Yesterday The Cornered Cat linked the story about the 12 year old girl who bravely defended herself against an home intruder. Then Kathy made a comment and asked this…
“A young person responsible enough to be left home alone should be responsible enough to be trusted, alone, with _every_ item inside the home. If a young person cannot be trusted with everything in the home, that young person shouldn’t be home alone.
Agree or disagree?”
Again and again I hear this I idea that children should not learn to handle guns because it is to dangerous for them. I actually hear this about adults as well.
What about your huge butcher knife or your matches? How many homes are burned down by kids playing with matches?? Yes, put the matches up where the kid can’t get them if your child is young or irresponsible, but the point is, teach your kids about the dangers and how not to stab themselves, get burned or shot and if they don’t get it then leaving them alone should not be an option.
I once knew a person that said she didn’t want a handgun in her house because she didn’t think she or her kids were responsible enough and it scared her. A rifle yes. A knife yes. I blow dryer near a tub full of water yes, but not a handgun.
Choosing not to have a handgun in your house is a personal choice and it is fine if one is not comfortable, but if your reason is that neither you or your children are responsible enough then I am think none of you should be left alone, period. Responsibility is a full time gig and really it is a mind thing and a behavior thing.
Again, if a parent doesn’t feel a child is responsible enough to handle a gun safely then absolutely that child should not be left alone with one, but if a parent feels a child is responsible enough in all other areas then it makes sense to put aside the bias and fear and evaluate if the child is capable of being safe with a firearm. Often we use our fears to make choices for us without really thinking it through. Using one’s own fear to keep a child from having all means of protection at their disposal is not the best way to keep them safe.
Guns do require an enormous amount of respect and care, but the rules for safe gun handling are simple and if followed make them one of the safest tools in the house.
We have children who we, without question would trust with a gun anytime, anywhere. They are more committed to the 4 rules then anyone I have ever seen, but then we do have one who isn’t so good yet. This is pretty universal with his overall behavior. I don’t trust him not to put the dog in the washing machine or eat the entire bag of Halloween candy stashed in my closet either, so guess who is supervised 24/7? He will find that dog and that candy no matter what, so my only real choice is to watch him or have him watched. Funny, though, he never touches the knives, the scissors or opens the front door and even the toy guns he asks to touch. However since I don’t feel he is responsible enough in general there is no way I would risk leaving him home alone with or without a gun(He is 6, so that would not happen regardless, but if he is still this way at 16 he won’t be left. Please Lord, don’t let him be this way at 16:)
My daughter as you know isn’t super keen on guns, but since we have guns in the house she has had to learn how to use them safely and since I believe in having all the tools available to help defend ones life against a mortal threat, she had to learn how to use all the guns, knives, flashlights, fire extinguishers, chop sticks, heavy objects in the house, mace…get the point. Shooting isn’t fun for her, but she is comfortable with guns and she absolutely has the mindset and skill to defend her life she should be forced to. In addition she is over all just a trustworthy kid.
My husband and I are not comfortable leaving our children in an environment that is unarmed. Sometimes we have to(like if we go to DC), but if we can avoid it we do. It doesn’t make sense to me that I walk around my house with a gun on my hip just in case and then leave my children home with less tools. We only have armed baby sitters…funny, but totally true.
Of course we really do not trust a lot of people with our kids safety so we teach them how to take care of themselves and until each shows they are responsible enough in many, many areas to include safe gun handling they are not left alone at home or at a friend’s house or in the mall and no my kids do not carry a gun in the mall.
I think many adults underestimate how responsible and capable children really are. True we seem to have an abundance of irresponsible folks running around, but that is learned behavior and the good stuff is just as easily learned. We just have to take the time to teach it.