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Have you had “The Talk” with your child’s friends’ parents?

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This post is brought you by my loving husband who forever has been telling me he would love to write posts for me yet never seems to be motivated enough to do it.

Well he finally got motivated very quickly after this incident…

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So, I bet you are wondering to yourself, what, “The Talk”, with my neighbors? No, I am not talking about that talk.

I am talking about the gun talk.

I wanted to bring to light something that I hadn’t given much consideration to until yesterday: What kind of heat are my neighbors packing and how responsible are they with it?

Uh oh, here comes a political debate about guns.

No, that is not my intent here nor is it the direction I want this conversation to go. (In the spirit of full disclosure I am a full supporter of gun ownership and the rest of the founding rights of our country, hence me utilizing my first Amendment right to talk to you today.) But, I digress…rather I wanted to take the time to discuss the importance of knowing what is going on where your kids play.

Allow me to begin with a little back ground to set the stage for this conversation. Yesterday I wandered out to our new Ford Explorer (what a beautiful piece of machinery) to grab some paperwork when I noticed a kid standing in the garage of the house down the street holding a gun. My first instinct was that he was only holding a BB gun, so I walked back into my house. Then it hit me, “Holy crap, that kid was holding a gun. There are no adults around, he doesn’t even live there and my daughter is playing 200 feet away!”

We have a common area a few houses down the kids play soccer, dig in dirt, and play together in. A bunch of the kids were playing, including our daughter and several other neighbor kids.

I quickly marched right out the door and down to the house.

As I approached the garage I realized that the kid that does live there (14 years old) was sitting in the garage chatting away while the other boy (my guess is 12 years old) was pumping on the BB gun. Just as I entered the driveway I saw the mother of the 14 year old pulling around the corner. The kids were unsupervised and alone at the house. The neighbor kid holding the gun quickly placed it in the corner like he wasn’t messing with it.

Here is what happened after:

Me: If I ever see either one of you so much as look at a gun without adult supervision I will drag you by your ankles to your parents and the conversation will not be very pleasant.

14 Year Old: He was messing with it not me.

Me: It is your house. You are responsible.

12 year old: (Deer in the head lights look, frozen with fear, looking like he is about to get his arse beat! Says nothing.)

Mom pulls into the the driveway, sees me sternly lecturing the two boys, jumps out of the car and immediately asks “What is going on here?”

Me: They were playing with a gun.

Her: It’s just a BB gun.

Me: It is a weapon and they shouldn’t be messing with it!

Her: It’s not loaded.

Me: I dont care! My daughter is out here playing with all these kids around. (Thinking to myself are you effing kidding me that you just said that).

Her looking to her daughter- 7 years old: Go inside.

Me, looking at my daughter: Charlotte, you need to go home immediately.

Charlotte: Ok, how come?

Me: We will discuss it with your mother. Please go home for now. You are not in trouble.

Mom: Garage door closes.

Remaining kids: Scatter back to their houses.

After corralling Charlotte back to the house I sat her down on the couch, I called Trisha into the living room and proceeded to tell them both what just happened. Trisha’s first words were, ” I would have called the cops because I don’t know the difference between a BB gun and a real gun”. Lucky for the neighbors, I do and I saw it, not her. Charlotte then got lectured on the importance of running home immediately if she ever sees someone with a gun that is not a family member or the police.

Don’t worry about your toys, your bike or anything else, just run home and tell us. She was then told she was not allowed to go down there until I talked her friend’s parents about the situation.

While I stewed on this for a good two hours trying to calm down and come up with a responsible way to talk to the parents about the matter, it dawned on me, what other weapons are in their house that I need to be aware of? If they are irresponsible enough to leave a BB gun laying around in the garage for the kids to get their hands on, are there real guns in the house?

Is Charlotte in danger?

These questions that need be part of the conversations I have with the parents of all of Charlotte’s friends before she plays in their home.

So I pose these questions to the readers:

Have you had “The GUN Talk” with your children’s, friend’s parents?

Do you think I was in the right by making the scene that I did?

I also want to state that if you are a gun owner, DO SO WITH MATURITY AND RESPONSIBILITY!

I hope you take this moment from my life as an opportunity to increase the safety of your family’s life. Guns are real and we as Americans have every right to own them. Take the precautions necessary to protect your family from a gun accident by being aware of the rules of gun safety, be aware of what your neighbor’s have in their homes and educate your children on the risks. Be a parent. Protect your kids.

Below are some tips and links to enhance safety of your home and the use of a gun if you are a gun owner. These are rules that my father taught me and that I learned from my time in the military.

Learn them, love them, use them!

1. Always treat a gun as if it loaded!

2. Firearms should remain unloaded when not in use. Always lock up and secure your weapons. Use a firearm safe, locked box, trigger or chamber lock to store firearms.

3. Store ammunition separate from your firearms.

4. BB and pellet guns should be treated as a gun (hence the name gun). They are not toys, nor should they be treated as such or given to a kid to use at their leisure. Rather, treat them as a precursor, a training tool to larger guns, to include taking all precautions one would a real firearm. If it fires a projectile at a high velocity, it is a gun! Use lesser powerful guns to teach proper gun safety.

5. There is a reason a person has to be a legal adult to own a firearm. Children should never have access to or use a gun (real, BB or pellet) without adult supervision.

6. Leave the safety on at all times until you are ready to use the firearm. Place the weapon back on safe once you are finished using it. Remember, a safety switch is only a precautionary feature to enhance a gun’s safety. Vigilance and awareness are the greatest safety tools to preventing an accident.

7. Never carry a firearm with your finger on the trigger. Place your finger on the trigger only when ready to shoot.

8. Never point a gun at someone or something unless you intend to shoot it.

9. Use your head…If it looks or feels unsafe or someone else says they are not comfortable with the situation, it is the wrong thing to do.

10. Talk with your children about the risk of firearm injury in places they may visit or play. Teach your child if he/she finds a firearm to leave it alone and let an adult know right away.

Other Sources:

  • http://www.dshs.wa.gov/ca/safety/gun.asp
  • http://training.nra.org/nra-gun-safety-rules.aspx
  • http://eddieeagle.nra.org/information-for-parents.aspx
  • http://www.remington.com/10commandments

Chris (Super Dad)

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Comments

  1. I have known people to get hurt from a BB gun. It does matter. It is a weapon. What an idiot!

  2. You were justified in your dealings and shame on that mom for thinking it isn’t a big deal. Hello Christmas Story, “You’ll shoot your eye out.”
    We own guns. We lock up almost all the guns in a safe, except for one for personal protection that is locked in a case on the top shelf of the closet and the bullets aren’t on the same floors. The gun upstairs isn’t even loaded. It is for sound, my husband says.
    A good friend of mine’s son was playing at a friends house when they got in an argument and the other boy left the room and came back with a loaded gun. The boy attempted to kill my friend’s son twice and the gun jammed, but on the third try he killed the other boy who stood up to take the gun away. It has been hurtful to hear comments that have been made to the boy that survived as well as to both families that lost their sons that day.
    Kids don’t always realize the consequences and their brains are still developing and they don’t always have the ability to step back in the heat of the moment. I have been very nervous sending my kids to homes out here in a hunting community because the rationalism is they hunt so they know how to handle a gun.
    Accidents happen, ask my mother in law that was accidentally shot by her husband, a retired Army officer, when he was trying to unchamber a bullet to fix a gun and it bounced off their granite countertop and got her in the gut. They were both broken after that moment.

  3. Jennifer @ My Sweet Sanity says:

    First of all, your hubby did a great job on his post. Second of all, wow! What kind of a parent acts like she did? I am a gun rights supporter and yet I would never allow my kids to be outside without supervision playing with a BB gun with other smaller children about.

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