Irresponsible Gun Ownership and Consequences


Here we go again:

A 15-year-old boy  shot and killed his younger brother during a game of “cops and robbers” using what they thought was an unloaded handgun. The boy called police to their home in Eagan, Minnesota, and told them he had shot his brother, who was pronounced dead at the scene. Though police said the facts would be presented to the Dakota County Attorney’s Office for review, but no one is in custody and no charges are expected.

Investigators say the boys found their father’s 9mm handgun, which had been hidden unloaded, with a magazine holding cartridges nearby. At some point, the handgun was loaded by one of the boys, and assuming it had been unloaded, the brothers  began to chase each other in a game of “cops and robbers.” police said. The 15-year-old unintentionally fired,  striking his brother in the chest.

The father should be arrested and charged with negligent homicide.

Any parent who keeps a gun in a house with children has an obligation to 1) make absolutely certain that the gun is secure and cannot be loaded, found, or used by the kids, 2) teach the children that if for any reason they come across that gun or any gun, they are not to touch it, much less pick it up or play with it, and 3) make certain that they understand that real guns are not toys.

If a parent does not do these things, and a tragedy results, the parent must be held accountable under the law….everywhere, no matter what happens. Never mind “he’s suffered enough.” There is no substantive difference between carrying a loaded handgun in a purse where a two-year-old can grab it, and keeping a gun near ammunition in a house with teenage boys who don’t properly respect firearms. Both situations are criminally reckless and irresponsible; both are deadly accidents waiting to happen.

Gun ownership may be a right, but society should insist that the right is accompanied by vigilant and unwavering responsibility, and that there are serious legal consequences when that responsibility is breached.

Note: It is very black humor, but I must tip my hat to Fark for its comment on this story:

Fifteen year-old shoots and kills thirteen year-old brother in ultra-realistic game of cops and robbers, walks away without being charged. He must have been playing as the cop…

58 thoughts on “Irresponsible Gun Ownership and Consequences

  1. Yet we continue to allow the NRA to influence the gun debate to such an extreme that otherwise law abiding, responsible citizens-gun owners or not, can’t agree on ANY sort of gun control, real licensing or permitting, and see this type of story as an unfortunate but isolated incident. If the killing instrument had been a car under the same circumstances, the parents would most certainly be held responsible. And the automobile industry would have nothing to say. I’ll be shocked if we get the same response from the gun industry….

    • Wanna know why a parallel situation with cars would have a completely different reaction? Because there isn’t an entire ideology that elects HUGE components of the government that at it’s core doesn’t really believe cars are needed and would quietly and happily remove cars from society forever.

      There is, however, an ideology that does generally hold that opinion of Guns. So yeah, we’ll be a bit more hard nosed on that topic until that ideology can learn to be more rational.

      • I think a lot of people that might espouse the ideology that you seemingly disagree with, in actuality, have no real desire to take guns away from people. I for one, don’t generally have an issue with the right to bear arms, and ideology aside, would not vote or partake in an effort to seize guns or quietly and happily have them removed forever. But I believe the paranoid response of some (not all) led by the absurd positions of the NRA play a role in the opposite extreme’s reaction. The licensing and permitting of guns should not be held up based solely on the misguided belief that the government is coming to take our guns.

        • All rights—gun ownership, abortion, free speech—generate absolutist advocates. These are absurd in a vacuum, but are, I’ve come to believe, often essential to counterbalancing extremists on the other side that would obliterate the right completely. I think they pay a high price for refusing to yield even on reasonable variations—probably too high. But I respect the position: groups like the NRA fear a slippery slope, a forward ratcheting effect that erodes a right completely given enough time and compromise. You can’t say they don’t have a point.

          • I’d be dishonest if I didn’t acknowledge that the NRA might have a point. Yet fear of the slippery slope is no justification for the extremes that they go to in the name of protecting 2nd amendment rights. It’s truly reached the point of absurdity. I believe the overwhelming majority of Americans support the right to bear arms. They simply don’t support it unconditionally. So we argue degrees, and like many other issues, can’t seem to agree on even the most basic of regulation or changes, for fear of what lies at the bottom of the slope. It’s a shame we can’t figure out a way to change the angle of the road so as to avoid the perils below all together…

            • You make it sound as if there is no regulation. Quite the contrary. There is no unfettered access to owning a firearm. If you think there are unconditional ownership rights go ahead and publically display a spent shotgun shell in DC, carry a loaded weapon in a vehicle anywhere, or wear a sidearm on your hip in any major city. The NRA supports background checks and other rational regulations. It also supports training and education on firearm safety.

              The notion that we “can’t seem to agree on even the most basic of regulation or changes, for fear of what lies at the bottom of the slope”, is factually false. We do agree on some regulatory issues. But, more to the point, the slope you speak of only becomes slippery, with respect to any Constitutionally protected rights, when an opposition group explicitly states as its goal to strip those rights from others who embrace those rights.

              • Does urbanregor even understand why various voting rights groups and civil rights groups oppose literacy tests and photo ID’sfor voting? Literacy tests and photo ID’s for voting sounds commonsense.

                California Attorney General Kamala Harris, denouncing a Ninth Circuit ruling that required a sheriff to issue a concealed-carry permit, said that “Local law enforcement must be able to use their discretion to determine who can carry a concealed weapon.”

                Can you imagine anyone claiming that local law enforcement being able to use their discretion to decide anything related to our freedoms? After all, according to the Big Left, police officers are just racists who want to kill unarmed black men. Has anyone ever informed Attorney General Harris? Why can we not trust our local law enforcement to have discretion to judge whether or not we pass a literacy test for voting- let alone whether we should be able to vote? Or whether we could marry? Or whether we could have children?

                  • Their claim essentuially is that these voter ID laws would not be enforced fairly.

                    There is evidence that in “may issue” states, the laws are not enforced fairly.

                  • I wouldn’t say it’s “exactly” the same. We have a well documented history of denying people the right to vote. Not to mention the fact that voter ID laws are almost universally supported by one side of our seemingly endless ideological debate. Guns have no such history, and while I do see the applicability of the slippery slope argument, the pitch of these slopes are not the same. If they all end in the same hell hole, I wonder if it really matters….

                    • We have had a history of denying people the right to keep and bear arms. I mean, Chicago, Illinois, had a handgun ban. Many states have “may issue” concealed carry permits, where the applicant must show good cause to law enforcement as to why they should be permitted to carry handguns. Not surprisingly, the only ones who have good cause are the politically connected.

                      Can you imagine the furor over a good cause requirement for voter registration (let alone selective enforcement in favor of the politically connected)?

              • I didn’t intend to “make it sound like there is no regulation”. And I’ll also acknowledge that there are conditions to gun ownership-as well there should be. My point is I believe that those you feel are the opposition, might not actually be so opposed. While I choose not to own a gun, I have no problem with those that do. Some of the scenarios you mention above are in place for good reason, (the restrictions on open carry in cities for example) In a city like Chicago, where they currently have a big issue with homicides, coupled with it being a densely populated urban environment, I don’t see why restricting the ability of citizens to wear a gun on their hip can lead to draconian liberal take our gun policies.

                • You said:
                  “I don’t see why restricting the ability of citizens to wear a gun on their hip can lead to draconian liberal take our gun policies.”

                  You don’t see what you do not want to see. No one is suggesting that anyone should be able to wear a gun on their hip or access to military grade automatic weapons. After Sandy Hook we saw enacted legislation that banned military assault style weapons. These were identified by appearance and cosmetic issues and not by rates of fire. A legal 9mm handgun with an extended clip has the same firepower as one of these so called “assault weapons”.

                  In Chicago, how many homicides are perpetrated by NRA members? We have numerous restrictions on the books and every time some whacko kills with a gun the cry is for more restrictions. Draconian liberal take our guns policies don’t occur in one fell swoop they are incremental. Any opposition is met with the claim of “if it saves one life” it is worth the cost of additional regulation. I can draw numerous examples of governmental overreach based on minority outcry. Look what the EPA is doing to the coal industry. How many farmers in California lost access to water, exacerbating the drought to ensure a small fish was not harmed. In both cases entire communities were harmed for political reasons. Those inflicting the harm were in large measure unaffected by the rules because they had other options.

                  I don’t see anyone using the “if it saves one life” argument to advocate for stop and frisk laws targeting people who exhibit behaviors known to law enforcement as being precursors to violent events perpetrated by gangs, or those displaying gang tats or colors. We are unwilling to send a juvenile to prison forever for participation in crimes that result in a homicide. Instead we vilify the police as oppressors who engage in racial profiling, which, by the way, you did as well by targeting the NRA as a villain which you claim to be the major impediment to rational regulation without any substantiation to that claim.

                  • I don’t see how any of my comments could lead to a charge of racially profiling the NRA. I’m admittedly critical of the positions they take on certain gun laws, and the way they rationalize every incident regarding guns as simply a matter of “operator error”. But racial profiling? Come on. Some of the positions taken by the NRA make it difficult for me to take them seriously because they refuse to acknowledge the very concept of gun regulation as a needed positive part of civil society. But they most certainly have the right to do what they do, (Which I view as a job they do quite effectively) But they have no real reason to appeal to someone like me, even though I’d likely be receptive on some issues, at some level.

                    • Urban:
                      To be fair to you I did not truly see your comments as racially profiling. What I was pointing out is that when you lump an entire group together – the NRA – a group whose membership being made up of primarily white, suburban, rural dwelling persons of European heritage, with the expectation of a negative behavior on their part because that is what you have been told to expect, then it is no different than imposing a similar negative expectation on an individual based on skin color.

                      On what basis do you argue that the NRA refuses to acknowledge the very concept of gun regulation as a needed positive part of a civil society? Was it because they fought efforts to strike down laws that permitted the confiscation of weapons after Hurricane Katrina? Was it because they opposed the outright ban on any ammunition in San Francisco and Chicago? Or was it because they were advocates for legal gun owners living in public housing whose rights were pushed aside by housing officials?

                      The entire mission of the NRA is to promote gun safety, education and has only relatively recently been focused on the protection of the 2nd Amendment rights. You might find it interesting that the NRA originated as the result of Union Generals Ambrose Burnside and George Wood Wingate desire to improve the average citizen’s marksmanship proficiency. The proficiency of the Union soldier’s was such that they couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn. Burnside and Wingate saw that as an issue.

                      Perhaps you should review :

                      The NRA supported early gun control legislation but shifted into the political realm in the 1970’s to counter legislation that would effectively abrogate 2nd amendment rights. Had it not been for the government going too far in taking away the rights of the citizens the NRA would not have become a vigorous defender of the 2nd amendment. In short, the NRA pushed back because on behalf of its citizen members because of the legislation that had been passed stripping away such rights.

                  • The origins of the NRA, and the stances that you mention are the types of things that would garner support from me, and I suspect other non-gun owners who see and understand the original intent of the right to bear arms. It was most certainly about the citizen check against the threat of an over zealous government. We could argue about the degree to which such a threat exists today, but given the governments response to an armed Cliven Bundy, I would say chances are better than average that we don’t have so much to fear. But this could also change, and for that reason, I truly do support the citizens right to bear arms. I simply wish the NRA would publicly express more of the types of arguments you’ve made here, and do less shilling for the gun lobby. But again, I realize that by not being part of who they see as their target constituent, my voice will be muted.

                    • “It was most certainly about the citizen check against the threat of an over zealous government. We could argue about the degree to which such a threat exists today,”

                      Erm… recent history is sufficient to show that an armed populace keeps the government it wants. A disarmed populace endures the government it has…in some instances you get the soft tyrannies such as Europe, which will likely not go hard as long as America is still around providing a general shield of protection and as long as the European populations are content in their castration, in other instances you get the legit tyrannies.

                      This is the tired and worn out “the 2nd Amendment is sooooooo 18th century” argument. It is demonstrably false.

                      “but given the governments response to an armed Cliven Bundy, I would say chances are better than average that we don’t have so much to fear.”

                      I don’t think you are seeing in that instance what you need to see. A useful test would have been the government’s response to a disarmed Cliven Bundy. It would appear the government took it’s time and was methodical and cautious when dealing with an Armed Cliven Bundy. And Good.

                      “I simply wish the NRA would publicly express more of the types of arguments you’ve made here”

                      Did you ignore his key statement? The NRA has supported “reasonable gun restrictions”. Just every time “reasonable” gun restrictions are passed, the Left redefines “reasonable” and begins clamoring for “reasonable” restrictions AGAIN as though it didn’t get what it wanted.

                      Face it, at it’s quiet core, the Left would rather there be no guns at all because it doesn’t like a check on it’s power.

                      “and do less shilling for the gun lobby.”

                      This is the nonsensical “Gun Manufacturers” have too much control over politicians argument. You do realize that at an estimated 100 million + gun owners, that the NRA doesn’t represent manufacturers, but it represents 1/3…. 33.33%…. 1 in every 3 Americans?

                      That’s not “shilling”. Let’s be honest please.

                      Hell, less than 40% of Americans vote, so the guys advocating against voter ID laws supposedly represent the same amount of Americans…

  2. Ugh.

    Without going into too much exposition:

    I would support mandatory, periodic training for anyone owning firearms. Hell, I’d even support having a list of firearms owners, because quite succinctly, that is the Militia. And having it well trained and able to be called out quickly is should still be a key tenet of our society. I’d even say training ought to be part of high school curricula.

    Just like we have lists of car owners and require training for them.

    Here’s why I DON’T support mandatory and periodic training OR maintaining lists of firearms owners…

    As long as an entire, nearly monolithic political ideology with incredible control over it’s followers quietly espouses the eventual removal of all firearms as well as the vilification/ostracizing of gun-owners, then there’s no reason not to see those reasonable steps as just the starting point for full confiscation.

    See, we can support full registration and training for cars, because there isn’t a political party out there that quietly would seek to remove car ownership.

    • There’s a small vocal contingent, I think, that would seek to remove car ownership if they felt they could institute wide-spread mass transit options that worked in nearly all situations. I think we’re only 25-40 years away from such an event. I bet with the “driverless cars”, we’ll have a city situation where the only cars allowed on the road are govt owned shared driverless cars that ferry people to mass transit hubs or other local destinations.

      That one can easily envision such a concept (even though at this point is just a “science-fiction” concept) I think shows that the clock has started ticking and it’s only a matter of time.

  3. Jack, you say :” If a parent does not do these things (make absolutely that the gun is secure) and a tragedy results, the parent must be held accountable under the law”. Why do you include the proviso “and a tragedy results”? Shouldn’t the father “be arrested and charged” (with something) if he’s left the gun unsafe, whether or not a tragedy results? Of course there is far less likelihood of his being caught (for his irresponsible gun security) if no tragedy results. But the law should surely be clear in requiring responsible gun security particularly around children, and the police should be expected to check gun security not just when accidents have occurred.

    • That’s not how the law works, though. An individual may be negligent, even criminally so, but until something bad happens as a result, in practical terms nothing will trigger charges. Doing otherwise requires a police state, inspections, and incursions on privacy that our values and culture won’t tolerate.

      • How fortunate such ‘inspections and incursions on privacy’ are apparently tolerated for safety elsewhere – on roads, in the air, in workplaces.

        • I don’t the sarcasm is warranted. You don’t see the distinction between the air, the roads,the workplace and your personal residence? Hint: the key words are personal, private, ownership, and Fourth Amendment.

          • Driving a car on public roads with dodgy brakes and keeping a loaded gun in an unlocked drawer with young children around are both ‘unethical’ or ‘wrong’. Yes, of course the practicalities of the law and enforcement are very different. As evidenced in many of your posts, not everything that is unethical is illegal. And maybe, but perhaps rarely, some actions that are illegal may not be unethical. I thought your prime focus was on ‘right and wrong’. I am sure we agree the father was ‘wrong’ not properly to secure the gun, irrespective of whether his son found it, or whether he then tragically killed his brother. The law certainly takes account of consequences – whether the guy you’ve just shot lives or dies. But I don’t think ethics should, or at least not to the same degree.

            • Odd then that your first comment’s last sentence clearly indicates that you were discussing more than just ethics when you stated the police ought to be able to snoop around and enforce such ethics…

              • Yes texagg04 I agree – sorry – I have tripped on my own distinction between ‘ethics’ and ‘law’. Whether or not police should be ‘able to snoop around’ can’t be a matter of ethics, other than as regards the general ethical obligation in any society to follow the law at the time.

                • Well, in reality, Law ideally should fit the ethical framework of a society.

                  But the reason certain Ethical pronouncements – such as “it is UNETHICAL for parents to irresponsibly keep firearms in easily accessible condition in their homes with their children” – do not translate into Laws, is because there are other Ethical pronouncements – such as “individual right to privacy on their property and persons is so key to our stable and functioning society that it is for all intents and purposes absolute”.

                  So the Law, in this case, still does follow the ethical framework of the society. That is to say, Privacy is SO important (and it is) that we accept the risk and occurrence of irresponsible keeping of firearms…but because we can’t encourage the endangerment of children – then as soon as harm does come to a child because of the irresponsibility – ethically, it ought to be punished. Yes, this does lead to ONLY punishing the Morally Unlucky.

                  That’s the price of privacy. And good.

                  In this instance, I don’t think the Law has caught up to Ethics yet, because I don’t think there is a punishment for the result of this kind of negligence yet.

                  But, on the balance, I don’t know if it is a slippery slope thing, that once we start punishing the Morally Unlucky, then the Leftist/Statist crowd doesn’t merely start baying for the invasion of privacy where inspectors periodically invade homes to ensure fire arm safety.

                  So maybe the Law and Ethics ARE caught up to each other in this regard. Much to think about…

                  • What is the ‘punishment’ supposed to do? I note Jack’s capitals: “The father should be arrested and charged with negligent homicide”. Jack takes a preemptive strike against the ‘already suffered enough” line and declares that the father must be ‘held accountable’. Does this mean he must be ‘punished’ even more than being arrested and charged? Prison won’t add anything to deterrence. I doubt prison could add anything to the ‘punishment’ in such cases. And I don’t warm to any calls for ‘justice’. I’d be appalled if Society added even more to the family’s misery …… (?). As you might guess I hanker for actions to reduce the risks to the as yet unshot young, but this is a matter of practical politics (ie probably largely impractical in the US), rather than ‘right or wrong” ethics.

                    • Well, there’s no point in charging him with the threat of punishment. The family’s misery is self imposed, and it is only moral luck that a family member was the victim. This formula essentially argues that “good” people who do bad things and are overcome with remorse and shame shouldn’t be punished. That’s how we end up with white collar criminals getting slaps on the wrists and poor black drug pushers getting life. How badly someone feels after being criminally irresponsible should not mitigate punishment. Check the posts here about the kids left in hot cars to die.

                      (“Right or wrong” ethics is redundant.)

                • I would add that the inspections you might invoke would also have to account for the responsibility of the child. As Jack indicated before – part of the lapse in the scenario is a lack of education and control on the part of the children. If you have 2 houses each with a father who leaves a sidearm poorly hidden or secured, and 1 house has a tragedy and the other has kids who found the sidearm and left it alone, we have two different results. It’s not necessarily moral luck that tragedy didn’t strike the 2nd house – it might have been proper education.

                  So – to add random home inspections to ensure a “safe” environment – it would require a lot of questioning and analyzing the education level of a child. Additionally – while they’re in the home, they should be looking for other dangers than guns. Unsafe bathtubs, railings not to code, mold, poisonous plants, too much animal dander, dangerous animals, etc etc etc.

                  I’m not sure anyone wants to volunteer for that kind of scrutiny. Even if they did, I’m not sure you’d even get a sizable minority to support it.

            • Moral luck. I don’t see your issue. Yes, it’s equally wrong, but the way a society usually discourages unethical conduct is by punishing the consequences of it. That means the unethical but lucky often get off scot free.

              Someone knowingly placing a child in a dangerous car arguably is exactly as irresponsible as the gun owners. Or, as in the case last year, the parents who took young kids on a trans-Pacific yacht stunt. Law is a tool of ethics, and gets used when ethics alone, and enforcement by criticism, shunning, shaming, etc. doesn’t have the desired results.

                • But with the vagueries of human behavior, luck has to play a part, and a big one, unless we want to give up personal freedom and liberty completely. We could stop the parent from placing a child in an unsafe care by inspecting a car before every trip, and fining or arresting owners who were planning to endanger kids. Instead, we require yearly inspections, and after that, rely on the car owner. We could ban guns in the hands of families with habitually drunk adults or those with violent domestic disturbances by requiring camera monitoring of homes 24-7. It would save lives. Benevolent fascism can be very safe. We could punish “pre-crime,” or even pre-pre-crime, and save lives. Ethics and the balancing of risks and values can’t be partitioned.

                  • I get it. Luck must play a role because without it, our freedoms would not be fully protected, and privacy not at all. My comment was more a philosophical, I wish people would do the right thing, behave ethically and not force us to rely on the specter of bad luck as deterrent.

  4. Several comments refer to the NRA suggesting that it takes an extreme and “absurd” position on gun rights. The NRA is often portrayed as a monolithic self serving organization designed to protect the profits of the firearms industry.

    The NRA is made up of people – citizens of the U.S. who seek to preserve a specific right that often comes under fire when someone abdicates his/her responsibilities associated with that right. The policies and positions of the NRA are those of its members.

    There is little difference between the NRA and any other association of people that band together to protect their Constitutional rights and other interests. We do not and cannot claim that the NAACP’s positions are the reason for poverty and crime among its constituency. Therefore, when an idiot does something foolish and dangerous that results in harm to another that person needs to be held to account for those actions. As a non-gun owning NRA member I know that is what is espoused in their literature.

      • Uh… except when the definitions used by the armor piercing bullet ban crowd end up including just about every bullet imaginable, then no, it isn’t unreasonable to oppose a ban.

        I believe that is where the NRA’s hang up derives.

        • Then it should say that, but it never has. How hard is it to say, “Sure, we’d be behind a narrowly drawn ban on the sale and manufacture of these, these, and these, because they endanger law enforcement without conferring a reasonable sport, recreation or self-defense purpose”? When has it ever issued such a position on anything? Hell, the NRA would benefit immensely by initiating proposals for such bans. It would also lose thousands of members.

          • FWIW, this link provides a cite for “[A ban] on those bullets found to penetrate soft body armor would undoubtedly impact on bullets used by sportsmen.” As stated, that would contradict the claim that they never said that.

            Given that armor piercing was defined broadly to include all high caliber rounds, I think they had a point.

        • That one opposes a law does not mean ione opposes the purpoted goals of the law.

          If the Republican Congress passed a law called the “Strengthen American Manufacturing Act”, and it was loaded with special handouts to the politically-favored, would it be correct to accuse Democrats of wanting to destroy American manufacturing if they oppose the bill?

  5. Why hasn’t anyone mentioned that the father was also negligent for not educating his children about firearms? This was not a 2 year old or a 5 year old. This was a 15 year old. My cousins and siblings all played in my grandparent’s basement when we were young. There were 5 firearms leaning up in the corner of the basement. Not one of us ever touched them without supervision. When I was cleaning out the basement after my grandfather died, I found that there was ammunition in the unlocked cabinet next to the guns. I, my siblings, and my cousins were unaware of it because we had never opened it because we weren’t allowed to. I was trained on how to properly use firearms and that they were not toys I was allowed escalating privileges with BB guns, pellet guns, and firearms as I became older and more responsible.

    I have a young child and my firearms are locked up so he can’t get them (there is no excuse with the proliferation of easy-access gun lock boxes, etc). I have taught him the don’t touch, get an adult safety method with firearms (age appropriate). I will begin teaching him how to shoot a BB gun when he is old enough… I took the child locks off of my cabinets when he was 2 because I had him trained not to mess with that stuff without supervision. I haven’t had any problems. I will teach him not to mess with firearms without supervision. I shouldn’t have any problems, just like my parent’s didn’t, just like my grandparent’s didn’t, just like my great-grandparent’s didn’t.

    This guy was a bad parent, just like the several mothers who murdered their children in the news this week, just like the parents who make meth in the house with their kids, like the parents who keep all the food stamps for themselves and let their kids starve when they aren’t in school, just like the parents who won’t buy their kids underwear or socks because they aren’t ‘necessities’, just like the parents that leave their 9-year olds unattended for several months…. Add up the number of parents who do this every week and compare it to the number of kids who die from gun accidents. Roughly 80 children die each year in gun accidents. Roughly 700 drown each year (most in swimming pools). It is a problem, but is it our biggest problem for child safety? Is it the one that really needs a nationwide solution?

    • “It is a problem, but is it our biggest problem for child safety? Is it the one that really needs a nationwide solution?”

      Because it isn’t about safety, the public good, saving lives, or any of the other sugar coating the Left places on it. It’s about guns and empowerment of the individual citizen. That cannot be tolerated.

    • I grew up with loaded handguns, rifles, shotguns within easy reach. My siblings and I were taught from a very young age NEVER to touch them. That being said, they were still there and I could easily have shot one if I had the desire. I still can’t figure out if my parents were irresponsible for letting this happen or if they just did a great job teaching us. Perhaps I am right on both counts … or perhaps they were just really lucky.

      I just moved my mom out of our childhood home (my father passed over a decade ago) and we were surprised to find two handguns (one still loaded) and roughly a bucket or so of ammunition once it was all collected. My brother, sister, and I thought we had gathered all the guns and ammunition after my dad died for safekeeping in my brother’s gun safe.

      • Beth…I have often thought those same thoughts. We didn’t have a lot of guns in our house while growing up. We only had one and I knew where it was and I knew it was loaded. Honestly, I had no interest in that gun. My father took the mystery out of guns for me starting at a very young age. I remember him calling me into his office and explaining how guns worked as he took the gun apart and cleaned it. Over and over and over. And he made me sit there and watch and at times I got angry because I had better things to do. Like play with my Lite Brite or Tinker Toys or my Play Doh Barbershop. By the time I actually shot the gun, it wasn’t fun or exciting. Guns came with mundane responsibility like cleaning, keeping parts in good working order, proper storage. I wasn’t interested in cleaning and being responsible for anything more than I actually had to while growing up. And guns came with all that baggage. Yes, I own a gun today. I’m a single female and I feel more comfortable having the gun than not having the gun. But I have never seen it as anything but a responsibility.

        • Incidently, my mother’s father was a Sheriff in east Texas while I was growing up. I spent quite a bit of time with he and my grandmother while I was young. When my grandfather came home, he had the exact same routine. He would head immediately to the kitchen and put his gun AND his teeth on top of the refrigerator. I didn’t care about that gun…but God, I wanted to get my hands on those teeth!!

          • I don’t know — messing with Grandpa’s teeth sounds like a great way to get a red butt and some fun task like cleaning out his garage for the rest of your life.

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