Gun Safety - Do You Ask About Weapons Before a Playdate?

Filed under: Opinions

Parents rarely send their kids off for a play date without knowing a little about the host family. After all, it's important to make sure your kids are in a safe and friendly environment. But while it's pretty common to ask about pool safety or pets, parents are less likely to bring up the topic of guns.

Daniel Gross, co-founder of PAX, a non-partisan gun violence prevention organization, recently shared some sobering gun statistics with ABC News:

  • Forty percent of homes with kids also have a gun.
  • 1.7 million kids live in homes with guns that are both loaded and unlocked.
  • Eight kids die every day from guns.

Suddenly, asking your neighbor if they have a gun in the house doesn't seem like such a big deal.

Gross is partnering with the National Association of Pediatrics to urge parents to lock up their guns. Recent research suggests that though a majority of parents believe their child would make the safe choice if presented with a gun, 35 percent of kids don't. It's not an issue of gun ownership, it's an issue of public health, says Gross.

So here's what PAX and the NAP recommend:

  • If you have a gun, lock it up ... but good. Take the bullets out and lock those up too, in a separate place. Never assume your child can't find your gun.
  • When you're child goes to a friends home, ask about guns just like you'd ask about seat belts.
  • Uncomfortable? Use a recent news story to bring the topic up. And don't worry, one study found 97 percent of gun owners aren't offended when parents ask about their guns (as long as you're respectful).
  • If the family does own a gun, it's your job to find out if it's secure. If you're not comfortable, host the play date at your house instead.

Get more tips at PAX's ASK (Asking Saves Kids) campaign.

Do you own guns? What steps do you take to keep your own kids safe? And if you aren't a gun owner, are you comfortable bringing the topic up in conversation?

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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.