My dad was a gunsmith when I was growing up. He was an avid gun rights supporter and subscribed to the NRA. There were guns in our house, expressly contained in his den. I recall many Thanksgiving holidays interrupted by deer hunting expeditions.
My younger sister and I grew up with stern commands to not go into his den when he wasn’t home. The door stayed open most of the time. Looking back, I marvel at the memory. From the doorway, I remember rifles and pistols, and ammunition everywhere in his den. Usually, he was repairing them or adjusting them for someone else. In spite of this exposure, I don’t know a great deal about guns. What I do know, is how much more prevalent they seem in society today, and that tragedy often occurs in homes with guns.
Many say that gun related tragedies in the home are not more prevalent today than, say, 30 years ago. It is just that we are more enlightened due to widespread use of the Internet. I agree. With more awareness of needless fatalities, the subject is a hot topic for politicians and researchers.
However, last week, a three-year-old girl died in an accidental shooting. Her father had cleaned his guns in the living room. He did not store them safely before leaving for work.
This is how accidents happen today. It may well be why such a tragedy did not happen to my family back in the day, when my dad worked on his guns in one exclusive room of the house. Kids are curious, and even the most well-behaved child is tempted at times. Childlike curiosity is one of the reasons parental vigilance is critical.
Today, society is gun radical. People feel the need to carry open or concealed, depending on state gun laws. It is more about being afraid today, a perceived need for protection.
In addition to that little girl, an eight-year-old boy died by an accidental gunshot wound by his 11-year old brother. The brothers were playing in the basement with firearms that were left unlocked and loaded, according to Capt. Doug Hunter for The Daily Record.
In June of this year, Everytown.org reported that at least 100 children died in unintentional shootings between December 2012 and December 2013. That is two deaths per week. Think about this.
Accidents in the home, involving guns occur too often to go unnoticed today.
I want to avoid overuse of statistics here. I also want to refrain from the implication that Washington needs to do more, or that laws need writing. I have nothing against responsible ownership of firearms. In my opinion, these tragedies are child endangerment, death resulting. Yes, it ought to be a crime. Frankly, if two dead children per week are not sobering enough to engage gun owners to unload and secure their weapons, I don’t know what is. I don’t have faith that Federal or State government can make our private homes any safer.
What do you think?