Around Kids It’s About Gun Safety
A survey published in a recent USA Today makes no sense. The question: “Should parents of kids with mental illness be allowed to have guns at home?” The answers .458 socom ammo : No 60.6% and Yes 39.4%. (The original source is Parents magazine and a place called the Child Mind Institute.).
The numbers are puzzling and the question itself is poorly worded. Nearly 40% of the people polled think it’s okay for kids with mental illnesses to be in homes with firearms? Did the risk of homicide, suicide, or accidental discharges not cross their minds as they were answering?
The scope of the question is flawed. Children are not often (accurately) diagnosed with Axis disorders until their late teens or early adulthood. Are all children diagnosed with conduct disorders dangerous to themselves or others? No. What are they really asking? Because your child has been diagnosed with a mental illness, you should or should not be allowed to own or possess a firearm? Or would a better question be, “If you own or possess a firearm and your child was ever diagnosed with a serious mental illness, which of the following gun protection devices would you use?” a. trigger lock, b. gun safe, c. all of the above, d. none of the above. The only answers are a, b, c, whether your kid is mentally ill or not. Unsecured firearms and children are like unsecured pornography and children; no matter how good you think your hiding place is in your home, they will find it.
A case from June 4, 2013 in San Diego illustrates this point as only tragedies can: a man’s 9-year-old daughter was playing in the garage with a 10-year-old boy from her neighborhood. The girl’s 14-year old brother was supposed to be babysitting both kids but wasn’t. Somehow, the two young children got their hands on the man’s 9mm pistol. It discharged and killed the 10-year-old boy with a shot to his chest. San Diego Police have not said publicly who fired the gun. The gun’s owner turned himself into police this week and was charged with involuntary manslaughter, child endangerment, and criminal storage of a firearm.
The man’s attorney has said the police search warrant which identified the gun’s hidden location is wrong (insert usual gasp of shock here). SDPD said their investigation suggests the gun was stored in a plastic bin in the garage, but the attorney (who was not there at the time of the incident, of course), says both the gun and the ammunition clip were hidden separately and in an “inaccessible place.” Well, then how did those two devices come together to produce the accidental but avoidable death of a child? While it’s unlikely both children possessed huge magnets, which they waved around the house and were able to attract the gun and the magazine, some act of extreme carelessness certainly occurred to put both into the hands of one child or the other at the moment when the firing pin fell on a live round.