Have a Gun? Would You Leave Your Preteen Home in the House Alone With It?

Now here's an interesting insight.

Parents are more confident their pre-teen child would know what to do if there were a house fire or tornado than whether the child would avoid playing with guns if home alone, a new national poll says, according to newswise.com.

When my son was little, I never thought to ask the parents on a playdate whether they had a gun in the house, as some friends smartly did.  But then, that was before 20 1st graders were massacred in Newtown.

Today, with growing gun use (even by women) after every tragedy caused by a gun, it's a no-brainer.  At the time my son was in elementary school, I probably would have felt embarrassed to ask.  But today, if he were small, it would be the first question I would need to have answered before allowing him to play at another child's house.

In the past I just assumed the people I and my child were friends with were smart enough not to have a gun.  But today you just can't be sure.  I'm amazed at the people I'm fond of who admit -- and proudly -- they have guns. And that they open-carry them when they're on vacation in Florida, where it's allowed.

Four out of five parents of kids age 9 to 12 say they are very confident their child would appropriately handle an emergency like a storm (82 percent), or a fire (78 percent). Sixty-four percent of parents are confident their child would know when to call 911, the web site reports.

However, fewer parents (53 percent) are very confident their tween would not play with guns when adults weren’t home, according to a new report from the C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital National Poll on Children’s Health.

“Many parents struggle deciding if their child is responsible enough to be left home alone, especially as their child moves into the tween years. This is an especially important decision during the summer when many parents have to make arrangements for kids who are out of school,” says Sarah J. Clark, MPH, director of the C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital National Poll on Children’s Health.

“Our poll found that while parents are confident that their children would know what to do if faced with emergencies like a fire or storm, they expressed a great deal of hesitancy about gun safety. Nearly half are not confident their tween would not play with guns encountered at a home with no adult supervision.”

Mothers and fathers report the same level of confidence about their tweens’ likely safety practices, and have similar confidence levels for sons and daughters. This indicates that a broad spectrum of parents are aware of the potential for accidental gun injuries, the Mott poll report notes.

And with 1 in 3 U.S. households having at least one gun, it is not unlikely that unsupervised tweens could encounter one at home or in a friend or relative’s home.

I'm pretty confident my son -- who is so cautious he didn't walk till he was almost 17 months, I'm convinced, because he didn't want to take any chance of falling down! -- would know to leave the gun alone. But I'm not sure I could trust his friends, who might be more curious, or familiar, with a weapon.

How many toddlers will have to be killed fooling around with unsecured guns until we get the message it's pretty stupid?  I guess when the NRA's so powerful, and our Congress so weak, we'll just have to keep finding out.


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