Saturday, February 06, 2010


This is a gun post that isn't a gun post...It's a parenting post.

One of the mamas on a message board that I belong to asked whether we thought guns should be kept locked up around children. The link she provided was to a site called Common Sense about Kids and Guns. Among the more histrionic claims there was that, between 2000 and 2005, according to the CDC, an average of three kids died every day (at the rate of one every 9 hours) from "non-homicide firearms incidents."

Conveniently, the webpage contains a link to its own debunking--the CDC's WISQARS system. According to this (which was supposedly the source of their statistics), in 2006 a whopping 125 children (ages 1 - 18) died from firearms. This guns on par with falls, and far below the things we all know are far more dangerous--motor vehicle accidents, drownings, poisonings, fire, suffocation, and pedestrian accidents.

I realize I'm preaching to the choir here in telling my regular readers that guns in the home aren't as dangerous as swimming pools and cars.

My point is this:

Guns are merely one thing of many that can kill our children. The substantive difference? We educate our children about the other dangers.

My oldest daughter can recite (usually) the four rules. All three daughters can recite Rule One--all guns are always loaded. When I brought home the pistol Erik gave me (greatest boyfriend ever), I showed it to the girls and had each check it clear in turn, then put it away (at the time still unloaded) and told them not to mess with it again. For the record, this is the course of action my ex-husband took with his Glock. I have chosen the path of education.

We teach our children about the other things that endanger them. We teach our kids how to swim (well, I actually don't know how, so I have taught the girls general water safety--like "don't go into the pool without me or Daddy"). We teach them to stay away from open windows. We are careful in giving them fluffy bedding/pillows. We teach them to not touch cleaning supplies. We keep them away from open windows on the second floor. We teach them not to play with matches and lighters and the stove...

So why don't we teach our kids about guns? Why do so many mamas let fear rule them in this one thing?


Julie said...

i've used the same approach with my girls.

both can tell you how to hold and handle a gun correctly ("don't point it at anyone and don't point it at the TV")

they help with reloading and generally are aware that a gun is a tool not a toy.

they come shooting with me - when they want to. Other than that, they don't touch my gun (which, most times anyway, is locked in a safe).

sowest said...

*sigh* You'll never get through to them, Sabra. Funny how these same people will argue to the death for their right to make their own informed decisions regarding childbirth, vaxes, etc. I guess liberty and freedom to make choices in life only apply to choices they agree with.
I sure wish people would understand that the key to prevention is NOT legislation.

David said...

It is amazing when you look at the US statistics and cultural attitudes towards guns. Everyone seems to want to skew the statistics in their favor. No one, however wants to come up with solutions that solve problems. The same seems to be true with health care.

I have owned and used guns all my life. Here is what I know.

- The use of ILLEGAL guns is out of control and the worst in large cities.
- The permitting of gun users/owners doesn't seem to change much. IE: VT there is NO permitting required for a concealed weapon. They have a very low rate of homicide by legally purchased guns compared to place like CA where you need to be Jesus to get a permit.
- If we look at some of the real rampages in the US, they were preformed by folks with drug/alcohol/mental issues. In MA, you can't get a permit to carry if you have been in a detox or mental facility. Period. Seems resonable - same as felons not being able to carry them.
- Background checks seem reasonable – although I don’t like them.
- Education is essential, gun locks are not a bad thing and certatinly can save lives. So how do you keep a loaded firearm ready for protection when you have very little ones in the home?

I suggest a fingerprint gun safe. I am only one that can open it, and it is as fast reaching for a drawer in the nightstand. And it keeps everyone else out.

If you are just a target shooter/plinker or hunter, it doesn't make sense to keep a loaded, or unlocked gun in the house any more than it is wise to leave the gate open to the pool or the car keys on the counter.

Good post.

Sabra said...

Hey, David, is there a particular safe you can recommend? I'm at the point where I have to balance safety of the kids and accessibility--and of course I'm tilting in favor of the kids. Seems as if a fingerprint safe is the best compromise.

Mike W. said...

It took my getting mom to the range this year to get her over her fear of guns.

Sabra said...

Mike, Erik's mom is still afraid of guns (or such is the impression I received). So is his sister. I don't get it.

David said...

Here is the one that I like.

There are also single print safes and cheaper combination safes. In an intruder situation, I am going to forget the combo - and kids can learn it.

All worth the price of a child.

Keith said...

I'm trying to remember where I saw a study on children and gun accidents, seems most were the children of alcoholics and druggies. Poor kids suffered far higher mortality from all other causes too.