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Wednesday, January 29, 2014

New Campaign Urges Parents to Ask "Is There a Gun in the Home?" Before Allowing Children Over to Play

Posted by on Wed, Jan 29, 2014 at 1:51 PM

ASKing-Saves-Kids-472x1024.jpg

At a press conference in Pioneer Square this morning, Washington Ceasefire unveiled ASK-Washington, a public safety education campaign aimed at encouraging parents to ask neighbors about guns in the home before allowing their children to come over and play. The campaign will kick off in March with "hundreds of thousands of dollars" of outreach, including full page ads in ParentMap magazine and 12-by-4-foot ads on the sides of Metro buses.

"We're starting a conversation," said Washington Ceasefire president Ralph Fascitelli. "We're starting a cultural shift, just like they did with smoking."

And that, as I have repeatedly argued is by far the single most important thing we can do to reduce our nation's epidemic of gun deaths: change the culture. And Seattle City Council member Tim Burgess, who spoke in support of the "Just Ask" campaign, totally agrees:

"We took that approach with smoking: Get the facts. We took that approach with seat belts: Get the facts. We took that approach with drunk driving: Get the facts," said Burgess, who argued that with the facts about gun ownership in front of them, Americans will make much better decisions.

And those facts are startling. According to Fascitelli, having a gun in the home makes you 22 times more likely to kill a family member or friend, and five times more likely to commit suicide. On average, according to a new study published in Pediatrics, 20 children a day are hospitalized in the US due to gunshot wounds, and 75 percent of all child shootings are accidental. That's a lot of preventable tragedy.

The immediate goal of the "Just Ask" campaign is to educate the public that it is simply responsible parenting to ask whether there is a gun in the home before allowing your children over to play. If the answer is "yes"—and 40 percent of American homes have guns—parents are encouraged to follow up and ask if the guns are stored locked and unloaded. If that answer is "no," then invite the kids over to play at your house.

But the long term goal is to completely normalize this conversation. There should be no awkwardness about asking other parents this question. "The absence of guns from children’s homes and communities is the most reliable and effective measure to prevent firearm-related injuries in children and adolescents," concludes the Pediatrics study. And when this question becomes normal, that's when the true facts about gun ownership will finally start to sink in.

 

Comments (56) RSS

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Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn 1
Though you can kind of tell who the gun owners are going to be. Just saying.
Posted by Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn http://youtu.be/zu-akdyxpUc on January 29, 2014 at 2:11 PM · Report this
2
I did this since the time my children were small. It's not the easiest of conversations but I would just ask parents is they had guns in their home.

I only got one yes and I said I had no judgments about gun ownership (these people had antique guns but they did fire them) but could we have the kids play at my house or at a playground. They were fine with it.

I have now raised two sons. I know how curious kids are at ALL ages. I did not want the phone call that said my child had killed another child or that my son was dead because of another child with a gun (which would be worse, I don't know).

It might be harder to have this conversation in another part of the country but, as a parent, it's a valid one to have.
Posted by westello on January 29, 2014 at 2:18 PM · Report this
3
Also, Burgess is right - it took time and training to get all parents on-board with seatbelts. It's probably going to be the same for guns.
Posted by westello on January 29, 2014 at 2:19 PM · Report this
4
"Is there a swimming pool in the home?"

http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nvsr/nvsr61…
Posted by reasgt on January 29, 2014 at 2:27 PM · Report this
5
@4: That is honestly also something that should be asked also. Almost as though there are multiple things you should know about someone else's house before you let your kids play there!
Posted by Hanoumatoi on January 29, 2014 at 2:37 PM · Report this
Fnarf 6
Pretty hard to leave an unlocked swimming pool in a nightstand drawer or down the crack of a sofa.
Posted by Fnarf http://www.facebook.com/fnarf on January 29, 2014 at 2:41 PM · Report this
7
@6 I carry my swimming pool with me for personal defense and stash it under my bed at night just in case
Posted by swankylemming on January 29, 2014 at 2:50 PM · Report this
COMTE 8
@4:

Swimming pools don't kill people. People too stupid to monitor their children when potentially dangerous items such as guns, swimming pools, plastic bags, stairs & poisonous chemicals are in their vicinity kill people. The parents asking about guns in the home simply don't want their children to become one of that number.
Posted by COMTE on January 29, 2014 at 2:50 PM · Report this
9
Goldy, you should read that article.

About 84 percent of shooting injuries involved teens between 15 and 19 years old.
An overwhelming 89 percent of the patients were male.
The firearm injury rate for black males was more than 10 times the rate for white males.
Posted by fairly.unbalanced on January 29, 2014 at 2:50 PM · Report this
MacCrocodile 10
@6 - Still, as Hanoumatoi said, totally a valid question. Asking about seriously hazardous things in the home and the measures that have been taken to secure them is an okay thing to do as a parent.
Posted by MacCrocodile http://maccrocodile.com/ on January 29, 2014 at 2:53 PM · Report this
11
I had a good, close friend watch my two kids overnight only to find out later they (she and her husband) had a loaded, unlocked gun under the bed that the kids slept in. Apparently the gun had been messed with so she asked if my kids had messed with it. Freaked me the hell out. Seriously broke down into tears thinking of how that could have played out. Never would have crossed my mind to ask as I don't own guns. A wake up call I needed! I always ask now. And for the record, my friend felt horrible that they they had never thought of putting it up. They were so used to having the gun, they did not even think about it being in there until after they noticed it had been moved.
Posted by moonme on January 29, 2014 at 2:54 PM · Report this
fletc3her 12
This is a good reminder. In general you should have an idea of what kind of people are watching your kids and what the house is like.

The comparison of swimming pools and guns is stupid, full stop, but also swimming pools are big things that one can see while guns are relatively smallish and often hidden away.
Posted by fletc3her on January 29, 2014 at 2:58 PM · Report this
venomlash 13
@9: f.u, you should read this graph and the data sets from which it derives its numbers. Don't kill yourself, though; you have so much to live for!
Posted by venomlash on January 29, 2014 at 2:58 PM · Report this
Boring Dad is Boring 14
84% of shooting injuries involved teens 15-19 years old. So, some "children" are counted who vote and can join the military.

There might be one or two who were involved in gang activity - maybe.

The overall majority of the injuries involved assaults.

The 75% you cite as being accidental are kids under 10, who are involved in (at most) 16% of cases, presuming no 11-14 year olds got injured. Not sure if you did bad math or ? Still way too many but I assume you want to get the facts right in order to keep credibility while you change the culture?
Posted by Boring Dad is Boring on January 29, 2014 at 3:02 PM · Report this
Goldy 15
@9 Oh. It was only black kids? Then never mind.
Posted by Goldy on January 29, 2014 at 3:08 PM · Report this
16
"The firearm injury rate for black males was more than 10 times the rate for white males."

So I should ask if there are any young black males in the house? Sounds kinda rude.

" People too stupid to monitor their children "

So I should avoid stupid people too?
Posted by Yo Mama on January 29, 2014 at 3:32 PM · Report this
17
@9 You mentioned something negative w/ respect to African Americans so that makes you a racist.
Posted by Ken Mehlman on January 29, 2014 at 3:32 PM · Report this
18
@15
You can resort to sarcasm if you want.
But those numbers seem to indicate gang activity more than children accidentally shooting a gun they found.
Unless you are now going to claim that black households have guns at a rate that is 10 times higher than white households.
Posted by fairly.unbalanced on January 29, 2014 at 3:36 PM · Report this
19
Wish I had asked this while my son was growing up. It is such and obvious question.
Posted by cracked on January 29, 2014 at 3:37 PM · Report this
20
I made sure my kids learned how to swim but I'm still working on the bullets and bracelets thing. Now up to using gravel from a slingshot but they still get hit too many times.
Posted by MikeB on January 29, 2014 at 3:41 PM · Report this
21
@18 I hope you'er not implying that black male teenagers are more likely to be involved in gang violence than elderly jewish ladies, because if you were then that would be racist.
Posted by Ken Mehlman on January 29, 2014 at 3:42 PM · Report this
22
@18 I hear you, but I don't really get it. First you are assuming the readers here are all parents without black children, let alone black boys of any age. So, that is some weirdass racist shit right there. You are furthermore suggesting that because one group has a higher rate of deaths, that parents of children not in that group shouldn't be concerned about the danger of death to their own children. Really, that is your argument? Willingly offer ones children to the sacrificial alter of your gun fetish death cult because some other group is already being sacrificed at a higher rate? You people are so sick.
Posted by cracked on January 29, 2014 at 3:45 PM · Report this
23 Comment Pulled (Trolling) Comment Policy
24
@15: The only two thoughts that F_u can hold in his head at the same time are "Nobody thinks guns make you safer" and "I need my gun for self defense".
Posted by Hanoumatoi on January 29, 2014 at 3:50 PM · Report this
25 Comment Pulled (Trolling) Comment Policy
26
It's a perfectly legitimate question, except it should be, "Do you have any 'unsecured' guns in your home?"

My answer to that would be 'no.' Guns in my safe are nobody's business but my own.
Posted by CPN on January 29, 2014 at 4:02 PM · Report this
27
@22
Maybe you should talk to people who have lost children to gang violence before you start with your fake outrage.

"You are furthermore suggesting that because one group has a higher rate of deaths, that parents of children not in that group shouldn't be concerned about the danger of death to their own children."

No, that's what you are claiming based upon your fake outrage.
I'm saying that asking whether there is a gun in the house of your child's friend will have no effect on whether a black teenager is shot by someone in a gang.
Posted by fairly.unbalanced on January 29, 2014 at 4:03 PM · Report this
Fifty-Two-Eighty 28
I'll bet @1 doesn't even know a single person who owns a gun.
Posted by Fifty-Two-Eighty http://www.nra.org on January 29, 2014 at 4:07 PM · Report this
Clara T 29
Yes, I keep them inside a pit bull inside a bag of poison at the bottom of my swimming pool.

The real question is why is my kid so lonely?
Posted by Clara T on January 29, 2014 at 4:13 PM · Report this
30
Isn't this the question that Florida outlawed doctors asking?
Posted by thename on January 29, 2014 at 4:18 PM · Report this
Goldy 31
@26 No, if my child was invited to play at your house, whether or not you have a gun would be my business. And if you refused to answer, that would give me the information I need to decide that my child would not be allowed to play at your house.

Or are you suggesting that I shouldn't be allowed to even ask that question?
Posted by Goldy on January 29, 2014 at 4:27 PM · Report this
Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn 32
@25 @28

You guys must be fun at parties.

Anyway, that's how you can tell. Easily offended? Afraid all the time? And angry? Jumps to wild conclusions? Have to walk on eggshells around them? There's your gun owner. It stands out.
Posted by Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn http://youtu.be/zu-akdyxpUc on January 29, 2014 at 4:45 PM · Report this
33
@4, I grew up in a part of the country where a lot of people had swimming pools, and yes, this question was standard. We kids had a healthy fear of pools -- don't swim without an adult present, don't swim on a full stomach, wear sunscreen. I'd be pretty happy if guns were treated with nearly as much deference as pools.
Posted by wxPDX on January 29, 2014 at 5:06 PM · Report this
34
@31

Clearly you're allowed to ask any question you like.

I just think you're asking the wrong question. If you were to ask me if I had guns in my home, I'd likely respond with, 'There are no unsecured guns in my home.'

Whatever you did beyond that is entirely your perogative, although why you would fear guns securely locked in a safe utterly escapes me.
Posted by CPN on January 29, 2014 at 5:22 PM · Report this
35
@34: Would you be open at that point to answering some quick questions about how they were secured, and whether they were kept loaded in said safe?
Posted by Hanoumatoi on January 29, 2014 at 5:27 PM · Report this
Matt from Denver 36
@ 34, if you're going to be cagey, you'll lose people's trust. Guns aren't porn.
Posted by Matt from Denver on January 29, 2014 at 5:43 PM · Report this
Boring Dad is Boring 37
@36 Kind of like how you'll lose peoples trust if you use misleading stats and then lie about them, counting on people to not even bother reading the underlying facts.
Posted by Boring Dad is Boring on January 29, 2014 at 6:10 PM · Report this
38
@35

Yes, I would be open to answering those sorts of questions at that point, happily.

The key would be in the tone and demeanor of the questioner. If it were judgemental, pejorative, prosecutorial or condescending, I'd tell you to go fuck yourself.

If it were from a polite standpoint of legitimate concern, I have all the time in the world to assuage one's concerns. Gun safety is not more important to anyone more than me and a tragedy with a firearm I own is the unimaginable nightmare scenario.

I'm not a dick. I'm not crazy, and I'm certainly not a gun evangelist. Guns are definitely not for everyone and if they're not your cup of tea, I respect that.

I only wish that more supposedly 'enlightened' liberals would do the same for me.
Posted by CPN on January 29, 2014 at 7:17 PM · Report this
meanie 39
This would be a really great effort if it was for something like vaccines.

Instead its a knee jerk attempt to stigmatize a civil right. Drunk driving was bad, and seat belts have saved a lot of people, but to compare them with children's access to firearms is hyperbole.

Asking about peanuts, processed food, or the amount of errands in cars would save more actual lives. ( someone already pointed out pools ) but thats not what this is about. This is about making people with a different opinion out into the evil other, via propaganda.
Posted by meanie http://www.spicealley.net on January 29, 2014 at 7:43 PM · Report this
40
Yes...
Does your home have a firearm in it, is it securely locked and unloaded ?
Does your home or that of any neighbors have a pool or hot tub ? Will you go outside to watch the kids and make sure they're far away from the body of water ? When was your last CPR training ?
Has your child and any residents of the home completed all recommended vaccinations and gotten a recent tetanus booster ? Have you completed any international travel in the past 90 days ?
Do you have homeowners insurance with medical liability ? Can I get a copy of that insurance card and verify.

I'm sure your teenage children will be thoroughly entertained.
Posted by ChefJoe on January 29, 2014 at 8:34 PM · Report this
blip 41
You guys, it's just a question. No one is trying to take your guns away.
Posted by blip on January 29, 2014 at 8:35 PM · Report this
42
@38: I may be in favor of gun control, but my issues aren't with the people like you who take care with a dangerous item. Would you be in favor of legislation like mandatory background checks, or requiring safety training prior to purchasing guns, a sort of licensing like with a car?

Ultimately, most people have hobbies which increase their risk of injury or death. Skiing, swimming, driving, shooting, all of these are not danger free, and the issue is with negligence in most cases. With guns, there is an additional danger of malice which is less present in skiing and swimming, and increased chance of harm to those not participating willingly (or knowingly).

I'd like to think we could move to somewhere away from "everybody gets all the guns and ammo they want of any kind", without necessarily replacing it with Japan's nanny state. Get to a middle ground, like the often talked about Switzerland, where many households have a gun, but they are less likely to be involved in violence, accidental or malicious.
Posted by Hanoumatoi on January 29, 2014 at 9:28 PM · Report this
collectivism_sucks 43
Too all the socialists authoritarian scum I ask this: see this woman here? Would you have taken her gun away too?
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/co…

Yep, that's Harriet Tubman. But I guess she should have been nice and asked the slave owners to let those people go. But of course, considering the average left-authoritarian is racist as hell you probably think she should have waited for a white liberal run government to help her, just like you want the white liberal run government to run every African American's life?
Posted by collectivism_sucks on January 29, 2014 at 9:58 PM · Report this
TheMisanthrope 44
So, why are we rallying on gun control but not on gang violence?

At the absolute minimum, 14 of the 20 gun related injuries were black males between 15-19. And that's a ridiculous minimum because it assumes no cross overs of the 3 criterion.

That's a severe problem. And, maybe I'm wrong, but most guns involved in gang violence aren't procured legally.

Rallying around gun control is all fine and dandy, but gang violence is still a problem, even in Seattle (shocker I know). But, instead of addressing that issue, we sit around wanking off about gun control.
Posted by TheMisanthrope on January 29, 2014 at 9:59 PM · Report this
collectivism_sucks 45
If I had a kid I would ask if the parents read "the SStranger" (spelled with a double s on purpose...) for anything other than "know your enemy" value. I would not let my kids hang out with folks who actually get value out of this racist, socialists, statists, bi-phobic, transphobic, collectivist rag.
Posted by collectivism_sucks on January 29, 2014 at 10:00 PM · Report this
46
@43, your post displays the kind of generalized anger that makes people with guns dangerous, and unfortunately that anger makes it more likely that you will own a gun.
Posted by sarah70 on January 29, 2014 at 10:35 PM · Report this
collectivism_sucks 47
@46
Didn't answer the question: would you also have wanted Harriet Tubman, the black Panthers, the Deacons for Defense and Justice (google them) and the Mexican militias who are fighting drug lords today to disarm?
And yes, I'm angry: at the statists who want to run our lives and the corporate-state that enables them. Nothing "generalized" about my anger at all.
Posted by collectivism_sucks on January 29, 2014 at 11:39 PM · Report this
mr. herriman 48
i've asked the question, and yeah it's awkward. and i've volunteered the information ("and just so you know, we don't have any guns in the house") when inviting other people's kids over for the first time. also awkward. but it spared them having to ask, which was a worthwhile tradeoff for me, and may have encouraged them to ask/offer up next time they were in a first-visit situation involving another family.

but i confess i didn't ask everybody, only the ones i thought might have guns, based on my own prejudices. i further confess that i stopped asking when my kids got older, thinking that i'd done enough at that point to dissuade them from playing with any gun they might come across. naive on both points.

i fully support the movement toward having these conversations, despite having only selectively applied that action myself.
Posted by mr. herriman on January 30, 2014 at 3:19 AM · Report this
phewd 49
Seeing how quickly and slyly my son discovers the passcodes to mine and my wife's tablets and phones, couching the question within the context of whether a gun is "secured" or not is irrelevant. If a kid wants to get into something, s/he'll find a way.
Posted by phewd on January 30, 2014 at 5:18 AM · Report this
50
I've asked this question and the hostility with which it is met is amazing. I've also learned to ask about dogs... at my daughter's little school one family had "the sweetest" pitbulls and thought nothing of inviting kids over --mine never went.
So mine was the kid who stayed home a lot and read...
Posted by ruthw on January 30, 2014 at 8:22 AM · Report this
venomlash 51
@43: Unless your average gun-owning American today is fighting off armed militias trying to murder or enslave them, they don't have the same need for a firearm that the illustrious Ms. Tubman did. That dog don't hunt.

@49: I recommend the same approach used to keeping bears out of apiaries. If a bear knows that there are beehives in a yard, an electric fence won't stop him; to his bear mind, eating honeycomb is well worth getting shocked in the process. But if you put up the fence before the bear gets in, he won't know for sure that the hive is there and it won't be worth getting shocked for him to check, so he'll just go away.
TL;DR: don't tell your kids about the safe. If it's out of their sight, they won't have reason to wonder about it.
Posted by venomlash on January 30, 2014 at 9:26 AM · Report this
52
@44 Society talks endlessly about responding to gang violence.

One piece of that would be helpful is to reduce unregulated flow of guns into our society, but you oppose that because you are a tool of an ideology spread and fostered by the gun manufacturers through the NRA and other tools. Your views are miles different from that of the ordinary American gun owner in 1960. You are an adherent of the Gun Fetish Death Cult.

I repeat, that a larger number from one group are harmed by guns poured into society by the gun manufacturers does not mean that members of another group that is harmed in smaller numbers should ignore the threat. You are just making a shitty red herring argument that appeals to racism.
Posted by cracked on January 30, 2014 at 10:14 AM · Report this
53
@52

"I repeat, that a larger number from one group are harmed by guns poured into society by the gun manufacturers does not mean that members of another group that is harmed in smaller numbers should ignore the threat. You are just making a shitty red herring argument that appeals to racism."

No, he's pointing out that Goldy is being deliberately misleading. Most shootings are not accidental, most are related to an ongoing criminal enterprise. Last year there were 48 deaths of the sort Goldy is going on about. While any death is bad, that's a pretty good safety record given the number of guns in this country. Far better than pools, particularly given how many fewer pools there are than guns.
Posted by mage on January 30, 2014 at 3:35 PM · Report this
54
"It's just a question."

"No one is trying to take your guns."

"Can't we just regulate guns like cars."

Goldy explicitly states that the goal is to change the culture, so it's not just a question. The goal is to ostracize and intimidate gun owners.

Lots of new gun bans have been passed by various states in the last year. CA passed one that would have banned millions of guns, but our democrat governor vetoed it. A provision from CA law passed years ago recently went into effect, and now no new pistols can be sold in CA, though old designs can continue to be sold so long as they remain unchanged.

Guns are already regulated far more heavily than cars, at least in many states. Though WA still allows unlicensed open carry. National shall issue carry permits seem like a good compromise. Most liberal gun owners would like me would love car like regulation. Particularly the fines instead of prison for safety issues.
Posted by mage on January 30, 2014 at 3:50 PM · Report this
venomlash 55
@53: It's accidental shootings that we can most easily work against. Duh.
@54: "Guns are already regulated far more heavily than cars, at least in many states."
In order to drive a car, you need to pass a test verifying that you know how to safely and responsibly operate it. This is true of every state in the Union. How many states have that simple requirement for gun ownership?
Posted by venomlash on January 31, 2014 at 6:45 AM · Report this
56
Not only that @55, but many states now require dozens of hours of supervised practice driving before even allowing you to demonstrate that you can do it, and place further restrictions on new drivers to keep them out of the most dangerous situations (night time driving, driving with many passengers). The most you generally have to do for a gun is pass a background check and wait a week.

A once-in-a-lifetime safety course is NOT too much to ask. Rules requiring securement around minors is not too much to ask. Responsible owners already do these things and will be put out not one iota.

You know what happens if a minor without a license takes their parent's car and wrecks it? They get penalized. A high school friend did this. He was barred from getting his license until 18 and had to pay hundreds of dollars in fines. But if they take their parent's gun and shoot someone, everyone must express their sympathy at the "tragedy." My friend no more intended to wreck his parents' car than other kids intend to shoot their friends when playing with something dangerous they're not qualified to handle. Why consequences for him, but sympathy for kids who do their damage with guns? For the record, I'm not suggesting we lock 4-year-olds up. If a *4* year old somehow managed to start the car and wreck it, we'd penalize the parents. As it should be. Too young to know better = parents take the rap for being irresponsible. Old enough to know better = the kids do. But there should be a "rap" to take.

Also, something that just occurred to me with this (the millionth) post on basic responsibility: guns are valuable, yo! You'd lock up expensive jewelry, why not expensive guns? People will put their passport in a fire safe or safe deposit box, but leave their guns laying around. Makes no sense to me...

Finally, @ the kids will get in the safe...not a good one, they won't. My brother's requires both a key and a combination. It's also in the garage and people who have no business handling weapons are NOT when he opens it. He won't even let me open it if I've been drinking (he makes me lock my pepper spray in it when I visit (there are wee ones in the house, and NO ONE wants to breathe that shit in), and, if I fly in late, I've often happy hour'ed before my arrival).
More...
Posted by Ms. D on January 31, 2014 at 3:44 PM · Report this

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