As you know I’m a HUGE fan of OffbeatFamilies.com. While perusing the site I noticed this question: What limits have your families set for toy/pretend guns, how are you communicating the potential dangers of real guns, and how do you bring up the topic of gun and weapon safety with the parents of your kid’s friends?
What a GREAT question! Some people on the website gave some very good suggestions. I thought I’d throw mine into the mix.
As you also know, we do believe in firearm ownership (handguns, shotguns, rifles). We also believe in education, safety and communication. Since we have firearms in our home, I know how important it is to have good communication about safety for visitors to our home … especially visitors that are, or have, children.
I’m not ashamed of owning firearms so I don’t get offended when people ask me if we have firearms in our home and how safe they are. If you are close enough to leave your kids at someone’s house then you should be close enough to ask them if there are guns in the house. It’s like asking a potential romantic partner about their HIV status or credit scores. Yes, it can be a bit awkward, but if you want the relationship to move forward then you have to do it.
When talking about firearm safety, “Yes we have a gun and it’s in a very safe place” is not going to cut it. I want to hear about what kind of trigger locks are in place, what type of gun safe or Pelican case you have, any training that you’ve taken, who has the keys/codes to the safe(s) and your views on firearms and firearm safety in general. Sure, it might be a little invasive but I’d rather be a little nosey and alive than …. well …. we have all seen articles about what can happen with things aren’t under control.
Know When to Cut Bait
The answers that you hear might not be the answers that you want to hear. You’ll have to decide if you’ll A) take a chance that everything will be okay B) not let your kid(s) go to said home C) only invite that family over to your home for visits. Whatever you choose, keep in mind that the attitudes that they have have firearms, danger, etc. are not easily left at home. It’s important to notice when you just don’t feel comfortable with those people.
Regardless of what you do or do not know about your neighbors, it’s important to talk with your child about firearms and firearm safety.
Read more about teaching kids about firearm safety at: