How do You ask Someone to give up Their Gun?


October 4, 2003, 10:53 PM
Moved my mom into A fourplex style senior housing neighborhood today.

She has a Colt Trooper .357Mag that she has kept around to feel secure over the years. She just moved into a fourplex unit ( one of twenty on site) today, and I am thinking it is time to ask her to pass her piece on to me for good.

Her health is not good, she cannot shoot it or handle it safely anymore. The complex is the safest area to live in this town. Due to her physical and mental state, her neighbors were safer yesterday than they are today. Her new neighbors, that is.

This really is the time for her to pass it onto me. She has a history of chasing off "prowlers", and frankly her new neighbors are at some small risk. Still, how do you tell someone you care for that they are no longer fit enough to be trusted with a weapon, their most effective means of self protection?

That is what it will come to. I will have to look her in the eye and tell her that she is incompetant. Too old and crazy to own a firearm, and may I have it for my collection, please. You're plenty safe here.

I discussed the move with her yesterday, her revolver quite specifically. Asked her to have it unloaded and in a case, ready to give it to me before we started moving, as there would be kids and other unaware indiviuals helping. I knew it was loaded right then, because there had been an incident that upset her the night before. I would transport it and keep it secure till she was unpacked. When I got to her house and we were starting, I inquired about it. She did not know where it was, but it was in one of those boxes. :banghead:

We had already loaded it on the truck at that point.

Not that any of us knew, till we were unpacking boxes.

She can't drive, but refuses to sell her vehicle, which is costing her money she does not have. It is a freedom/independence issue, which I certainly understand. Her pistol falls into the same catagory. I understand that too.

Growing Elderly sucks. How do I preserve her dignity while protecting her neighbors?

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October 4, 2003, 10:54 PM

October 4, 2003, 10:57 PM
My brother-in-law reloads. I was telling my wife today that loads with no powder may be the answer.

Seems very lame to a gunnut like me.

October 4, 2003, 11:01 PM
Well, loads with no powder could leave a bullet in the barrel, causing an extremely high potential for a KB. It's called a squib load. DO NOT DO IT!

October 4, 2003, 11:08 PM
No powder and a snapcap "primer" might do the trick.

However, first time she tries to shoot a 'coon or 'possum in the back yard, she'll figure it out and go buy some ammo.

I'd hate to be in your position AR-10. You may have to have her declared "incompetent" :(

October 4, 2003, 11:12 PM
Three rounds with a primer and no powder would be a bad day for the revolver, but I don't think pieces would go flying.

Live rounds would be a serious problem. As I eluded earlier, she has an exiteable nature.

At this point, I still see myself asking her tomorrow to give me her firearm.

It's for the children, you know.

Baba Louie
October 4, 2003, 11:15 PM
There's the upfront Boy Scout method you've described with all of the potential for unpleasantness associated with it.

It is the best way to go though an unfortunate point in someone's life you love.

Having said that, if its in some box somewhere and said box happens to get placed somewhere else... "Which box did you say it was in Mom? I can't find it anywhere!" and its never found again... well, thats not taking the high road, now is it, so we won't go there...

Take her out shooting one more time with it and judge her ability to use the thing and hit the target. Then have the heart to heart. Maybe buy her some little NAA .22 to take the 357's place...if recoil is an issue and she can still control her mental & eye/hand coordination.

There is NO good answer coming from my mind. I'm putting myself in her shoes and I think I'm gonna have to be room temp before I want my kids to take my last firearm from my person and even then I may want to be buried with it. ;) If I'm out of it enough to be a danger to someone nearby then the kids will have to take it and I'll probably never know or even remember where I had it last. I hope I don't degenerate like that mentally, but I might and if so, there it is.

Good luck AR

edited to add, I just re-read your post where she can't shoot it or handle it. Keep her and her neighbors safe. She's an accident waiting to happen. Reloading some empty-non-primed brass with bullet only, no powder is also not good. Just do the dirty deed and lose sleep for one night.


October 4, 2003, 11:25 PM
Could you ask her to 'borrow' it? Drop by on a Saturday, say you're hitting the range with friends. Then just stall on bringing it back.

If she's in a seniors' home, does she realize that? (I'm mean, if nurses visit her daily and things like that, she probably shouldn't have a firearm around.) Perhaps there is a rule at the establishment about firearms. That way, you're not disarming her, they are.

Good luck. I don't look forward to those times with my parents. But hopefully that's a couple decades off yet...

Standing Wolf
October 4, 2003, 11:26 PM
I'd be inclined to have a chat with her doctor and another with the senior citizens' housing complex management team.

October 4, 2003, 11:35 PM
Take her out shooting one more time with it and judge her ability to use the thing and hit the target.
I don't think the problem is her being able to hit the target, I think the problem is her choosing appropriate targets.

I'd be inclined to have a chat with her doctor and another with the senior citizens' housing complex management team.
My only concern there is that there might be some Second Amendment Bigots among the complex management team and she may find herself looking for a new place to live.

October 4, 2003, 11:39 PM
Don't know all the details, but one thought that comes to mind is have you checked the rules of the apt. complex? Political issues aside, there might be a clause in the lease about firearms, which may provide a pretext for you to bring up the subject.

If you haven't already done so, you ought to est. a relationship with her doctor(s) said there are other health problems, and the gun concern is just one of many independence issues you will be dealing with. Many geriatric doctors are trained to provide some good counseling support (or references) for things like this. Sometimes unpleasant news is received better, if it comes from a trusted professional, rather than a family member. Worth a try.

Senior housing varies widely in the level of support services they provide. If your mom is fully aware of these, she might feel more secure without the weapon around.

Been there, done that. Good luck.

October 4, 2003, 11:39 PM
She is settling into a housing complex with twenty buidings, and no onsight management or medical staff. It sits right across from the Care Center (sort of the next stop), but it is an independant-living neighborhood.

Borrowing or loosing it seemed atractive this morning, but at the end of the day I left and she had it in hand. I started to play the "where the heck is it?" game, but in the end...

I find it very distastefull to be dishonest with her. My siblings have been bitching about this for two years, and they are right. She should not own a firearm.

Perhaps "borrowing" it will be the less painfull path.

October 5, 2003, 12:06 AM
Not a nice position to be in. Dignity can be a sensitive thing. If you take the "guns aren't allowed here" stance, you may distance yourself as family par se and dignity is still lost maybe. That is a tough one. Maybe you could borrow it, have the firing pin removed (if its frame mounted) and assemble some deactivated primer / no powder loads for it as well. If she ever realizes its broke, you take it to get it 'fixed' and brainstorm some more.

Good luck.

Edited too add, a half case full of sand to be able to shake back & forth may keep her from smelling a rat if she was to become suspicious for any reason...

October 5, 2003, 12:23 AM
Sheesh. What an awful question.

So much of it depends on her.

Of the sneaky solutions, Edward's seems the best to me. Disable the gun itself, not the ammo. If she still has the gun, she won't be trying to get ahold of another one. She could buy new ammo if she wants, but it still wouldn't work in the gun. She wouldn't be able to shoot anyone, but she also wouldn't have the gun taken away from her and used against her. If she discovers the gun won't fire, you can offer to take it in and get it fixed (and stall) -- or use the occasion then to tell her, "No, I won't help you keep a gun in your home any more." And finally, if she does point it at one of the neighbors, at least none of the neighbors will get hurt or killed ... and maybe the neighbors would take care of the problem for you at that point.

All that said, I have to say that if that day ever comes for me, I really, really, really hope my children are able to deal honestly with me. That's a measure of dignity, too.


He was either a man of about a hundred and fifty who was rather young for his years, or a man of about a hundred and ten who had been aged by trouble. -- P.G. Wodehouse

October 5, 2003, 12:51 AM
I am against loadin it with dummy ammo.

She could brandish it and get shot by another.


Andrew Rothman
October 5, 2003, 01:01 AM
I feel for you; this is tough.

But between hurt feelings and hurt people, you know what to do.

The cops will shoot her just as dead whether it's full of live rounds or dummies. Take it away.


October 5, 2003, 01:15 AM
Allow me to share what I did, let me swallow past this lump first.
I had a customer so full of life and energy , a shooter, whom taught her kids and grandkids to shoot. Like a mom to everyone she met, yeah me too. Run of events, starting with being a passenger in a severe car wreck, then stroke, downhill fast, other complications. The woman I saw was not the same I had known. Kids and family she wouldn't talk to about the big diamond ring she wore,or the guns she kept for protection. She had to go to a Senior home, and I was asked for advice by the family. I summoned her attorney,her Dr. and my Dr. friend, these two Dr.'s knew and respected each other. Fear was that large family dia ring would be lost or stolen, concern/ fear was she might lose faculities and disharge a weapon. In and out of reality at this point. She had always taken care of things her way, by herself.

I had duplicated the family ring and substituted for the large dia a CZ for the one on her finger. I went in to visit and to clean her ring, yes I switched rings. She trusted me , her attorney, not her Dr. We staged a lie, no other way to describe it. He Dr. informed her of "Policy" and terms of Senior Complex dictated no weapons ( a lie) I "acted" enraged, cursed out her Dr. , tried to get the attorney to find a loophole...her DR. stormed out...My DR Comes in and she has settled down some, he too curses the other DR., the complex...she finally understood we had all done what we could. She rarely cursed, but she cursed everyone, the decline of society, stupid gun laws...she turned over the weapons. She thanked me for trying, Thanked my friend the Dr. and her attorney. She died 30 days later. One of the hardest things I ever did.

It was not about money, the family is not this way, it was about sentiment, and safety. Safety in regard to her, we didn't want someone to rob her and in the process of going after the ring, or guns causing death or injury, to her or neighbors.

Tough, tough to stage a lie to protect someone from themself, tough to be involved in,orchestrate. Tough to see a lady end up like this. She said she appreciated my integrity, in trying to fight for her rights. I believe she passed with dignity. My integrity took a big blow that day. <lump in throat.

October 5, 2003, 02:00 AM
I have dealt with 100 dud reloads (.38, .357, .44) at the range I used to work, NONE of them ever made it past the forcing cone. Even with magnum primers. The cylinder would lock up and we kept a stout wooden dowel and a rubber mallet to gently return the bullet into the case.
(I know it was 100 because when we hit the 100 mark we stopped buying from them.)

Besides, a drop of 3-in1 oil on the anvil of a primer will deactivate it.

October 5, 2003, 02:01 AM
They say you don't really grow up until your ma dies. It's true. Been there and it sucks. And right up until I found her dead she thought I couldn't do anything right. If your ma feels better having a firearm, so what? Leave it but take the ammo. Mom will feel secure and so will you.

October 5, 2003, 02:16 AM
After the "one of these boxes" business...why didn't you just make it disappear right then? :confused:
She's already admitted she doesn't know where it is...if she never finds it and never mentions it...who cares? Or is she going to go looking for it and demand to know what happened to it?
If she's still that sharp, shouldn't she be okay with it?
I just don't understand it.

October 5, 2003, 05:08 AM
A young neighbor (18yr old gal) was run down by a confused old lady
driving a car.
Take the car and the gun.
When you were young she wouldn't let you cross the street without
permission. you didn't like it much but it saved your life.
Do the same for her.
The GF's old Auntie chases off coyotes in AZ all the time with blanks.
I'm sure any prowler would leave too...
Good luck

October 5, 2003, 06:40 AM
Tough, tough question. However, Truth is always The High Road. Don't deceive her, whatever you do. Tell her the truth, and remind her that if she doesn't comply voluntarily with your request to hand over the gun and the car, you may have no choice but to have her declared incompetent. Tell her what could happen if she keeps them both, and ask would she like to live with those possible consequences. Tell her what the consequences of having her declared incompetent would be, and how that could be a much worse affront to her dignity than to voluntarily give up some things. Above all, make sure she knows that what you are doing is out of love and concern for her safety and well-being. If she can't see this, you must face the fact that she has indeed slipped beyond reason, and should be declared incompetent.

It's tough for someone to give up independence, but remind her that God planned it that way--our parents take care of us when we're too young to take care of ourselves, and when our parents get too old to care for themselves, we then take care of them. It's a natural order that has prevailed for all but the last hundred years of human history.

October 5, 2003, 07:54 AM
Do not EVER give her squib loads. If a bullet got lodged in the barrel, and she fired again, she would probably lose her hand or have the revolver blow up in her face. Give her lightly loaded .38 rounds, or as some people suggested, a smaller gun.

October 5, 2003, 08:21 AM
How about offering to do a detailed cleaning on it and keep the firing pin? (If the Trooper has a non-hammer mounted pin)


October 5, 2003, 09:12 AM
I find it very distastefull to be dishonest with her. My siblings have been bitching about this for two years, and they are right. She should not own a firearm.

So, you are being "delegated" by your siblings to be the one to take away her weapon? If they are that concerned, you should all get together, explain you concerns as a family, and deal with it.

I had to take away my dad's driver's license a few months before he died. I knew he was a slow driver, but I followed him around town one day, and was amazed that he didn't get into an accident. I explained to hiim that I was concerned for his safety, as well as others. He didn't like it very much, and said he needed to get around. I told him I would take him anywhere he needed or wanted to go.

It's a tough choice, and a tough job, but you need to do it. Now. I wish you luck.

Apple a Day
October 5, 2003, 09:33 AM
I won't tell you what to do but I'll tell you my experience.
My father has Alzheimers. I took the guns out of the house ago because of his violent tantrums. I walked into the house one day when no one else was at home, bagged everything, and took them home. I didn't ask before I took them but didn't deny that I had taken them when he asked. Some might call that a lie by omission but my conscience is clear. My mother is greatly relieved.
He didn't take care of them, doesn't miss them. He asked me about them once or twice when the subject came up but never made a stink about it. Some folks are going to throw on their judge's robes and stand tossing condemnations at me but none of them have ever seen the bruises on my mother or been threatened by a stranger walking around in my father's skin. Flame away.
We are still dealing with the car issue. That is a long story, not firearm-related so I won't bore anyone.
Do what you have to do to make sure everyone, including your mom is safe. No one has mentioned suicide in the thread, yet, but depression is another issue associated with aging, declining mental health, and the disruption of lifestyle.

October 5, 2003, 09:43 AM
This Sucks! I too am against leaving her with the gun. Unloaded it's a danger to her, loader it's a danger to others. With siblings, I would remind them that life changes like Mom is currently experiencing are very hard to deal with, and a persons mind tends to wonder to ughly solutions. How would they feel if she was to commit suicide? They should be on your side here. I probably would orchestrate something along the lines of what re1973 did. It seems like the best, leaste hurtful solution.

Sorry man, getting old sucks, be there as much as you can.

October 5, 2003, 09:51 AM
Apple, No one has the right to second guess or judge you here. Any Flame starters better bite fingers, and pop a happy pill.

Greg L
October 5, 2003, 10:02 AM

Man that sucks (at least I know that I'll never have to go through this issue as my parents are both hard core anti's :rolleyes: ). One way or another you need to get the pistol. The problem isn't what it would do to her if she shot a neighbor, it is what it would do to you as you knew this possibility existed beforehand and didn't do anything to prevent it.

"Borrowing" it to go to the range is probably the best option. She sounds ornery enough that if you flat out took it from her she would go get another one.

Good luck.


October 5, 2003, 10:22 AM
Has she ever done anything irresponsible with the gun in the past?

If she is delusional, unstable or violent I would agree the gun needs to be sold or put somewhere safe.

If she is not mentally incapacitated it might not be a bad idea to let her keep it.

Can she be trusted to use a stove? A steak knife? A pair of scissors?

A gun is not the only potentially dangerous item in a home. She could just as easily forget to turn off a burner and kill everyone in the building or like one of my family members accidentaly put bleach cleanser in some soup she was making and not realize it.

October 5, 2003, 01:14 PM
I think I'd slip in a cylinder of snake shot. She cant do much damage with those except at extremely close range. Then, if (when) she slips a little more that she wouldent notice, I'd just disappear it.

4v50 Gary
October 5, 2003, 01:21 PM
What a tough question. Here we are, firm believers in the Second Amendment and would die fighting before we gave up our guns. Yet when it comes to an elderly loved one, we play the role of the gun-grabber and want to take the firearm.

I don't envy you at all and if my father was alive and infirm, I'd be just at a loss. Perhaps long discussions on firearms safety including trips to the range. :eek: Closely supervised trips. The individual has to be convinced themselves that they cannot or should not own a firearm. Once this is done, the rest is easy.

October 5, 2003, 04:51 PM
As always...lots of good advice here. My Grandfather (a WWI Marine, and lifetime gun owner/user) had Alzheimer's for some 7 or 8 years before dying of it, and my mother died of a brain tumor, so I have some perspective here.

The human condition doesn't often present absolutes, but you are dealing with one here. Get the weapon away ASAP! However it works best for your situation, but do it!

Best of luck. You all have my best wishes.

October 5, 2003, 05:35 PM

As we and our parents get older, the roles reverse. Tough and confusing on everyone.

You are now the 'parent' and must do what is best for the 'child' (your Mom).

Take the gun! Even if you have to do a complete search of the apt. with her standing there screaming at you. Grit your teeth and do what is best for her.

October 5, 2003, 07:37 PM
Well, we finished moving her in today. Sort of. When you move from a large house to a small apartment, some things cannot come along. She, of course, insisted that everything must come, which of course was not possible.

I sat down with her tonight and asked her (after she had been forced to give up this and that) if she would be upset if I suggested that this might be a good time to gift her handgun to me.

She said "Yes, it would".

My timing stinks.

So, I explained to her that she was living in the safest part of this small town. I told her that I was very concerned that since she cannot walk ten feet without losing her balance, that she might load it and then fall while walking and shoot herself or one or two of her neighbors.

She was not swayed in her desire to keep it. If her judgement was good, I would not have had to even broach the subject, so I was not suprised when she did not see the logic in my thinking.

I have not taken her shooting for two years because she is not up to going to an outdoor range, and frankly I would be afraid of her gun handling abilities as of late.

So, I have asked her straight out and she has politely declined. She did tell me that I could take it shooting if I like, so I suppose I will do so and then just keep it. Her mental condition is not that of a "normal" individual, and physically she is frail and truely unable to walk ten feet without grabbing walls, furniture, or people. I am all for RKBA, but in this case I guess I will resort to deception to disarm her.

Hope she doesn't call the fuzz on me.

Thanks for all the good suggestions and thoughts.

October 5, 2003, 09:34 PM
Your situation has brought back some memories. Not pleasant ones, but memories nonetheless.

My only words of advice, not that it applies to your situation: don't rely on the gubment to do your dirty work for you, you need to face it yourself.

My father had ALZ and Parkinson's, and his vision was failing. His car was his last bastion of freedom. I can't count the number of times he almost got into accidents by driving 10mph, or pulling out into traffic, or getting lost going to the corner market.

We hid the keys. He found them.

We took the keys. Multiple times. He had had many sets made in one of his 'normal' moments.

We disabled the car ... he fixed it.

We then discovered his license was about to expire, and he would need to re-test. Aha! Certainly the Sec of State would not permit him to drive.

He was a lovable old man. When he was 'right', there was a gleam in his eye, a lift in his step, and had kind words for everyone. Such was the day of his re-test.

He passed the written test.

He couldn't read the letters on the eye test! Whew. Until the little cutie behind the corner felt sorry for him and GAVE HIM HINTS. He passed.

My bro and sis and I drew straws. She was the one who had to tell Dad he couldn't drive anymore.

October 5, 2003, 10:25 PM
Another thought. You might get her a small hand gun safe like a gun vault. That would eliminate the theft issue. She should buy in on that basis. Then later you can just change the combo.

October 6, 2003, 12:44 AM
What does a range officer do when a shooter is reckless?

What does a store owner do when an incapicated person tries to buy a firearm?

What does a judge do when you drive recklessly?

What do you do when your children act foolishly or dangerously?

Would you give a gun to a child that was not physically or mentaly able to properly use it?

Would you give a gun to ANYONE that was not physically or mentaly able to properly use it?

What are all of you going to do and say when this sweet old lady shoots someone or, Heaven forbid, HERSELF.

AR-10, you are not a gun-grabber, you are NOT taking away her means of self defense. The fact is that you placed her in the safest environment you could. Putting her there was in her best interest. So is removing ANYTHING that might endanger her life. Hopefully you didn't let her keep the chainsaw either

Just take the damn gun away from her. If she throws a tantrum, so be it.

How many people here have taken something dangerous away from a child? Did they throw a tantrum? If so did you give the dangerous item back to them? You weren't punishing them, you were protecting them.

Being a parent is a tough job. So can being a responsible, caring, loving child. You gotta do what's best not what's the most pleasant.

Those of us who walk heavy and train hard don't do it because we are looking for the easy way. We do it because we feel the need to be able to do whatever needs to be done to protect our own.

I doubt anyone here thinks having gun is the only form of protection in the world.

Just my tuppence.

And for the record... My mother wasn't happy when I sold her car or took her Colt Cobra. But a few months later she told me she realized it was the right thing to do.

Beetle Bailey
October 6, 2003, 02:39 AM
In my opinion, you would only be wrong if you did nothing. It seems you have already spoken to your mother about the issue and she refuses to give up the gun. Sorry if I am not understanding this correctly but if she has Alzheimers then her mental state may be changing back and forth from being literally unreasonable to almost normal. If you can catch her on a good day you would be wise to be mentally ready to have the "Because I care about you . . ." talk. If she has a moment of clarity, take advantage. Don't miss the opportunity because it can help both the immediate concern (the gun) and the overall concern (dignity, respect, security, family). That, I think, is the best way but I personally wouldn't call you wrong for finding another way to separate her from the gun.

Best of luck.

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