Regardless of where you fall on the political spectrum and gun control, we trust that everyone agrees that firearms should be kept out of the hands of young children. The statistics on accidental gun injury and death of children in the U.S. are nothing short of nauseating — 102 deaths, 141 injuries so far in 2020, according to Everytown. So when one mother put her foot down about not letting her children visit her gun-toting in-laws’ house, we absolutely get where she’s coming from.
“My in-laws (80M and 70F) have a gun for protection,” Reddit user Katzchen wrote in the AITA forum. “They do not keep it locked up in a safe. They will not tell us where it is except that it’s in their bedroom, but my husband is fairly sure it’s under their mattress.”
Though Katzchen used to let her children visit the in-laws on their own, now that her gun-curious son is 5 and her daughter is 3, she has determined that they’re not safe in a house with unsecured guns. She won’t let them go over unless she or her husband are there to make sure the bedroom door is locked. When the mother-in-law found out that the kids stay unaccompanied at their maternal grandparents’ house all the time, and Katzchen explained why, the grandmother started to cry.
The father-in-law argued his case again. “He told me it wasn’t even loaded,” Katzchen wrote. “I asked him to show me and he refused. He said there is no point in keeping it in a safe because it needs to be accessible for self-defense.”
Wait, if it’s accessible for self-defense, then are we sure it’s also unloaded? That’s fishy.
Read just a single headline about these children shooting themselves or others, and then think about every curious child you know, or just think about your own childhood and how good you were at snooping around. This mom is absolutely right to demand that her in-laws use a gun safe.
Redditors also agree. They shared some horror stories of finding “unloaded” guns loaded, and of finding guns that were supposed to be well hidden.
“When I was 8 or 9, I was playing in my parents’ room and I found a handgun they had so carefully hidden,” calmandwise wrote. “I didn’t touch it. WEEKS later, they told me they had bought a gun and if I see it I shouldn’t touch it. I said, ‘Oh yeah, I know. I found it weeks ago.’ The blood drained from their faces. They got rid of the gun. Kids can find anything.”
“Have these people never dealt with kids?” S3xySouthernB asked. “I’ve seen a toddler climb to the top of a fridge for a cookie, unlock a double locked front door for the dog, AND somehow manage to turn on a stove all in less than the minute I took to pee. There is no impossible outside of a locked safe with a hidden key.”
And, inevitably, some even knew people who had died this way.
“I actually know of two kids who were killed because the gun wasn’t put up properly,” NimueBelleFree.
There are gun safes made with fingerprint recognition software that allow the owners to open them up in a matter of seconds. Those few seconds seem like they might be worth the life of a grandchild or two.
Secure gun storage has become a priority of Moms Demand Action this year, as kids are home for longer periods of time, sometimes unsupervised, because of the pandemic. You can learn more about how to protect your kids from firearms at the site BeSmartforKids.org.
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