I grew up around firearms. I don’t remember how old I was when I was allowed to go unsupervised with an air rifle, but it was well before I was eight years old. If I had to reach into the wayback machine I’d guess I was six or seven years of age, because I clearly remember having several kinds of air rifles and pistols before my parents divorced when I was eight.
By the time I was nine years old my father had taught me how to shoot a bolt-action .22LR rifle, and it wasn’t soon after that he taught me how to shoot a 20 gauge shotgun.
We had several loaded, unlocked rifles in the house within my reach — purposefully. I used these rifles several times during my childhood to shoot wild animals attacking our livestock.
My father was quick to teach me the basics of firearms safety, and I was expected to treat air pistols and rifles with the same respect as “real” guns.
In almost 40 years of being around guns of all kinds, I have never been involved in a firearms incident or injury.
However, times have changed, and there is expectation level for securing firearms and ammunition have changed as well.
Do it for your kids.
Here’s the simple policy.
Firearms: On Me or Locked Down
If a weapon is not in my immediate control it gets locked away in a safe, locked in strong box designed for firearms, or locked in a case. Locked. I don’t leave unloaded firearms around, either, because every thinking adult treats every firearm as if it were loaded.
I also lock every round of ammunition up unless it’s on my person. That is due to Minnesota law, so under lock and key it goes.
Typical gun owner faux paus that are not allowed at this house: storing firearms in sock drawers, under the bed, “high up” on a closet shelf, or unlocked in a nightstand. All of these places are common storage areas for guns, and also areas commonly scavenged by kids.
Do it for yourself.
Before I had kids in my house I would keep a loaded shotgun in the corner behind the bedroom door. This is also a bad idea. Not locking guns up in your own home may give robbers a significant armament advantage if you surprise them by coming home in the middle of a heist.
It is still quite possible to steal firearms that are locked up, either by opening the safe/container with tools or by removing the entire enclosure from your house. However, these are both more difficult than just leaving your blasters out in the open. If you think kids are good at finding guns, crooks are even worse. One convicted firearms thief said his favorite place to check for guns was the freezer because gun owners never thought he’d check there.
Do it for your kids’s stupid ass friends
The truth is that most parents don’t teach their kids about gun safety. The discussion usually goes something like this:
“Guns are bad. Don’t touch them.”
This is the equivalent of hoping your kids don’t have sex or drink/do drugs and never bringing up as a topic of rational conversation. Instead of gun safety rules, all these people pass on to their children is an interest in something taboo — a drive that is very hard to subdue as children age and become more inquisitive.
The bottom line is that even if you are responsible and teach your kid about guns, their friends may not (and probably won’t) know shit. If they find a gun in your house, good luck to your children explaining the four basics of gun safety before their friends put their finger on the trigger and pull.
If you have kids in the house or anticipate any kids being in your house, just lock your guns up. Just do it.
There’s no such thing as a child involved in an accidental discharge. It’s just another example of a gunowner being negligent with their firearms.
Remember: on you or locked down. No other conditions.