My boyfriend and I live together. I have three kids – 11, 14 and 16. My eldest is bipolar with significant learning disabilities and social skills deficits. During the school year he’s away at his Dad’s. He comes home for about a week during the school year and stays with me during the summers. My boyfriend just bought a handgun for home protection. I’m deeply unhappy about this but I can live with it while my son’s not at home. On the other hand, I can’t imagine any scenario in which it would be safe to have the gun in the house with my bipolar, impulse-impaired, sometimes aggressive, sometimes suicidal child. Is it unreasonable to ask that the gun be kept out of the house when my son is in town?

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83 Responses to Question of the Day: Should I Ban Guns From My House?

    • Seconded.

      It is the nature of children to make bad decisions, it’s part of how you learn *why* you don’t want to make bad decisions.

      It is the responsibility of the firearm owner to ensure children do not have the opportunity to make a bad decision involving a firearm.

      If there are children in the house, secure storage is mandatory.

    • A gun safe is not impregnable. Not by a long chalk. A clever child (and many of them are) can get the combination/key. Anyone remember finding a way to open your parents’ liquor cabinet?

      I reckon it’s not worth the risk.

      • You build your security around the most likely threat. If a kid is that clever and that determined then maybe a safe by Mosler would be a better choice than the $29.95 special at Ocean State Job Lot.

        Of course, if a kid is that unstable, any household will provide him an almost endless array of marvelous objects that could well be used to harmful or even fatal ends.

        But to seriously answer the woman’s question, no, I don’t think that it’s unreasonable at all to ask that the gun be removed from the house while the child is staying with them. It is a very sad and unfortunate situation. I wish them courage and strength.

        • While it is true that there are many ways for a determined person to kill themselves, few are as evoking or inviting as a firearm. The ONLY purpose of a firearm is to kill things. When you’re defending yourself/home/family, than this is exactly the quality you want an object to have.

          When you’ve got an unstable mind, simply the presence of such an object can bring suicidal ideas to the forefront.

          References:
          “Persons with guns in the home were also more likely to have died from suicide committed with a firearm than from one committed by using a different method (adjusted odds ratio = 31.1, 95% confidence interval: 19.5, 49.6). Results show that regardless of storage practice, type of gun, or number of firearms in the home, having a gun in the home was associated with an increased risk of firearm homicide and firearm suicide in the home.”

          http://aje.oxfordjournals.org/content/160/10/929.full

          http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJM199208133270705

      • Anyone remember finding a way to open your parents’ liquor cabinet?

        Your parents had one with a lock? Mine didn’t.

    • It can’t be said better than this.

      Though I have the feeling that the original poster will not be happy about the gun, even in a safe.

    • I think that it is your home – you have the right to expect whatever YOU want. First of all, this is something that you and your boyfriend should have already discussed – prior to the gun being bought. Second, make your own decision on what is best for you and your children. I think, personally that there are alot of issues here – not all concerning the gun but everything. Does your son not have any help with his health issues??? Are you not aware of the many things that can help him to commit suicide within your own home – such as headache medicine, household cleaners, belts, shoe laces, kitchen knives, etc… Do you take all of these things out of your home when he is there??? It would seem that there are truly alot of things that you need to be looking at including the gun. I hope that you can find him the help he needs for his health and emotional issues. I also hope that you find that your boyfriend is truly a compassionate person who helps you out. May you find the answer you need for your own personal situation.

  1. Whatever precautions they take for a gun, they should also take for any large, sharp knives as well. If they can afford bording school, they can afford a safe.

  2. When a person in the home has mental illness, the only responsible solution is to keep firearms in a quality safe with a combination lock. And keep a written record of the combination at a friend’s or relative’s home. I cannot see any motivated teenager defeating a quality safe with a combination lock. I agree that the same applies to knives.

  3. Have your bf get a safe/lockbox (pref biometric), to have him store the gun when it’s not holstered on his person (as it should be otherwise). Home carry ftw, especially if it’s intended purpose is home protection.

  4. Any person taking on a firearm has also taken on numerous responsibilities. The Primary One-keeping guns safely secured. A firearm should Only Be Accessible To AUTHORIZED Users. Today’s market offers a myriad of products for each family’s unique situation. But above and beyond the products, families need to educate themselves as well. Got the gun? Get the training. Do the reading. As was stated earlier, numerous new responsibilities come with the acquisition of a gun, LEARN THEM. The dynamics of each home/family is unique, however gun safety is NEVER to be taken lightly.

      • Truer words were never spoken! The boyfriend should be running, not walking away from this situation. I was a bachelor until I was 39, and had many experiences with ladies, and their children, and the fathers of said children, and if any of the folks had mental problems, it effects the the whole family, never for the good. Again, run, don’t walk, find a lady with normal kids, or no kids, and no stalker ex husband/boyfriends.

    • Probably the best solution posted thus far. There is also a reason this women is divorced; she is either lacking in character or is not the best judge of character. Having been raised by a divorced mother who went from one loser to the next, I can attest that mixed family households are scary things by themselves. Often you can cut the tension with a knife. Add a suicidal, bipolar teenager and a firearm and things can get out of control real fast. I wouldn’t want to be this lady’s neighbor, let alone her boyfriend.

  5. I would consider not having the gun around when the child is there, unless it is in constant direct control of your boyfriend. i.e. if he is concealed carrying it on his person, then fine, but no leaving it anywhere, which would include sleepovers.

    Also, keep the fact that the boyfriend has a gun a secret. A lot of kids think in terms of “how can i get what i want, who around has what i need” and then scheme frome there.

    • Exactly. Don’t even talk about the gun when the child is around. If he becomes inquisitive about the safe, and what’s inside, have something prepared to be able to dismiss the query and move on. If he persists on knowing, tell him BF will have to open it to show him when BF gets home. Be sure to remove the weapon prior to that showing, and if possible, place something in the safe that would be the last thing on earth the child would be interested in, or want to get at.

  6. Either the gun goes or the gun + boyfriend goes. Its your house, your rules. And its only common sense.

    Any sensible risk analysis says that the odds of an at-home breakin is very rare unless you are living in a very bad neighborhood (e.g. bad parts of Oakland, Vallejo, etc).

    E.G. if you live in California in a not-bad neighborhood, the odds of an 8-point-BLEEP gift from Ms San Andreas is 600x that of dealing with an intruder in an occupied house.

    But a 14 year old, bipolar kid? The odds of him getting into even a real UL Listed RSC [1] (let alone those dinky “fast open” safes) is vastly higher than dealing with an intruder where you need the gun, and even if there wasn’t knowledge about a gun, a big-ass safe (something that could stand up for a few minutes) would be an amazing attractant to a 14 year old, so you can’t rely on him not knowing there IS a gun from keeping him from trying to open it.

    And don’t get me started on that biometric fast-open crap: those things are dinky (you look at them with a crowbar and you can open them), biometric “safes” have huge false-positive problems, etc. Those are good for casual control and keeping a 10 year old out, but do nothing to stop a determined teenager.

    [1] 30 minutes and a crowbar… Thats it. A UL tested RSC, which means a real residential safe, is only good for 15 minutes against an adversary with tools. A good digging bar and a half hour and it opens up, even in the hands of an amateur.

    • Its your house, your rules. And its only common sense.

      She never says it’s her house, just that she and her BF live together.

  7. You and your boyfriend should buy a really good safe and carry your guns at home. When you are not packing heat your heat should stay in the safe. Simple.

  8. It seems we have a lot of comedians on this site.

    Safes alone? That’s hilarious. A giant box you aren’t allowed to touch with a lock on it says “please crack my combination” to a kid. Ive heard and answered the call myself as a yougin’. I doubt my mom knows to this day how many hiding places I raided when she was at work.

    It would seem leaving the gun off the premises is a good idea, except it would thus be quite useless for home defense .The best solution is to carry the gun at all times. The author or her boyfriend should maintain control of the weapon on their person during their son’s visit. If they aren’t comfortable doing that then its probable they aren’t ready to use the gun in self defense ,and should thus remove it from the premises.

    Note that I am not judging should the latter take place-a wise person knows their limits, and id rather the OP use a baseball bat to take out a burglar than carry a gun when they aren’t mentally ready to and freeze up in the moment of truth.

  9. On boyfriend’s hip or in the safe. One or the other. What is the big deal here?

    Can someone please explain to me how this kid is going to get past a seven digit safe combination (electronic lock)? Sans either someone telling him or by him finding the combo written down somewhere.

  10. Your boyfriend should grow up and realize that unless you guys are into meth, locking the front door is sufficient security, along with other normal precautions.

    Otherwise get another boyfriend.

    • hehehe…If this were anyone other than mikey, I’d smile at the obvious troll/joke post.

      If mikey’s lucky, a criminal with a crowbar (door) or elbow(window) won’t visit his house and shatter his fantasy world. Maybe you can explain to the invader how impossible it was for him to get past a lock or thin sheet of glass as he’s raping your wife. Meanwhile, us adults will take the necessary precautions.

    • Just curious as Im new here, but is someone paying you to come here and post anti-2nd comments?

      While I think the best bet would be for the boyfriend to either keep the gun elsewhere or get a decent safe and dont have the combo laying around for the kid to find, your rationale that the only people who need to own a gun are drug dealers/users is insane. Perhaps you live in a city/town with zero home burglaries/intrusions? Zero crime? Yeah, didnt think so.

      Is it unlikely that you or I will ever be the victim of a violent crime? Yep, but it sure is possible. Sorry, but Im not going to risk the safety of loved ones on “the security of my front door” if that occasion strikes.

      • Mikey’s been a fixture around here, but has been absent for a bit. He’s our resident comic relief, our Rob Schneider, only not quite so grating. Have fun replying to him, but don’t take him too seriously, no one else does.

        He’s also a pretty good window into the kind of “mentality” we’re up against. Like trying to reason with zombies, except the last thing he and his ilk desire are brains.

      • Josh, to answer your question, I don’t think Mike is paid to come here. He does occasionally try to pander for hits on his own blog, one which is moderated to suit his and his cobloggers agenda. Here is the quality of posts that you typically will find over there:

        “democommie July 22, 2012 9:29 PM
        No wonder how come bein’ a fuckin’ moron wit teh gunz is considered basic to MurKKKirstianity.”

    • “locking the front door is sufficient security”

      OK, now I know Mickey is actually a pro-gun hardcore believer in the RKBA 2nd Amendment. Mickey is pretending to be another naive ignorant gun grabber. No one is so foolish as to make a statement such as above believing it true.

        • So what? How does that make them secure just because they don’t “feel” a need to more than lock-up?

        • Your friends’ and relatives’ feelings on security have no bearing on actual threats. Locking the door doesn’t do anything to lower risk…at all. It is a very lazy criminal that goes to the effort (irony?) of going to a residence to rob it and gives up because the front door is locked. Granted, having a gun in the house doesn’t prevent that either (the whole point is there is ABSOLUTLEY NO WAY to prevent a robbery attempt). However, once the bad guy kicks in the back door/window at your friends’ relatives’ homes, what then? What is their next line of defense/course of action?

    • Hey, Mikey, do you have “Gun-Free Zone” signs on your house?

      You should, you know. At least for the sake of consistency.

    • @MikeB

      I’ve kicked in doors. It’s isn’t that hard – unless you’re facing a steel door with a steel frame. Most houses tend to have other weak spots called ‘windows.’ The outside of most houses won’t last long against a determined assailant.

      • I didn’t say it can’t be done. I said in most neighborhoods, the likelihood is very low, certainly too low to inspire all the paranoid nonsense you guys keep feeding each other about the need to be armed.

        • You mean… like the security company adverts that show a woman and her kids coming home only to find the place trashed and the BG looking at them for a sec before they “run away?” (Sorry, not all BGs will run, especially if they know you can ID them.)

        • Again, as always, do you wear your seatbelt? Have a fire extinguisher anywhere in your house? What? YES?! YOU SICK PARANOID WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU SEEK HELP IMMEDIATELY

    • Locking the front door is sufficient security? Only as long as no bad guys want in. Try telling that to the million plus Americans who defend themselves with guns in a year.

      • First of all the million plus who use guns to defend themselves is an inflated figure to say the least. Secondly, depending on the neighborhood you live in, a break-in is as unlikely as a meteorite strike.

        • inflated figure. in the last 30 years i have defened my self 3 times with a pistol without firing a shot. none of these incidents were reported or filed and outside my immediate circle this is the first time i’ve spoken of them. a reported million times a year may well be under reported if others like me don’t bring 5-0 into it.

        • Sure, except who’s to say that two of the three times you pulled the gun were really criminal acts and not necessary for your defense? You do realize that some (many) of the reported DGUs are like that, don’t you?

        • The actual mathematical likelihood of being victimized in even the most peaceful parts of the US is exponentially higher than the likelihood of being directly struck by a meteorite. It’s amazing how much lefties hate proper math and science.

        • Yes, and the mathematical chance of you shooting your dick off while cleaning your fetish item is higher than the chance that you’ll ever need it to defend yourself.

          So?

    • Considering most modern home door locks are set in dry rotted wooden frames, most of us may as well not even lock the door. 5 stiff kicks will get into just about anyone’s home, including your own Mikeb- assuming a perp is nice enough to not break in through your window.

      Here’s a thought which ought to shatter poor mikey’s worldview-is he not aware that some crooks have locksmith training ?

    • I am not a paranoid person, I am realistic. We live in a different time than when I grew up. I must say, you must live in a wonderfully secure environment – probably not in this country. I live in the neighborhood that I grew up in . . . most everyone knows everyone else and we are good people. We have good neighbors – not drug users, legal, law-abiding citizens who work for a living. Which is probably the reason there have been home invasions here. There are precautions that we all take, yet there have been break ins. No one here wants to have to use a gun, but if need be, could. That is the point of having that right as a US citizen. I wish that we all could live in a place like my childhood or wherever it is that you live. Obviously, criminals don’t live there. Shame that it isn’t like that everywhere. But look at the real numbers of crime in countries that have outlawed gun ownership compared to – lets say Switzerland who arms their citizens. They have one of the lowest, least violent crime rates. What does that honestly say. Criminals don’t want law-abiding citizens to have the right to protect themselves!!!

  11. Home carry when at home, in the safe otherwise. Depending on the type of handgun it could also be disassembled in the safe as well.

    Like others said, any kitchen or medicine cabinet or cleaning closet will provide easier access and more options for a suicidal person.

  12. Trigger lock with the key on you at all times.

    Home carry during the day, locked next to you at night.

    There are options, but if you really feel uncomfortable having it and the kid around, then don’t get one. Weigh the risk factors. Guns are supposed to help provide peace of mind, not add to worry.

  13. just purchase a gun safe. Problem solved. Also, you should be taking some gun safety courses, if you are keeping a firearm in your house for safety. Having a gun means nothing if you arenot trained in how to use it. I promise, that if you practice, you will learn to appreciate how a firearm can both protect you and your family, and how it is also a very enjoyable past time. Good luck.

  14. mikey doesn’t have a wife or girlfriend. mike is the wife/girlfriend. but seriously,even carrying on your person is not a good solution with a bipolar teen in the house. he goes off his meds and you can wind up with a wrestling match or surprise grab, etc for your weapon. in this exact case off premises while he’s there is the only real solution.

  15. Buy a biometric gun safe that will only open to your boyfriend’s finger or hand print. Do you bother to secure all your knives, poisons cleaners, various tools, and other objects that can be used by your son to attack others or hurt himself? If not, why not?

  16. free lock is availble at your local sheriff’s dept.
    I have 2, they are bright yellow. Wont stop someone with a bolt cutter however.

  17. So let me see if I understand, you don’t leave the loaded gun on the kitchen table? No wonder my wife’s so pissed.

  18. Her house, her kids. Her rules.

    That said, BF should purchase a safe anyway. Regardless of where he is living

  19. You guys aren’t seeing the simple solution. Guns can’t shoot without ammo, correct? Well then pop the magazine out and stick it in your pocket. Boom. Problem solved. The crazy little monster now just has a cool looking paper weight.

  20. The mere fact that this post features a “sucky” HK instead of an “incredible” Glock has left me (nearly) speechless. Therefore, I am unable to offer any logical advice on the subject at hand.

  21. A safe should suffice. He can have it mounted on a top shelf somewhere so it isn’t a temptation in plane sight.
    Only he and you need the combo. Also teach your other kids, non bi polar ones to shoot and about gun safety. It removes the mystery from it and they will also know what to do if someone else is acting unsafely with a gun. You need to learn to shoot to. I know you don’t like them, and that is fine, but you should know how to handle every firearm in your home, how to make it safe if needed, and where they are kept. You don’t have to be pro guns, but being able to handle the firearm safely is critical.

    There is no 100% safe way to keep anything anywhere. The idea is this. If you eldest with bi polar goes off the deep end, then it will be difficult for him to get the gun. He would simply wind up going for one of the knives in the kitchen, or a pair of scissors. I don’t mean that to make light of the issue, but rather from a practical point of view if he or she is upset then they will go for the easiest opportunity.

  22. Isn’t “bipolar” (like so many) a made up condition to get people on drugs? If you put your kid on drugs do not have any type of object that can be used as a weapon around. The drugs create a suicidal person that normally wouldn’t be.

    When I was in school they said I had a “learning disability” but that was just a lie. I was one of the more intelligent kids. I just didn’t want to “learn” the propaganda they were preaching. My general test scores proved this fact. They told my parents in a meeting that (even with my test scores) if I didn’t fall in line with what they “teach” they will continue to keep me in a “special needs” class.

    As far as so called social skills. Some kids don’t want to hang out with the general population because most of them are stupid robots. Other kids are just not confident or comfortable with themselves. Then you have bad parents not teaching their kids how to get along with other humans.

    With most parents the problems they say they have with their kids are actually problems they have with themselves. They just label their kids mentally dysfunctional so they get a pass. Doctors (and the government) are happy to label your kids as well.

    • Wow, suddenly the way the world works is crystal clear to me. Thanks for the enlightenment.

      Bi-polar is very real. It’s simply a condition where someone goes off for no apparent reason.

      How bi-polar disorder is dealt with varies with the individual and their environment. Sometimes counseling is sufficient, other times medication(s) are warranted. Medical professionals are the best suited to make the diagnosis.

      We didn’t have as good of an understanding of psychological problems when I was a kid in school. Someone with a learning disability in my time was simply labeled a ‘retard’, (what a horrible word), and destined to ride the short bus until they could be pushed through the system.

      Had there been a better understand of learning disabilities in my time, I probably would have been so branded. Mostly though, people just thought I was stupid. Nothing could be further from the truth. But for all my D’s and F’s, the underlying reason for them didn’t have anything to do with refusing to be indoctrinated into the system. Kids have little perception of such lofty government conspiracies. what I was, was likely the same thing you were Jay, highly intelligent and bored to tears with school. I’d get the textbooks and go home and read them over a weekend, done. Now, what to do with the rest of the year?

      Fortunately, I’ve gotten a lot dumber over the years and no longer have any problems fitting in with the rest of society. ;>)

  23. She should also be warned that if her child does have an episode that calling 9/11 is probably the worst thing she can do. Adding government to the mix only increases the chances that the child will end up dead.

  24. Get your kid on niacin and Vitamin C, you can get that bi-polar under better control naturally. Get a safe too.

  25. My brother-in-law, in his 3rd marriage, wound up with a bipolar suicidal teen in the house that did manage to get a hold of his 1911 and do the deed. I didn’t have the heart to interrogate him post-tragedy as to how the kid got the gun.

    This kid needs really good care and supervision, and I’m sure his doc would freak if he knew there was a weapon in any way available–probably call CPS to ensure the two were kept seperated (one or the other out of that house). Otherwise, you need to keep the gun multiply locked and away from ammo, and thus useless for defense. (On you isn’t good enough: he could grab it during a crisis or while you’re sleeping. I’ve seen cops lose their guns in struggles with the suicidally determined. I’ve also seen family members shot in their sleep.) Now it’s up to the BF to decide what he’s willing to sacrifice. I hate to say it, but I’d tell him to run fast, run far.

  26. i also recall an incident in the news some time back where a teeny bopper killed both his parents with a hammer and then had a house party with their bodies in their bedroom. harsh as it seems, maybe your boyfriend and his gun aren’t the problem here.

  27. Insist that he keep the gun either in a retention holster or a safe at all times, at the very least. If he can’t do either of those, the gun needs to stay out of the house. If he’s unwilling to do any of those things for you and your kids, then HE needs to stay out of the house. My .02.

  28. Lock up all ropes too. I know a few who were found hanging a couple of days later… where there is a will there is a way, where there is no will, there is no way.

  29. I’m going to echo the mostly-sane folks here on the board and suggest a safe.

    While I won’t go to the extreme of saying that people shouldn’t have guns if they don’t have safes (or that people should not have guns at all) I would say that people shouldn’t have a gun AND children in the house if they don’t have a safe.

    Guns – Kids = Win!
    Guns + Kids = Fail!
    Guns + Kids + Gun Safe = Win!

    Gun Safe = (-Kids) ???

  30. DON’T let the child know of its existence. DON’T just hide the gun, if the kid knows something “cool” is hidden, he’ll search. With Bipolar, keep tabs on the child at ALL times. IF the gun is in the house, it don’t come out for nuthin’ but a real emergency… DO NOT leave any kinds of hints of its existence.

    If you don’t want it there, hopefully your BF will understand and make arrangements to keep it hidden and keep it safe, elsewhere.

    I do agree though if it stays, it must be known where it is without anyone else knowing or acknowledging its existence. A good safe, hidden. Gun locks. (multiple?) Ammo not even near it. Monitor the kid’s internet activity as well.

    No matter what, talk it over with your BF.

  31. Its precisely the same in each state. Get in touch with your neighborhood BATF office, there’s an application procedure which includes an interview and lengthy background examine. It isn’t cheap.

    You could inquire about a C&R license (Curio & relic), Im
    not confident in case you can make purchases straight with it though.

    . . preserve in thoughts that FFL’s are a federal, not state factor. Arizona has no other requirements to my knowledge.

  32. If you are an adult, make your own decisions about safety of kids. No shortage of dumb adults making bad decisions. Putting the responsibility on others to make decisions for you is a sure sign of irresponsibility. Keep your ‘boyfriend’ and the firearm out of the house while your son is in town. What are the odds that you’ll need either one? How this works is, you’ll take advice you agree with.

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