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My Child and my uncle's unsafe gun storage

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by Donni'smomma, Feb 26, 2013.

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  1. hso

    hso Moderator Staff Member

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    Good for showing an interest.

    Good for explaining to your uncle your concerns.

    Good to explain that their bedroom is just for them just as some things are just his and that it would be wrong for him to bother their things as much as it would be for a stranger to take his.

    Best to use the "see and flee" approach to teach your son to simply report to you whenever he sees a firearm not being safely used by an adult. He's not supposed to be around a firearm unless a responsible adult is there to control it and he needs to go Mom or Uncle or Aunt about it the moment he sees one.

    You should also ask Uncle to take the two of you shooting so he sees they are not toys. This should be done frequently enough that your son simply isn't interested any longer in the firearms.

    If he does persist in having an interest then you have the choice to monitor his movements in the house or move.
     
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2013
  2. AlexanderA
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    AlexanderA Member

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    A small child and an unsecured gun in the same house is a recipe for disaster. If your relatives won't meet you half way and at least secure their gun(s) in a lockbox, you have to move out. It's really as simple as that.
     
  3. JustinJ

    JustinJ Member

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    If an adult allows a child to live in his home it is his responsibility to enusure that home is safe for said child. When my nephews stay with me for the weekend I am absolutely liable for their well being. "His home, his rules" doesn't cut it when it comes to the safety of a child that he allows to live in his house.



    I think we all agree that demystifying and teaching a kid safety around guns is always a good idea. However, teaching and securing guns from children is not an "either or proposition". It should be both but securing is an absolute must when we're talking about a four year old.
     
  4. SharpsDressedMan

    SharpsDressedMan member

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    I hate to remind anyone of this point, but it is their house. They didn't plan on having very young children living in their house this late in their lives, so you and you child are "guests", and as such, live there at their discretion and rules. You do indeed have a problem with regard to the safety of your child around guns, and if aunt and uncle are not willing to change THEIR house rules, they are politely telling you that they probably would prefer if you ran your household YOUR way, but somewhere else. They are probably accomodating your need for accomodations, but would really prefer to have their privacy back.
     
  5. psyopspec

    psyopspec Member

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    Kids and unsecured, loaded guns do not mix. Even if you can familiarize your child, that doesn't do away with the potentially volatile combination of a curious kid and a loaded, accessible gun.

    The first thing I would attempt, which you have done, is requesting that the homeowners/gun owners secure their weapons. They don't have to, and apparently have chosen not to. Given that, I'd move out.
     
  6. c4v3man

    c4v3man Member

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    I was taught at a young age (probably around 5) what a gun was, what it did, and to not touch them without my dad being around. I was encouraged to ask him whenever I wanted to see the guns, and my dad would go into the bedroom, shut the door, and a minute or so later call me into the room after he'd secured the ammunition, unloaded the gun, checked the gun, checked the gun again, etc. That tided me over for a year or two, when I asked to see the gun again, at which point I was old enough to be taken out to the range, and began my appreciation for shooting sports, and have shared that interest with my father ever since. I had a western themed room and a blackpowder revolver on my dresser before I was a teenager (didn't ever shoot it, we never had blackpowder/balls until after I'd moved out), and a winchester 94 by the time I was a teenager hung up by the ceiling.

    That being said, my sister's kids are more spastic (likely a product of the early divorce) and much more precaution is being taken with them by my parents. That being said, they enjoy going out in the country with grandpa to shoot silenced .22's whenever they ask, but the home protection firearm stays out of reach, and the rest reside in the safe.

    I'd offer to buy the uncle a small personal safe to be bolted next to the bed, keyed units are roughly $50, and he can just put the key in when he goes to sleep, and remove it in the morning if he attaches it to his normal keyring. And definitely look into the eddie eagle program, and perhaps ask the school if they can do a demonstration one day.
     
  7. kludge

    kludge Member

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    Gun safety rules are layers of protection. Eddie Eagle (or any other kind of education) is a layer of protection.

    Followed 100% the rules will nearly always result in no harm. Shooting sports are among the very safest sports - in number of injuries.

    I have five kids and all of them got the Eddie Eagle routine every time we had a gun out. My youngest could repeat it back on demand since he was three years old (he's almost 7 now), but none of them have been trustworthy enough at age 4 to leave loaded guns lying around the house. At that age, and even for some years after, they are not completely capable of understanding consequences and don't possess enough forethought.

    I second or third whoever it was that said, if he won't lock them, buy him a pistol safe, and if still no, then move out.
     
  8. AABEN

    AABEN Member

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    It is his home if you do not like his wishes MOVE OUT.
     
  9. Cosmoline

    Cosmoline Member

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    His house, his rules, and his RESPONSIBILITY.

    If you are unable or unwilling to alter your lifestyle to permit the safe habitation of small children it is legally and morally incumbent upon YOU to refuse such children entry in the first place. If someone asked to let their 6 year old wander around the Cosmodrome I'd explain to them there are simply too many ways Jr. can detonate himself, poison himself, set himself on fire, burn himself, etc. And no he cannot even come in for a second.

    If they've let him stay there they are legally responsible to make sure the house is reasonably free from hazards. A loaded unsecured firearm laying around is per se negligent in those circumstances. Maybe reckless. And that's true whether or not there are safe storage laws.
     
  10. Lex Luthier

    Lex Luthier Member

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    It is your Uncle's personal responsibility to maintain secure firearm storage. No ifs, ands, buts, or maybes.

    If he doesn't grasp the importance of this empirical fact, you might consider other living arrangements.
     
  11. hueyville

    hueyville Member

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    Takes me an hour to teach a child to not handle firearms when a gun is present. First is let them see it and ask to pick it up. Make sure it is unloaded and tell them they can but have to hold on to it till you say they can set it down. A gun is heavy to a small kid. Once he has it wait till he gets tired/bored and asks to put it down and say no. Repeat this till he turns purple from the effort of holding the gun. Then take him outside with a large pistol. Blast a watermelon with it and when it explodes tell him if he screws up with one that is what happens to him or a friend. Short and effective. Then, soon as possible, put him in Boy Scouts or NRA Eddie Eagle. Either will teach him more. Sometimes family is well meaning but not willing.

    These people telling you to move may not understand a need to be living there. Do best you can on your own then find help. I can attest the Scouts are great for single moms. Gives you some nights and days off and some good men willing to work with your kid. I have taught firearms safety to over 500. When he is older, your state hunter safety course will be a help.
     
  12. Arp32

    Arp32 Member

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    Having once been a curious American boy, I am amazed at how easy some of you think it is to train curiosity out of a child. Don't get me wrong, I'm not knocking Eddie Eagle videos or saying parents shouldn't teach their kids, but you can't assume you've taught a small child not to touch guns and then feel ok leaving loaded firearms easily accessible. How many of you guys tried driving the family car down the driveway when your parents were away one weekend? Or "found" a shotgun in grampa's closet and picked it up just to see how it felt? I'm gonna go out on a limb and guess I wasn't the only one.

    I knew better when I was a little kid, but I still did plenty I knew I wasn't supposed to when I thought no one would find out. Luckily the guns were never loaded ("found" more than one, mom, grandpa, and several family friends...) and the car had a stick shift.

    Original poster is right to be concerned.

    What was the old Reagan quote: "Trust, but verify."
     
  13. texasgun

    texasgun Member

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    @Fremmer

    "She's right, it is their right to keep guns in their house the way they see fit.

    You're going to have to teach the child to stay out of their room and to not touch their guns. Use the NRA Eddie eagle program."

    not exactly... if something happens - the gun owner can be sued to the max in most state courts. at least in TX you are required to safely store a firearm when kids are around. if little Jimmy finds a loaded gun in a drawer and shoots himself - you as the gun owner are liable for that. at least in civil court.
     
  14. hueyville

    hueyville Member

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    For the rest of you, I know hundreds of people that have raised kids in homes with access to loaded guns. Kids learn if you teach. Like all that bring kids to my house get the orders upon entry that my home is not childproof. All guns are loaded, all knives are sharp and don't try to sit on one of the motorcycles without asking for help. If I said it was safe, there would be the one item I missed. So rather than even try, Paris Island discipline is enforced at Uncle Huey's house and the kids love me none the less. I have all the cool stuff, let them play with it on request and am more fun than an electric train. Plus the toy room actually still has trains, slot cars and fun stuff you only see working at the high end toy stores. But I will snatch them up without delay and put the fear of ultimate wrath if needed. Five minutes later we are all back playing and rules are being fully complied with. I don't believe in holding back. Kids respect authority and the man that can do it and turn around like nothing happened once they comply. Most friends can't get near the house without the kids nagging them to visit or to let me baby sit.

    Like my dogs, disobedience is not tolerated but they are treated well. Stranger tries to enter during the night they will be lucky to escape the wrath of my dogs before I order them off. I can also put a bunch of toddlers in the yard with the dogs (even the chow, rotweiler and pit bull) and the dogs will play and keep them in the level part of the yard and entertained for hours. Once again, stranger shows up they will not be allowed close by the dogs. They did scare the crap out of an invited guest that wandered to the back yard to visit the kids. He failed to have me make official introductions thus was encouraged to stay outside the gate. Once I introduced them all, they didn't even pay attention to the new comer. I even scored three sets of doggie body armor from a local P.D. when they were upgrading. I any of you have well trained patrol dogs, body armor really increases the odds if it went all L.A. Riot conditions around here. It can be found and turns the beasts into bullet resistant units. I was in L.A. at that time, relocated to Vegas and spin off violence started there. Moved down to 29 Palms Marine Base area and for some odd reason all was calm.

    I was instructed where the loaded pistol stayed in my parents house from time I could walk, only time I touched it was at five when the 1968 Tet offensive was announced on news. I thought it was an invasion of U.S. soil, got the pistol, locked all the doors and told my Mom she could not go outside till Dad got home. She followed the 5 year old man of the homes commands till Dad arrived where I gave him the gun. They sat me down and explained that the Tet Offensive was not at home but the other side of the world. It is still a story told in my family how at age five I took to the call of holding the entire NVA off with a snub nosed 38.

    I am less than an hour from S.C. and shoot lots of comps over there. PM sent
     
  15. cal30_sniper

    cal30_sniper Member

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    I grew up in a house chock full of guns, many of them loaded, and there wasn't a gunsafe in the entire place. A few simple procedures kept myself and my younger brother completely fine for our entire time growing up.

    1. It's a 4 year old. He can't possibly be more than about 2 feet tall. There are many, many places in that house that a loaded gun can be placed where it will be available at a moments notice to any ADULT in the house that needs it, yet the child won't even have a clue it's there. A shotgun or short barreled rifle on top of a wide book case or tall wall cabinet is completely invisible and unreachable to the child, yet can be grabbed instantly in a home invasion. A pistol can easily be kept in the same places. I wall mounted "key holder" usually has a large, deep tray underneath for putting knick-knacks and stuff in. Perfect place for a loaded pistol. A rifle, shotgun, or pistol can also be hung on the wall that is loaded and only within reach of an adult. It's visible to the child, so the temptation to build something or climb something to get up there may be present. They've really got to be working at it though.

    2. You don't need a gun safe to secure guns. They used to make very stiff rubber bands/slings that lock the slide on an autopistol, or the hammer on a revolver. I'm sure you can still get them. A divot goes into the barrel on one end, and the band wraps around the back of the handgun. It takes adult strength to pull one off. It can be done in an instant, but a child isn't going to get it off by themselves.

    3. As others have said, train the kid gun safety, at a proper age. At 4, he probably shouldn't be messing with them at all. Teach him not to touch it, and to call an adult if he finds one. Sometime around age 5-6, depending on maturity, is the time to start reinforcing safe gun handling, with an emphasis on NEVER touching one without a responsible adult present. It is up to the parent to define who specifically is a responsible adult. Another good tool is to reinforce the use of "toy guns." We were never allowed to point toy guns at each other, or act like we were shooting each other. Toy guns being treated like real weapons is a great way to enforce safety while still having fun.

    4. Whenever an adult isn't going to be present (i.e., leaving the house, outside for a long period of time, etc.) or the child is going to have friends over at all (even if they are gun safety trained), all firearms should be moved to an out of the way room (non-essential to travel through or into), and the door should be locked. You simply cannot trust kids around other kids, and you cannot trust them when you aren't home, no matter how well behaved you think they might be.

    5. Discipline. Simply put, if you are going to expose a kid to a situation where he could easily get himself killed, you're going to have to leave some of the cutesy kidsy stuff behind and get tough early. That kid has to think you have eyes in the back of your head, that you can read fingerprints that are a week old on any surface, and that you have the dust pattern memorized on every gun in the house. He also has to have the fear of God instilled in him as to what you would do if you found out he had handled a firearm in an improper manner (i.e., when you aren't directly there supervising). I didn't avoid handling firearms all those years because I was such a great kid, or because I was smart enough to realize the consequences of how bad handling one could go. As a child, I reasoned on a much lower level, and I was simply scared to death of what SSgt Dad would do when he found out I had handled one when I wasn't supposed to. There was no question of IF he would find out, as silly as that seems, it was just a given for me that he would.

    There's a reason that discipline is so much tougher on an 18-22 year old kid in the military than one living in the dorm room. One of them is the fact that the young man or woman in the military has a lot more deadly equipment and opportunities to get killed floating around than their civilian counterpart does. Danger necessitates discipline, and with discipline, eventually comes responsibility.

    I can honestly say that I spent the first 16 years of my life without ever handling a gun when I wasn't supposed to be. After that, I was given a little more free reign, but still had to have at least one of my parents check the weapon to make sure it wasn't loaded before I started dryfiring, working on it, or packing it up to go shooting. Good lessons instilled young last a life-time. Bad or no lessons at a young age are a recipe for disaster.
     
  16. MachIVshooter

    MachIVshooter Member

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    Hmmm. Tough spot.

    For starters, maybe show them this thread.

    I have twin daughters, almost 3 now. We've had talks about the guns, they've been set on tables where the kiddo's thought they were unsupervised, only to find out that daddy is all-seeing (courtesy of modern digital electronics).

    Still, I would not leave a locked and loaded firearm within their reach. They're far too small to manipulate a slide yet, so I am comfortable with a condition 3 autoloader being left out, but I still put the guns up rather than unload them, save for my wife's, which is kept up high, empty chamber/loaded mag in case she needs it, since she struggles to unlock the door to the gun room due to virtually no flexion of her wrist following surgery to debride necrotizing infection (unlocking the door requires nearly 90* flexion).

    Try to get them to at least put a lock on the door (probably a good idea, regardless of the guns). By the time he's old enough to defeat the lock, he'll be old enough to fully understand and respect the guns.
     
  17. Alaska444

    Alaska444 member

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    Most states do have laws that may make your uncle' behavior criminal in nature. Having a 4 yo in the house with unsecured weapons is asking for trouble in my opinion.

    I have a 3 yo grand daughter and I now unload my daily carry when it is not on my person and she is around. Not my ideal situation, but I can't imagine anything happening to this wonderful child so I do unload the gun.

    Here is a link to South Carolina statutes on this issue. If nothing else, all in your household should understand the consequences of their actions if God forbid something ever happened.

    http://www.scstatehouse.gov/sess120_2013-2014/prever/3186_20121218.htm

    I wish you the best. Teach you son to avoid the guns. I have already started that with my grand daughter and she knows I carry a gun. I have taught her what a gun looks like and that they are dangerous while she is young. She knows I will teach her how to use them when she is old enough.

    Nevertheless, I understand how curious kids are and the guns will not be around for her to make any accidents happen. That is simply being responsible.

    At some point in time, I will get one of those bedside safes so that I can have my gun loaded, but secure. It is not reasonable to not secure a weapon when any young child is around.
     
  18. Alaska444

    Alaska444 member

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    One other issue, since you have posted this on a public forum, understand that you are culpable legally for any failings of your uncle should anything ever happen.

    In addition, if a social worker were to find out, you could end up in a child protection action.

    Ultimately, you are responsible for your child's safety. Your only option may be to find another residence if they will not secure their weapons.

    A compromise may be buying your uncle a bedside safe which may be cheaper than any other option you have.

    http://thefiringline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=148743

    I am not a lawyer, but all you have to do is watch the news to hear of tragedies that could have been prevented. Your concern is not undue at all. Simply teaching the child about guns and to avoid them is NOT enough in my opinion.
     
  19. Donni'smomma

    Donni'smomma Member

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    Wow

    Some of you are harsh.
    They actually wanted us to come out here knowing it would be a better life.
    I am trying (given i've been here all of 3 weeks) to get a job to move out.
    I have been teaching my son if he sees a real gun to leave it alone and tell an adult (but he doesn't know what a real one looks like)
    I obtain FULL responsibly for my child and he has not even tried to go into their room YET!
    I have never told my uncle anything regarding his home it is his home and if i don't like the rules I will move out ASAP.

    For the others Thank you again for all the help and advice alot of which I have started doing. I will be going out soon with a friend to learn myself then moving on to teach him. As of right now after being asked if he wants to see a real gun his answer is a big NO WAY they'll kill me MOM! so we'll work on it no rush if that's how he feels.
     
  20. JRH6856

    JRH6856 Member

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    Yes, some of us are harsh, but harsh doesn't begin to describe the possible resuts of a firearms incident involving a child. I think all of us are at least wanting to prevent that.

    You seem to have things pretty much in hand. You recognize the danger and are taking what steps you can to guard against it while trying to respect the rights of your hosts. I hope all goes well.
     
  21. JustinJ

    JustinJ Member

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    I don't belive anybody is trying to be harsh and i'm sure we can all appreciate your situation and what your family is doing for you. However, this is an extremely serious situation and there is no room for error when it comes to children and guns. One assumes enourmous responsiblity when they keep a gun but keeping guns in the same house as children is something else entirely. For you and your child's sake, and for sake of all gun owners, you must not take any chances. If it is at all possible for an unsupervised four year old to access a loaded firearm the situation must be fixed, one way or the other.
     
  22. Dean1818

    Dean1818 Member

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    Buy them a stackon safe

    They are cheap, easy to access, and keep the kidders out
     
  23. Alaska444

    Alaska444 member

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    Not at all being harsh, simply presenting the legal reality of your situation. From the OP, those were the issues that I consider in my own home. That is not at all harsh, it is the truth. Sorry, but as a doctor, I never whitewashed the truth with my patients, just not my style.

    If there is something that I stated that is not the truth, then please inform me or others, but to the best of my understanding, those indeed are the issues. Part of the reason that we are in such a bind on gun control issues right now is because many gun owners have not taken their gun ownership as seriously as they should. Having unsecured firearms around a toddler is asking for trouble. Having a toddler in any danger is one of the reasons why the anti gun folks want to place severe restrictions on them. That is the doctors point of view from the Pediatric organizations. Young children are killed every year from unsecured guns. That should NEVER happen even once.

    Take care and best of luck working out this situation but it is indeed a cause for alarm in my opinion and should not stand as is.
     
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2013
  24. Al Thompson

    Al Thompson Moderator Emeritus

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    Sounds like Donni is a smart little guy. :)
     
  25. pseudonymity

    pseudonymity Member

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    This is pretty much my opinion also - when my kids were 4, we still had dangerous items in the house like knives, hot stove tops, cleaning fluids, etc. For the most part, they just got moved to where the kids could not reach them - gun in the closet could sit on a high shelf for instance. I did not put bleach in a locked container when my kids were young, but I did not leave it under the sink either. Would your family store the guns in a quick access safe if you provided it?
     
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