“Do you have any guns in the house?”
She gets nervous about asking, but so far nobody has been offended by the question. Her own father keeps a gun in the house. So do several of our friends. But it’s something we want to know about. If the answer is yes, the follow-up question is:
“What’s your gun safety plan?”
The general reaction to the question is “I should be asking the same question.” Accidental injury and death is a real threat to children in the United States. A few sobering bullet points:
- Children in the U.S. are nine times more likely to die in gun accidents than children anywhere else in the developed world
- More than 100 children are killed in gun accidents every year, and 76% of the time the gun belonged to a parent or family member
- Suicide rates for children ages 5-14 are double the average within industrialized nations, driven by a firearm-related suicide rate that is 10 times the average of the same group
The real numbers are even higher. Many accidental gun deaths are reported as homicides. The same article gets into details re: what ages children are most at risk. Three-year-olds, who are old enough to manipulate objects but don’t understand the dangers guns pose, are particularly vulnerable.
This is not a screed against personal gun ownership. It’s a just a reminder. Kids are curious. Kids will explore every nook and cranny of your house. Kids do things without considering or understanding the consequences. Kids and loaded, unsecured guns are a potentially lethal combination.
Don’t leave your damn guns lying around. If there is even a small chance of a child setting foot in your house, store them locked and unloaded.
And ask that awkward question.