I just came back from a very nice two-day vacation, camping with friends and family at the Oregon coast.
Upon my return, though, I am once again reminded of the dangers of guns to children. I found this recent news item of a 10-year old who was visiting the home of his 12-year old friend. The boys entered the bedroom of the 12-year old's parents where they picked up the loaded and unlocked gun that his parents kept bedside "for security purposes." After being handed the 9mm handgun, the 10-year old then accidently shot his friend through the chest. The boy was flown to the hospital, still alive.
“Children do have a way of discovering things and we at the sheriff’s office would encourage all parents with firearms to make their firearms as safe as practical,” Undersheriff Vic Watson said in a written statement.
You don't say? Apparently other guns were locked in a safe, but the parents neglected the fact that ALL children are curious and impetuous to at least some extent, and even one unlocked and loaded gun in the home is too many when children are around. In my opinion, these parents should have all of their guns forcefully removed and be prohibited to purchase another.
It's interesting to note the opinion of one commenter to the article linked above. Says "Mikki":
"this is just stupid! if you have guns in your house make damn sure your kids know gun safety and that they are not toys! My 7 yr old and 3 yr old BOTH know that they ARE NOT TO TOUCH the guns unless it with mom and dad, but they do know the things guns do to living animals and people... GUN SAFETY PEOPLE!"
My son and daughter are 7 and 6. If I only had a dollar for all the times they did things that I had lectured them not to do! I hope "Mikki" doesn't learn the hard way the same lesson learned by the parents of the child in the article. Don't you think the parents gave that talk to their son? Don't you think the son had exposure to guns before this point? I imagine so, on both points.
Among gun-owning parents who reported that their children had never handled their firearms at home, 22% of the children, questioned separately, said that they had. But even keeping them locked up isn't a solution. When household guns are kept locked up, youths typically know where the key is kept, the combination, or are able to break into the gun cabinet.
Every day in America at least one child finds a weapon and kills themselves or others. Accidents, suicides, or murder, leaving a loaded gun in a home with a child is a free pass for tragic consequences. If only the parents of the 10-year old had ASKED about guns in the home beforehand. If only the state had Child Access Prevention laws in place, demanding safe storage of guns, which have been shown to reduce fatalities of adults as well as children. But it's too late, now, for this tragedy. Hopefully the boy is recovering okay.
Here is a tune I heard a few days ago on this very subject: "Pumped Up Kicks" by Foster the People. Catchy tune (click on the video to hear it), but read the lyrics:
And while I'm on the subject, let me also give this comment: our pro-gun culture glorifies firearms to children, so it's little wonder these boys were drawn to handle the gun. For a "blast" from the past, check out this TV commercial from the 60's: