Guns and children

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.

This is heartbreaking. Stumbled across this article and thought I’d share it here. This thread already shares plenty of insight into safe handling of firearms with childern around. I’m posting this as a reminder how quick a tragedy can happen. Our little community here is filled with different experience levels across the board. Whether you’re newer and unfamiliar with different ways to keep your firearm accessible and safe from little hands, or experienced with an attitude that it will never happen to you. Take the time to make sure you are not the reason for an article like this.

I have a 4 year-old boy, so all of my firearms are kept in a safe or in a holster ON MY BODY. Firearms are never left out of the safe or personal control of myself or my wife. That said, I have already been teaching my son about safety with firearms. I have also told him that if he wants to see a gun, all he has to do is ask. We make the firearm SAFE AND CLEAR before he ever actually sees it. Even then, we hold it while he looks it over. A big reason why I feel that bad things happen with kids and guns is not only negligence on an adult’s part, but also the curiosity factor. Kids are tremendously curious, and combine that with complete lack of knowledge, you have a recipe for disaster. My personal belief is that if I can take away the curiosity and provide good safety knowledge, then my son will be much better off than if I tried to keep my guns hidden and secret. With more time, I will teach him how to shoot with a BB gun and so on.


Tragic events happen and every one of them is terrible. I have 6 children, and I spend a great deal of time instructing them on gun safety. They know very clearly to never touch a firearm under any circumstances. Especially a firearm left unattended! I do carry in the home, and I periodically (with magazine removed and double checked for surety) ask if they want to “play” with it. They always say no. This is part of training them. If they find a weapon laying on the ground somewhere, they won’t touch it. We’ve taught them it could have been used in a crime, or it could have malfunctions which may make it unsafe to handle. I believe maturity is a factor, but moreover, proper teaching. One of my children has down syndrome and another is on the autistic spectrum, they can and do learn.
Be safe in training them. Repetition in training on proper handling is key to effective safety in the home with children.
Accidents do happen; we, as responsible gun owners need to be very proactive to do what we can in every way to try and prevent them from happening.


These situations are horrific - the death of a child is never a good thing.

It is sad that the death of a child or children is usually used as a tool for political manipulation.

I really hope that the brother is getting some emotional support so he can recover from this terrible accident.


A post was split to a new topic: Kids and Toy Guns?

My wife and I were blessed with eight children – six daughters and two sons. I have taught Texas LTC, along with Florida and Utah CCW classes for years. All of the kids have been to the range with me and I have talked them how to operate a firearm safely. Most of them don’t get too excited about shooting pistols at a paper target but they love to shoot skeet.

When I only had two pistols years ago, I let the children know emphatically that they were never to touch them and because I had their respect and because they were obedient, it never was a problem. Also, they were high and out of the reach in my closet. However, when I got my permit and started carrying concealed, Texas law requires that handguns are not accessible to anyone under age 21 without adult supervision. (Interestingly, the law says that if a child uses a firearm in the home to defend themselves, it is a legal defense against the violation of the law that the handgun was accessible to them to begin with. Talk about a legal conundrum!) So at some point, I did purchase a large gun safe – though now I think it should have been about three times as large – preferably with a spare bedroom!

About four years ago, we began to be foster parents. We started by hosting a young lady from Latvia and have also hosted young ladies from Russia, through a ministry called Project 143 ( In order to do so, we have to have a visit by a social worker to the house. The regulations require that all guns be in safes, so that they are never visible to the children while in our care. Additionally, they require that ammunition be stored in a separate safe. So I now have a safe in another part of the house that stores ammunition and I keep my firearms in the main safe. I am somewhat unsure of why social services requires ammunition to be stored in a separate safe unless they think there is a possibility that a child might be able to guess the unlock code for one safe but not apply it to the other one. I do know that none of my firearms have ever loaded themselves. So I keep most of my ammunition in a separate safe, but always carry a few boxes of defensive rounds in the main safe where my handguns are stored. Fortunately, no social worker has ever asked to examine the contents of the safe. They have been content to just see the safe and know that firearms were locked up.

As my firearm collection grew, I purchased two extra drawer-style safes in which to keep rifles or lesser-used firearms. So, now I have a total of four firearm safes throughout the house. All of the firearms stay locked in those safes except the one that I wear. While we have foster children with us, I can only carry concealed. When they are not with us, I sometimes choose to open carry just emphasize the privilege that we have in Texas of being able to do that. However, I still carry concealed 90% of the time.

I do have one or two strategic places of firearm storage in the house that are disguised to look like something else, just to make sure that my wife and I know where to access a firearm quickly in the case of a dynamic critical incident. When we do not have foster children in the house, there is usually a firearm in the spots. Even though no social worker would ever see firearm in either of these places, I still adhere to the letter of the law.

It is something of a right of passage in my home when a child turns 21 and they can attend one of my concealed carry classes and get their own permit and we can shop for their own firearm. Not every child immediately wants to do this. However most of my children were very quick to take advantage of this when they get their 21st birthday.

So, over the years I have gone from having to pistols on a high shelf with instructions to my only two children to never touch them to having four safes and well-designed hiding places for firearms with eight children plus foster children visiting us occasionally. Because I have seen well trained people do stupid stuff with firearms in a careless moment, I am a big fan of keeping firearms locked up. I don’t really agree with having to store your ammunition separately from your firearms. I do have a safe for ammunition storage to comply with the social services. But I still keep a handful of defensive ammunition inside the safe so that if I need to access the safe quickly, I can also grab a box of ammo.

The handguns in my safe are in two conditions. Handguns that I use for my training classes are cleaned and unloaded with the slides racked back. Handguns that I might choose to wear for self-defense or that my wife might choose to use, are always loaded. There is a rule that says a firearm should be unloaded until ready to use it. However when I put my handgun in my holster, I deem that it is ready to be used at that time. So my firearms carry around in the chamber and a full magazine. I never handed a student a loaded firearm, but I would never put on a pistol that did not have one in the chamber unless it was illegal to do so in a state in which I was traveling.

Just for the record, I don’t think that anyone needs 4 safe’s worth of firearms. So, if you are reading this, please understand that I am not a gun nut. I think that my wife and I could probably do everything we wanted to do with only four handguns and a couple of long guns. However, I am a firearms instructor and have purchased a number of firearms that I use for training classes. Additionally, when each child got old enough to handle a rifle or shotgun responsibly, I got them one of their own. These also stay locked in my safe unless we are going to the range. There is only one exception to that. My son who can legally own a shotgun of his own will take his gun out of my safe and keep it accessible to him if I am out of town on a business trip and he needs to defend his mother and his sisters. When I return home, his firearm goes back in my safe.

I will tell you that every child is different in their abilities to follow instructions, their hand-eye coordination, and the rate at which they mature. I usually make my children wait until they are 17 before teaching them how to drive. Most of them are mature and quick learners at that time. However, I had one daughter that took nearly 2 years to learn to drive well enough that I wasn’t constantly concerned about her. She is one of those easily-distracted people. So just as the differences in children affect their ability to learn to drive, it also affects their ability to handle firearms safely and responsibly. You need to be sensitive to the differences in children and be patient and kind when teaching them so that they both handle a firearm responsibly and so that they will love shooting because it is a valued and treasured memory of something they did with their parents.

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