Raising Decent Kids With Guns in the House…

Responsible gun ownership comes with rules. Learn them.

Photo by Diana Parkhouse on Unsplash

I get it. You don’t own guns, nor do you wish to own them. Before I tell you why there are guns in my home, do you know why Americans can own firearms? To form a militia should our government go rogue and head down a Marxist or Communist path or any path straying for OUR (not the world’s, but dear reader, just the United States of America’s) Constitution. Written by intelligent men (though women should have been included, but 1776 and all), who knew a militia might be required.

So. Guns.

I do believe 18–23 year old people do a lot of the shooting, and they also are at the age when mental problems generally first appear. So maybe keep the guns away from them while they learn how to deal with anger, alcohol, depression, drugs, and being on their own. Age limits are needed in the absence of that village that knows which kids are most likely to shoot up a mall or school.

I was raised in a gun-free house. Wait, Deanna… you said. Well. I moved to Wisconsin, where I learned that dead deer on top of cars is a thing. I didn’t know what to make of it. Almost 2/3 of the boys in high school were gone, legally, hunting “up north” somewhere with their daddies and grandaddies and dead venison rode home on cars. Every November.

I fell in love with a lovely Wisconsin man. Bedroom eyes, smart, sexy, had a motorcycle, was fun and I had no idea he hunted. I thought he was going to be some boring CPA dude, but no, I married a fully committed hunter. Deer, squirrel, elk (he hopes), rabbit. And he brought deer “trophies” into my living room…did I mention I love this sexy man?

And he had/has guns. Rifles. Pistols. Shotguns. Enough to make me worry about the children who started arriving to join our family. So he locked up the guns, took some up to his dad’s, and he locked up all the ammunition in a locked box hidden somewhere I never found though I tired. He alone had the combination to that box.

My kids were ingrained from an early age (3–4)to never touch a gun. NEVER. And as they grew they learned more. They NEVER point a gun at anyone or any pet. A gun is something to be scared of. Always feel afraid when holding a gun, because! they might just be loaded when you believe and know otherwise.

My father-in-law taught me to shoot. He asked how many bullets were in my pistol and I said, “Six.” I started shooting. Six shots into the target. Dad said to take another shot, always, just to be sure the firearm is empty. Well when I fired another bullet I felt shaky and upset. How did a 7th bullet get in there? And my father-in-law just smiled. He must have done so to drive home a point.

Photo by Maxim Potkin ❄ on Unsplash

One we told out kids. Always assume a gun is loaded. Always. Did I say always?

We said to get away from anyone (outside of dad) who is holding a firearm. They kill. They are meant to injure and kill. Guns are never, never to be held or looked at, and my husband locked the room in the basement where he kept the unloaded guns. (Ten years in and I still had not found the box of ammunition.)

Teenage boys are a whole different world. Our youngest is a man now, and he earned his hunter’s safety permit by taking classes on it. He began hunting at 12. A smart boy, we knew he would tell us if he didn’t want to hunt. Meanwhile, the boys hanging in the basement at our house knew about the guns as did their parents!

You must tell parents if you own a gun. Or more than one. My husband talked to the teens about never touching a firearm. My son knew the rule was absolute. Nobody went in that room, except me looking for pliers or something along those lines. And. Where was that ammunition?

One daughter is married to a hunter. He’s new to it, and he enjoys spending time with the guys at the cabin. One daughter married a man who isn’t a hunter, so he drinks bourbon down at our cabin and hangs out by the campfire and reads. My son is marrying a state champion sharpshooter! Damn, she hunted with the guys this past year, and she shot a big buck too.

When it comes to guns, knowledge and clear communication are needed. When one of my kids fell down the well of depression one fall, I knew we had to move all guns off the premises. Just.In.Case. Safety always comes first. Remove the temptation, even though none of us knew where that ammunition was. (We moved and I finally know where my husband hid it all those years.)

Guns are a very serious thing. If you are going to have one or five in your house then you suddenly need to become incredibly responsible.

Photo by Pushkaraj Deshpande on Unsplash

People with guns can kill.

I don’t think we all should have guns. If you want one, then take a course on how to handle it, and assemble the firearm yourself. I believe more people cannot handle having guns. If you’re into drinking a lot, drugs or whatever, then maybe the last thing you need is a firearm, because it could land you in hot water and fast.

Honestly. If I hadn’t married a man who hunted and whose father won shooting tournaments and had a great-grandfather who slept with a loaded pistol under his pillow, I would have no firearms. None. Baseball bats work just fine if needed. But I live in a world of hunting, guns and shooting for practice. And yes, we do eat the venison, and we donate some to the food bank.

For the first time ever, after those 19 beautiful children were shot and killed, I realized we need more mental health assistance. We need to raise the age for owning a firearm. Sorry, but I think these young men are too irresponsible yet. Too impulsive and mean and angry.

I have more ideas about the crumbling families, the lack of knowing right from wrong, video games that go on endlessly, and we need to be around. If you have kids at home alone, they will find trouble. So keep them busy at sports, theater, working, clubs, volunteering, church and talk to them. All the time. Be with your kids.

I hope we find a way to get out of this violent time in America. I think it starts by being there for the children. That is a start, and one we need to make for their future. Change needs to happen. Soon. Too many people are dying. And I hope my perspective wasn’t too alarming.

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Deanna Eppers

Musician, ex-CPA at KPMG Peat Marwick, volunteer, decorator, renovating another house, mom to three, wife to one, blogs about finding happiness