By Sam Hoober, Alien Gear Holsters
There was a recent “Dear Abby” advice column wherein columnist Jeanne Phillips – incidentally that column has never actually been written by someone named “Abby” and neither, for that matter, was “Ann Landers” – did some backtracking after getting called out by the Moms Demand Action group. Phillips was initially asked by a concerned mom whether it was appropriate to ask people if they kept guns in their home, especially if her child was going to be at their home.
Initially, she responded that it would be a bit too nosy to ask such a question, but after a member of Moms Demand Action – who had lost a child to an accidental shooting – pointed out the potential hazards, Phillips backtracked and posted to her Twitter account that guns, prescription drugs, caustic chemicals (such as household cleaners) were all safety hazards. A concerned parent doing their due diligence, therefore, would not untoward for asking.
What should the gun owner do if asked?
Say a friend, neighbor, relative or whomever does have their children over at your house from time to time and they ask. Do you tell them that it’s none of their business and not to let the doorknob hit where they got split? Or do you tell them you do own guns and then assure them that you take precautions by safely storing them?
It’s certainly nobody’s business in a general sense whether you own guns or not, just like it is nobody’s business if you have a concealed carry holster and pistol on you. Telling someone without being asked would be supererogatory.
However, if asked, you might consider telling the truth.
The concern isn’t unreasonable. The Centers for Disease Control reported 461 deaths by accidental discharge of firearms and 275 of undetermined intent in 2014, the latest year they have a complete report on mortality in the National Vital Statistics series. (You can read it here in PDF form.) Of those deaths, 158 by accidental gunshot and 67 of the deaths by gunshot with undetermined intent were of people aged 24 years or younger, with well over half occurring with children aged 15 to 24.
Almost all such incidents are due to unsecured firearms, such as a recent incident that occurred in Indianapolis on Monday, June 26. A boy gained access to an unsecured pistol and fatally shot a playmate, according to Indianapolis ABC affiliate RTV6.
While the CDC’s data indicates such incidents are very rare indeed (pools are far more dangerous since overall drowning deaths are roughly 9 times more frequent than overall accidental firearms deaths and we won’t even get into automobile accidents) the danger speaks for itself. Thus, the concern is reasonable.
However, if you practice safe storage and keep guns out of reach of tiny hands there’s nothing to worry about. Tell the person who asks that you lock guns and ammunition away or keep them in an otherwise inaccessible location. If they press further, showing them your safe may be necessary to allay their concerns, but much beyond that begins to become an unreasonable accommodation.
Granted, if you don’t like the person in question and you don’t mind if they consider themselves persona non grata – you could always tell them to lump it! You would also be justified in telling them off if they ask rudely. After all, not their house is it?
Sam Hoober is Contributing Editor for AlienGearHolsters.com, a subsidiary of Hayden, ID, based Tedder Industries, where he writes about gun accessories, gun safety, open and concealed carry tips. Click here to visit aliengearholsters.com.