Guns and children


For those of you who have children who either live with you or visit often - or may have a child occasionally visit your home:

Do you always carry?
Do you use a safe?
Do you hide the gun in an upper cabinet or upper shelf in the closet?

How do you keep your firearms secure from the kids in the home?


I think this is a highly personal decision. It’s also one that has dire consequences. As I’ve stated in the past I don’t carry inside my home. If my feet cross my front door I am carrying. I do own a safe but don’t use it much anymore as I feel a gun in a safe is completely useless. I used to use it much more when my son was little. He’s now much older (17) and has become quite talented with a pistol. He’s a fine young man with good grades and a car. Never been in any kind of trouble. So I don’t feel obligated to nessesarily lock up my pistol when he’s around. I don’t feel like hiding a gun in an upper shelf or closet is a good idea. In fact I think it’s a desater waiting to happen. If I had smaller children visiting I’d probably just strap on the gun or lock it up. In truth I trusted my son much earlier with firearms but it wasn’t a risk I was willing to take until the past year or so. All my guns are locked up all the time accept my pistol.


I have a fourteen year old son at home, and I always carry. I have two safes, one is a portable safe that I use for bedside as well as when I leave the house so I have it in my truck if I end up going somewhere that I can’t carry. I also have a larger safe mounted in the house, which is currently full of ammo and papers. I’ve never even had my gun in that one. Both are electronic with the mounted one having the fingerprint option. They also have keys which I have with me all the time.

If I am home and the gun is not on me because I’m in my pajamas or something, it’s in the holster next to me at all times.

Whenever I clean it, we go over the parts of the gun etc. He knows that he is never to touch any gun without my permission, knows how to clear it and make it safe, etc. Regardless, if I’m not within arms reach, it’s locked up.

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You make a number of great points, @AdamJ, age of the child/maturity level, their understanding of firearms, and their personal awareness are all things to factor in.

If you’ve got multiple guns (and don’t carry them all) the safe is very useful. However, if you only have the gun you carry, then a big safe could be overkill.


I’d also like to add he knows not to tell anyone that I own a gun or that I have one in the house. Friends, teachers, doctors, neighbors, family members, no one. I tell him it’s nobody’s business. He’s a very politically aware and pretty conservative 14 year old. He sees the anti gun talk out there and will actually point things out that may have recently been said against gun owners.

I also have a 17 and 16 year old daughter and son from a previous marriage. They don’t even know I own a gun. My son at home has been informed about the Red Flag law passed in MA last year which has been discussed in another thread. My ex is the exact type of person we’re all concerned about filing a false report. When I first got divorced many years ago, she called the police on me on a regular basis, none of which led to anything. It got to the point that when I’d pick my two kids up, I’d request the police to be there so she couldn’t lie about something and call on me.


I’d also like to point out that MA state law dictates that if the gun is not in your control or not in use, it must be kept in a locked container or equipped with a locking safety device. Even if no unauthorized person gains access to your guns, you can be punished with fines and possible imprisonment, along with being permanently ineligible for an LTC or FID card.


I don’t have kids, but as an uncle I babysit rather frequently. My nephew, and niece are 7 and 5.

When I am at home I have my 38 in a recluse packet holster and the rest locked in my safe with my ammo locked separately. When the kids are over I also lock the room.

I leave the bulk of the firearms training to their father (my brother) but if they have any questions I answer without hesitation. I also have Nerf guns laying around for then to play with and/or demonstrate anything they have learned.

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Divorce is never fun and an ex making false accusations is so hard - especially on the kids.

The one upside, @Kerryman71, is that she set a precedence for false claims. I’m assuming you have that all documented just in case.

Does MA recognize a locked house as a locked container?

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In MA your locked home is not considered a locked container, even if you’re in it. If the police came to my house, even if I called them for something and noticed my gun in another room not secured, I could be prosecuted. It’s actually happened here, under different circumstances.

We’re told the best bet is to carry it or have it within arms reach as “within your control” is vague and open up to interpretation. If not, lock it up. Trigger locks alone are not acceptable either.

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Trigger locks are not acceptable? Do you need to have the cable locks?


Yes. There are other methods of mechanical locks that are ok too. I don’t know exactly what they are, but I’ve been told a trigger lock alone isn’t one of them. I just use the safe.

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@Dawn I’d like to tweak my previous statement. The “no trigger locks” applies to large capacity rifles and shotguns in a vehicle. Those have to be unloaded and in a locked case or other secure container at all times when transporting in a vehicle.

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I use a bedside safe for my carry gun, and home defense handgun. All other guns are locked ins gun cabinet, including my sons youth rifle. It’s right next to my shotgun, to emphasize it is just as dangerous as the bigger guns. My son knows guns aren’t toys. Also, if I’m not feeling well, or might possibly fall asleep, I lock up my carry gun as well. If I’m not awake and alert, I feel I’m not in control as I should be. We also have young toddler age nephews that visit from time to time, so I don’t want any question that one of them might stumble onto a loaded gun.

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I do the same thing when I get home from working overnight if I lay down for a couple hours.

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I own a 2 story home and the only thing upstairs is the master bedroom and a finished attic space which I have turned into a gun room. I’m going to put a keypad lock on it but for now there are child saftey gates at the bottom of stairs. So there is no reason whatsoever for any visitor to go upstairs unless invited to see the gun room. I carry all the time in my home and while I sleep the gun is in a sticky holster between the mattress and box spring just incase the little one wonders in he would have to pick me and the mattress up to get the gun

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I don’t have children, but there are always children running around at every family event, including butchering after a hunt. Guns are kept locked up, but inevitably with the amount of hunting my family does, kids are around guns that aren’t locked up because they are drying off, getting ready to be packed up, or getting ready to be cleaned.

The kids in my family also see what bullets do to living things, and are purposefully shown the damage. My dad put my face up to the exit wound from my uncles .300 weatherby mag on a deer when I was like 6 or 7 and it was driven into my head what guns can do to people. But it was also pounded in my head that like dad’s chainsaw, axe, and all the dangerous equipment on family farms, guns are grown people tools, and if I touch them without an adult, I will get hurt like the buck in the garage.

Maybe it was a bit excessive, but unlike my dad I will utilize a safe when I maybe have a couple little Lahtis running around, but like my dad, those little people will get the same lesson I recieved when myself or any family member shoots a deer. There’s something to be said about a little bit of rural education. Teach them that something innocent dies for their steak, and guns can really hurt you.


Seeing the damage a .300 can do to an animal the size of a deer can definitely leave a lasting impression on a child. A child who sees that damage will hopefully understand the lesson and respect firearms.

(However, ewww! I’m not one for blood and guts. I may try my hand at hunting next year, but I’ll have to get over the ewww factor.)


Well, it leaves a hole about the size of a softball. But if you put the bullet a little further back off the shoulder you don’t lose any shoulder meat and most importantly the lungs cease to exist and the animal dies really fast.

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When hunting game I use the Madagascar Method, two center mass and one to the head. That way I’m always prepared.


Yes always carry
Yes I use a safe for my long guns
No I do not hide the gun

My 14 yo has taken hunter education and knows the purpose of the firearms and the proper use of them. My 8 yo understands that she cannot touch them unless I personally ask her to. Before she brings it to me I unload it so she walks it to me with barrel down and hands it by the grip. The only firearm I have out at all times is my EDC either on me or on top of safe for quick access.