In Other Words, LIE
Our friends at Jointogether.org have some Suggestions for Discussing Gun Safety with Other Parents:
Emphasize your child’s curious nature:
“You know, my Timmy is so curious. He has the easiest time opening things that even I have a hard time with. It seems every time I turn around, he’s got the TV remote opened and the batteries are spilling out all over the place.”
Perhaps you should keep a closer eye on little Timmy, then. What if he gets into the kitchen where the knives are?
Localize the issue:
“I just heard the most amazing thing. Did you know that 39 percent of homes have firearms in them? That means a number of houses on our block (may have firearms). It’s frightening to think that there are that many guns around.”
If THAT bothers you, my house would give you the willies.
Set the example:
“My pediatrician convinced me that we had to do something with our gun. It was easy. Now we keep our gun empty, and locked up in a gun safe, with the ammunition locked elsewhere. It feels more responsible.”
Really? Your pediatrician? And he got his gun training from….? What kind of gun to you have? Sporting-clays shotgun? Deer rifle? No? A 9mm handgun you bought for self-protection? Lots of good that bad boy’s going to do you if you need it in the middle of the night, huh? “Sorry, Mr. Burglar, can you wait until I unlock the gun safe, unlock the ammo, and get this thing loaded?” Since it’s useless to you, I’d offer to buy it, but I’m not all that enamored of the 9mm Europellet. Have you considered a quick-access safe? Oh, right, precocious Timmy. Well, how about wearing the gun during the day, and then putting it in the quick-access safe at night while you sleep?
Make it a joint effort:
“You know, I feel good that Timmy and his friends won’t stumble on a gun in my house. I’d never forgive myself if a child got shot while playing here. That makes me realize that I hope the same thing is true at his friends’ houses. So I’ve decided to ask everyone about it even though I feel a little funny (awkward) asking. I hope you won’t feel funny (uncomfortable) when I ask you if you have a gun and if so whether it is properly stored (or how you store it).”
No, I don’t feel funny (uncomfortable) at all. If you’re that worried about it, keep little Timmy at home. I don’t need him prowling around my house, taking my remote controls apart, and looking for my guns. Oh, and here’s a nice sign for your front yard:
Rest assured, if I hear any screaming coming from your house in the middle of the night, I won’t get my gun and come over to see what’s happening. I’ll just let the police handle it. That’s what they’re for, right?