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MOMS TALK: Are You Practicing Gun Safety?

Do you ask other parents if they have guns in the house? In the car?

In our own backyard, three gun accidents left two children dead and one severely injured in the short time span between February 22 and March 15 this year.

In all three cases, parents left loaded handguns within easy access of their children. In two of the cases, one involving a parent that was a Marysville police officer, the parents had permits for the guns. 

It's time to review our personal gun safety practices, which includes posing the difficiult question to our playmate's parents:  "Do you have guns in the house? If so, how do you store those?" In my years on Mercer island (14 years) I only had one parent ask me that question. I remember thinking how brave that mom was and it was a reminder that I should be asking that question too!

Over the years, my kids have spent loads of time at homes where hunters and gun enthusiasts reside. I trusted that they kept their guns under lock and key, but did not really double check.

We may naively dismiss stories like the recent tragedies in Bremerton, Tacoma and Marysville as places and events that have no relevance to our Island kids. But these horrific events, and numerous others like them, can occur in the briefest of moments with lapses in judgment that occur in seconds.

This doesn't just happen to children with drug addict moms. It happens to the children of police officers, highly trained professionals. This is a reminder to talk to our kids and other parents about how we handle our guns.

Kendall Watson March 29, 2012 at 06:19 AM
Thanks Diane for hitting a timely issue. Firearms are a guaranteed right in the US Constitution, but many owners of these weapons are too casual with handling and storing them. It might not seem like a garrison, but Mercer Island is a fairly well-armed community, as you observe, and it would do the community well to observe a reminder on firearm safety from time-to-time.
Stranger March 29, 2012 at 11:04 AM
It should be clearly understood that the number of childhood gun accidents has declined dramatically in the last 45 years, from 1,200 in 1968 to 75 in 2010. And 30 of the 75 were probably suicide. It should also be clearly understood that the person with the greatest ability to make a child safe around the guns they will be exposed to all their lives is the parent. The best resource I know for that is Kathy Jackson's corneredcat.com - an excellent resource for children and adults alike. Stranger

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