So many people want to know how to ASK about guns in one’s home, but it’s also important to consider HOW TO RESPOND if you are asked, especially if you are a gun owner. Consider these helpful hints:
- Applaud the parent’s concern for their child’s safety. Do not view this question as an attack on your parental responsibility.? This parent is just checking in with you on an important home safety matter.
- Recognize every child has exceptional skills to explore and discover. View this question as a reminder or an introduction to another child who is the next Christopher Columbus or Sally Ride. By nature, a child is an invasion of your privacy and much more intrusive than the mere question about firearms from that child’s parent. Check again to make sure your firearms are secured!
- Be open and honest about the status of firearms in your home. Explain your storage systems to the parent, addressing ALL firearms you keep. Don’t conveniently leave out the loaded gun in your nightstand. This is an opportunity to show just how responsible you are as a gun owner and create a positive identity for those who do own firearms. Do not feel obligated to make changes to your storage system during another child’s visit, but the other family may appreciate it if you sense some discomfort. You may also consider offering to show the other parent your safe!
- Respect the other parent’s value system and comfort level. Don’t take it personally if a parent expresses discomfort with the status of firearms in your home if you have them. We all have different experiences and relationships with firearms, some of them completely devastating.
- Express gratitude. Genuinely thank the other parent for their concern and for doing their job as a responsible, active parent: assuring the safety of their child at all times and in all places.