My Daughter Found a Gun in the Family Closet
My older two daughters, who are 4 and 7, found a gun yesterday. It was hiding in a closet that was accidently left open at a family member’s home.
I was sitting in the living room, conversing and enjoying adult company, when I heard my 7 year old yelling "Go tell Mommy, go tell Mommy!" I didn't think much of the words because my kids always fight, yell, and boss each other around. Then my 4 year old came barreling down the hall screaming "Gun, gun, gun!" I had no idea what was going on so I went to the room in which my oldest was still sitting. Lo and behold, she was pointing at a gun sitting in an open closet. Neither of my daughters touched it and they both knew to run and tell an adult immediately. While my 4 year old ran to get me, my 7 year old stood guard to make sure nobody else got near the gun until I got in the room.
Project ChildSafe is a wonderful website that promotes gun safety awareness and educates the public about the proper methods for locking and storing firearms. The website includes information on locations that offer free safety kits in different states. Ohio alone has over 55 different partners who offer the free safety kit that includes a safety brochure with information on firearm storage options and a free cable-style gun lock.
Here is where I pause to explain the gun in the closet. The gun my daughters found is a pellet gun that does not stay loaded and that was harmless. It was in the closet for the simple reason that the holidays are here and every nook and cranny of the house had been cleaned for placement of Santa dolls and winter-clad caroling cat statues. The pellet gun is a known fixture of that particular home, as raccoons are a real menace to the neighborhood; they eat garbage, bother cats, and make horrible messes everywhere they go. Even though my children had seen that particular gun in that particular home before, they still knew it was not alright for them to be around it. The reason I share this story is because my daughters made me proud with their reactions to the gun in the closet. When I realized there was no danger and what they had done, my heart swelled with pride and my eyes brimmed with tears. In all my life, I had never been more proud of anyone for anything.
I have always worried about my oldest daughter and guns. Her father and I have been divorced for years now and he lets her play video games that are rated for age 18 and over. At least he once did, until I made a huge deal about it. But by time I made my move, the damage had been done. My sweet little girl with the big smile and baby blue eyes was obsessed with guns. Last year she asked Santa for a sniper rifle and once while waiting for the bus this year she pointed to a truck and said she thought the loader on top was a turret. I didn't even know what a turret was until she told me! I always worried she would find a gun at a friend or family member's house and think she knew what to do with it, since she'd played all the shoot-em games.
It turns out I was right, she did indeed know exactly what to do with the gun, tell an adult. In light of adolescent gun statistics, I thank my lucky stars. Although no real danger was present since there were no pellets loaded, I learned how my children would likely behave if presented with a similar situation.
The Scary Facts
According to the most recent data available from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Health Statistics, a child or teen was killed in a firearm-related accident or suicide every 9 hours in 2005. Also in 2005, there were 16,298 children injured by guns and an additional 14,052 children injured by BB or pellet guns.
If you own a gun and you ever have children in your home, please follow proper gun safety storage and handling procedures. In America, 30% of handguns are stored in unlocked areas, without safety devices, and loaded or along with ammunition.
- Project ChildSafe
Provides free information about gun safety and proper storage procedures along with information on obtaining a free gun-lock kit
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