I have no qualms asking the parents if they have a gun in the house. I have three kids and solo play dates (those where I am not around to chit chat with someone I barely know) were and are an integral part of their lives as they grew up. The typical questions I'm asked or I ask are:
- Is your kid allergic to any food?
- Is your kid afraid of cats/dogs/ferrets etc, etc.
- What time should I/you pick up the kid?
All well and good. However, it occurred to me recently that the first question I should be asking (or asked of me) is whether there's a gun in the home. I have no idea why I never thought of this until now but I sure do bring it up if my child is playing at someones house. I suppose this line of thinking was spurred by the recent shootings in Newtown, CT. The constant broadcasts of Bowling for Columbine after the shootings opened my eyes as well. I don't care if I offend someone or come off as crazy. My child's well-being, his life, trumps any odd reactions. Believe me, I have gotten some dandy reactions. Everything from shock, sarcasm and defensiveness.
- What do you think we are?
- Are you accusing me of being irresponsible?
- What to you have against the NRA (seriously)?
- Yes, my kid brings my Glock to school every day.
- That's none of your business (Oh but it IS)!
Needless to say, my kids were never asked back to play. That was fine by me since none of them admitted to owning a gun which to me translates to a gun-toting parent. Not taking a chance.
Now the reason for this entry is not to stir a partisan debate. It may become just that due to the latest hearings on the control issue. I can't imagine no person not affected by the Newton massacre. My point is simply one of safety. I respect the right to gun ownership but couldn't live with myself if my children ended up accidentally hurt, or worse. One can't deny that kids have never been shot in someones home should a gun be lying around loaded. That is the reality.
I can recall being scared to death visiting my cousin's house as a little girl. My uncle was a cop. He was armed at all times. Off duty he kept it strapped to his ankle. He liked to show to me and his kids. I don't think he did it to scare us; it was more of an ego trip. Never the less, the sight of it, knowing that he carried a weapon that could kill someone is a memory that stays with me today.
I'll be honest with you, I'd feel like a walking target in states like Texas where carrying a concealed gun is legal. It the law of the land in states like that and I respect that. Nowadays, people snap more readily and more often. I imagine it has to do with the pressures of a bad economy or just the culture of out government today. Let's face it, this election was contentious to say the least. More commonly there's road rage, arguments over parking spaces, tugs of war over the last video game on the shelf. we've all seen it. We've all been there. There's many accounts of argument settled not by reasoning but by a bullet.
Politics aside, I bring up this topic simply to keep my kids safe. Gun control debates are sensitive and very heated. I can't emphasize enough that I don't mean to challenge anyone. Opinions differ. I can live with. My child getting shot I can't.
So I urge you to ask...
"Do you have a gun in your house?"
If there is at least you have some vital information. What you do with this information is up to us.