Like many I did not grow up around firearms, no one in my family hunted and no one really talked about them – except when they came up on the news. The first time I was really exposed to guns I was in my mid-twenties and dating a wonderful man (who would soon become my husband) who was a hunter and future Police Officer. He took me shooting and taught me how to safely care for a firearm.
Fast forward a few years- we are a gun family that has multiple gun safes, both of us have conceal carry permits, my husband always carries, and we discuss safety often. While guns can be a really tough subject for many – it doesn’t have to be and as a parent you shouldn’t be afraid to ask about firearms in homes that your children may be visiting.
- Ask where the firearms are located. I am a firm believer that guns should be locked up – whether it be in a large gun safe, smaller bedside safes, or put in an area that children cannot reach- such as the top of the refrigerator. Ask if children know where the guns are located, or how they are accessed. For our family – our daughter is still too young (1 year) to understand anything about guns, so as parents it is simply our job to keep them out of reach.
- Are the guns loaded? Please ask this question – are the guns loaded, unloaded, are bullets stored with the guns or in a separate location. Most responsible gun owners will have any loaded firearms locked up (and they should especially with younger children).
- What do your children know about firearms? – This is a question that you can ask parents of older children, or those able to discuss the subject. What have they taught their children, do their children know where the firearms are located? For older children – do they know how to load/unload/shoot a gun? Ask these questions. Have a conversation with all parents and children together if you need to.
Don’t be afraid to have a conversation with your child about firearms, if you want, or if you do not want or the time isn’t right – it is your choice not to. If you are letting your child around a family with firearms and do not want them discussed- just let the parents know. Open communication is key. When our daughter, and any subsequent children, are old enough to have playdates, I know personally I would be happy to have a discussion about the safety of our household when it comes to firearms.
In the end do what you feel is comfortable, and if you are uncomfortable or uneasy about a situation about how firearms are kept in a particular household suggest a playdate at your house, or a public location instead.