Keeping a gun in the home

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A hot-button topic that was fun to do with The Ladies. The topic for this week's episode of Momversation is kids and guns: Do you keep a gun in your home?



Because of time constraints, points are always unfortunately left out and I want to address a few of them here right quick:

- More kids die every year from accidents involving space heaters, drowning, bicycles, et al. than from accidents involving guns. We should protect our kids with education and awareness.

- There are a variety of gun safes available which allow a person to access their gun quickly but also serve as a deterrent to children obtaining them, i.e. biometric safes. Personally, I'll settle for the set up the Green Arrow has in "Smallville."

- As I said in my full-length video, I also think women should be able to defend themselves physically. I came from the Ozark School of Self Defense in which the motto is "kick arse now, ask questions later" for crying out loud. However, as a child who was raised in a home where I witnessed domestic violence regularly, as a woman whose close, kick-boxing friend from college was raped by three men, none of that matters because the bottom line is that most men are stronger than women. Unless it's a teeny tiny little man. I don't think it's a sign of weakness; just the women I mentioned simply reached the limits of their physiology or were outnumbered. I think it's great to make a point about female power, but at some point it becomes about survival in such instances where your life is threatened.

- I rely on myself for defense more than I rely on the police. We have alarms, et al. but I don't want to chance my survival on the window of time it takes for the police to arrive; furthermore, not many people know that the police are not legally obligated to protect your life (a Supreme Court case!), thus leaving you as your own last line of defense (which I think is pretty feminist, too).

- Nothing frustrates me more than irresponsible gun ownership - irresponsible anything, be it automobiles, pools, child neglect, etc., pet ownership, wardrobe choices, it's a big list. We need more firearm education and safety courses; even if a family would elect not to keep a gun in their home there is the old adage that those who do not live by the sword can still die upon them blah blah and it's good for kids to know enough to keep themselves safe (if you see a gun, stop. Don't touch. Tell an adult) at the very least.

I can totally appreciate and respect someone not feeling comfortable with a gun in their home and I would never force them to own one just as I appreciate others respecting my desire to own firearms. Every family does what they think is best for their family unit - it's also a great lesson in diversity for kids, too. Hugging out our differences. It's the American way!

So what are your thoughts? Even if you, personally, would not own a firearm, what do you think of educating kids about gun safety; what do you think about guns for self-defense?    

74 Comments

I have weapons in my household with my children. I keep them WELL out of reach and with trigger locks. My wife and I have access to them only. Responsible ownership is the key! Irresponsible owners should be punished.

I keep several guns in my home. But a gun in the home without training is like a dog in the park without a leash...it'll only get you in trouble. So get some training immediately (or before) when you get your gun.

I feel strongly that women should have access to, and be able to effectively use, a firearm for self defense, and defense of others (her children, in particular). Federal laws already prevent those who have been adjudicated mentally unstable from owning a gun. Almost all accidents involving children and firearms happen in unsupervised situations where the child had no instruction about the gun. Gun locks are a bad answer...they keep you from using the gun in an emergency. A quick-access safe is the best choice...it keeps the gun out of sight, away from kids, but accessable quickly.

Don't neglect teaching your kids about guns. Take them to the range, and take along a cantaloupe or watermelon and show them how dangerous it can be to play with guns. Don't teach them fear of guns, but teach them respect and responsibility. I highly recommend the Eddie Eagle program from the NRA. It is simple, effective, and it works.

Get Eddie Eagle for your children, get a good quick-access gun safe, and get some professional training, and REFUSE TO BE A VICTIM.

Doc B

The only problem with kids and guns is the fact that they are treated as a "mysterious taboo". Both of my kids are 10 and 12 respectively and have been raised around guns. My oldest one was shooting off of my lap before she was 2. They know what guns are, they know that they can be dangerous if misused, like may, many things under the roof of any house. The problem, like may of kids problems are traced to one source and one source only, PARENTS. If parents would take an active role in educating their kids we would be in a far better place in many respects. Learning from the tv, the street, the friends, the video games has become an accepted source and it shows in the ignorance of todays youth. I could go on but lets get back to the subject at hand. Proper education at a young age is paramount. There is simply no substitute. I remember telling them that if they ever saw a gun anyplace to come and tell me first and recall many times planting an unloaded gun where I knew they would find it. I would mark it so I knew if it had been moved and neither of my girls ever failed me. I could not be more proud of them today for this and many other reasons as well. I have every faith in both of my kids when it comes to firearms safety because they learned it AT such a young age. Today, I give them 100 rds of 22 and their rifles (yes, their own rifles) and let them go in the back yard for some target shooting. They love nothing more and watching them from a distance i witness profound acts of safety and enjoyment. I have every confidence in their abilities to make the right decisions. I have been in this business (firearms) for most of my life, early education is the key.

Dana,

Just curious - how would you handle a situation where a new friend of one of your boys was asked to come over to play in your home and the child's parents asked you if you had a gun in your house and how safely put away it is?

This is a particularly interesting topic for me - my husband is an hardcore NRA member and his politics (Republican) are very influenced by gun rights. I'm not an NRA member and my politics (Dem) are still influenced by gun rights, as in keeping them, though I'm for a fair amount of gun control.

We have two firearms - a rifle and a shotgun - both are my husband's hunting guns. He stores them in pieces, in a gun safe, away from the ammo (which is locked away in a separate safe). The safes lock and there are trigger locks too. So basically, they'd do me a hell of a lot of nothing for self-defense, even if I could assemble them (which I can only do in theory).

That said, I have every intention of learning to shoot - not only his hunting weapons, but I'd like to learn how to shoot a handgun. I don't think it should be mandatory that all people learn to do it though. I do think that basic gun safety is a perfectly fine thing to teach (why not incorporate it in everyday lessons - it would branch naturally from history lessons).

I don't mind them at all. They are tools for my husband's sport (and for our food - we eat all he hunts; that is important to me). He is militant about keeping them stored safely. Our kids (3 girls, ages 8, 6, and 3) know that we have them and that they are welcome to learn how to shoot/hunt. At the moment, they aren't interested (not out of squeamishness or anything like that; it's just not their bag). I'm glad, because honestly the thought of them carrying guns make ME squeamish. However, I trust my husband completely so I wouldn't stand in the way if they were interested (actually, I'd have a hissyfit if he wanted to take my 3 year old out, to be fair).

I agree with you 100%. We have two kids and many guns in the house. We keep two loaded pistols (his and hers) in a combination lock box and everything else in a huge 800 pound safe. Frankly, I'm more worried about my kids choking to death than getting shot. My children are SAFER because of our guns.

We live in a right-to-carry state ON PURPOSE. It was one of the reasons we chose to live in Washington, not Oregon. Washington is safer because of its gun laws. My husband and I both have C&C permits and we both USE THEM. Nothing is more important to either of us than gun safety and responsibility and my children will grow up in a house where they learn gun safety from BIRTH. This means that in the event THEY are at a birthday party where some a-hole parent has a loaded handgun sitting around - they will know not to screw around with it (as well as how to disarm it safely).

The thing that always bothers me the most about this issue is the FEELINGS aspect of it. These women are smart, so why the knee-jerk emotional response based on fear? I'm a numbers person and MATH DOESN'T LIE. When good guys (like us!) are allowed to own and carry guns, EVERYONE IS SAFER because the bad guys already have guns. These statistics aren't based on feelings. They're based on lives saved.

Anyway, preaching to the choir here, yada yada yada, from my cold dead hand...

I'll admit...I'm not too fond of guns. Yeah, yeah, peace-loving-emo-kid, I know. However, I DO believe (and know) that bad guys are going to have guns whether they're outlawed or not . . . so, essentially, outlawing firearms does the greatest injustice to the innocent, the preyed upon.

Haven't decided whether I"ll be okay with guns in my house or not, yet. My husband is all for it and I'm like "uh...uh....can we talk about this?"

Until I can decide (or give in), I plan for my first line of defense to be a beastly, black Great Dane.

I agree that people should be able to own guns and have them in their homes. We don't, and we don't plan to, but there are circumstances under which we would consider it. I think you make a really good point that just because we don't have guns doesn't mean our kids won't see/find one some day. I'll definitely put that on the list of things to impress upon my son as he grows. He's 19 months now so I can probably wait a bit :)

I do not personally have any weapons in my home because I am not trained or educated myself in their use. And after being on my own with my kids for over 6 months while my husband works in annother state, there have definietly been regrets about that when I realize I have no means to defend myself or my children. I certainly believe that in any circumstance the correct choice of action is to educate yourself and your child. The current cultural climate (not just with gun safety, but with everything, right down the neverending beeping to make sure you wear your seatbelt) calls for ever increasing regulation and oversight - placing all of the responsibility for everything in someone else's hands. This is a dangerous slope because when the popular opinion is "someone else will do it" then no one does anything. I believe that personal responsibility for your own well being should never be willingliy handed over to another person, much less some nameless beauracracy like the government. People seem to forget that if owning guns are illegal, then the only people who are armed will be the criminals - and they can do whatever they want because we will have no recourse. Take charge of your own life, and of the responsibility of protecting your family - whether that means owning guns or not is your personal choice. And that's the way it should be. Good for you for unapologetically owning firearms, and for teaching your children the correct way to act around them.

I like guns and firmly believe in the right to carry. We don't have any at the moment, because we've moved around states so much for jobs, and we never know where we'll end up, and what kind of pain it will be to keep/carry the gun, etc.

Right now, we live in the state with the loosest gun laws, and one of the lowest crime rates in the country. I feel very safe here, as I did in my last state which, conveniently, had lenient concealed weapons laws.

Also, I don't trust the government. As we've seen with past administrations, our constitutional rights can be tweaked, revoked and otherwise fucked with and I realize this sounds so conspiracy theorist, but what if there was ever a need for a revolution? Good goddammit, I want my guns.

(I SOUND LIKE A CRAZY PERSON, I KNOW. It's just that I firmly believe that was the entire purpose behind the second amendment. Power to the people and all that, especially in case of governmental meltdown/emergency. Our country is not that old, folks.)

Now. That being said. I trust Adam and myself with guns. I trust that we would use biometric safes and be as vigilant as humanly possible about making sure that they are away from kids' reach, and we also plan to teach our kids about responsible gun ownership. Where things get dicey, for me, however, is sending my daughter to another home that has a gun. I'm not sure how I'll react to that, and what kind of measures I'll put in place to make sure I trust the parents and am absolutely sure that they are as vigilant as we are.

I'm curious as to how other parents handle this.

I do not think a person's right to own a gun should be taken away. You should have the right to defend yourself in that way if you so choose. I choose not to have guns in my home. I think everyone's personal experiences bring them to a different conclusion on this subject.

PS- I'm a liberal lefty!

Also, Dana, to your point, we never question whether we let our children drive or get into a car. And yet, more people die in traffic accidents than many of the things we're afraid of. But what do we teach? Safe driving, preventative practices such as seat belts, avoiding getting into a car with someone who's been drinking, etc. To me, it's not that different.

And y'all, I'm a liberal.

There is no 2nd amendment in my house. The end.

My perspective has nothing to do with feminist statements or a total aversion to killing under any circumstances, etc. It has everything to do with my environment. There was exactly one (1) crime in my city last year. ONE. An 18 year old kid broke into his dad's house and stole money from the family safe. And there was one (1) crime in my city the year prior. ONE. Somebody committed a hit-and-run on a chihuahua.

So there is no need, for one. We have an extremely effective neighborhood watch, and the greatest threat to our homes are the coyotes. I have lived here my entire life and never experienced a violent crime, never felt threatened, and never thought that I could not defend myself. Moreover, I have known most of my neighbors my entire life and every time anything has ever happened - a kid fell off her bike two days ago, for example - everybody comes running to help. There aren't even any registered sex offenders within several miles radius. It's a very small, very safe community. There is no need for a gun, from that standpoint.

But moreover, I strongly believe that the gun was developed to kill. I do not support having an item in my home that was created with the intent to devastate another life. My husband, a former Marine from a family with a long-standing military and law enforcement history, has a deep respect for guns. I do not. I fear them. I feel that they cause more harm than good. And I'm not much for statistics. I come from a family of mathematicians and statiticians, so I know that you can make numbers say anything you want them to. I have a hard time believing that you can isolate every factor related to gun ownership - EVERY FACTOR - in every state, and handily determine that concealed carry laws prove that guns have done good. I agree that, like any device, guns have probably done good as well as bad, but I just don't buy into statistics. Gun ownership and usage is the result of so many variants that I don't think the statistics can possibly be valid so much as they can be tendencies.

Also, no matter how well-trained, how familiar, and how responsible a person is, the fact of the matter is that they are still human. I have a family member who is a trained police officer, after having served for years in the Marine Corps. He grew up with guns and he has two young children and a wife, he is hands-down one of the most responsible people I know. But still, one time he knocked a gun off the top shelf of his closet by accident. It was loaded and the safety wasn't on, because he's human and one time he'd forgotten, completely forgotten. People can always make mistakes, no matter how responsible they are.

We have a four chamber biometric gun safe on our property. It cannot be moved without extreme force, and when we have family members who carry, we request that they place their guns in our safe. Even the off-duty police. I have no problem with other people owning guns, as long as they do their best to be safe about it, and I have no problem with people carrying guns on their person whenever they like, but I don't want them in my home unless they're locked the hell up.

We do not keep a gun in our home, but I think that decision is based more on the fact that our parents never had them rather than being principally against them. I support other people's rights to keep firearms in their homes, but I won't lie, the idea of my daughters playing in a house where there are guns makes me very nervous. However, I do not want to be irrational about it. If the guns are locked up and the kids positively don't have the ability to access them, then I realize there is nothing to worry about.

That is why I am most interested in Bernadete's question. My oldest daughter just went to her first sleep-over two months ago, and that was one of my biggest concerns (among the other usual concerns). They didn't have any guns, so I didn't have to ask any follow-up questions. However, since I've never had a gun in my home (growing up or otherwise), I'm interested in knowing from those who have had/do have guns, what is fair to expect in this situation?

Ideally, I would want to hear that it is unloaded, locked in a safe, out of reach of children, and even out of sight. Is that asking too much? I ask this sincerely, not rhetorically.

We do not own guns. My husband would like to buy one, but I'm not sure about it - for many of the same reasons that others listed above. I am very uneducated about guns. I know I could become educated, but quite frankly - I'm just not interested.

My parents did not own guns growing up, so it's not a part of my history, either, which add to my reluctance to own one.

My biggest question is this - if you have to keep the gun unloaded and locked in a safe out of reachof the children, then whats the point of having one? By the time you get the thing out and loaded, the bad guy will already have you, right? Is that just my ignorance speaking? I'm fine if it is - I just have a hard time feeling any safer when I know so little about them and feel so uncomfortable around them.

I do think there is a valid point, though, to training our children in gun safety regardless, especially for those of us who don't keep guns in the house, so our children understand and appreciate the danger that a gun presents.

Ironic that this is the topic today. Over the weekend, my DH mentioned he is seriously considering getting a gun - actually a rifle.
A year ago my knee jerk reaction would have been "no way," especially since we have three young children. I am not against a person's right to own guns, but I fear that the weapon is used more often against the owner, or there is an awful accident in the home with it.

However, in light of today's economic and political situation, it might be very well prudent to purchase a rifle for hunting purposes. Again, last year I would have accused him of being paranoid. Not so much anymore….

As far as children being educated in gun safety – absolutely! Even if we did not own one, there are several families that do. I would not prevent my children from being friends with other kids just based on the fact alone that they had a gun in their house.

You are only safer having a gun or knowing self-defense if you are willing to pull the trigger or use your knowledge. The facts are most people don't have it in them to do what's needed when the moment arrives and the adrenaline dumps (fight or flight). Nothing but constant training in the use of firearms and or self-defense will allow someone a decent chance of doing what is needed in a time of crisis. So, if you really want a chance at surviving an attack you must train regularly with a firearm so you are confident in its use and can use it without thinking. The same goes with self-defense tactics. Taking a class every once in awhile won't cut it. Practice Practice Practice

AMEN! Thank you for bringing up the statistics. I think what we need is better education not control. I feel that too many women are pointlessly scared of guns.

We are getting ready to buy one, and I remember when my husband broached the subject he thought I was going to freak out. He was surprised when the first thing out of my mouth was that I wanted to know every detail on how to use the gun and go to the shooting range to make sure I am comfortable with it. Nice to know I can still surprise him.

I will say first that guns freak me out. I grew up in a single mother household, and we never ever had guns in our home. However, the home I grew up in was also a home where the right to own a gun was greatly valued.

That having been said, I completely support the right to bear arms. My husband is in the Army, and he grew up on a farm. We own guns, and he is very knowledgeable and safe with them. I am not knowledgeable about them whatsoever, so I don't touch them. Like I said, they freak me out. One of these days when I get over my anxiety (there really isn't a reason for it), I'll learn how to shoot. But it doesn't bother me that we have them.

When our son gets older, my husband will teach him gun safety, and he will teach him how and where to shoot (meaning at a shooting range or out on the grandparents' farm). That does not freak me out. Well, I admit, thinking about my baby shooting a gun does freak me out a little, but I realize the fear is misplaced. I also think all children should be taught gun safety, whether they have guns in their homes or not.

I also wanted to add that I was so happy to find your blog several months ago. I was beginning to think that all bloggers were liberal. I'm so happy to have found a someone I can agree with on so many issues. You help keep my hope alive that there truly are people out there who are still grounded in reality.

What an interesting post. As an Australian, the gun issue is really foreign to me. It seems to be culturally unique to America that a lot of people don't feel safe without a gun in their house. What about a guard dog and a really super alarm system, great locks on the doors and security mesh on the windows? I'm sure that you all live in reasonably safe areas, and yet the gun is what makes you feel safe. I am not criticising you or others for their decision to own guns, it is just a very different mentalilty over there to some other places.

Yes I've had a shotgun in my house before for several months-I borrowed it from my F.I.L. for trap shooting at a nearby gun range off 370 near the Mills. During that time it was in my house it was in a protected/padded gun case with 5 different locks on it and the keys hidden elsewhere in the house. Furthermore I spoke with our 7yo about gun safety, why it is locked up and why he should not go near it. I also told him if he had questions that he could ask me or his mom and we would be happy to answer them.

While guns are dangerous it is up to the parent to 1) store it safely and 2) educate their children on proper use. Where it gets fuzzy is when they get old enough to get into your stuff-that is and will always be an uncontrollable variable.

I realize the political argument here on gun ownership is very right/left, and frankly I'm not sure where I stand on the issue. Perhaps more research...

However, what do I think about guns as self defense?
Gun ownership makes you, the gun-holder, the judge of someone's right to live or die. I don’t care if he is a burglar or rapist, why should I get to decide if his life is worth “saving” or “extinguishing”? That's quite a weight to carry when you shoot someone. I am not the judge of his fate and why should I be?

How can you say you value human life on one hand, and then place the right to take it in the other?

I have a good friend whose father was in the CIA. She remembers her sister finding his loaded Magnum on the parents' bed; her sister picked up the gun, it discharged, nearly killing my friend.

I am of two minds about guns. I completely support responsible gun ownership. We ourselves do not have guns in the house, but we do have a bow and arrow--a recurve bow, a very powerful one, the type developed by the Huns. My husband can kill just about anything with this bow, even with the practice arrows he keeps around the house--when fired by this bow, they are deadly.

BUT....if a kid picks up this bow, they would not be able to notch an arrow and fire it. Carrying the bow around without an arrow, or even a practice arrow, is about as dangerous as carrying a sharpened pencil around the house. So the bow can be within arm's reach while we sleep, and the arrows mounted up on the wall.

I'm all in favor of smart, responsible people owning guns. And I think the hysteria about guns is a little silly. Cars and swimming pools are more likely to cause childhood accidents and deaths. I personally wouldn't have a swimming pool in my backyard if you PAID me. And nobody questions putting their child--safely restrained--in a car and driving amongst other cars, do they? Much bigger risk than having a safely locked up gun in one's house.

So I guess my position on guns is: If you're responsible and haven't a criminal record, I support your right to own a gun under the rights given to us by the Constitution. Personally, I prefer to not have a gun in the house.

Growing up I was never, ever around guns and therefor was totally ignorant and scared of them. In fact, I never held a gun until I started dating my boyfriend, a former Army Ranger. I personally am still not comfortable with them, as I feel I would be more likely to shoot myself in my own foot than defend myself with one.

However, I feel as though people should be able to have their own firearms in their own homes, as long as they pass some pretty strict regulations in order to get the gun (background checks, firearm safety course and mental health). I completely agree with jonniker that we don't think twice about putting kids in a car, as long as we've taught them safe driving. Education is the key to reducing all kinds of statistics like car accidents, unplanned births, gun accidents, uhh, everything.

What freaks me out is people just carrying guns around town!

^ I probably should have included in my original comment that my husband and I, despite our differences with regards to how we view guns, also believe in gun education. I will never own a gun and there will never be a gun in my home that is not locked up in the safe, but I absolutely want my children to understand how to safely operate, maintain, and store guns. So it's not that I'm completely adverse to guns. I'm just adverse to them in my home.

Megan, Andy, Amanda, Jonniker, Doc Bo, so many of you have made awesome points. Awesome discussion.

To answer a couple of questions:

@Bernadete - I'd take it as a sign of responsible parenting, honestly, because I would do the very same thing. I said in the video (cutting room floor) that I wouldn't feel comfortable in allowing my child to play over at another's house unless I knew that their firearms were stored safely away from the children.

@Leanne - A number of things can be used as tools with which to end someone's life: owning a car, a knife, et al. Why shouldn't you get the right to defend yourself, though? I guess I don't understand why you would blame yourself for choosing to defend yourself if someone else uses his free will to choose to attack you. We are all responsible for our own decisions and thus, responsible for our own fate. If a man were coming after me to assault me or kill me, he is choosing the course of action, not I. My defending myself would simply be a response to his murderous intent. Because of this, I don't view using it in defense as the taking of a life - because a life would be taken either way; rather I look at it as *saving* a life: mine.

My husband & I were raised completely differently in terms of firearms. He wasn't allowed to have even a water gun; my family owned guns--mostly small caliber rifles--and my sister and I were taught to shoot while we were still in grade school. I think treating guns as a taboo actually makes them more dangerous, and while we don't have firearms in our household (except for a BB pistol) I have worked to teach my children basic respect for them. Now that they're both a little older, I've been toying with getting a handgun or rifle and getting back into target shooting. I haven't because I am not the most even-tempered person around, and I sometimes get very frightened for absolutely no reason when my husband travels (which he does often). I fear that I would kill someone. I don't want that on my conscience. I would rather take the chance of someone killing me.

Because of my evaluation of my own mental state, Concealed Carry terrifies me. I live in the City neighborhood most visited by suburban residents and tourists who would be most likely to have a gun on them. I know that many of these people are frightened by just being in an urban area, and I worry that someday, one of them might mistake my husband (not always the most clean-cut in appearance) or my soon-to-be teenage son and his friends for criminals and shoot them. This isn't rational or defensible, I know, but it is, I think, as rational as believing that the only way to deter crime is for everyone to be carrying deadly force as they walk on the streets.

Couldn't agree with you more. My children are too young now (1 year old, another on the way) to teach gun safety but you better believe when the time is right, they will know.

There will be no hiding guns, no keeping them secret, guns will not be a taboo subject and my children will know how to safety check firearms from a very early age. What age? I don't know that, it will depend on their maturity level.

When you are armed you have options, when you are not armed you have limited options, most of which will not protect you or your children in a life or death situation. The gun can/will kill, but you don't shoot to kill, you don't shoot to wound, you shoot to stop anything that threatens to take your life.

Regardless, whether you choose to keep guns in the house or not is your decision, I respect that decision 100%. But if you fail to educate your children on the importance of gun safety you fail. And that type of failure can cost something that money cannot buy. Be smart about that.

Just a couple of points...

A person using a gun in a legitimate act of self defense is not deciding whether to kill or extinguish another person's life, he/she is deciding to stop their life from being extinguished.The legitimate us of deadly force in self defense is based on the fact that another person is attempting to kill you. The actions you take at that point are the same actions you would take in the same situation if you didn't have a firearm...if those non-firearms actions work, great. If those non-firearms actions don't work then you have one final chance to stay alive.

The legitimate use of a firearm in self defense (or the defense of a third party) should not be a substitute for any of the other actions...just a backup. One doesn't shoot to kill, one shoots to stay alive.

Technical note to answer a question posed in previous posts... there are a variety of secure, quick access mechanisms that allow for a firearm to be kept secured from unauthorized access but still be readily accessible when needed..both hand gun and longgun.

I would never seek to force anyone to own or use a gun..however I expect others to abide by that same concept, to not force me to give up mine.

Respctfully....tb

Couple of different points, I was raised around guns. One of my earliest memories was shooting with my Dad. I am comfortable areound firearms. My husband is a police officer and so we both own several weapons, and obviously keep them in our home. We do not yet have children, yet when we do I will make sure they are taught responsibilty and are confident with firearms as well.

Here is the kicker: my parents never secured their weapons in the home. And that literally that never occurred to me until a friend asked me what we would do when we have kids. We were taught respect to guns, and while they were not laying around on the tables, we knew where to access them in case of an emergency. We NEVER had one incident were we/our friends tried to access them with out permission. We knew better.

Something I don't understand from several of you, and on the video is if, God forbid, it comes down to A LIFE, do you want it to be yours or theirs? Your baby? or an intruder with intent to do harm?

Side note - I love how some of the women in the momversation were all, oh you shouldn't have guns, use your body as a weapon or fight or whatever! Well as soon as the other person has a weapon, bam. You are done. Knowing were to kick them won't help...

@Leanne: So by that logic, aren't police officers judging someone else's fate when they use deadly force on someone who's blatently threatening the safety of others? I'm just curious.

Hi Dana,

Interesting topic. I guess I just don't really understand it. The majority of people commenting (yourself included) seem to use 'self defense' as your primary reason for owning guns. Is this true? But you fail to answer some very good questions posed. Primarily, if you are storing your guns properly, safely, and away from your children, how do you expect to get to it in time to defend yourself? My hope would be that you have the guns in a safe of some sort and maybe not even loaded. So I guess I don't see how it's very helpful in this case. Do you mind telling us where and how your firearms are stored?

Secondly, do you really fear that someone is going to break into your home with the sole intent to kill you or your children? Because if they are breaking into your home to steal from you, chances are incredibly high that a loud dog (not necessarily big) or alarm system will deter them. Most burglaries occur during the daytime when you are not expected to be home. If there is any indication that you ARE home, your house will likely be skipped over. It becomes a MUCH bigger crime if you are home (robbery vs. burglary) and criminals know this. So my point in all that is to ask if you have a specific fear of someone entering your home with the intention of killing you? If so, why? Do you live in a bad area? Truthfully, murders by a complete stranger are very rare. You are far more likely to be killed by someone you know than someone you don't. So outside of the freak occurence where a burglar enters your home to steal something, finds you there and decides to kill you instead, I just don't understand the fear. I'm asking these questions with utmost sincerity and would love a response. Thanks so much.

I'm pretty sure you're my new favorite person (but not in a creepy way, I promise).

I'm with you on this. 5' tall, 120 lbs (okay, I'm lying) me is NO match for that 6', 200 lb man that wants to hurt me. No matter WHAT self defense tactics I know. But know what? My 9mm levels the playing field. Period. Owning and carrying a gun is not something you do casually... if it is, you're not thinking. It's an amazing responsibility, but it's a right that we have, one that we should fight to keep.

Ask the rapist - who is he going to go after? The one who took that 90 minute "self defense" class, or the one that's carrying a loaded gun? Bet your ass he'll take his chances on the unarmed victim.

And I will NOT be that victim.

After watching the video, I'm probably a little too emotionally charged to be commenting - I should think and keep my mouth shut... but I won't. I respect the right of others to dislike guns. I just wish they would respect the rights of those that choose to own and carry responsibly.

Dana did answer your questions, Audrey. I think you need to read her post again. Also I think you're nuts if you think you have a right to ask a perfect stranger on the internet how many guns they have, what kind they are or where they are stored. Why don't you go ahead and ask for her home address and the password or number combination to her gun safe or alarm system while you're at it.

Burglary is not a freak occurrence. My friend's parents were robbed while they were home in the early morning. The differences in charges is not something that most criminals know about.What difference does it make if a woman knows or doesn't know her attacker when it comes to the argument of owning a gun? It's offensive for these people to assume that those who want to own guns own them because they're afraid. Gun owners aren't afraid, they own guns because they have that right. I own a gun and no, I don't do it because I'm some scared little woman (can I mention how sexist that argument sounds too???) I do it because I can.

It's possible that those of you who have defensive plans based solely on use of your various body parts have failed to consider a few data points.

The only sure way to stop a determined opponent is to disrupt, at least temporarily, his central nervous system. Any lesser effort greatly increases the possibility the person will continue to strive toward his goal (in this case the serious bodily harm or death of you or your loved one).

Go watch a high level mixed martial arts match and witness the extremely high levels of violence to the human body that can be sustained with little to no deterence value. If you are unable or unwilling to visit a greater level of violence upon your opponent then your efforts have a very high chance of failing.

Another note: any level of force sufficient to even temporarily shut down someone's central nervous system is also sufficient to permanently shut down that same system (kill them).

You should also consider that there are some humanoid beings in the world completely lacking in compassion and humanity.

Consider what happened to Laura Hobbs, 8, and Krystal Tobias, 9, on May 10, 2005 (Mother's Day). Someone stabbed them 31 times. The person currently being prosecuted for this horrendous crime is Jerry Hobbs, father of Laura Hobbs. Laura Hobbs was stabbed so viciously in the face, eyes, throat, and abdomen that her spine was partially severed.

Is your defensive plan sufficient to counter those particular threats? If not maybe some further consideration is in order.

Respectfully...tb

Hmmmm. Lots of food for thought. I go back and forth with myself on this topic, and it's so interesting to hear others' thoughts. Can I ask a couple questions, without a shred of confrontation, and with a completely sincere desire to hear/understand the answers?

First, to those of you who have guns in your home/carry guns for self-defense, what other methods of self-defense did you consider (chemical sprays, tasers, stun guns, high-tech alarm systems, etc.) and what led you to go with a firearm?

Second, and this one requires a bit of build-up... I do not own a firearm, nor does my husband. And for the foreseeable future, we probably won't. Mostly because we don't feel we have a need for one. Neither of our professions require a firearm, we don't hunt, and we don't currently find it necessary for self-defense. (And yes, I am all about self-defense. But I haven't yet come to the conclusion that a firearm is my/my family's only option for that, hence my previous question.)

So, I find myself doing the whole how-would-I-deal-with-the-worst-case-scenario thing. And that conversation with myself always leads me to: somehow, I think, for me, the smaller of the impossible-to-swallow-pills would be harm done to me/my family by a malicious stranger vs. harm done to me/my family by means of a firearm that was in our home. And I'm definitely not trying to say that those of you who keep firearms in your home would somehow be OKAY with that particular worse case scenario, I'm positive you find it just as haunting as I do... I just haven't been able to get the benefits to outweigh the risks for me/my family. I guess I feel that to-have-or-not-to-have a firearm is a situation that I have COMPLETE control over (no gun, no accidental shootings, period), meanwhile, having a gun in the malicious stranger scenario still would NOT grant me complete control of the situation or guarantee anyone's well-being.

So, I guess my second questions is, for those of you who keep a gun in your house, what does the worst-case-scenario/risk-benefits conversation with yourself look like?

Third, I completely acknowledge the fact that it's possible to educate yourself and your own children re: gun safety to the point of having complete confidence in YOURSELF/YOUR CHILDREN. But how do you maneuver around having confidence in OTHERS? Do you inquire at each house your child goes to about firearms? Do you ask to see the locks/safe? Do you quiz the other children re: gun safety? Do you refuse to allow you child over to their house if you're not satisfied with the situation? I wonder how I will handle this situation myself when the time comes, and I'm curious to know what other parents do...

And fourth, is the playing field still level if the 6'/200 lb. man and the 5'/120 lb. woman BOTH have a gun?

Trisha, of course I have a right to ask any question I choose, just as Dana has a right to not answer that question, close the comments section, etc. And if you re-read my post, you'll see that I did NOT ask her how many or what kind of firearms she has. Just to clarify, I asked where and how they were stored, but I meant that in a very vague sense because I'm wondering how useful a gun would be if it were locked up in a safe and perhaps the bullets were stored separately (safety measures that I would think parents of small children would take). So, the question wasn't meant to be nosy, and I apologize if it came off that way.

I really don't have a problem with someone feeling the need to own a gun. As I said, I just don't understand it; which is why I asked questions. The rest of my post was written under the impression that the reason for owning the guns was for self-defense. I have heard that as the primary reason for many people. To me, unless you are in a bad part of town, don't have an alarm system and/or dog, etc, I feel it's a bit unnecessary. But that's just my opinion, and I understand it's not shared by all. As far as you having a gun just because you can--great! More power to you. I'm an adult and can eat hotdogs and ice cream every night of the week if I choose to, but I don't. Same reason I don't own a gun just because I can. It doesn't interest me and I am really not concerned about protecting myself in my home. I have adequate locks, a full alarm system, and a very loud dog, so I feel comfortable with that. To each his own.

Dana, thank you for saying this so well. It needs to be said, over and over. And over . . . .

"Ask the rapist - who is he going to go after? The one who took that 90 minute "self defense" class, or the one that's carrying a loaded gun? Bet your ass he'll take his chances on the unarmed victim."

Kay, I understand your point here, but am wondering how the rapist can tell this by looking at you. Unless your gun is visible to them, how would they know you have one and further, how would they know the other woman doesn't have one? I agree with you that he would choose the unarmed victim, but how can he tell this? From my studies in Criminology, we were told that above anything else, they will choose the woman who is on the cell phone, digging through her purse, DISTRACTED in general. Also a ponytail is a plus because it's something to grab onto.

And one last thing to Trish. I see now where Dana mentioned a safe that is quickly accesible. I missed that the first time around. But in re-reading her original post, she did mention self-defense several times so that is where I got the impression that that's why she owns firearms. Which is why I was asking what she thought she needed to defend herself from.

Dana,
It looks like you are getting your statistics directly from the NRA website, and they are absolutely false.

I will never ever again read your website based on your membership in the NRA.

Sincerely.

Leira, I have no idea how you could make such a statement considering I cited the links from where my info comes. They are common facts ready at the Google. It's distressing that you would just say that my information is wrong without providing a material counter.

I'm sorry if diverse viewpoints offend you. That's really unfortunate.

Dana,

Thank you for introducing this topic, and I'm interested to hear the reactions on Momversations.
I believe that if a family chooses to have firearms in their home, then they have the right to do so without ridicule, preaching, or interference from others. We have a home in South St Louis, and also a farm in rural Jefferson County, conveniently close to a trailer park with an excellent track record for meth production. I feel that the city police are able to respond much more quickly to a distress call than the Jefferson County sheriff's office, (who have a much larger area to cover) so do you think I make sure I have a firearm available when staying at the farm? You bet your Bippy, I do! :) If another parent asks if there are firearms in the home, I answer honestly--yes, I own firearms, and they are unloaded and broken down and placed where I can get to them quickly but a child cannot. I do not presume to judge another parent's position on the subject of firearms, so if they wish to keep their child from visiting my home, that is their choice. Yes, a loaded, assembled firearm is much quicker in a crisis situation; but intimidation is much of what a gun accomplishes, and if the clip is empty, the bad guy doesn't need to know.

I grew up with a dad and brother who hunted, and we always had rifles in the house. My husband is in the Navy, and has had to carry weapons as part of his job at times. The only guns I personally have ever shot are BB guns and air rifles.

We own several firearms. They're stored, unloaded, in a gun safe, with the keys stored in a separate location. They are actually pistols that my husband inherited when his father passed away last year, and I don't think he's fired them since he got them.

I have absolutely NO problem with having guns in my house, as long as they're properly stored and everyone in the house is educated about them. We've taught our daughter not to touch a hot stove and not to use the sharp knives; in much the same way, we've taught her not to touch guns and that if she ever sees one she should tell an adult. When she's older, I expect my husband will teach her how to shoot, if she's interested in learning.

In an ideal world, guns would be next-to-impossible for criminals to obtain. But until that happens, I'm very glad that we as American citizens have the right to own guns too, if we so choose.

Dana,

Thank you for allowing reasoned discourse to prevail here. You'r fellow blogger GGC, has elected to stop allowing people to counter her argument. Case in point is Leira's post about your statistics coming from the NRA. This person cannot even allow for the possibility that there's a sliver of truth in there.

There's an interesting documentary that was done 15-20 years ago on a native tribe in the Amazons where it was customary to let children have access to knives/axes/etc as soon as they could walk. The surprising part was that there were no accidents, no murders and no fatalities ever recorded by that tribe. If I can dig it up I will forward a link.

I watched it back in college and we had a round table discussion afterwards about gun control and its effects on society then compared it to those situations in that tribe. You literally see 4-5 year olds using them with no issues whatsoever.

Now let's be fair, Top of the Chain. GGC did not elect to "stopy allowing people to counter her argument." She closed her comment section because people were being offensive, calling each other names, and just generally being rude. It was no longer a civil discussion, and THAT is why she closed comments. Fortunately, that level of rudeness has occured here (yet). If/when it does, I imagine Dana will do the same thing as GGC and close her comments, as I don't think they intended to open their comment section for that type of negative interaction. I could be wrong though as I'm not a regular follower of Dana....and I imagine you aren't either.

I for one, support the second ammendment, & the NRA. It is the big government I fear most. That is why I choose to have guns, & my husband & children all love to hunt. I encourage all to support the NRA, & take the safety training course. You will be surprised to learn the FACTS.

Great post Dana!

Many commenters here make excellent points, so I won't rehash what has already been said. I just want to add another aspect to gun ownership: family togetherness.

Both of my daughters and my wife, along with myself, shoot competitively. My older daughter has taken it even further and now shoots in mounted (on horses)shooting competitions with a lot of success. When we enter target or turkey shoots, my family spends a whole day or weekend together doing something we all enjoy...and I believe we are closer as a result. Yes, guns are great for protection, but used correctly and safely, they can add a lot of fun to your lives.

Beautiful discussion!

I agree with you, probably 90% (all but personally I would never conceal and carry). We have a gun safe, and my husband had a CCW permit when we met (and regularly carried a gun). Before then I had been a huge pacifist. But I was brought up around guns. I was taught gun safety. We had a close friend who, while cleaning his gun, killed himself, I was 12. This just upped our education on GUN SAFETY. We were taught to properly care for and unload our guns.

My husband and his closest guy friend came from families where guns were NOT allowed, they were not even allowed to make a "hand gun" and pretend shoot at people/things and no water pistols allowed at their houses. When they were 18 they both ran out and bought guns, because they could at that point. They both pushed so far from that peacenik way of thinking because they are boys and boys play shoot-em-up-kill-em games. Its part of the way they are.

We teach our kids gun safety, my eight year old has shot a gun before, when she was 4 years old. Because she was curious, and we were in a safe place, when many people who knew all about guns.

I don't tout my opinion on this matter around some of my kids' friends' families, because I know that they would be uncomfortable being in my house, with a locked gun safe. But to me, its important that the kids understand guns, and are taught to respect life, and guns.

Katy, let's be fair. I do follow Dana. You see Katy, I live the St Louis area where Dana is on the radio at least three times a week. I keep firearms, to a)defend myself, not out of fear, but out of a possibility that should someone offer me violence, I'll offer it back tenfold to them. And b) to ward off an oppressive tyrannical government should they decide my owning a firearm is somehow wrong. Oh and C) to defend myself against the forces of evil circles on paper.

@ Suzanne -
Re: Your question of is the playing field level between a 6'/200lb man and a 5'/120lb woman, both with a gun?
The answer is yes. Unless he has physical control over me, our sizes do not matter. The question then becomes who is a better shot. In my case? Unless he's an ex-Marine sniper, the answer is ME. Because carrying a weapon that you can't use is like handing yourself to the criminal. If you aren't willing and able to use it, you can bet that he's willing to take it from you and use it ON you. So I made sure before I started carrying that I was prepared and well trained. That's where awareness comes in, though - you're right. If he's already got me on the ground and under his control, my gun will be useless against him and his. Having my gun doesn't insure my safety, but it does increase the odds in my favor. (I'm sorry if all that sounded bitchy - it's not how I mean it at all, I just can't figure out another way to say it. So I'll apologize now just in case you take it that way!!!)

@ Audrey -
Your point is a good one. The rapist CAN'T tell if I'm armed or not. (Although my state DOES allow open carry, I live in an area where it would be quite a hassle to carry openly - I don't find that it's worth the trouble. Too many people are uninformed about the state gun laws.) Most tend to assume that women are NOT armed.
That's where the statistics come in. We all know that criminals do not respect the law. Which means all those gun laws? Don't mean a damn thing to them. They don't care about background checks, or waiting periods. They buy their guns on the street, where the only requirement is cash. The stricter the gun laws, the less "good" citizens that carry guns - which leaves the criminals with a sense of freedom, because the worst a woman can have in her purse is a can of pepper spray. When you live in an area where 40% of the population has CCW permits, the crime rates tend to be much lower - because some/most criminals aren't stupid enough to risk those odds. They'd rather drive an hour over the state line to the town/city where they know damn well that the only people carrying are cops and criminals.

As for carrying - I carry concealed. Which means that gun is there for me if I need it. BUT - that doesn't mean I'm lazy about staying alert (no chatting on the cell phone while going through my purse), and I make sure that my right hand is always free - because a gun on my belt does me no good if my hands are occupied.

In most cases where a weapon is present on the intended victim, just SHOWING the weapon, or STATING that you have a weapon, is deterrent enough. Occasionally, the intended victim might have to actually pull the weapon and threaten to fire. The amount of times that someone with a CCW actually has to fire that weapon is a very small percentage.

I truly do hope that I never have to use my weapon in self defense. But I know that I can, and will, if my (or my family's) life is in danger.

Assuming that we will never be a victim is what allows us to BECOME a victim.

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