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Talking with Your Neighbors
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When our children go to another house to play, we may ask the parents to limit the snacks, limit the TV, and make sure they have sunscreen on if they go outside. But very few think to check if there is a gun in the house and how it's stored.

Two in five of all U.S. households with children have guns in the house and one-quarter of those guns are kept loaded. So chances are your child will be or has already been playing in a home with a gun.

Before you send children over to play at a friend's house, ask their parents whether they have a gun in the home, and if so, how it is stored. All guns must be unloaded and locked. The ammunition must be locked and stored separately. Hiding guns or putting on the "safety" is not enough. There are countless tragic stories of kids finding guns that parents thought were well hidden.

The Asking Saves Kids (ASK) Campaign has these two suggestions:

  • ask it along with other questions you might normally discuss before sending your child to someone's house: Is there a sick child in the house? If there anything in the home that could affect your child's allergies?
  • be factual, not emotional. Explain that more than 40 percent of homes have guns and that many are left loaded and unlocked. Explain that you just want to make sure that your child is in a safe environment.

    If there is a gun unsafely stored, or the parent will not tell you, you can choose to not allow your child to play in that house. Instead, you can invite that friend to play at your house.

    To ensure the safety of children, we need to make sure all gun-owning homes where our children visit or play do three things:

  • unload and lock up their guns;
  • lock and store ammunition separately; and
  • hide keys where kids are unable to find them.

    Below are some additional resources about the importance of talking to your neighbors about how they store their firearms.




    St. Petersburg Times, 9/12/1999
    Important!Know Where a Neighbor's Gun Is? Your Kid Just Might
    An article touching on ways to ask friends, neighbors, and relatives about how guns are stored in their homes.


    PAX, The Movement to End Gun Violence
    Important!The ASK Campaign (Asking Saves Kids)
    Just talking to kids about the dangers of firearms is not enough. Kids are naturally curious and fascinated about guns. If a gun is accessible, there is a good chance that kids will find it and play with it. If you are a parent, here's how to ASK.


    Boston Parents' Paper, 8/1/1999
    Guns in Your Homes and Others (excerpt)
    Read what a Boston parents magazine says about talking to your kids about gun safety and safely storing firearms and ammunition.


    ParenthoodWeb.com
    Guns: A Hidden Danger
    This article tells of how one mother, after the shooting in San Diego, took the extra step to talk to another mother about the guns in the home, before her daughter played in the woman's house.


    HealthAtoZ.com, 2/19/2000
    Keeping Guns Out of Kids' Hands
    Would you ever think of asking the parents of your child’s best friend if they have a gun in their house? It’s something you ought to know, because there’s a gun in two out of every five American households. And in 20 percent of those households, the guns are kept unlocked and loaded.


    National Youth Violence Prevention Campaign, 7/17/2007
    National Youth Violence Prevention Week
    The National Youth Violence Prevention Campaign is having a week long education initiative with various activities that will demonstrate the positive role young people can have in making their schools and communities safer. The initiative, intended to be held within individual schools, will offer advice on how to form in-school coalitions, engage communities, gain publicity, and conduct activities.


    The Christian Science Monitor, 5/26/1999
    Parent-to-Parent: Is the Gun Safely Stored?
    In the wake of recent school shootings, Jody Pawel is advising and encouraging parents on how to talk to one another about guns at home.


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