As an avid gun-toting woman and mom, gun safety has always been one of my top concerns. As it should be. It started when my kids were born and we just had guns in the house. At first, they were so little, I could keep my guns on the top shelf in my bedroom because they couldn’t crawl, let alone climb. Then, they had to be locked because they were curious and wanderers. Luckily, at this time, I wasn’t as active so they were always locked, safe and out of sight for us all.
Perspective changes as situations change
Then, I got divorced and I became the protector. So the guns came down and I put locks on the bedroom door. As a mom who wanted to keep my girls aware, we talked about guns. I let them look and touch and hold, safely of course, as we discussed how it worked. We talked about the basic safety rules including that they were never to touch them without me.
Years later, I moved to Texas from Virginia with my current boyfriend and became heavily involved in a shooting community; shooting regularly and competitively and a good part of my female friends are shooters as well. I post about shooting safety. I regularly advocate that if women are around guns, they need to shoot regularly to keep up their skills as it IS a perishable skill. We should constantly make sure our skills are up to par in that chance that we have to protect ourselves and our family. Hopefully, this won’t happen, but if it does… I WILL be prepared.
As your child ages, their awareness about guns should evolve, whether you carry or not, because others do!
In walks Jennifer – education about guns in the homes of playdates
So, getting to know Jennifer, the editor here at The Awesome Muse, and learning of her lifestyle blogging community, she asked me to write about gun safety and how to approach the topic of guns in other people’s homes when considering playdates with our children.
Consider sending your child to someone else’s home for a birthday party or playdate. You may stay there with them or it might be one where you leave them. Now what do you do with respect to guns?
- Do you hope they don’t have guns?
- Do you hope that if they do that they have them put away so your child doesn’t get them?
- Has your child been adequately educated (age appropriate) with the safety of guns? Now, we know this doesn’t prohibit their curiosity, but better than not informing and educating them.
- Do you have a conversation with the host?
Do you have a conversation about gun safety with the playdate host?
So many people are either unaware of what others have and do in their homes, which is understandable, of course. However, when it comes to you and your children, you want to be sure your family is safe. Fear or being afraid of asking about guns seems to be more of the issue. So many parents don’t ask because they are afraid of what their friend will think if they ask. What if they do have guns and you feel the need to ask further?
Sidebar – Teens and parties
Not to gravitate off the topic, but this reminded me of when my teenagers would go to parties. My rule: the parents had to be home, all the time, every time. I would ask my daughter and then go to the house to meet the parent. I think I was one of the few parents who have done this. But I don’t care. I am concerned with the safety of MY daughters!
So my point in bringing this up is a comparison and my point..… regardless of how you approach the conversation, the conversation should happen, especially if you know this person to be one who has guns in the home. Now, the age of your child may change the way the gun safety conversation is brought up or the types of questions you ask, but you should ask.
Why should you ask?
You don’t know if someone takes gun safety the same way as you do. You don’t know if they lock and store them, sit them on a top shelf, have them stuffed under the mattress or on the bedside table and how it is locked, if at all. It really can’t hurt to ask. Plus, you know your child better than anyone else. Even with knowing that, you don’t know what they will do if they come upon a gun. But, what you DO know is that you could not live with yourself if something happened to your child and you might have been able to prevent it.
You may hurt the other person’s feelings by asking or slightly offend them but this is the safety of your own child we are talking about here… what is more important?
Asking about your child’s safety should be the most important factor – don’t let fear hold you back!
I hope that I have given you the ‘permission’ that you may have needed to ask about other’s guns in the home. Wanting your child to be safe is more important than hurting someone’s feelings about whether they have guns in their home and how they store them. You may want to consider how you will answer if you are asked… or maybe when having play-dates at your home, advising the parent what precautions you have taken, beforehand?
Keep in mind that this is coming from a mom who does carry, who does have guns in her home and who wouldn’t be offended if you asked about their gun safety practices or if you chose not to allow your kids to play at my home. There is always that as well, from those who don’t carry and don’t want their children around guns and I place no judgment on others, to each’s own. The point, be aware!