ASK the question: "If you have a firearm in your home, is it stored locked and unloaded?" Before you send your child to someone's house, ask if firearms in the home are stored unloaded and locked. Ask if the ammunition is stored separately. Ask about shotguns and rifles too, not just handguns.
If you have doubts about the safety of someone else's home, invite the children to play at your home instead.
Tips to make asking easier
Many of us feel awkward asking other people how they handle firearm safety. Here are some tips to help:
- Ask about firearms along with other things you discuss before your child goes to play at someone's home such as seatbelt use, allergies, and animals.
- Present your concern with respect.
- Work through groups. Introduce the ASK concept through your child's preschool, childcare, or local PTA.
Finding the right words can be hard. Here's a start:
- "I don't mean any disrespect, but knowing how curious my child can be, I feel I have to ask this question."
- "I hope you don't mind me asking if you have a firearm in your home and if it is properly stored."
- "Mom, Dad, ______, this is awkward for me and I mean no disrespect. I am concerned Susie will find one of the firearms in your home when we visit. Do you keep them locked up with the ammunition stored separately?"
Learn more from the Center to Prevent Youth Violence
Talk with your child:
In addition to storing your firearms locked and unloaded, talk with your children about the risk of firearm injury in places they may visit or play. Teach your child if she or he finds a firearm to leave it alone and tell an adult right away.