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  1. #1
    Eyestrain is offline Junior Member
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    Handguns in the house - kid safety

    New member, first post.

    I've owned a handgun for the past 17 years (Beretta 92FS), and just recently purchased another (Glock 26). I applied for a CCW permit 3 weeks ago. I have an 8 year old daughter living at home with me. To be quite honest, I have not given child safety the attention it deserves. What I have done is kept the guns unloaded and on the top shelf of our bedroom closet where, in theory, they are out of her reach.

    What I'd like to know is how those of you with younger children balance the need to be vigilant regarding child safety with the desire to keep guns and ammo accessible in the event they are needed. I've done some initial internet research, but unfortunately much of of what I've found is clearly from the gun hating/fearing crowd. I have read some good suggestions here (like one post where a member gets his kid(s) to help clean his gun in order to remove the "glamour" and at the same time satisfy curiosity). I don't believe my daughter has any real interest in playing with handguns; what concerns me more is a scenario in which she has friends over, somebody mentions something about guns, and she says "well let me show you what my daddy has . . ."

    So far the best middle ground I've read suggested several times is to keep the guns separate from the ammo. I the case of a semi-auto, does that mean no bullets in the mag? Or does that mean loaded mags hidden away from the guns?

    Thanks in advance, and I look forward to hearing about whatever solutions each of you may have employed.

  2. #2
    Bisley's Avatar
    Bisley is offline Senior Member
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    Buy a cheap safe or a lock box and either keep the gun on your body, or in the safe.

    Somebody may break in and steal the gun, safe, and all, but a kid won't get at it. And by all means, teach your daughter and let her handle the gun, after securing it. Take the mystique out of it, and she will probably forget to even mention it to her friends.

  3. #3
    group17 is offline Member
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    They do come with a trigger locks.
    Depending on how old your children are keeping ammo and guns up high and out of sight prevent them from finding and reaching them easily.

  4. #4
    Packard is offline Senior Member
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    Trigger locks or a safe.

    You can build a child resistant "safe" from 3/4" ply. It won't resist a thief, but it will be kid proof.

    A single sheet of plyood + glue and hardware, probably less than $50.00.

    In my house, in the basement there is a wall with exposed 2" x 4" studding. It is 14" between the studs. It would be a half hour's work to mount a plywood "door" over the studs and fasten it with a hasp and a padlock. You can add shelves made from 2" x 4" material too. It will hold a couple of rifles and a bunch of handguns.

  5. #5
    Steve M1911A1's Avatar
    Steve M1911A1 is online now Senior Member
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    Besides all of that, it's never too soon to begin educating your child in "gun stuff."

    From my own daughter-parenting experience:
    • Remove the mystery, and thus the lure, by letting her handle the gun at any time she wants to, as long as it's empty and you are right there with her. Don't force it. Let her ask.
    • Make her want to handle your pistol by working on it, and cleaning it, in front of her. Kids are always curious about taking mechanisms apart. Even girls.
    • Whenever she wants to handle it, use the opportunity to explain, and enforce, one or another rule of gun safety. After a while, she'll remember them all, and she'll apply them too.
    • Next, don't ever let her "play guns." Make a strong distinction between play and seriously dangerous tools. Guns—even pointed fingers—are not objects of play. The safety rules apply to play guns, exactly as they do to real ones.
    • Then, instruct her about what to do when a real gun appears at a friend's home: If there's no adult present, leave immediately. Then find an adult, and tell him/her about it.
    • Finally, take her shooting with you as soon as she's ready and has expressed an interest. I bought a used, single-shot Winchester .22, and cut it down to fit her. I let her know that this was her own, personal gun. She became responsible for maintaining it. There are lots of maturing lessons there.

    My daughter:
    The result of all of this, which took about four years, was a completely gun-safe 10-year-old.
    She's now in her 30s, and no longer interested in guns... But she's still gun-safe.

  6. #6
    kg333's Avatar
    kg333 is offline Member
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    One of the better perspectives I've seen on kids and guns is from Kathy Jackson, a mother who has her CCW and runs a website, The Cornered Cat.

    She's got a pretty lengthy section on how to deal with kids and guns, although you'll hear a lot of the same points that have already been mentioned here.

    Quote Originally Posted by Steve M1911A1 View Post
    Next, don't ever let her "play guns." Make a strong distinction between play and seriously dangerous tools. Guns—even pointed fingers—are not objects of play. The safety rules apply to play guns, exactly as they do to real ones.
    There's a more controversial point, Steve...the way I've heard it put was that "boys will chew gun shapes out of their buttered toast", in spite of efforts to the contrary. I was raised playing "cops & robbers" like other kids, but when I got my first BB gun at age ten, Dad made it crystal clear that this was a whole different ball game. And if that wasn't enough, watching him shut my cousin down hard after the kid swept the line with a Red Ryder drove the point home. I think it could be reasonable to allow play and paintball guns and such, if the distinction between those and firearms is made.

    KG

  7. #7
    Steve M1911A1's Avatar
    Steve M1911A1 is online now Senior Member
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    The distinction may be made with kids of some maturity and responsibility, but when I started with my daughter, she was too young to make the distinction reliably.

    I agree with you about little boys. I remember what I was like.
    Little boys are more difficult to train in gun safety because of their inherent aggressiveness.
    Had I raised a boy, as my Jean did before we got together, I think that I would try to separate guns from aggressive play by channelling him into Karate or something similar, and at the same time letting him "play" with real guns under tightly-controlled conditions.

  8. #8
    MLB's Avatar
    MLB
    MLB is offline Supporting Member
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    Early on, I kept the long guns in the closet with the bolts removed, and the bolts with the pistols in a small fire safe we had for documents. This is certainly sufficient from a safety perspective. I think anyone that understands firearms would agree. The shotgun had a trigger lock, as I wasn't interested in disassembling that thing.

    My kids are familiar with the firearms and join me on occasion. They know the four rules. It's not them I'm particularly worried about. I had to change my arrangement when the kids got old enough to start having friends over. Reason aside, I'm sure there would be no amount of explaining to a non gun-savvy parent as to why the rifle (without a bolt) was entirely harmless, should one of the little guests drag it out of my closet.

    So I picked up a gun safe. Just a few hundred dollars, but it allowed me peace of mind, and more room to store additional pistols too!

  9. #9
    Eyestrain is offline Junior Member
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    Thank you all for your well-reasoned and thoughtful responses.

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