We try so hard to keep our children safe on a daily basis. We hold their hands in parking lots and when crossing the street, we make them sit in a car seat and when they are older, wear their seatbelts, we cut up their food when they are little so they don’t choke, teach them about strangers, and more.
Today, I read an article by a woman named Ashlyn Melton. She is a spokesperson for the ASK Campaign, Asking Saves Kids. Her 13 year old boy was at his best friend’s house and died because his friend was holding a gun and Ashlyn’s son was accidentally shot by his friend.
Today is National ASK Day.
It is the day where the ASK Campaign teaches parents and caregivers to ask if there are unlocked guns in the houses where their kids will be playing.
I’ll be honest, I’ve never asked any of my kids friend’s parents this question. I have thought about it, but then dismissed it, because I thought SURELY the guns are locked away. I am no longer going to make that assumption.
It may be awkward to ask the question, but as parents, we have to ask awkward questions sometimes and talk about awkward subjects.
We don’t own guns. I’m not against them in the least… it’s just that we don’t own one yet.
I have still talked to them about gun safety, though, because most of my family members do own guns and I want to make sure my kids know what to do in a situation where a gun is present. That being said, I know where my family’s guns are and they are definitely safe from my children.
I think it is because of how my family member’s treat their guns that caused me to feel comfortable with my kids in other houses with guns. I assumed they were all as cautious as my family. That is the mistake Ashlyn Melton made with her son. She assumed others were just as safe with guns as her family. She regrets that assumption every day.
Today, I want to encourage you to start asking all parents of your kids friends this question… “Do you have unlocked guns in the house?”
It may feel awkward at first, but I would rather feel awkward one time, then lose my child to an accident.
And, it doesn’t just effect you and your family if your child is shot. It effects your child’s friend’s family too. The friend will be undoubtedly devastated that he/she just shot his friend. It will haunt him the rest of his life. And the parents will have a sense of guilt for the rest of their life as well, for not making sure their guns were in a safe place.
This can all be avoided by just asking the question.
I can be a fairly blunt person, so I don’t feel it will be hard for me to ask people this question.
If you feel it will be hard for you, use the facts on this infographic to help you.
I think most parents will not be offended by the question. And, if their guns are not locked up, maybe it will make them think about how they store their guns. And maybe, they will even be grateful to you for making them aware!?
I’ve also told my kids that if one of their friends ever gets a gun out while they are at their house, to do the “uncool” thing and tell their parents. I told them that I know that will be hard and their friend might even get mad at them. I told them I would rather that, then have them be killed. They seemed to understand.
Bottom line, though, is it’s not a responsibility by kids should have to bear. It is a responsibility of the gun owner to lock up their guns and the responsibility of every parent to ask the awkward questions and make sure guns are locked up in the homes where their kids will play.
Have you ever asked this question? What was the response?
Please share this post with others. If this post opens parents up to asking about guns in people’s homes, then we can bring that number of kids killed down. Communication is key.