Balance between safety and vigilance


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I've been around guns my whole life, I learned to shoot when I was 4. I'm also a former Marine, so needless to say I'm very comfortable around guns and also with handling them. Before I met my wife 6 years ago I was an avid hunter and sport shooter, I haven't had much much in the way of either of those things since. She's not so comfortable around guns although, I think she might be ready to take the next step and take an educational course. We also have a little boy who is about to turn 5, his is interested in guns and wants to learn to shoot. Personally I think he's too young...

Finally getting to my topic; I'm considering to start carrying concealed and also, I would like to have easy access to a handgun in my home at night for security purposes. I also don't want my son to be able to get his hands on it. What is the best way to go about doing this? Everywhere I'm reading that, "What good is a handgun unless it's loaded?" or "In a hostile situation, you may not have time to load a round in the chamber."

How can I keep my family safe while keeping my family safe?


Secure a lockbox or gunvault to the floor in your bedroom closet. Keep it locked up when there is any child living in the house.


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I have no idea how smart your son is but if he is old enough to understand anything, you should be able to make him understand to leave your firearms alone. ;-)


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Semper Fi Loffmar77 from the proud father of a Marine!

You have your emotional hands full I think. The good news is that you recognize and are willing to accept your duty as a husband and father to protect yourself and your family. As a former Marine / hunter, you're gun savvy which lends itself to concealed carry, so get on with it. But first you need to have a frank conversation with your wife. If you have a gun in your house, you must not, repeat not allow her to avoid learning gun safety and shooting. If she is not all in, she is a liability. You would never take a boating safety course and then boat with your wife who has not taken the same course right? I don't have facts but I would bet that most boaters take the family course so everyone on board is competent to handle the boat in any situation, but never do the same with the guns, which makes zero sense to me. I have this conversation all the time with guys I know. They have a gun but their wife hates guns. She's their wife, they share everything except the knowledge and proficiency to handle a weapon. One day she may have no choice and it will be too late.

She must be 100% in on all things guns in your home. If you plan only to carry, she must know when you do and when you don't, when you are and when you are not. She must know the laws and how to handle the weapon in the event you are incapacitated in a motor vehicle accident or for any other reason. If you are taken to a hospital and your vehicle is going to be towed, what happens to your side arm? She will have to take control of it and if she does not know how, you are putting her life and the safety of others at risk, period. My lady is a former cop...we get along great in the gun department!

As for your son, you know him best but to me 5 is a bit too young. Get your weapons locked up! I recommend a biometric fingerprint safe. There are several great models that can be mounted in drawers, on a desk or to the floor and can be programmed for up to 10 fingerprints. You can get to your piece at night if need be and you can mow the law while your son is watching TV without fear. $200.00 well spent!

In a few years, buy him a .22 rifle and start plinking together. Keep him away from hand guns until you are absolutely confident he will never touch a weapon without you or your wife present. Kids like to show off and often show their daddy's guns to their friends. Even if they are competent to handle them safely, accidents happen and they are advertising your valuables to others that might choose to steal them.

That's where I stand. Hope it helps...Semper Fi again!

Sheena Green

I've been looking into the fingerprint safe to replace my current system.

My son is 3 and knows that he is not supposed to touch my guns even though all of them are locked up some way or another. Directly under my side of the bed, in it's case with a simple 3# lock on it, is my pistol with a loaded magazine right next to it. I mentally and physically prepare for different scenarios of someone breaking and entering and practice them with an unloaded gun when my son is not home.

If you're concerned about someone breaking in when you're sleeping, practice accessing your gun in the dark. I love my XDm 9mm because I can feel the striker and the chamber indicator. Know your gun, know your surroundings, think like a criminal and prepare yourself, your wife and your child the best that you can. Have a plan, don't rely on just a gun nearby.

Same advice for teaching your child to shoot a .22 can also work for women, that's how I got started. ;) Now I shoot anything and everything on the range. I'll be out on my first dove hunt soon. Start small, let her grow into it.


I have no idea how smart your son is but if he is old enough to understand anything, you should be able to make him understand to leave your firearms alone. ;-)
That is simply not enough. He must ensure there is no possibility that the child can gain access.


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...actually, our home was broken into last year. Fortunately, we were not home at the time. It's had a huge psychological effect on the entire family. And there is also a drastic increase in the number of home invasions in my area lately. So right now my home defense gun is my pump shotgun that I keep a cable lock on. I just fear that when seconds count, I won't have time to get the lock off, and load it before it's too late.

...also, when I mentioned that I was thinking about starting to carry concealed; the license is suppose to be back tomorrow. Then it's just a matter of a few purchases before I'm part of the club.

The biometeric safe sounds like the way to go, has anyone ever had trouble getting one open in a hurry?


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I carry on my side from get dressed to get into bed and our baby of the six turns 34 this December. So I am no longer in your shoes. But, I spent time with a six year old in out home six years ago. My solution was to lock my gun in a GunVault 1000. With practice retrieving a handgun from your bed with one of these takes not over five seconds and that would be from a dead sleep.


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My granson lives with my wife and I, I've always had all type of firearms in my house. I worked with both my boys and now my grandson(which is 10 now) about gun saftey. I had both my sons years ago go take a hunter saftey course when I felt they were old enough to understand what the course was about. My grandson, I started teaching him gun saftey when he was 5 yrs old but I keep all my guns in a gun safe. He took the hunter saftey course when his was 7. I had him practice gun saftey even when he played with his toy guns. His been deer hunting with me since he was 5 but I didn't allow him to shoot until he took the hunter saftey course because even though it's fun you have to be extra safe while handleing firearms at all times. I keep my CZ 75B 9mm with a full clip but not one in the chamber in a night stand beside my bed within reach but if he has any friends over I lock it in the safe just to be on the safe side. He knows his not allowed in my room while friends are over but all guns are locked up. IMHO work with your wife and boy about gun saftey every chance you get daily and have your wife take a hand gun course, when you feel comfortable with your son I would have him take the hunter satey course. As your son gets older you can have him take a hand gun course. Just my opinion! Good luck and be safe.


First of all get your wife to a qualified instructor like Front sight, then teach your son about guns and safety. When I met my wife thirty eight years ago she had a little boy who was two, first thing I did was to teach him about guns and not to touch mine. A year or so later she bore me another son, did the same with him. I never had any problems with either of those two boys and they both grew up around guns.


Also, consider the Eddie Eagle program for your little guy. The program is geared toward kids starting around age 5. We give the classes to kids every so often. They love the stuffed eagles, coins, stickers and comic books. It's a great way to reach the little ones. You can get the materials here... Link Removed


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I can't give advice because I doubt how I grew up will work today. I was at my Grandfather's as much as my house and he kept two shotguns and two rifles behind the bedroom door loaded at all times. He also kept one pistol under the matress and one in his pocket at all times. I suppose that would get him arrested about five times over now. My father either kept his pistol in the nightstand drawer, the glove compartment of the car or his travel bag when he was driving a Trailways bus. By the time I was old enough to know about guns I suppose I had watched enough westerns on TV to know that you could get killed with a gun so I never bothered them. No one ever made any big deal about them other than the occasional mention to be careful because you could get killed.

I suppose that I am not one to ask for advice on children and guns because we never thought about it while growing up and besides we had our BB guns to play with. Times have changed and I really think people get too excited about guns and that is what leads to curiosity is children so much and why we have to lock them away. Like some others have suggested get one of the biometric safes and put it on your night stand. When the gun isn't on you it goes in the safe and act normal doing it. If children ask about it tell them what they need to know and show them what it is about. It ain't no big deal. I survived some way but I am not suggesting that you follow my experience.


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Until you feel comfortable with your son understanding to leave it along I would say biometeric safe. My children are grown and we have grandchildren in the house now..I have a holster attached to the headboard. Unless you know the weapon is there, you would be hard pressed to find it....But I still un-chamber a round when they are here.


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As of yesterday, it sounds as though my wife has come to terms with needing to take an educational course. (She was explaining this to my office mate) The reason being the drastic increase in home invasions, and also that there was a drug bust 200 feet from my drive way., I live on a road that doesn't see much traffic; it actuall turns to dirt right before my house. She belives that there must be a drug dealer beyond our house.

I haven't heard of the front sight trainging course being in our area. I will have to do some reasearch... We just have your "run of the mill" instructors that do it on the weekend for extra cash.


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I have no idea how smart your son is but if he is old enough to understand anything, you should be able to make him understand to leave your firearms alone. ;-)
That is simply not enough. He must ensure there is no possibility that the child can gain access.
I see BC1's point and I believe children should be taught as much as they can possibly absorb about guns and
gun safety. If you feel safe letting them shoot, do so. The more they do with a firearm, the less they are
apt to use one recklessly if they do somehow get their hands on one. Education is the key.

Doc Mustang

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Lots of good advice for you so far Marine. I am a father of 2 small boys and as much as I love both of them I know that they are not ready for unrestricted access to firearms.

I have a presentation that I give on firearm safety in the home. I use it for training other physicians on how to counsel their pro gun patients. (Patients who would react negatively to the party line of "No guns in the home")

As you mentioned there is a continuum between safety from outside threats and safety from the dangers of improper firearms handling. It starts with a threat assessment. Clearly there is a non-zero possibility of your home being targeted for home invasion. The first step is to minimize the likelihood that you will be targeted. Cutback your shrubs, plant and cultivate unfriendly shrubbery, add motion lighting, buy a dog, an alarm system or both. Do not advertise your wealth. Dispose of boxes from high value purchases discretely. Park your cars in the GARAGE.

Whether we like to admit it or not, once firearms are inside the home, in most situations, unrestricted access by untrained persons to firearms and their mishandling becomes a greater threat than criminal attack. I understand that this is a debatable point. (please note that this is a VERY qualified statement)

The dangers of firearms can be mitigated through safe storage practices and training in the proper handling of firearms. For adults training in a basic firearms course is a minimum. A course like the NRA's Personal Protection INSIDE the home is better. For Children Eddie Eagle is a very good option. Once children are responsible and reliable enough for range training (Your call Dad!) they should be treated like adults and trained accordingly.

Even (sometimes ESPECIALLY) trained children should not have unrestricted access to firearms. As from a developmental standpoint their ability to exercise good judgment and understand consequences has not yet fully developed.

Most firearms should be stored unloaded in a proper gun safe. Although a simple locker can be used it is simply not as secure as a modern, fire retardant gun safe. Most families should already have some form of fire resistant storage to protect their vital documents anyway so a good gun safe does double duty and is a good value. Ammunition should be locked away separately in another container. Lockers or safes for ammo each have their advantages. A proper ammo safe has venting as well as fire resistance to prevent the safe from becoming a bomb in a house fire and is the most secure option. Lockers do not require venting and are significantly cheaper. Most ammo will "cook off" a round or two at a time and it is only the brass that needs to be contained as the bullets tend to stay put. (it's a momentum thing) This fact can make a locker style storage container the best option for storing small amounts of ammunition.

Lastly we come to the concept of "ready guns" here I am going to advocate a position which has ruffled some feathers in the physician community: Concealed or open carry in the home for BOTH adult partners. Think about it, if your pistol is on your person, you know beyond a shadow of a doubt that they are not accessing it. Clearly this needs to be done carefully, I do not recommend this for everyone. If you and your partner are prone to argument or your marriage is in trouble this is not a good solution. Similarly if your teenager is driving you out of your mind, it might be better to take the gun out of the situation. This takes some responsibility on your part to judge if this is wise for your own domestic situation. No one else can tell you if it is a good idea.

A rapid access safe with either coded or biometric access is essential. This is where you store your firearm when you are not carrying it. It is stored loaded and ready. This minimizes "handling" of the gun when holstering it and allows it to be ready should emergency access be required. There are even rapid access options for the storage of long guns.

This has been a long post I have put forward some controversial information here. Pro gunners will not like my assessment about the dangers of unrestricted, untrained access to firearms often being a greater threat than home invasion. Anti gunners will balk at the carry in the home bit. I have always felt that a good compromise makes everybody equally angry. I hope I have achieved my goal.

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