Two boys, aged 8 and 10, were left alone in a home with a loaded gun. What happened next raises all sorts of questions, from how can kids be safe with a gun in the home, to how young is too young to stay behind? Read on to find out more.

How can we keep our kids safe?

Two young Missouri boys fired a gun after they were left at home alone by their parents. Initial claims that they shot at an intruder have been dismissed, and the parents are facing the possibility of their children, aged 8 and 10, being taken away from them. Why didn’t the parents make sure their firearm was locked up safely, and were they wrong for letting children so young stay home without adult supervision?

Bring up a safe shooter

How young is too young?

Laws vary by state regarding how old a child should be to be left on his or her own at home, and many, including Missouri, don’t have a set minimum age. It’s recommended that children be 12 years old or older, but parents are encouraged to consider their child’s individual maturity level. You should also play out scenarios -- simply telling your child what to do in case of an emergency isn’t as effective.

Kids home alone: What’s the right age? >>

Some parents took issue with the fact that the kids haven’t been taught properly about gun safety. “I am totally pro-gun and my children have been taught to respect them and they also know how to use them,” wrote Kellie, a commenter on KCTV 5’s Facebook page. “An 8-year-old playing with a gun has not been taught proper respect and gun safety or they wouldn’t be playing with it in the first place.”

Liana, another commenter, agreed. “This situation has to do with lack of education and knowledge,” she said. “Guns seem intriguing if they are not a part of your life.”

Here’s how to raise a child safely around guns >>

Totally irresponsible

Most parents seem to think that this mom and dad have a few screws loose to let their kids stay at home alone with access to a loaded gun. “At 8, to be left alone while mom goes to the grocery store or runs an errand for an hour?” said Jennifer, another commenter. “Not a big deal, if the parent has raised the child to be responsible, independent and knows how to dial 911. All day because the parents are at work? Not old enough. All day with an unlocked gun and access to ammo? Irresponsible.”

"Parenting and maturity are the issue -- why in the world would you leave any kid home alone with a gun in the house?"

Jessica, another commenter, concurred. “I know teenagers that shouldn't be left home alone, and my 10-year-old could be, so age is not the issue,” she explained. “Parenting and maturity are the issue -- why in the world would you leave any kid home alone with a gun in the house?”

It has yet to be determined whether the kids will be taken into state custody or charges against the parents will be filed, but hopefully moms and dads will step up and keep their kids safe at home, even if there are firearms present -- it can, and should, be done.

Tell us

What do you think of this? Should these kids be taken away? Are these parents irresponsible for leaving their young kids home alone -- with a gun?

More on safety

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Keeping your autistic child safe
Home safety tips for the holiday season

Tags: gun safety

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Comments

Comments on "Kids left alone at home shoot a gun"

Neighbor January 17, 2014 | 8:39 AM

I have a neighbor who has 3 kids 10 and under and they have guns in the house. I reported to authorities that the kids were left at home because the mother was at an evening party. How am I to be ABSOLUTELY POSITIVE, 110% sure that these kids don't know the combination to the lock? God forbid any of those kids hurt them selves! Needless to say.....she has yet to go out again and leave the kids home alone.....

mamande2enfants July 03, 2012 | 11:43 AM

I also have 2 kids 8 and 10 and I do leave them home alone for an hour or two but didn't start until they told me they were ready, it makes them feel independent and they take it very seriously.. they know what is expected of them and they know I will call to check on them every 20 minutes, they have a list of numbers to call in case they need anything.. computer and electronic is turned off, door is locked.. But your role as a parents is also to raise your child in a safe environment. If the parents don’t understand the wrong of having a gun in their house that is not properly locked and in a safe place how can their kids understand. The parents should be responsible.

Gabi June 06, 2012 | 3:26 PM

I definitely agree that the parents haven't raised their kids properly if they are going to have a firearm in the house -- and they also should have had it stored correctly. A trained child knows not to play with guns.

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