Opinion

When children play with guns | Firearms Lawyer

Many parents claim their kids are so trustworthy that they would never play with guns.

“You teach them gun safety and give ‘em a chance to learn about guns and they will respect the rules if you bring the child up right.” This is an argument that has a good deal of appeal. I more or less practiced just such an approach while my kids were growing up. But maybe we were just lucky.

My dad brought me up that way. I remember being conscientious about observing all my dad had taught me — until one day when I had some friends in our home while my parents were gone.

“This .22 rifle isn’t much more powerful than my pellet gun,” I said with the total confidence of  years of experience shooting a little pellet gun in our basement.

Being impulsive, I loaded up my dad’s .22, pulled the trigger and immediately realized that the report of a .22 could be heard a mile away. If it hadn’t gone through our garage, the bullet could have also traveled a mile. Even after going through both garage walls, the .22 bullet had enough power to go through a neighbor’s wall and kill someone within a nearby home. All these thoughts suddenly flooded my mind. It would have been too late if someone had been in the line of fire.

During the oral arguments in the recent DC vs. Heller case, some of the justices asked the lawyers about requirements that guns have trigger locks.

There was also a ban on moving a gun from one part of your home to another. Nevertheless, the lawyers that were fighting for restrictions attempted to convince the assembled Supreme Court justices that the restrictions did not prevent a homeowner from using a gun to protect his or her family.

Justice Alito then asked, “So it is reasonable to say that when someone is breaking in, you have the right to run, unlock the gun, load it, and then use it in defense?”

It is this kind of subtle irony that makes Supreme Court arguments more interesting than a ballgame or a boxing match. But what about trigger locks? Is there a moral responsibility to render a pistol or other firearm inoperable? Some states and cities require that all firearms be sold with trigger locks.

The focus needs to be on thoughtfully evaluating your own home environment.

The lawyers representing Washington, D.C., had previously admitted that the district’s laws were designed to make armed self-defense impossible. I listened to the Heller arguments with glee as one of the lawyers for D.C. explained how he could remove a trigger lock in about two or three seconds.  The lawyer was literally squirming when a justice asked him whether he could remove the lock as quickly in the dark with someone trying to break down his bedroom door.

There are gun vaults with combination locks consisting of large colored pads that light up when you hit them in the dark. Even without any kids, gun owners have a responsibility to keep firearms out of the hands of burglars. Investing in a gun safe is usually the best way to protect guns from criminals.

Federal Way’s newest service club, the Armed Defense Training Association, will present a free class on gun safety from 7 to 8:45 p.m. June 16 at the Federal Way Regional Library, 34500 1st Way South. You should attend if you would like to learn more about gun safety, trigger locks and teaching your children how to deal with firearms-related issues.

 

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