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Thread summary:

Children’s play date dilemma, rifles in the home, accidental death, locked guns, handguns kept in bedroom, gun safety, responsible gun owners, ammo and bolts

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Old 01-10-2009, 04:40 AM
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Default Playdate Dilemma...They Have Rifles in the Home!

I have a playdate dilemma and not quite sure how to handle. I'm wondering if anyone else has been in this situation and how they handled.

My son was invited to a "drop-off" playdate at his friend's house. The kids are 5 years old. The last 2 playdates together were at times when parents (both moms) were also visiting so this would be the first without me being present. I think the other Mom and her son are terrific. The only problem is that the dad (who's usually at work) is a hunter and I learned that they have rifles in the house. This is so scary to me that I can't stop thinking about all the stories I've heard when kids are playing and someone gets killed accidentally.

Any advice? What's the best way to approach the other mom with my concerns?
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Old 01-10-2009, 05:14 AM
Location: eastern pa
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be direct and honest and express your concerns.Most likely,as a humter,he would have the guns unloaded and locked in a case.It never hurts to ask and talk about it.I have not experienced this yet,but I have thought about it.I would probably see if they could play at my house!
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Old 01-10-2009, 05:32 AM
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I have been through this in almost the same situation that you described. I expressed my concerns to the mom making sure I was non-judgemental in my approach. She was very understanding and asked if I would like to see where they kept the rifles. Her husband was home when I came over to drop off my son and he proudly showed me the locked gun case and reassured me that they are just as concerned about the safety situation as I was. A very positive experience overall.

I really don't think that it is hunters with rifles that we need to worry about as much as it is the parents who have handguns around for home security. Those weapons are often in bedrooms and typically not locked in cases. I also imagine that if you ask another parent "do you have any guns in your home", they are more likely to respond truthfully if it is a hunting rifle than if it is a handgun.

It is critical that your child knows to never touch any type of gun and to tell an adult immediately if he sees one within another child's reach!
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Old 01-10-2009, 05:34 AM
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I agree with being direct and honest. Ask about the handling of guns and even ask to see the safe. If you dont feel good about it or they refuse, then playdates are at your house. Pretty simple. Good experience for you since there will be other similiar issues you will face like this.

Also remember that there are a lot of people out there with handguns you may not even know about and I think if you research it, more kids are killed with handguns than rifles. Something to think about.
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Old 01-10-2009, 05:42 AM
Location: downeast
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if it bothers you that much just ask if they are locked up. most responsible gun owners keep their guns in a locked gun cabinet and/ or with trigger locks and seperate from the ammo.
for us- we have 2 bolt actions and bb guns for the kids. the bb guns have trigger locks and the ammo and bolts for the bolt actions are locked in a cabinet.
you concerns are legit- i actually have a friend whose son killed his best friend accidentally when they were young. its not something anyone wants to go thru- so never feel you cant take charge and ask things when it involves your kids and never apologize if you end up deciding its not a place you want them to be.
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Old 01-10-2009, 08:18 AM
Location: Charlotte, NC
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My daughter wanted a friend to come spend the night, but obviously the other girl's parents wanted to meet us first. We met up at the school to pick up the girls and the mom asked me many questions about my house and I didn't think it was rude at all. She asked me about guns, about pets, if I had any roomates and where the girls would be sleeping. She was never once rude, just worried about her daughter. I found it refreshing that she wanted to know these things AND cared enough about her daughter to ask. She also anwered a lot of my questions in case the girls ever went to her house.

Ask. Don't be judgemental when you do. You have a right to know where, who and what your child is around. I wish more parents cared enough and were brave enough to ask.
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Old 01-10-2009, 08:41 AM
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I have been around guns all my life. Not in my momma's home, but in homes of friends and family members. I have a pistol in my bedroom right now. A responsible gun owner has their firearm secured.

You should flat out ask the playdate's parent if they keep their firearms secure.... and how. As a parent whose had this asked of me, they should not be offended, if it done in a way of concern for child safety, not an accusation or in a judgemental way.

You have a responsibility also. Teach your child that firearms are not toys. If you have access to a firearm you can use to show you child (with a person experienced who can answer the child's questions), it would satisfy the childhood curiosity in a controlled environment. Make sure you stress that they are not toys and the punishment for playing with them.... and the possible consequences of playing with them (death.... maiming).

20/20 did a report years ago. The too a playroom and put guns in the playroom. The children whose parents had guns and had taught their kids that they were not toys came running to tell an adult about what they had found. The children whose parents didn't discuss guns or just told their children that guns were bad, those were the children who took the gun out of the toybox and played with it. And any child of school age can figure out how to "play" with a gun by pointing and pulling the trigger.

Whatever your position on firearms, you should expose your child to the possibility of running into one and what his/her actions should be if that happens.
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Old 01-10-2009, 09:12 AM
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I would have to agree with all of the comments so far. It's not rude to ask about how someone secures their guns and if they are safely put out of harms way. We have several guns in our home from rifles, to shot guns and handguns and all are securely put away. My kids were taught right off that guns are not toys and they have seen what real guns can do either by us taking them out and shooting watermelons or by watching videos of people shooting watermelons. In fact I didn't even buy them a toy squirt gun until they were old enough to tell the difference between real and fake.

They were also taught that if they should ever come across a gun anywhere, be it at a friend's house, our house, a business, an alley or in someone's backyard or in the street, they are to never touch it or let any of their friend's touch it and go get an adult immediately and bring the adult to the gun. Sometimes guns are found in other locations besides someone's home. So it is up to us, to teach our children that guns are not toys and are dangerous. This is the safest and easiest thing we could teach our children.
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Old 01-10-2009, 09:21 AM
Location: Pittsburgh, PA
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No way...

I had a girlfriend with kids...we did playdates and what not...I saw a picture of her hubby (on myspace) with a bunch of guns...and that was the end of that. Just not something to mess with. It only takes one "accident".
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Old 01-10-2009, 12:10 PM
Location: southwestern PA... where the nest is now empty!
9,930 posts, read 11,163,259 times
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We have rifles and shotguns in our house, and I know that 95% of our friends and neighbors do not even know there are there.

The guns are locked in a safe between studs in one room; ammo is locked in another room; they keys are in yet another room.
Even our kids did not have access to anything... ever. They don't even know where the keys and ammo are (and they are now 22 and almost 25).

We hosted many parties, sleepovers and other events without incident, for decades.

I would ask them directly.
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