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?
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.
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.”
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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.”
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.
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?
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