ASKing about Guns and Kids just got easier

945675_586493791384152_1704395634_nThe last time I had a chance to ask about a gun in the house where my children were staying, I didn’t. And even when I found out there was a loaded gun in the house, I didn’t ask how it was secured. I was afraid to offend, and I was afraid of a confrontation. And frankly, I took the easy way out. What was I going to do? Pack up my family in the middle of the night and drive off in a huff? Nope, not me. So there you go.

There are other confrontations I don’t avoid: parties with trampolines (both kids have already had accidents on one), parties serving soda to preschoolers, properly securing children in grocery carts. So, really, it doesn’t make much sense that I shy away from a conversation about firearms. Especially because I’m not exactly reticent about my activism lately. I figure that if I feel uncomfortable asking about firearms in my neighbors’ homes, there are probably others who also feel uncomfortable. And that’s why today, National ASK Day, is such a great stepping stone to responsible communication about gun violence prevention in children.

Just as groups like Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America doesn’t want to disarm responsible gun owners, the Center to Prevent Youth Violence doesn’t try to pretend that guns are not of interest to curious children, nor does it pretend that properly securing a firearm is a solution to all violence. However, along with many other gun violence prevention groups, they are putting the discussion of firearms and how they are stored front and center. It’s an important discussion, and the number of affected children have been ignored for far too long.

In New Jersey, our most recent child tragedy involving unsecured weapons was a call to action for many. And it has forced reasonable gun owners to at least reconsider sometimes casual storage of firearms. “Don’t touch!” is never enough when it comes to most situations with children and teens (or adults, really). And that’s what National ASK Day acknowledges and encourages us all to confront.

Take advantage of the tips on the CPYV ASK page, and arm yourself with knowledge and statistics about unintentional shootings and suicides that harm our children and teens at alarming rates.

Screw up the courage to ASK the question, just as you would for any other safety or health issue you’d ask about as a parent. Or turn it around and offer up the information that you either don’t keep a gun in your home, or that you DO, and you keep it properly secured, away from where children play.

This is one of the few immediate and effective actions we can take to prevent gun violence. The legislation is slow, the activism is exhausting and a long haul, and the costs of gun violence are ongoing. Do your part and ASK the questions to start and to keep the conversation going – to keep our children safe.

moonshine

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About That Unique* Weblog

Adjusting to the car culture, dealing with leaving a career I love, and spouting off along the way.
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18 Responses to ASKing about Guns and Kids just got easier

  1. Perfect for today since this will be Nathan’s first drop off play date with a friend. I was thinking I’m only 2 blocks away, what could go wrong? But now… I’m going to go text the mom.

  2. It seems like a no brainier for people to keep their guns locked in a cabinet. If my child visited someone’s home that had guns, I would ask them how they secure them to ensure children’s safety.

    • I have to admit that I just “assume” people don’t have guns around here, but since working with Moms Demand Action the last several months, I’ve learned differently. So I really need to ask.

  3. outlawmama says:

    I never thought about this. It’s so good to get these reminders.

    • I never did either, and I grew up visiting the home of an avid hunter quite regularly where there were plenty of rifles and guns. But the insane stories – now that I’m paying more attention – have spurred me to be proactive.

  4. Karen says:

    Thank you, this is great, and so important! My daughter is 20 now, and I can honestly say that I never even considered asking this question when I dropped her off for sleep-overs and play dates. I will share this information with friends who have young children.

    P.S. Much to my daughter’s chagrin, I was a rabid no-trampolines or mom ; ) People still make fun of me for it.

    • I’m sorry to say that there is a casual attitude towards gun ownership that seems new – perhaps borne out of defensiveness? Also, the obsession with firearms (which have always been exciting to children a la John Wayne) is exacerbated because common guns are no longer traditional hunting rifles, but civilian versions of military weapons. They are much easier to shoot, and lighter than traditional shotguns. It’s the accidental shootings involving children or someone cleaning a gun without emptying the barrel that horrify me – because I can imagine that happening so easily.

      • Karen says:

        You are spot on, and sadly, accidental shootings happen all the time. I recently went to a funeral for a 21 year old (friend of my partner’s family), who accidentally shot and killed himself cleaning a gun without emptying the barrel. The gun belonged to his grandfather and it was left to him after the grandpa died. The kid was not familiar with firearms or how to properly handle them.

      • Oh I’m so sorry. That’s horrible! Sadly, now that I’ve been paying more attention to accidental shootings, it’s not a rare occurrence. It’s one of the reasons I feel that gifts to families needs to be included in background checks and even basic safety classes. I hope the family finds peace.

  5. Daniel Nest says:

    It’s good to see a measured and responsible way to address the many issues of gun control.

    Thanks for speaking up!

  6. Yes, yes. I too will tip toe around confrontation, even when it’s not in anyone’s best interest to do so. Why am I so afraid of offending people? You are so right – it’s not worth it, especially on the subject of firearms. Good for you for speaking up!

    • The thing is, gun ownership is nothing to be ashamed of or offended by – if it’s responsible. My discomfort shows how sensitive I assume others will be, which isn’t fair to them or me!

  7. Pam Huggins says:

    I like how you admitted you had trouble asking and then led us to the conclusion that we absolutely must ask. Nicely written!

  8. dalrie says:

    Being a Canadian I haven’t given this much thought. However, I think since we recently nixed the long gun registry we might start having similar issues. When my kids start visiting friends homes, I’ll be sure to ask.

    • Thanks for reading! I have found that it’s sometimes the more established, even usually responsible gun owners, who believe that telling kids “don’t touch” is enough. It’s just not. It’s not.

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