Note: This post talks about how to address the topic of guns with the parents of your kids’ friends. It is not meant to be a post that argues about whether guns should be legal/illegal and/or gun control. After I had written this post, I was reminded that fellow blogger, Elise, wrote about this topic back in September – it is obviously a topic that sits in the mind of many parents.
There’s a post circulating through Facebook that shows a link to a poster regarding an effort which promotes ways in which to ask friends’ parents whether there are guns in the house and if so, how to respond. It’s been interesting to see how my Facebook friends and their acquaintances have responded to this; namely, it’s been interesting to see who finds the campaign and question offensive.
In response to the circulating posts, a friend of mine told a story about how her kid’s friend’s Dad became infuriated over the question – basically telling her that it was none of her business whether they had guns in the house, and that he was insulted that she would think that he would be irresponsible enough to leave it within reach of the children. She said that the child’s father basically “uninvited” them from the playdate, and also uninvited them from friendship. Her child was heartbroken about the whole issue because in addition to losing a friend, the other child went around school telling everyone that they were all “p*ssies.”
I am all for free speech and free rights. I respect your choices as an American citizen, and this post is absolutely not to discuss whether guns should be illegal or not – that’s a larger question that I choose not to get into. But as a parent of young kids who are now embarking into the land of “unsupervised playdates” in the form of parents sitting in the next room chatting over coffee or dropoff, it is my right and responsibility to ask whether my kid’s friends have guns in the house. It is a fact that if you have a gun in the house, the probability of something happening, no matter how responsible you are as a gunowner, is something more than zero. And it is a fact that children are naturally curious and tempted by things that are considered off-limits. As much as I can discuss how dangerous guns are with my kids, the concept is completely intangible because a gun (to them) is a mythical item. Therefore, my question over whether you have guns in the house is not because I don’t trust you or your child – I’m sure you are responsible as a parent, and I’m sure you’ve taught your own child to be fearful of guns – it is because I don’t trust my own child / children.
So, to the parents of my kids’ friends – expect that when you invite us over for a playdate that I will ask about guns in your house. Understand that when you say yes, I will respectfully decline the invitation but in turn will welcome you and your children into my own home to play. Please understand that I am not judging you, your character, or your choices; I am acting as a mom who would like to protect my children (from themselves).