During Sunday dinner, my 7-year-old grandson Vika told his mother that for his eighth birthday this Friday he wants to spend the night at a friend’s house. I told his mom to be sure there are no guns in that friend’s house or, if there are, to be sure they’re properly stored.
I’ve told the frightening story before of my family coming to my house for Thanksgiving when my brother Tony’s 15-year-old daughter Kaci was about 3. At some point, I noticed Kaci missing and my girlfriend Cathi told me she had put her down on our bed for a nap. Startled, I immediately went to the bedroom and retrieved the handgun lying on the recessed headboard inches from my sleeping niece.
The reality is many gun owners who don’t have kids (and sadly, many that do) keep a firearm in easy reach of their bed. It’s the first thing I thought of when Vika mentioned going to a friend’s house.
Guns, gun violence and gun safety is on everyone’s mind these days.
Since the Sandy Hook Elementary shootings, there’s been a run on guns and ammunition across the country. Stores can’t keep so-called assault rifles in stock. It happens after every publicized shooting.
It’s ironic that the mere mention of new gun laws ends up putting thousands of new guns on the street. Unfortunately, a lot of these first-time, panicked buyers probably have no business owning guns.
It’s a contentious issue that polarizes opinion like last year’s presidential election. Two of my friends, whose friendship between each other goes back to Tolenas in the 1970s, recently stopped speaking because one of them is an outspoken gun owner and the other supports gun control.
But instead of digging in your heels in your respective position and waiting to see what Congress and the President is going to do on guns, new gun owners can start making America safer right now by learning how to shoot and operate their guns correctly and safely.
Store your weapons properly with trigger guards, lock boxes and/or locking storage case. Teach your kids what to do should they come upon a gun. Before sending your child to play at a friend’s house find out if they have firearms on the premises. More tips can be found at http://oag.ca.gov/firearms/tips.
In light of all that’s happened, I’m seriously considering getting rid of all but one of my guns. Back in the day, my friend Chumly and I would go to the range and shoot all the time. I read gun magazines and almost joined the NRA. But now I have guns that I never shoot that just sit locked away. If I feel the urge to shoot different guns, I can always rent them at the range.
I’d hate for my unused guns to fall into the wrong hands. In the Clackamas Town Center mall shootings in Oregon and the Sandy Hook shootings, those weapons were legally purchased but stolen by the killers. Guns are highly desired by burglars.
If you’re not using your guns, consider getting rid of them. Improperly stored firearms around the house can easily spell trouble. That gun in the closet or garage could be stolen, a child could find it or it could be used in a domestic situation for homicide or suicide.
We gun owners often talk about our Second Amendment right. But along with that right comes a grave responsibility. Peace.
Kelvin Wade is a writer/author. Reach him at email@example.com.