I support the 2nd amendment.
I have no issues with the use of guns for hunting or sport.
My husband owns a hunting rifle, which is properly secured.
My father owned a hunting rifle, but I have no recollection of it. He assures me that it was hidden and properly secured with the shells being stored in a separate location.
I only know guns from an urban crime perspective, having grown up outside Washington D.C. and then living in Chicago for 20 years.
So, admittedly, guns make me nervous.
Even so, I'm OK with responsible personal gun ownership. Emphasis on the word responsible.
I am concerned, no, disgusted, by the growing epidemic of children being injured, killed, and emotionally scarred from getting their hands on guns which adults have left loaded and unsecured in the home. The numbers on this are dreadful. A 2014 study showed that 7000 kids are injured every year due to guns and an additional 3000 are killed.
We, as parents, and those who support responsible gun ownership, should be concerned.
In 7 days alone, there were 10 unintential incidents of injuries or deaths involving guns in the hands of minors ages 5-17. All "accidental". All due to guns that were improperly stored, (which means not at all) in a home. In one incident, a child of 14 took a gun from his family's home after allegedly being upset over a minor incident at school and committed suicide. Children who can not possibly comprehend the danger of a firearm and teens who are not emotionally mature enough to handle molehills which seem like mountains at the time, should not have such easy access to deadly weapons. And research shows, that even households that teach responsible gun ownership are still at greater risk for unfortunate situations such as these. Unsupervised children and guns do not mix.
Today I learned that Texas may be allowing concealed carry in college classrooms. And while I'm not so naive as to believe that this doesn't already occur, I have spoken to friends who are college professors (not in Texas) and they find this frightening. After all, do college students always make the best choices? I think incidents (non-related to firearms) on the campuses of Penn State and University of Oklahoma this week show us that not even 18-21 year olds act with great judgement at all times. There is an impulsiveness and emotional immaturity that is still present during the college years. Adding guns to the classroom, according to the University of Texas Chancellor William McRaven, a retired U.S. Navy admiral who organized the raid that killed Osama bin Laden in 2011, will make campuses "less safe".
I'm going with that guy's opinion.
Current escalation of these stories reminds me that I need to ask, "Is there an unsecured gun in the house" when having my kids hang out at homes of new friends. And while I feel so odd asking this, afraid of coming across as judgmental, statistics reveal that I must ask.
Have you asked this question of other parents?
If you own a firearm, how would you suggest we handle these delicate conversations?
I pray that we begin to see a decline in these incidents involving our children.
But truly, it is up to us.
The one's with the power to lock them up.
(The guns . . . not the children.)
Joline Pinto Atkins, an actress who also uses the web as her world-wide stage, can also be found writing at The Cuppa Jo, and Beaver County Times online as the Health and Wellness blogger. She is wife to one (phew - that's good to know) and mother of two amazing children, aged 14 and 10, who are both named after authors. Passionate about fitness, she is an Independent Team Beachbody Coach and sweats out any daily angst by exercising at home, longs for good books, is a redeemed coffee addict, will never get enough of the Gilmore Girls, and won't share popcorn with anyone. Even her own family. Follow Joline on Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and Pinterest!