NBC Dateline Follow Up: Important Gun Safety Tips

Gun safety is too important of a topic to avoid.  Recently featured on the Dateline NBC series, ‘My Kid Would Never Do That’: Gun Safety, my children, along with others, were placed in various situations that exposed them to guns.  The parents and I nervously watched on, hoping our kids would make the right choice.  Not all did.

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According to AskingSavesKids.org, 17,500 youth are injured or killed each year due to gun violence and 1 in 3 homes with children have guns, many unlocked or loaded.  Scary statistics to say the least, but reality.  The ASK (Asking Saves Kids) Campaign promotes a simple idea with the potential to help keep kids safe. ASK, “Is there an unlocked gun in your house?” before sending your child over to play.  Are you asking?

We often hear about the importance of gun safety in our own homes but what about the topic when it relates to someone else’s house.  When your child is out at a playdate, do you ask if there is a gun present?  Have you discussed gun safety with your child in the event they come in contact with one outside your home?  These are very important questions and Mommy Masters recently surveyed 31 parents to find out the answers.

53% of parents said they do not bring up the topic of guns when it comes to a playdate.  When asked why not, more than half said they trusted their friends while others admitted not feeling comfortable asking.

Of the 40% of parents who said they do discuss firearms when it comes to playdates, 74% of these parents question the storage of the weapon and decide from there whether or not to proceed with playdate plans.  20% of them said if there is a gun present, they will not let their child over, while one parent said having a gun does not affect their decision to have a playdate.

Gualberto107: FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Photo credit: Gualberto107: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

It is so crucial to have these conversations about guns with your child.  We hear all too often about tragedies that could have been prevented with education, for both parents and children.  When asked if these 31 parents have talked with their child about gun safety, 73% said yes, although when asked if parents were confident their child would not touch a gun if they discovered it at a friend’s house, only 23% said their child would know what to do.  55% of parents polled said they were hopeful their son or daughter would not approach the gun but could not be sure.  23% said they were not confident as their child’s curiosity might get the best of them.

Even with gun safety education for our children, we cannot ever determine what they will actually do in a situation where a gun is present.  It is up to us, the parents, to ask the important questions before agreeing to playdates, to determine if an environment with a gun is an appropriate setting for our precious children.

Important Tips:

  • No matter how uncomfortable it may be to ask another parent if they possess a gun, remember, this is about the safety of your child, who is priority #1.

  • There is no need to feel embarrassed or worried about insulting someone.  If they cannot understand why you are asking, perhaps it is not the best time for a playdate.

  • No matter how well you know or trust someone, the questions still need to be asked.

  • Think about how you would prefer to be approached with the question of whether or not you have a gun and how it is stored.

  • Do not wait to have a conversation with your child about gun safety.

  • Be aware that the parents of your child’s playmate may not have had the gun safety talk yet.

  • Just because you are a parent that does not allow guns in your house, does not mean the house you are sending your child to believes the same.

  • This is not a time to pass judgement just because your beliefs on guns may differ.

  • Explain that you are not trying to scare your child but prepare them and possibly save their life.

Polled Parent Comments:

  • “Have curbed play dates where gun safety is questionable and will continue to do so”
  • “Responsible gun owners keep their guns in a safe.”
  • “This is such an important issue! I have started to ask and while it is hard I am so glad to say I’ve only had good, interested responses.”
  • “We have plenty of friends with guns but I know them well and am very comfortable with their safety measures. I wouldn’t do a play date at a new house without getting to know the parents first regardless.”
  • “In a state like Florida you need to assume everyone has a gun. you need to trust that the parents have them locked up and you need to have a supervising adult home. Guns are not normally stored in children play areas. Children should not be left alone to play in parents bedrooms, garages etc.”
  • “My ex husband has several guns and I have always told my girls not to touch them and to tell an adult if they see one. I am going to get my concealed weapons permit and there they have a safety class on guns for 6+ years old that I am going to have my oldest take, that way she knows what to do if she does see a gun and doesn’t know what to do.”
  • “My husband is a police officer. My boys are very familiar with guns in the home. It IS important to us that if other families have them that they are locked up, in loaded, with a safety on them.”
  • “Asking gets easier the more you do it. I’ve talked a lot to my kids about gun safety but even good kids make bad choices occasionally so I still ask.”

SURVEY SUMMARY:

  • TOGETHER WE CAN MASTER MOTHERHOOD!™

Thank you to Dateline NBC for including me in such a wonderful series!  

It was truly an honor to participate and a wonderful experience for both myself and my boys.