m sure most of them really are, aside from the few psychos and accidents we hear about. You know how to make sure an accident doesn’t happen? Make sure your child isn’t there in the first place. All it takes is one mistake, one person saying that they have the gun locked away when they don’t, etc… As a gun owner, I am not offended in the least, and would not be offended if one of my daughter’s friends asked before letting them have a playdate in my home. You gotta do what you gotta do.
    I still think that you should teach your children about gun safety (never touch a gun, if you see one, tell an adult, etc…). Because as much as you try, as much as you want to, you can’t ALWAYS be there to protect them.

    • Maria Guido

      November 19, 2013 at 8:08 pm

      Thank you for not making me feel like a crazy person. And since I do live in Florida now, you are absolutely right – teaching my children about gun safety will be a necessity for sure.

  39. Guest

    November 19, 2013 at 8:35 pm

    As someone who does not yet keep guns in their home but very well might (indeed it’s likely) at some point have them–I would not be at all offended if a parent asked me that. While I know my husband and I are responsible, and believe that the high percentage of “accidents” come from people who were never formally taught how to carry a gun, it’s your right to draw the line in the sand.
    Ask away. People with nothing to hid won’t really care.

  40. Not a parent. MockMyInsights.

    November 19, 2013 at 8:35 pm

    As someone who does not yet keep guns in their home but very well might (indeed it’s likely) at some point have them–I would not be at all offended if a parent asked me that. While I know my husband and I are responsible, and believe that the high percentage of “accidents” come from people who were never formally taught how to carry a gun, it’s your right to draw the line in the sand.
    Ask away. People with nothing to hide won’t really care.

  41. Kay

    November 19, 2013 at 8:39 pm

    Yes, you do have every right to decide where your child spends their play dates. Your article presented that well. However, I feel that the language in the poll was intentionally inflammatory, which detracts from your legitimate arguments in the article. Had you let the article stand alone I think many who disagreed with you would not be quite as offended or feel as attacked. Due to the poll you sound very judgmental of the types of people who own guns. I always thought the great thing about Mommyish was that it lacked a lot of the judgment you so often see on other parenting blogs.

  42. jendra_berri

    November 19, 2013 at 8:58 pm

    I live in Canada. Most of the guns owned here by regular citizens are hunting rifles. My dad used to store his in our front hall closet. It wasn’t loaded, but looking back that’s kind of effed up.
    I never touched the thing because my mom said she was afraid of it. That made me afraid of it. My parents were separated, so I actually haven’t the slightest idea why he was allowed to store that thing in our house. It did make an exist before I was 9, though.
    I assume people don’t have guns. It never occurs to me that someone might have a firearm in their house. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a hand gun in person that wasn’t attached to a police officer.

  43. AmAnDA

    November 20, 2013 at 12:14 am

    You can’t censor the world. You or your child can get shot at during a simple visit to the mall, at the movie theater, or even in school. It’s sad. and scary. My best advice, and what I have taught and believe, is to educate your child.
    If you talk to them about gun safety- or anything else for that matter- sexual abuse, strangers, etc. then they will know how to protect themselves in the moment.
    Then you will feel safer knowing your child knows how to help themselves feel safer.

    What if the parent does not want you to know there are guns, and they lie? Your child will know what to do if their play date brings that gun out from the closet…. and same goes if you have a gun, teach your child about gun safety while they’re young and for the love of Pete people… be responsible with it….. EYIYIYIYIYIYIYI.

  44. CrazyLogic

    November 20, 2013 at 1:04 am

    My cousin has had friends banned from his house (although he was always welcome at theirs) because my uncle is a gun collector. (World War guns mostly, but he has a Desert Eagle that’s never been fired that he says is my cousin’s college investment). My uncle didn’t mind this because he understood and respected that people were afraid of guns in general and especially around children.

    However, he keeps his guns locked in a safe, he keeps his ammo locked in a different safe. He instilled gun safety into his son’s head so hard the kid won’t even point the “finger gun” at other people and draws soldiers following his father’s gun safety rules (most noticeably, no fingers on triggers unless the gun is being fired in the drawing). Most importantly, he never kept a loaded gun in the house until he was positive his son practiced gun safety without thinking about it.

    Don’t know if my cousin knew the location of the gun or not though. But I know he knew to never ever mess with it because Dad was the only one allowed to touch it.

  45. AmazonOffer

    November 20, 2013 at 8:38 am

  46. Leslie Dybas

    November 20, 2013 at 11:09 am

    We have guns. When inviting kids over for a playdate I volunteer that information to the parents, along with the information that the guns are stored unloaded in gun safes. So far no one has had a problem with it – given that we live in a rural, hunting, gun-owning area most are confused as to why I’d mention it. But that way I figure they have the information, and if they are uncomfortable we can make arrangements to meet at a park or other place away from guns.

  47. nikki753

    November 20, 2013 at 12:26 pm

    As long as we’re on the topic of asking people about safety before you visit, if your child is going to visit the home of someone who does not have small children and won’t be supervised by you at all times, I completely support tactfully asking about all potential hazards. If it’s been an adults-only household for years, they just aren’t in the mode of thinking that way. Of course I can keep the Drain-o right under the kitchen sink. No my bookshelf isn’t secure. My husband and I both refrain from climbing all over it. Never worried about anyone climbing into the decrepit tree house that came with our home. I keep the knives where they’re handy for me. Duh I can keep all sorts of tools wherever they’re useful. If that includes leaving a fork by an outlet, so be it. There are all sorts of things that I may not even think of because it’s simply not how my life operates. For example, currently all liquor is stored on the floor in the pantry. As long as you’re tactful, “Do you want any help child-proofing before Bobby comes over to stay the night? He’s big into climbing everything right now.” and your help includes protecting breakable valuables that might be in danger.

  48. Des Wilson

    November 20, 2013 at 12:55 pm

    I ask about guns, siblings, and cigarette smoking. If they smoke inside, my child won’t be playing over there. If there do happen to be guns I’ve always asked they are locked up, my child may play over there. I never used to ask about siblings/older family members until an incident involving my very pretty daughter and a brother’s friend. Hindsight is 20/20 and I’ve learned to ask those questions or be sorry.

  49. pineapplegrasss

    November 20, 2013 at 3:47 pm

    A gun story. I grew up with my stepdad owning guns. The gun safe was in our dining room and it was bigger than our refrigerator. He was a huge collector (hand guns, rifles, semi-automatics, whatever) and loved to go to places like Shooters World, he had this little press type thing where he made his own bullets, had the type of bumper stickers on his car that said ‘protected by HK’ and such. He’s not a hunter. I’m pretty sure back when we were kids in the 80’s and 90’s he kept a loaded handgun in his room because I’ve seen him come out with it in his undies a few times. Well, it was in his hand and he was in the undies. Anyways, I’ve also never seen one of my dads guns unless he was holding it, cleaning it, packing it up to go shoot, idk what he did with them, bc it really seemed to me like he played with them a lot. He kept them out of sight (minus the giant safe lol) when we were teens and had a lot of friends over, he feared robbery, and taught us to stay away from them, to never ever ever even think about looking at his guns longer than a flick of the eye. I have never ever even touched one of his guns, not even now, to this day as an adult. I still to this day have never seen him actually fire anything. And then he is such a nice, down to earth, normal guy, just with a gun fetish. I guess the point of this is to tell a different side of gun ownership than just the redneck hillybilly or shoot’emup gangbanger. I personally have only ever fired a gun once out in the desert, just to try it, didn’t like it. I don’t own guns, nor does my husband. I’m extremely liberal and support increased gun control. There are two sides to every coin

  50. Surfaces

    November 27, 2013 at 11:19 am

    Right, I have a question regarding gun control in America. I’m from Scotland so this comes from a place of having no idea about guns and the 2nd Amendment etc etc so I’m not trying to offend, just make sense.

    Many gun nuts argue that you cannot infringe on the 2nd Amendment right to bear arms. It’s a constitutional right. BUT according to wikipedia (yes yes I know) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amendment this is the definition: “An amendment is a formal or official change made to a law, contract, constitution, or other legal document. It is based on the verb to amend, which means to change. Amendments can add, remove, or update parts of these agreements. They are often used when it is better to change the document than to write a new one.”

    So doesn’t that mean that the US government can, in fact, alter the 2nd Amendment?

    • organized chaos

      February 1, 2014 at 4:34 am

      The first ten amendments to the constitution of the US is also known as the bill of rights, which were meant to protect the people from the government. These ten amendments were added to the constitution in 1791 and as the “bill of rights” it wasn’t intended for any of them to be taken away.

    • Surfaces

      February 4, 2014 at 4:53 am

      Thank you!

  51. organized chaos

    February 1, 2014 at 4:40 am

    If you don’t know someone well enough to know their stance and status on gun ownership, why would you let your kid play at their house?

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  53. RW

    February 4, 2014 at 11:23 am

    It never even occurred to me to ask this question! I’m in Canada, and yes, a lot of the people I know own hunting rifles, but they are always stored in a gun vault – unloaded, though often not with the trigger locks that they are supposed to have. But still, I’ve always trusted they are locked away.
    But this has brought up an interesting point. As my son gets older and starts playing with families I don’t know, it probably isn’t a bad idea to start asking how they store their weapons…

  54. jor

    February 26, 2014 at 11:09 pm

    Because you’re a stupid cunt

  55. john

    February 26, 2014 at 11:11 pm

    Alice hating a inanimite object is really silly

  56. Me-Me

    March 12, 2014 at 3:28 am

    If I had a family member or the like and their child was going to be over, and they were truly uncomfortable with having the guns in the house, I’d respect that and move them to a secure location outside of my home for the duration of the visit. All you have to do is ask, nicely, without calling my character into question. I know I am safe, but obviously another person might not be so confident. I see no harm in making them feel safer while I had their child in my possession. I might give you a funny look and tease you, but I respect that guns are not for everyone.

  57. Pingback: Florida Doctors Can't Ask Patients If They Own A Gun

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