Many of my mom friends are against the idea of having guns in their homes because they feel that guns are too risky to have around with children. I agree. If you don’t teach your children about gun safety, then you may have serious, potential problems on your hands. But, honestly, doesn’t the same go for ANY conceivably dangerous item in the home? For instance, don’t most of our living spaces have an oven, stove, microwave, grill, and fireplace? And what about drills, knives, razor blades, cleaning products, and medications? Is it too extreme or far-fetched to think that these items could also, potentially, be risky to have around with children? But most parents have no qualms or issues with teaching their kids about the hazards and the proper, safe use of these “common” household items or appliances.
I can’t help but think of the scene from the animated movie, The Croods, in which the bumbling members of a caveman family are first introduced to fire. Fascinated and uninformed, they injure themselves, set one another ablaze, and cause the entire landscape around them to go up in flames as they attempt to put out the raging inferno in the “tall, dry grass” or beat it out with sticks. If the Crood family had been properly introduced to the uses—and the dangers—of fire, these disasters could have been avoided.
Yes, I know it’s a cartoon. But the point is still very valid: no exposure (or improper exposure) can equal risk or injury. Hence, any number of items in a typical household have the potential to cause harm if children are not properly exposed to them. So, when people question me about firearms, I simply have to ask if they have an oven in their kitchen. If the answer is yes, then I ask these fellow parents about how their children have not yet burned their fingers or melted their toys! Usually the answer I get is a frustrated, “Well, of course I tell my kids NOT to touch the oven because it can hurt them.” That makes perfect sense to me. An oven, in and of itself, is not a dangerous item. We use it to prepare food. But an oven certainly can cause injury if someone does not know what it does or how to use it properly.
In the case of my children, they learn from an early age that they are not to operate the stove or play with—or around—the oven in any way, shape, or form. But as my 11-year-old daughter has matured, I have entrusted her with muffin-making duty and other simple baking tasks. The same process works with the other items in our home that we feel require higher-level thinking skills, coordination, and responsibility before our children may use them. And it’s not a far stretch to employ this same philosophy with firearms. Instead of treating a gun like it’s a terrible or peculiar taboo, we treat it as a normal part of our home. And just like with operating a letter opener, a screwdriver, or a toaster oven, we use our gun with care, and we train our children to do the same. It’s really that simple.