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Just because you have a right to do something doesn’t always make it the right thing to do. Take the grandfather of a young boy in Missouri.

He had a right to purchase and possess a .22 Magnum revolver.

He had the right to store his revolved in a loaded condition, unsecured, in a place easily accessible by children.

He had the right to invite his grandchildren to his house . . .

He had the right to have his nine-month-old grandson sleep in a crib in the same room in which he stored his unsecured, easily-accessible firearm.

He had the right to let his five-year-old child have unsupervised access to the room along with one of his playmates, while they had some sort of pretend gunfight.

The results were tragic.

If you’re childless and expecting a few rugrats to come over for a period of time, keep in mind that the definition of ‘adequate security’ for firearms changes dramatically when kids enter the picture.  We’re not talking about a military-grade Sargent and Greenleaf safe here, but throwing the gun into a lockbox strong enough to delay an average five-year-old from breaking it open long enough for a responsible adult to resolve the situation.

If you need ideas, Chris Dumm has a review here. Dan Zimmerman has another one there. And the infosec professional who goes by the pseudonym Deviant Ollam has a nice (and definitely NSFW) review of a few popular lockboxes over yonder.


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  1. Please note that it is exceedingly easy for unauthorized young children to open many handgun safes. Do your research before you buy.

    Pro tip: check out YouTube videos (like this one which demonstrate how quickly and easily young children can break into many models of handgun safes.

    • for those- some are egregious ( Dropping the case and having it lose security for instance). Some only apply if your kid has access to lock picks and some understanding of how to use them. So, do the research. Don’t be overly pessimistic either though.

  2. MANDATED safe storage is an abomination because once you open THAT door it turns into “firearms must be totally disassembled and unusable”. That said you can get a good safe for pittance. I do NOT like Gunvault because their biomtrics stink on ice. I got a Sentry biometric which has 3 options: finger code, key or bio. It’s HEAVY and bolted down and I can open it in less than 2 sec with bio or 3 sec max with a code. WHAT is a kid worth?


  3. The socialist media will have a field day with this. And that wouldn’t bother me so much if they gave equal time to successful DGU incidents.

  4. I vote to stop giving clicks to WAPO. We are not going to persuade them, at the editorial level, and there is no reason to send readers there, to be programmed by the baloney coordinated deliberately by the anti-gunners.

    As to safes and gun safety- of course. Lock up guns, un-loaded if necessary, when kids are visiting.
    Visit the NRA for lots of education that works, and has for decades, to teach adults and kids to be safe around guns.

    Asking lawmakers to mandate new rules to lock guns, wont work, as those punish all the sensible gun owners for the mistake of the one idiot.

    Hold people responsible, instead, for their individual mistakes. There are plenty of laws on the books now for that, manslaughter, negligence, and civil lawsuits.

  5. Tragic and completely preventable. I am a grandpa and can’t imagine something this horrible. I am against mandatory safe storage but against stupid gun owners…

  6. For those who have commented to the point, NO ONE here, least of all the author, is advocating for safe storage LAWS. But to not practice safe storage when the situation calls for it is irresponsible and potentially lethal and we need to say as much. Please stop jumping to the defensive. You’re in friendly territory.

  7. Grandpa has his share of the blame to be sure, but where is the parents’ involvement here, just out of curiosity? Why had they not already taught the five-year-old age-appropriate gun safety rules (e.g. Eddie Eagle)?

    (Also: I think some context/perspective would be nice once in a while. It seems we get hit with stories about every single accidental firearm death that happens. While it is always important to discuss safety, at some point there is a degree of fatigue, considering that we’re preaching to the choir here.)

  8. Buy A F&^%ING SAFE! And put the gun in there, or in your F’ing POCKET while the kids are over. Dumbasses getting kids killed are going to ruin it for everyone.

  9. Taking the proper measures to secure a weapon of any kind from unauthorized used work some of the time, specially when children are involved in the pictured like stated above. What works 100% of the time is teaching said child about gun safety the moment he or she can understand the English language. I have a 5, 6 and 8 year old children and they know how dangerous a gun can be if miss handle and how to properly hold them and point them in a safe direction if they ever come across one in someone else’s house or while in recces or a class room.

    Ignorance is not protection and all of this children getting killed because they didn’t know any better can never be stopped if people continue to choose ignorance over knowledge. Teach your children even if you don’t own guns cause you never know what happens when they are not within your line of sight. And with more people choosing to defend themselves and keep a gun in the house you really never know were an unsecured gun might be just laying within the reach of those little ones you love most.


  10. This incident is a terrible tragedy, this is the kind of thing that destroys families and I don’t just mean because one of them is now dead.


    Would someone please explain to me why that incident has anything to do with anything else? That the 5 year old shot the 9 month year old means what, exactly, to me and my family?

    I am going to use this incident as a learning tool for me and my family to be sure. But why should what happened to them suddenly invite someone to think they have just been given an opportunity to tell me what I should or shouldn’t do, or how.

  11. My son actually picked the lock on my file cabinet with a paper clip and a bobby pin (his “lock pick set”). So now, any time I can’t find the key for something, he offers to pick the lock. I’m hoping to finally get a gun in the house with this year’s tax return, so I’m going to need not only a good lock box or safe to put it in, but a good place to hide it that’s still quick and easy to access.

  12. Masaad Ayoob wrote a great book about gun proofing your children. I have 3 kids under the age of 10 and do not need to worry about them touching my or anyone else’s (grandpa’s) guns, whether I lock them up or not. Not saying you shouldn’t have a safe, but no device is infallible. Take responsibility, teach your kids and remove curiosity.


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