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 Browning Black Label Tactical Safes (courtesy

Republished from

Dear Parents,

There’s not really any easy way to say this, but we need to talk. No, I didn’t get someone pregnant and no, I didn’t fail a class. We actually need to talk about your behavior, not mine. Did you see the news this past week about the school shootings in Massachusetts and Nevada? It’s awful isn’t it? For the life of me, I can’t understand how a 12 year old, or a 14 year old, could get to the point of shooting their teacher and classmates. It’s unfathomable to me, but this isn’t a letter about being sad or feeling cornered by the world. I need to talk to you about what we do with our guns . . .

You’ve both taught me so much. Mom, you taught me how to bake bread, tie a tie and be empathetic. Dad, you taught me how to drive, shave, love classic rock—and to shoot a gun. Remember all those times you took me to the shooting range to practice with the .22? Those are some of my best memories, Dad. Or going out to Sauvie Island and seeing from how far away we could hit an old pop can.

Remember when you taught me about gun safety? Never letting me touch a gun until I’d told you the three rules: keep your finger off the trigger, never point it at something you don’t plan on shooting and always have the safety on.

See? I’d say I can do those in my sleep, but I’m pretty sure I did in a dream once.

But this is about more than gun safety rules; it’s time to put the guns away. Life is hard as a teenager. We want more responsibility, but really don’t have any idea what to do with it. So it’s time for you to be the responsible ones. Stop counting on 12 and 14 year olds who get picked on at school to be able to make the right decisions around guns. Stop counting on children younger than that to not have accidents when you leave a gun on the dining room table. Stop trying to blame the parents of a child who bullied yours when you can’t even complete the far easier parenting task of remembering to put your guns back in the safe.

No one outside our house can take those guns away. No one can take the .22 or the shotgun you gave me for Christmas that year. But that means you have to do it; you have to remember your obligations as a parent and not put kids in the position to make choices that end lives. You spent our teenage years pretending to love terrible movies just so we wouldn’t be watching them alone with our girlfriends. Can we put half as much effort into keeping kids from shooting other people as you did to keep me and my girlfriend from making out?

Buy a safe, buy trigger locks and don’t let your kids know where you keep the family guns. If you’re responsible enough to have a child, you should be responsible enough to safely own a gun. Bring the .22 out when we want to pretend I haven’t grown up and go shoot pop cans again, and then put it away. Talk to us about what happens when something goes wrong with a gun. Stop sheltering us from the reality of what the thing in our hands is capable of doing to someone.

I know you weren’t expecting this letter but its something you need to hear, parents. It’s time to stop acting like teenagers and take responsibility for the relationship our family has with guns. It’s time to stop singing “lock up your daughters, lock up your wives,” and realize in your role as a parent, you need to lock up your guns.

Imagine a culture of responsible parents not giving their children the chance to make mistakes around guns they can never take back. A culture of responsible, gun owning parents? It’s Dynamite.



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  1. Wow how disappointed in my son that letter would make me. This comes from the popular cultural attitude of avoiding responsibility and teaching kids to not handle any. Any child (around) 8 or older who was taught correctly you can trust with a firearm.

    • Yeah, I think you missed the point… He didn’t say he kids shouldn’t be allowed to shoot. The point was kids at any age should not have unsupervised access to their parent’s firearms. This is how bad things happen to good people…

        • I see your point. So really it comes down to the parents being responsible enough to know their kids. I agree that there are plenty of teenage kids out there that know how and when to use a firearm unsupervised. But at the same time there are plenty that cannot…

          Which is why we are in this debate about gun safety and the improper use of firearms by those irresponsible with them and end up harming society, rather than those who actually use a gun within the rights (currently) allowed to American citizens.

  2. The teacher in MA was beaten to death, not shot, and I’ve lived within 10 miles of that school most of my life and I have MANY friends in that community, the procession for her students to her wake went by my house, so that one REALLY pisses me off. Secondly, there’s 4 rules, NOT 3 and keep the safety on isn’t one of them. For children there are a separate 4 rules from the Eddie Eagle program, and my 8 and 6 year olds can recite them, and as a test I leave the airsoft Glock 23 I shoot with them out, but unloaded and it’s never moved, not once. No, I don’t leave out real guns given my girls’ ages, but if they were in a way to actually want to use a gun to harm someone I’m sure no safe would stop hem from acquiring deadly weapons, just look to Newtown, maybe they simply kill me in my sleep then take a reciprocating saw or torch to that safe? Psychopaths will get what they need should they wish.

    • You haven’t learned NewThink yet: ALL VIOLENCE IS GUN VIOLENCE.

      And Mom, Dad, love you, but I’ll never be old enough or wise enough, despite your best efforts, to trust myself or take care of myself.

      Mom, Dad… I hope my room’s still clean and just like I left it. Because… Mom. Dad. I realize I’ll never be man enough, or even woman enough, to face this scary world.

      Mom. Dad. I quit school and I’m coming home. Do you still have my bib and that big-boy plastic spoon? Please have some pabulum in my plastic no-spill bowl, and my favorite: pureed carrots!

      • “And Mom, Dad, love you, but I’ll never be old enough or wise enough, despite your best efforts, to trust myself or take care of myself.”

        Now I see why 26 year olds are included by progressives in “child homicides by guns (sic)”.

        Side note: Another reason why USC = University of Spoiled Children

        • Don’t lump us all in there, I’m 21, have been carrying in accordance with state law for 3 years, work full time making about 40k a year now and only going up, married with a mortgage and two kids. Only “debt” to speak of is the mortgage, which I expect to finish off in the next 3 months.

    • As an NRA Training Counselor & Instructor, I’m a little tired of being lectured at by people who really don’t know what they are talking about. First, the teacher in MA was not shot (was there a schoole shooting in MA that I didn’t hear about?) and second, I’ve not seen any definitive reporting on where or how the NV shooter got the gun. Third, trigger locks are a terrible idea and this twit, “neon tommy” isn’t even close on the three rules of safe gun handling.

      To be honest Robert, I have no idea why you thought this piece should be repeated here.

  3. I’m really uncomfortable with that logic. Im not sure i have anything witty to say.

    I suppose each aprent has a responsiblity to know who their children are and work from there.

  4. This is actual “common sense gun control.” I trust my kids about as far as I can throw them. They can’t stay out of the ice cream in the freezer if I don’t lock it up. They know all four (not three) of the rules. They know how to aim. They know how to check and clear a weapon when it’s handed to them. I even trust my 15yo daughter to carry pepper spray on her every day. But I wouldn’t leave the guns out where they can be accessed by the younger kids.

    My 15yr old on the other hand (the one with pepper spray) does have the codes to the safes. I trust her to use the firearms when she is home alone or babysitting. But that is a personal call I will make on a kid by kid basis. My boys probably won’t get the codes when they get older because they are boys, and lets face it boys tend to do dumber things, especially when they are teenagers. They will however grow up completely comfortable and well versed in firearms safety, technique, and use.

    I know my kids are smart, polite, and respectful. I get told so all the time. But they still aren’t responsible. They will make mistakes and do things wrong. I don’t want one of those things to be “Hey, want to see my dads cool ______?” Then watch one of their friends do something dumb. It’s also quite possible that one of my kids, as good of a parent as I am, could make a really bad decision. I don’t leave alcohol laying around for them to access because I don’t want them to get involved in underage drinking. Why would I do anything different with my guns?

    • Exactly Adam. But let’s not make a law. Every situations’ different. “Common Sense” laws here in MA state that you need an FID card to buy pepper spray and you need to be 18 to carry it. MA is the only state that requires a license to carry a condiment, but we’re the model for the rest of the nation remember.

      • Agreed, I don’t think it should be a law and i don’t see any sort of suggestion to that in the article. My use of the quotes was to show it as being in contrast to what MDA is all about. Common sense can’t be legislated and responsibility can’t be forced.

        I think this letter is about asking parents to be responsible. Ironically it’s written in California which pretty much has a “lock em up” law already so it goes to show that just be cause you make it a law doesn’t mean people will do it.

        I think the fact that most firearms come with locks now is a good thing and encourages people to lock them up. I’ve also programs in the past at PD’s where gun locks were given away for free (a much better event then a buy back BTW). Ultimately though it comes down to people being responsible. I know a lot of people who don’t have kids don’t keep the guns locked up and thats fine. But when you have kids in the house it’s the right thing to do no matter how much trust you have in your kids. We don’t leave them with the responsibility of alcohol, medical decisions, or anything else really, why would we leave them with the responsibility of a firearm. Obviously the responsibility level of different kids warrants different levels of trust, but generally speaking, kids/teens are not really bastions of responsibility and trust.

        • A reasonable voice.

          I agree with most people–there should be no “lock them up” law.

          That said, I’m sure as heck going to be locking mine when I’m not around.

        • Yes, CA is a lock up state. Trigger locks at a minimum. Prefered DOJ approved lock box or gun safe. I follow the law not wanting to have mine confiscated if something happens. I keep the keys locked up separately. Keys to pistol boxes are locked up in a shed, keys to the rifle boxes in sheds are in my room hidden in my locked house. So it takes a key to get key. Main reason is so burglar doesn’t get hold of them. Do the same thing with the spare house key. It kept in my locked back yard. Have to find the hidden gate key to get in the yard then figure where I hide the front door key. I really don’t have to worry since all my kids are basically adults now, the youngest is 20 and lives at school.

    • As for the “wanna see dad’s cool _____”, I went to a friends house when I was 10. I was raised with that “liberal” don’t teach kids about guns mindset, and this was when people kept their guns in glass cases in the living room. So I go into my new friends house and see all those glorious rifles and get really excited. My also 10YO friend stops me dead in my tracks and says “THOSE ARE NOT TOYS! We don’t touch them or go near them unless daddy says so, if you don’t like it you can leave and I won’t be your friend anymore.” There is a right way to do it. Part of why I became a gun owner is so that my kids will have that attitude should they be around other kids irresponsibly handling firearms.

      • To be honest I don’t worry about it with most of my kids. One of them however has some developmental issues and isn’t all that great at social queues, following instructions, remembering to tie his shoes, things like that. He is 12 and has some maturity issues from this. He’s a capable kid and is the most friendly person ever, but those issues he has makes me unsure of how he would respond to a friends peer pressure. Just another reason I keep all my stuff locked up.

        • Given your personal situation then you are taking appropriate steps. Problem solved, you are being a good parent. The problem with the nanny crowd is they don’t want to be parents, or look to their own child’s possible shortcomings. Everyone needs to be the same and we need a law to blanket everyone so we can “feel good” “for the children.”

    • “Underage drinking”. A peculiar notion that maintains a young person 20 years and 354 days old is not responsible enough to handle alcohol, but one day later, he is. It’s magic akin to Moses carrying 10 stone tablets down from a mountaintop!

      • Ha, I don’t remember ever making a responsible drinking decision until I was about 25. That said though I think we can agree teenagers drinking are not doing it because they enjoy a glass of wine or a beer at the end of the day. They are doing it to get drunk. I don’t think I ever did any thing I was proud of while drunk… Well there was that one time involving the Sumo wrestler, a bottle nosed dolphin, and K.I.T.T. from Knight Rider, but that’s classified.

        • Interesting. I grew up in a German-American family, and literally can not remember being “too young” to drink beer. By my mid-teens, especially when working in the heat of the day, I was allowed to get a beer from the ‘fridge as required or desired.
          In those days, the legal drinking age was 18. I remember many of my high school classmates celebrating their birthday by getting plastered. To do so seemed utterly weird to me: I literally could not comprehend the desire to do so. So, while I took the opportunity to order a drink at a restaurant that day, there was *zero* temptation to drink more.

  5. “Don’t let your kids know where you keep the family guns”

    How? Drop them out of a low-flying plane into the ocean at night? Kids find absolutely everything ever hidden in their home. Putting that aside, if I hide my firearms where my kids wont find them 1) I probably won’t remember where to find them, and 2) I sure as hell won’t be able to get to them quickly when I need them most. This seems like one of those i’m-asking-you-to-get-rid-of-the-guns-without-saying-get-rid-of-the-guns type deals. Not to mention the fact that the overwhelming majority of parents already secure their guns and/or teach their kids proper gun safety. These parents who leave their guns unsecured around unstable/uneducated kids are in the minority, and yes they should be punished for their behavior. But this ‘letter’ (which is probably written by a gun control advocate in cyber-disguise) makes it sound as if every parent who owns guns leaves a few in their child’s toy box or dresser drawer, and that’s just not the case.

    • Oh, I’d bet the farm it was ghost-written by a Crazy Mama Against Self-Defense. If I had a farm, I mean.

    • What? Where are you from because around here we hide guns in toy boxes all the time so burglars won’t find them. Also, to save money, instead of getting the baby one of those plastic balls that you put the different shaped pieces through we just give him a revolver and a bunch of different caliber rounds to see how long it takes the little guy to work out which size fits.

      Heck, I’m trying to find a gun smith who can lighten up the trigger on my XDS to 1lb so newborns can shoot it. . .

      Sarc off/

      I just wonder what the heck these people think gun owners are doing with their guns?

  6. This was not written by a teenager. It’s someone trying to further gun control masking as a gun loving teenager.

    • If the author is a parent and indeed did insist on watching all the movies when the boy’s girlfriend was over, well, s(he) should lock up the guns. For obvious reasons.

  7. This is BS. I had someone bully me in Middle school and I had full access to the gun cabinet from 6th grade. Guess what? I never opened the cabinet unless my dad was there to do it with me. I never took a gun to school, I dealt with the guy and sucked it up.

    When my dad and I would open the gun cabinet we would inspect the guns, talk about them and discuss hunting season. My dad also instructed me that if anyone came into the house to do us harm that I should grab the Ruger .357 that was always loaded and shoot them until they stopped attacking. See, even as a middle schooler I was partially responsible and capable of defending the home.

  8. Dear parents,

    Please lock up the stove because I might burn myself. Please line the street in front of our house with yellow caution tape so I don’t step into traffic. Please baby proof the household chemicals until I leave for college.

    Your irresponsible teen that you failed to prepare for real life.

    If you need to take those step with your kid then, you are the parent, please do so. My kids grew up understanding that the world is a dangerous place and they have a responsibility to care for themselves and others around them in this dangerous world.

  9. Bullied every day from 4th grade to 10th grade, had a .410, a .22, and a 12 gauge on my gun rack on my wall as a teen and I never thought about shooting anything but small game, clays, and deer. My parents may not have been parents of the year but the .410 single shot I received for my 11th birthday kept me happy and probably kept me out of trouble…

  10. “don’t let your kids know where you keep the family guns”

    Making secrets is not a good way to improve one’s parenting.

  11. Locking up guns is a great thing to do.

    Nevertheless, locking up guns will not stop a spree killer!!! Aside from the myriad ways that a spree killer could acquire guns (locked or otherwise), there are countless ways that a spree killer could quickly, easily, inexpensively, and efficiently kill a lot of people.

    A couple chains, locks, a match, and a gallon of gasoline is all it takes to kill a huge group of people in a room with only one or two exits. A speeding car plowing into a group of people is capable of incredible carnage. Get the picture yet?

  12. My dad took us boys shooting starting around age 6. The guns were in a glass door cabinet.
    I started my kids a bit later, bought them their first gun on their 10th birthday. Bought them AR’s before they left for MCRD so they would have a leg up.
    I’m already looking for a chipmunk for my granddaughter.
    Can’t wait!
    I keep most of them in the safe cause I’m not home all the time.
    Just another anti in disguise.

  13. Setting aside the specious logic if my kid were to call me an irresponsible teenager with such obvious lack of respect like this we would be having a chat. Second since he feels that his access to my firearms is such a problem based on his immaturity I would need to ask for his house key back… for his own good of course.

  14. … No one outside our house can take those guns away. …

    Now that shit’s funny. I don’t care who you are.

  15. I voluntarily secure my guns. My kids are welcome to shoot with me, and if one wanted to go on a hunting trip without me, I am sure I could see that happening. But I will not leave them sitting unsecured in the house when I am not around. I am responsible for them, so I must secure them.

    That said, this is a voluntary policy that suits my particular circumstances. Other people may be in different situations, and everybody should make their own decision. But don’t think that there is anything wrong with securing guns. It is a perfectly acceptable choice.

    • I’m totally onboard with your statement. However, this is the second article this month suggesting that gun owners somehow have an obligation to purchase a safe and lock up their guns at all times.

      It glosses over several issues about personal choice, circumstance, and finances and makes certain assumptions about all gun owners.

      I generally err on the side of safety but I certainly don’t like the assertion of the original letter and the earlier article here at TTAG that suggested locking up all our guns will somehow prevent mass shootings and we are irresponsible if we don’t.

  16. Hi, Neon Tommy.

    That’s a nice letter your “parents” at the Annenberg School wrote for you. Unfortunately, you and your parents seem to have been reading too many press releases from progressive “gun safety” organizations.

    You see, the truth is that parents everywhere actually ARE responsible with guns and make good decisions regarding guns and their children daily. More now than ever, in fact.

    There are fewer accidental deaths from firearms now than at any time in the last 100+ years. The national murder rate (with or without firearms) is at a 40-year low. Violent crime of all kinds is also at a 40-year low.

    And yet here you are, talking down to all 100 million gun owners as if they’re no different than the couple dozen people who made it into the national news by doing something stupid this year. Here’s a suggestion: take that broad brush you’re trying to tar us with and shove it where the sun don’t shine.

    Oh yeah, and one more thing. As someone who endured bullying through nearly all my school years by smarmy, supercilious twits like you and your children, I’ve taught my children how to be responsible around guns and how to deal with schoolyard bullies (the solution doesn’t involve guns, but it isn’t pleasant). And we also know how to see through stupid arguments like yours.

    Thanks for your opinion, Tommy. Now go tell your mama she wants you.

  17. As a kid, many of my friend’s fathers had rifles and shotguns for hunting. They weren’t kept in a safe, because nobody had rifle safes. At most, they had cabinets with glass doors. But mostly, they were tucked into a closet somewhere. I wouldn’t know where, because none of my friends ever said “gee, Ralph, you wanna see my Dad’s guns?”

    I’m all in favor of locking up the artillery, but frankly, locking up the little b@stards who want to kill their classmates is a better idea.

    • I can’t get behind the idea that if we could just keep bad people from getting access to “bad things” it will somehow have an impact. Using a safe and gun locks is a safety measure, but will likely do little to reduce crimes committed with a firearm.

      From the earlier article someone mentioned that they don’t lock up their car keys, paint, or gas for the lawn mower. They also don’t secure their matches or kitchen knives. I think education is more important than gun safety and I also think if you feel your children are untrustworthy around guns then maybe you should just not have them. After all, locking them up is just upping the difficulty level, but it hardly means access is cut off. Kids have plenty of information, all locks are defeatable, and they are better at Google then their parents.

  18. My dad taught me all of the safety rules. He did everything right.

    Didn’t matter. By the time I was 12, I was a serious .177cal threat to all power transformers, trees, and trash cans in the neighborhood.

    If my son is anything like I was at that age, shit’s gettin’ locked up 24/7.

  19. My son wouldn’t write such a letter because he already knows the guns are locked up in a safe. To him, this is normal. He is literally counting the years until he is 12 when he can get a junior’s permit (he has 7 to go), but to him going to the range is a normal activity. From then until he is 18, he will use my rifles. At 18, when he gets a full license, he can decide if he wants to own his rifles.

  20. As they struggled to get through the combination, adrenaline pumping, as the boy’s mother was alone and the guns were just out of reach when the 250 lbs attacker just broke through the bedroom door. She had only seconds as she turned the latch breaching the door of the safe, but it was too late. Now in addition to finding her mangled body, they’d find an empty gun safe…

    I grew up with the guns not locked up. Not once did my sister or I touch them without permission and supervision until we were of age. Our parents taught us how to use them but also to respect them and how to LISTEN to our parents… They used this secret trick called “parenting”….yes, occasionally it involved my butt getting red or soap in my mouth….but I turned out OK…the idea of using a firearm to hurt anyone NEVER crossed my mind.

    I raise my children the same. Hear that child services? I do the thing called parenting… Molon Labe.

    • “but I turned out OK”

      See, there’s the problem. To most people that may be true but to an anti-gunner you’re just an “evil gun owner”. Any argument you present is invalid as far as they’re concerned.

  21. This is sophomoric mental masturbation at it’s finest. This kid, in his short time on Earth, has figured it all out and the time has come for HIM to do the finger wagging. The issue could be anything, gay marriage, immigration, reproductive rights, you name it. Just replace the words and watch the magic.

  22. I had a shotgun in my closet when I was in 5th grade. Funny how it never came to school with me. Nor did dad’s .22 rifle or my older brother’s pistol, both of which I had easy access to. Hell, I never even used any of the kung fu I studied, and I took that with me everywhere. Guess I must be some kind of anomolous freak, respecting life and the power of a firearm, even though I was a dumb kid.

  23. Meh. Most of the “letter” is fine if not coming occross as awkward and a bit odd. I agree that guns should be locked or rendered inoperable for *shudder* “the sake of the children”. But that’s just one part of a bigger plan in teaching and practicing gun safety with your kids.

    Where I disagree is the dangerous proposition that “don’t let your kids know where you keep the family guns.” No no no no! If you hide it, they will seek it, and they will find it. Lock them up and let them know where (the gun safe, not the key) and why it’s locked. Let them know that they can see them with you under your supervision – they need only ask. Then teach them how to deal with a situation should they come across an irrisponsible gun owner. If I’m not mistaken, it’s right out of the Eddie Eagle Progam that the NRA puts out.

    • Might be the best thing for your kids. Heck, might be the best thing for most kids. I only know my own kids well enough to make that call. So, I’m not here to tell anyone how to live. Some teens, at least, are perfectly capable of making responsible decisions regarding their self defense at home.

  24. Anyone else sick of that tired meme? “I’m not responsible so be responsible for me” won’t get you out of your parent’s basement. I’m sure the preaching will cease once that kid finishes his first shift at McDonalds trying to pay off his student loan for a worthless degree. The problem with college kids is they have no clue how anything in the real world works yet think they have all the answers.

  25. Guns that are locked or in a safe are entirely useless for their primary purpose: home defense. Guns should be locked when there is no one in the house, to prevent theft in case of burglary. But a gun in a safe during a home invasion is about as useful as a paper weight.

    Also, based on the writing style I would wager the author has zero gun experience. He writes in a tone that sounds like he is imagining what it would be like if his dad brought him shooting as a child, but not in a tone that suggests he actually has ever handled a firearm in his life.

    • Guns that are locked or in a safe are entirely useless for their primary purpose: home defense.

      Guns that are locked up in a safe are useless for home defense, but whether or not that’s it’s primary purpose depends on the gun, the owner, and his or her circumstances. There’s nothing wrong with a safe queen.

  26. Funny. My 16 yr old gets a handgun holstered on his waist every 1st and 3rd Sundays of the month. Somehow he hasn’t been irresponsible with it. His room however is a totally different story.

  27. If your kid ends up shooting his classmates, you have already made a thousand poor decisions before whether or not you locked the gun safe was ever an issue.

  28. Afterreading this several times it does not sound like something a young man/woman would say. This sounds more like gun control propaganda. I do not buy it.

  29. I grew up with a father who had owned guns but wasn’t into them anymore. I spent a lot of time with a grandfather who was an avid hunter, so I came to love guns too. From the time I was 8 I had a pellet gun, with which I regularly defended our grapes, apples, and cherries from marauding winged bandits. I got my .22 Targetmaster at 12 and had free reign of it from day one. Gun stayed in my room unless I was cleaning it, shooting it, or hauling it around in a scabbard lashed either to a saddle or a 4-wheeler. My ammo was my responsibility; if I had any, it was because I bought it with my money which I had worked for by doing chores. I had 2 little brothers who also lived in the same room, and they both knew what and where stuff was. None of us ever used any of my guns for anything other than legal activites, more or less. Less being shooting cans of paint sitting in bonfires after dark.
    My point? I never even owned a trigger lock until I bought my first new gun, which was only just a few years ago. I never needed one. I was taught to control my emotions, which naturally controlled my actions. I was taught how to act responsibly, especially with firearms. Much of that teaching I received from my non-gun enthusiast father. He didn’t and doesn’t really like guns. He would rather I didn’t. But he let me choose, and he made sure I was educated properlyeither way, regardless of my choice. Damn fine parenting. And yes, this sometimes included belts, wooden spoons, and open-palmed reminders.

  30. “Bring the .22 out when we want to pretend I haven’t grown up and go shoot pop cans again, and then put it away.” Right, only childish fools can consider plinking to be fun. Serious grown-ups have better things to do than go shooting.
    Shows attitude of the author.

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