The Cornered Cat
“But did you die?”

Lots of good responses to yesterday’s post about kids and gun safety.  But on one of the private groups I frequent online, there was some pushback from parents who did not want to keep their guns either on-body, or locked up in a secure fast-access gun safe. They said things like:

  • “We [keep our gun] in the top dresser drawer ready to go… My [daughters] know it’s not a toy.”
  • “Top of the closet, loaded. Our children are educated on gun safety.”
  • “Ours is bullet in chamber above our bed in a cabinet she can’t reach.”
  • “We have taught them gun safety and it’s never been a mystery to them. I grew up with unsecured guns and knew better.”

I don’t — honestly, truly don’t! — understand the resistance to using a secure, fast-access safe or keeping the gun on-body at home. Typing “fast access gun safe” into the search bar on Amazon brings up dozens of easy to use lockboxes that will store the gun securely and allow parents to quickly arm themselves without any chance of a child getting the gun when they shouldn’t. Many of them cost less than a meal in a nice restaurant with the family.

Let me put this in a little perspective, especially for those who grew up with unsecured guns and thus may not understand what the fuss is all about.

Although I truly hate to mention this, I’m over 40 years old (47 to be exact … where do the years go?). Like many other people who grew up around unsecured guns, I also grew up not wearing a seat belt.

Just for nostalgia’s sake, here’s what a child car seat looked like when I was a little girl.

 

Once upon a time, this was the safest place for a child to ride in the car.

Once upon a time, this was the safest place for a baby to ride in the car.

 

We had one that looked a lot like this, but most of the time my parents didn’t use it. They often let me ride on someone’s lap (my favorite: sitting on daddy’s lap, “helping” him drive). I can remember riding in the back of the family station wagon, playing cards with my brother in the cargo space. Or lying stretched out in a sleeping bag on the floor of the van, or letting the wind blow through my hair as we rode in the open bed of a pickup truck. All of those things were normal when I was a kid — and all of them are pretty much unacceptable parenting practices now.

We might smile when we remember things like that and say, “Oh, we survived those ‘dangerous’ practices, so they must not have been so dangerous after all!”

But when we say that, we’re being very foolish, because you know who we can’t ask? All the children who died before they got to be as old as we are.

 

Childhood deaths in motor vehicle collisions by age, 1975 - 2014. In 1974, approximately 16 percent of American infants rode in car seats. By 2014, that number had risen to over 98 percent. (Source: http://www.iihs.org/iihs/topics/t/child-safety/fatalityfacts/child-safety#Trends)

Childhood deaths in motor vehicle collisions by age, 1975 – 2014. In 1974, approximately 16 percent of American infants rode in car seats. By 2014, that number had risen to over 98 percent. (Source: http://www.iihs.org/iihs/topics/t/child-safety/fatalityfacts/child-safety#Trends)

 

The change in parenting practice from not using car seats at all to keeping children in very well-designed modern car seats has saved a lot of lives that would have otherwise been lost. This is true even though a lot of us survived riding in cars without car seats, or with the less-safe older styles.

So what does this have to do with locking up your guns where children can’t get them? Quite a lot! Here’s what modern “lock the guns up and educate your kids” firearms practices have accomplished on the child safety front.

 

Changes in parental safety practices -- most notably, locking up the guns rather than hiding them or storing them haphazardly around the house -- have nearly eliminated childhood deaths from gun accidents.

Changes in parental safety practices — most notably, locking up the guns rather than hiding them or storing them haphazardly around the house — have sharply reduced childhood deaths from gun accidents, even while gun ownership and use has continued to rise.

 

So while I’m glad to know that each of us survived our own dangerous childhoods, I’m also glad to know that we can do things more safely for our own children. What a wonderful time to be alive!

Thank goodness for modern quick-access safes, that allow parents to keep self-defense guns ready for quick use but out of the reach of children.

Thank goodness for modern concealed carry laws that allow responsible adults to keep firearms safely holstered on their bodies without fear of breaking the law by simply stepping past their own property line.

And thank goodness for parents smart enough and dedicated enough to teach their children how to safely handle and use firearms, even from very young ages.

 

 

Stay safe!

3 Responses to “But did you die?”

  1. David N Johnson aka True Blue Sam says:

    Lockups are important for elderly parents that you may care for; also for houseguests. Firearms also need to be kept safe from burglars who may come in while you are away. We now have safes at both ends of the house so we can access a gun quickly from either end of our living space. A breakin while we were home made that need evident.

  2. larryarnold says:

    “The best time in my life was when I was 12 years old, and the world ought to still be that way!”

    Well, no. I agree with Kathy that lots of things are lots better. Back then we hadn’t come up with the second safety rule yet, and folks still walked around with their fingers on triggers. And revolvers lacked safety bars, so it wasn’t safe to load the chamber under the hammer. So today we should lock up or carry our guns.

    OTOH, there are some things I’d like to see return.

    I think, for instance, kids should be able to carry pocket knives. The advantage wasn’t just being able to cut string and open packages (and that was before everything came in impervious plastic blisters) it was letting young people exercise the responsibility of carrying such a tool. It was an individual privilege that could be withdrawn if the child was irresponsible.

    So I’d like to see that return. Perhaps not at age 8, when I became a Cub Scout and got my first Scout knife, but certainly earlier than high school. It’s ridiculous that a 16-year-old can have a driver’s license, but not a folding knife.

  3. prcek.veliky says:

    Hello Kathy, although I agree with you that it makes sense, to not allow children access gun without supervision, the world is not only black or white. Sometime in rare (I hope) cases it may be the right thing.
    http://lawnews.tv/examples-of-kids-using-guns-to-defend-themselves/

    Regardless this I really appreciate your sentence “And thank goodness for parents smart enough and dedicated enough to teach their children how to safely handle and use firearms, even from very young ages.”
    because some regulators and activists push the system where children cannot do anything until they are 15/18/21 (it depends on activity and country) and then suddenly everything is allowed. Then some bad things happen due their inexperience and excitement that they CAN do something after long time they were able but were prohibited to do it and new reason for another regulation is on the world.
    I’m talking i.e. about driving license for car – you have to be 18 here in CZ and after driving school and exams you can drive, it is illegal to let to drive car younger person. (Scooter limit is 15) No surprise that many car accidents are caused by such young drivers “with wet driving license”
    For concealed carry is limit 21 (again here in Czech Republic), then you have to pass exam – theory – mostly law, and practise 5 of 5 shots in circle target 0.5m on 10m distance you can be pleased, because most important thing during this part of exam is safety – if you point gun unsafe direction you will fail … (all four – rules) but then you can carry and you do not have to take any training or practise – fortunately nothing bad has happened yet. But it is illegal to let to shoot child under age 10 (firearms, air powered guns are OK)

    Folding knifes are prohibited in schools but no one checks it actively so if child is responsible enough to not use it wrong way it is no problem.

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