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Old October 12, 2005, 09:39 PM   #1
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Children & Gun Safety

I have 2 toddlers at home, gun safety is my #1 concern. How do you guys keep your firearms accesible but childproof?

I keep a pistol in a gunvault mini safe, its locked but easily accesible with the touch keypad, on the top shelf of my closet.

Long guns and the other handguns are kept in a full size safe.
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Old October 12, 2005, 09:41 PM   #2
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Pistols are in a cheap lock box on top shelf of closet

Rifles are freestanding in closet, but locked.

Its all I can do for now. Not theft proof, but "casual onlooker" proof.
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Old October 12, 2005, 09:44 PM   #3
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Joven, I do the same. Have a pistol box bolted to the top of my dresser and one in the living room. Do yourself a favor and teach them gun safety and how too shoot as soon as you feel that are old enough. Kids are naturally curious. The sooner you educate them the better.
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Old October 13, 2005, 01:04 AM   #4
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Rifles - individually cased but unlocked. SG - free-standing in closet w/ shells in the butcuff. Pistol - cased with a loaded mag but unlocked.

The youngest person in the house (my sister) is 13, and everyone knows basic firearm safety. I don't have to worry about little kids getting ahold of my guns and popping themselves in the head.

+1 on BobK's suggestion for early gun education.
The test of character is not 'hanging in' when you expect light at the end of the tunnel, but performance of duty, and persistence of example when you know no light is coming.
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Old October 13, 2005, 01:54 AM   #5
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I have 2 toddlers at home, gun safety is my #1 concern. How do you guys keep your firearms accesible but childproof?
We have five sons in our home, currently ages 15, 13, 12, 11, and 10 (yes, yes, I know. They're all ours, all mixed from the same recipe, and yes, we do know what causes that.)

We've owned guns for most of their lives, but have only been concerned about accessible firearms for about 6 years. At that time, the youngest was 4 years old and all of them were (and are) very active, normal youngsters with predictable amounts of energy & curiousity. They weren't any more naughty than anyone else's kids, but weren't noticeably less naughty than other people's kids either.

I considered keeping a shotgun loaded for home defense, then realized that there was no real way to keep it secured enough to be safe from the kids but still accessible enough to be useful. One of our family members suggested storing it loaded on the top shelf of the closet, but I could easily envision one of them climbing up and pulling it down. A two year old on top of my fridge had long ago taught me that no place is truly inaccessible for a kid with enough energy & determination! And anyway, it seemed silly to put the gun in a bedroom when I might want it in a hurry at the front door some night.

Decided to get a handgun, plus one of those fingertip speed safes. Then got thinking, in which room would I put that fancy little safe? The living room? Didn't seem likely. My bedroom? Pretty far from the front door or anywhere else I might need to use it. I had nightmares about having to choose between racing for the safe -- or leaving my children in the same room as a Bad Man when I went for the gun. Shudder.

Of course, if we had more money, I might have bought three or four home defense guns, and three or four fast-access safes, to make sure there would always be one within easy reach. But that wasn't all there was to it.

Somewhere I read an article -- probably on the web somewhere, titled "Keeping the Piece" -- that talked about how determined kids armed with a hammer and a screwdriver could get into a lot of the fast-access safes. Obviously buying good quality could lower that risk, and the technology has improved since then ... but still~!

Did I mention mine are not any less naughty than anyone else's kids? A fast access safe the kids might be able to access without me simply wasn't good enough. And who knew what the other four little darlings were up to in the next room, while I dealt with whichever one needed my undivided attention just then? Hmmmm.

My solution was simply to get a small carry gun, a comfortable holster, and make a committment to carry the gun everywhere I went, every hour I'm awake -- especially at home.

When it's on my hip, I know the little hellions aren't getting into it. I know I can always get to it if I need it and I know it's ready to go and hasn't been left unloaded (or even disassembled) by some forgetful person who got interrupted in the middle of the cleaning job. I know I won't have to run upstairs while being chased by the bogeyman, only to fumble with locks, keys, combinations, or other complex fine-motor skills.

My defense gun is with me, all the time, and ready to go, all the time.

When I'm not awake, I lock my bedroom door and place the gun (in a fanny pack holster) inside a small safe next to my bed; the door to the safe is generally open but as I said the bedroom door is locked. If I get up in the middle of the night for any reason, I either lock the safe, or pull on the fanny pack at the same time I pull on my robe. Looks silly but it works.

Sorry this is such a long-winded answer. Obviously my solution won't work for everyone. But for me, with a lot of active children, a limited budget, a husband who worked late nights, and a house 30 minutes or more from even a fast police response, it seemed prudent to have a gun accessible to me but unaccessible to the little monsters ... and the only way I could figure out to do that was to put it on my hip.

Oh, yes:
Originally Posted by BobK
Do yourself a favor and teach them gun safety and how too shoot as soon as you feel that are old enough. Kids are naturally curious. The sooner you educate them the better.
This cannot be emphasized enough! Child proof locks are a temporary solution to a very permanent problem.

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Old October 13, 2005, 12:29 PM   #6
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When my children were too young to understand firearm safety, I kept all the guns I wasn't wearing locked up except one. My bedside gun was a 1911 in condition 1 (empty chamber with full mag). The pistol has a 24 pound recoil spring that made it impossible for the children to rack the slide until they were mature enough physically and mentally.

It worked for me.
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Old October 13, 2005, 01:04 PM   #7
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I don't have any kids now but I think I would keep them all locked in my fireproof safe except one in a minivault on the nightstand for HD when they are young.

Realizing this is expensive, I would build a gunrack and run a cable through the guns or buy an inexpensive rifle metal cabinet.

I would then teach proper firearm safety when they are old enough.
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Old October 13, 2005, 02:11 PM   #8
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The pistol has a 24 pound recoil spring that made it impossible for the children to rack the slide until they were mature enough physically and mentally.
Don't trust that.

1) Kids are sometimes stronger than you expect they will be.

2) Kids are often more clever than you expect them to be ... especially when motivated.

3) Kids have this nasty habit of growing a lot faster than their parents realize.

4) Little kids sometimes have bigger friends.

5) Not every "unloaded" chamber is in fact unloaded -- as altogether too many people have discovered to their sorrow.

6) And finally: Never cocked, you say? Are you sure you never, ever, ever, even once, put the gun down in the wrong configuration? Because that's literally all it takes...


One of the most obvious facts about grownups to a child is that they have forgotten what it is like to be a child. -- Randall Jarrell
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Old October 13, 2005, 02:14 PM   #9
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Lots of kids

A long time ago (a.k.a before fatherhood) it seems like I had a long gun or a handgun stashed in every room of the house. Now I've got 2 young kids and there always seems to be young cousins and/or young friends over visiting. That means all the guns stay locked up except for my two CCW choices. These two handguns are kept in separate lock boxes high up out of sight of little youngsters.
America is at that awkward stage. It's too late to work within the system, but too early to shoot the bastards. Claire Wolfe
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Old October 13, 2005, 02:21 PM   #10
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Gotta go with Pax on this one.

When I do have kids, I will carry a gun on me or keep it locked up. Not sure if I will consider the nightstand next to me safe enough when in bed... have to think on that one. I like the fannypack idea tho.
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Old October 13, 2005, 02:36 PM   #11
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I remember seeing a description sometime ago of how children end up shooting themselves.


"Children, especially young ones/toddlers will not pull the trigger like we do, they have more chance of shooting themselves since they tend to push, not pull, the trigger.

The way that works is they pick up the gun, point it at themselves and push the trigger with both thumbs, resulting in a discharge usually between the eyes because they want to see what comes out."

But on the other hand, more children drown in the toilet each year than are shot.

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Old October 13, 2005, 02:50 PM   #12
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There have been some studies done where little kids have worked the slide on guns by leaning their weight against the edge of a table. That takes care of the strength issue.

They have also pulled tough triggers by using teams of kids or both hands.

This is a difficult issue. I've come down on the side of not letting minors have unsupervised access to loaded weapons.

I know that if a few cases, young kids or teens have successfully defended themselves or family in an emergency.

However, even the best teens have hidden lives and friends that the parents don't know about. Their moods change like lightning. I'm going to work on a special edition of a journal about teen suicide. It's frightening.

Some of the parents who say that they have taught their kids strickly and know what's going on - just know jack squat about their kids.

Edited as the spelling muse was on a holiday when I reread this.
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Last edited by Glenn E. Meyer; October 14, 2005 at 10:10 AM.
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Old October 13, 2005, 03:04 PM   #13
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20 Cows,

Condition 1 is cocked and locked with one in the chamber. You are referring to condition 3.
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Old October 13, 2005, 04:08 PM   #14
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keep your primary weapon in your holster at all times, and everything else in the safe, but easy to load up if needed. while sleeping is another problem. i attatched a holster to my bed between the pillows (one pillow to left and right not pillow on top and pillow under.)
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Old October 13, 2005, 04:59 PM   #15
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I was also going to reply about the kid’s ability to rack a slide with weight, I did it on my uncle’s .45 as a child after seeing how the action moved back. Gun safety got taught to me early and I plan on doing the same.

It’s a serious question from the OP because the best solution really seems to be to keep them as inaccessible from youths as possible, but at the cost of you not being able to have it when you need it.

My own solution was to keep a cable slide-locked .45 hidden under a suit jacket in my closet with the clip and key kept in separate locations in the room. If I am not home the gun is on me or if I was not carrying it that day it is in a safe. But this only works when I am home and know that the bedroom door is locked.

I am going to move up to a finger-safe that I plan to keep in a large shoe box under the bed.

I would love to hear other suggestions though for better safety that still offers accessibility in a time of need.
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Old October 13, 2005, 05:51 PM   #16
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I have one son (right now, little package on the way next April) and I only have 3 firearms in the house at this time. My primary HD and CCW, the XD, a 10/22, and a Mossberg 410 bolt. The longs stay in the closet tucked away with the clip for the 10/22 in another area. The XD stays loaded and cocked in my holster at all times. When I'm home, I have the XD eitehr on my person, or on top of the firidge for now where my little man can't get at it. I also have a Gunvault that the pistol gets locked into when needed.

Education is going to eb the key though. My uncle taught me firearms safety when I was real young so I had a respect for firearms from the beginning. It's my feeling that the sooner you can get rid of the curiosity factor, the better of you'll be. Once Zach is old enough to fire that XD, he's going to be at the range with me. Even at 2 1/2 years old, I've already started him out. I showed him the unloaded (verified by myself and my wife) XD and let him touch it. He can't hold it obviuosly cause it's too heavy. I show it to him and tell him what it is, what it does, and I also tell him it's not a toy. Any time he sees it now he says "Mommy and daddy's goon... not a toy." When I hear that I stell him good job and we throw a high five!
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Old October 13, 2005, 07:33 PM   #17
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cable lock (then ease the slide forward to release as much tension as posible. even the rifle is locked. shotgun has trigger lock. ammo locked in a secure box. I have 3 kids, and one is special needs. if it's not physically on my body it stays locked at all times. If someone nears the house the dogs will wake me up, and I can be unlocked and loaded in about 1 minute. That is from a deep sleep. That may be a little slow, but I cannot risk a loaded gun in the house.
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Old October 13, 2005, 08:28 PM   #18
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There must be a million ways to keep the kids and the guns separate, and I have no doubt that you will find those that work best. I will advise on this however: Absent mindedness is the biggest foe you face in this endeavor. Simply forgetting to lock that lock, or put that gun up when you are only going to be out of the room for a second, or turning your back to answer the phone, those kinds of things are the real danger for a person who does everything else right.

Beware that momentary lapse of awareness and you will be fine.
‘‘Among the many misdeeds of the British rule in India, history will look upon the act of depriving a whole nation of arms, as the blackest.’’ ~ Mahatma Ghandi, "Gandhi, An Autobiography", page 446

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Old October 13, 2005, 08:32 PM   #19
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+1 for Glen E. Meyer.

My kids are 13 and 14 (girl,boy). They are both excellent shots, 'A' students, Sports etc. (they have it together in spite of their dad ). When I am not at home, ALL the firearms are locked up, when I'm home, my CCW pistol is either on my hip or in my bedroom. When they have friends over, its either on my hip or locked in the safe.

Education and eliminating the curiousity factor is Dead on! My kids help me clean/work on the guns, reload and shoot all the time. I trust them with firearms WAY more than most adults I've shot with. However, THEY are Teenagers, They DO NOT have unsupervised access to ANY of the firearms.

When they were toddlers, I NEVER left a firearm unattended. Always in the safe, or on my person.

Hope that helps,
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Old October 13, 2005, 09:05 PM   #20
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Im new to guns, so I havent found a better way to store it yet, but I have my slide locked back, with both clips in the case with the gun. The locked case is on the top shelf of my closet, way out of reach of any young kids. Im also getting a lock on my door, per my parents request.
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Old October 13, 2005, 09:48 PM   #21
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All good posts, information.

I don't have kids and my home reflects that. I have guns, gun parts, whole guns that are just now parts, just lying around. No kids come to my home.

Yet, in my home, not only the guns that are together and activated but the gun parts and the whole guns in parts are a danger (small objects which can be chocking objects) and I realize this but don't worry due to no kids.

Yet, if I had kids, I would lock up or have unloaded anything that wasn't, in the house. The only loaded gun would be my carry choice of that day. At night, those hand lock safes would be on my nightstand.

Gun safety would be taught as soon as the kid showed any signs of intelligence (as in, understanding, see, I told you I didn't have kids) and before they lost any sign of intelligence, hence teenagers.

As an observation, gun owners aren't adverse to keeping their guns safe from prying fingers, they don't don't like the anti's pushing their laws on them (us). It's not that we don't wish to be smart about how we store guns, we just don't wish to be forced to do it their way and only their way or go to jail/fine).

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Old October 13, 2005, 10:18 PM   #22
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My solution was simply to get a small carry gun, a comfortable holster, and make a committment to carry the gun everywhere I went, every hour I'm awake -- especially at home.
While I have posted elsewhere that I have trained my daughter well, and secretly observed her while out of the room where an unloaded gun was, I have come to rethink this issue. I am completly confident in my training of her, but...No matter how sure I am, I am one who is always plagued with "What If". I have therefore decided to adopt this discipline as my own. It was also a good compromise between the wife, and I as well. So I guess an old dog can learn new tricks.
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Old October 14, 2005, 06:45 AM   #23
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Gun Safety

Joven, if the gun is a revolver, a simple and inexpensive (also accessible) safety device is 2 good quality padlocks keyed alike and a 2 foot length of good chain - both hardware store items. Empty the gun; check to make sure it is empty!; secure the padlock BEHIND the trigger and attempt to pull the trigger. For every revolver I have seen, the padlock shank will act as a trigger block and will not allow the trigger to be pressed far enough to fire. That should be the case with all but the cheapest small shank padlocks. If it works as stated, reload the gun, lock the gun (behind the trigger) to one end of the chain; loop the other end of the chain around the bed frame and lock it there with the other padlock. Each night when the kids are in bed, unlock the gun and place it where you can get to in quickly; remember each morning to resecure the gun. That ritual must be executed every day! Once the children are old enough, teach them gun safety and how to shoot.

My son received his first .22 at age 7 (we kept it in our bedroom - it was a child's stocked miniture lever action single shot); my daughter inherited the same gun at the same age. At that time I kept the handgun (a Smith K 38) loaded with Speer plastic ammo because I felt it would do what I needed to do in an emergency but would not be fatal.

Just suggestions. Try it and see how it works for you. Good question by the way.

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Old October 20, 2005, 01:42 AM   #24
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My metal cabinet has all my guns and blades and is always locked. It's in my home office, where I hang out most of the day, and I periodically go through it. The key is itself in a secure hiding place in my office desk.
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Old October 20, 2005, 02:49 AM   #25
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Don't have kids yet but my dad had a similar problem. His solution was to keep his weapon on his belt during the day, and in a duty belt/ holster setup at night over the bedpost so he could put it on over his nightclothes if needed. Keep in mind this was 30-35 years ago.

He aslo made it known to me what would happen if I ever did touch it without permission... that duty belt made an excellent "rod of instruction". I was also taught gun safety and received my own gun as soon as I was old enough... 8 or 9... as single-shot lever-action .22lr.

HE used to walk to school and back with a shotgun with which to "bark" squirrels for the stewpot. Lots of kids did back then, and nobody shot up the place.

The problem today is that kids don't have ENOUGH exposure to guns, so they find them mysterious and interesting, like cigarettes or alcohol.
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