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Guns and Kids- How Safe Is Your House?

By July 26, 2008 - 11:18am
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I was chatting with a friend (a fellow mother) the other day and she mentioned how scary it is to let your children sleep over somewhere for the first time. Neither of us have children even close to being old enough for sleepovers but they are going to happen eventually.

Sleepovers are almost a rite of passage for kids but do we really know about the home they will sleep over in? Fears about abuse or molestation aside (because we all have them and worry incessantly about them), my friend mentioned guns. And this was something that had not occured to me.

What I also did not know is that 5,000 children die from gunshot wounds every year.

Questions to ask the family-
Do you have guns?
Where are they?
Where is the ammunition?
Where do you keep the keys?

The same can be said of hunting knives or other things families may have that you may not. We don't use guns, own guns or want guns. But many American families do.

Does anyone have guns? Are they safely put away? If you child sleeps over at another home, do you ask the home owners about any weapons in the house?

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This is so interesting that you asked, because just the other day my mom friends and I (during a weekly playgroup) were at a moms house,and she casually mentioned that she keeps a gun beside her bed. The master bedroom is on the 1st floor of the house, right by the living room (where we were playing with the kids). She said the gun is in a drawer, the ammo and keys are on top of the tall dresser.

I have to admit, this made me instantly nervous, knowing that there was a gun in the house! I know they are bought with a purpose to protect the family, but since I've never been raised around guns, I am not confident in my ability (or others' abilities) to have guns in the house safely. Plus, in an emergency situation, are they even worthwhile? Is it possible to be able to retrieve the gun in the drawer, then key and ammo on top shelf, then load the gun properly...all in time to thwart an intruder and protect your family? I've also heard (rumor or truth?) about guns being turned on their owners (is this true that it happens often?).

But, even with my personal bias/fear...I'm not sure if I would ask parents before my child sleeps over if they have a gun. I feel other questions would take priority, like "are you going to be home the entire time?"

Great question, Annefleur...would like to hear what other parents do. Do any gun-owners pro-actively disclose the presence of guns in their home to parents (whose child is going to sleepover at their house)?

July 27, 2008 - 11:54am
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