Post # 1
i have a 4 month old. I hate, hate, hate guns.
Okay, background. My brother (almost 30) has substance abuse issues, and also (I believe) depression. He went through treatment last summer but most certainly has not fully recovered. He moved in with my parents. He owns a gun. The gun is supposed to be locked up, but of course he can access it and it isn’t always locked up. This weekend we were over at my parents’ house and my husband walked downstairs with my little guy and saw the gun out with my brother. He said something about that not being cool and my brother laughed it off.
My brother is generally accommodating of the requests we make regarding our son (he changes clothes so he doesn’t have 3rd hand smoke on him, washes his hands, etc.) but doesn’t understand why we don’t like the gun. I presume he assumes a 4 month-old can’t do anything with a gun which, while true, isn’t my real concern. I certainly hope my brother would never do anything, but it still freaks me out.
I don’t know what to do. I’ve expressed to my mom how we feel, but beyond telling him to lock it up (which he sometimes does and sometimes doesn’t), she can’t/won’t do anything else about it. We are going to sit down (again) with my brother tomorrow to try to get through to him, but who knows how it will go. If it was my brother’s house, I’d just refuse to go over there until our protocols are followed, but it’s my parents’ house and it’s not fair to punish them for his behavior (or maybe it is? since they tolerate it?)
Help! What should we do?
Post # 3
Personally, I wouldn’t go to their house. I don’t think it’s unfair or overreacting, it’s your prerogative.
Post # 4
I wouldn’t go over there. If you parents can’t insure there house is safe for a baby (ie gun always locked up) you shouldn’t go there.
Post # 5
I should add that my mom provides part-time childcare. Usually at our house, but hard to require that if she’s providing child care for free…
Post # 6
I’d ask him to lock the gun in his gun safe when you visit, or you will not visit at all. Coming from a gun owning family, it’s just a good habit to have your guns locked up unless you are using them or cleaning them. I really don’t think it’s too much to ask for him to simply lock the gun up when you visit.
Post # 7
Why did he have the gun out? Was he actively cleaning or otherwise maintaining it? If not for a good reason, it should be locked up. If he just likes to get it out to look at it, leave it on the coffeetable and walk away, I can see why you’d be uncomfortable. It’s your choice to tell your parents you don’t want your child in their home if they can’t practice safe gun ownership. That might jeopardize your free childcare, so you’ll have to decide how much it’s worth.
Post # 8
Don’t go over there. You’re not punishing your parents; you’re keeping your baby alive and safe. They can come over to your house to see the baby any time they please.
Post # 9
@almostmrsj: He was showing my BIL (who was visiting and also had his gun out, but we’ve talked to him about it and he understands/appreciates our position). He used to carry it on him at all times, but doesn’t do that as much anymore.
And the free childcare is even more complicated, because I only have my job because of this–I job share with my mom. If I don’t have free childcare, I don’t have a job, because I can’t have the job at all if I’m not sharing it with my mom. Sigh…
It’s just hard because I know my mom hates the gun, too, but she has to toe the line with my brother on a lot of issues, and I guess she isn’t picking this one.
Thanks for making me feel like I’m not crazy. I think we’ll lay it out completely tomorrow–gun isn’t locked up, we leave the house. Period.
Post # 10
I think you are in the right. Having a gun out while the baby is present may not be terribly dangerous… but it will be when that kid is a toddler and in to everything.
I would make it clear that while you dont mind him having a gun, you will not come over if that gun is not put away and properly locked up. I wouldn’t punish your parents. Invite them over instead.
Post # 11
Especially if he has the possibility of mental issues I’m sure that means he can be not only unpredictable but also not always the most responsible person in the world. I’m sure it isn’t on purpose but it’s something that he can’t help. I understand you not wanting to punish your parents but they are enabling him and quite honestly putting themselves at risk as well as numerous other people by letting him have a gun. Yes he’s an adult but anybody with mental health issues (substance abuse fits into this category) should not have access to guns of any kind. My friends father has guns, and has substance abuse issues and they have gone into his house in the middle of the night to remove all weapons to avoid him hurting himself or others, when he’s back on the wagon they do let him have them which I don’t really agree with. For your safety and your child’s you need to refuse to go to your mother’s house until they lock up teh gun and don’t give him access to it at least for the duration of the time that you’re there. If they choose to put themselves at risk and give him access to it at other times that’s up to them but you have every right to ask that they don’t give him access to a gun while you and your child are there.
Post # 12
I wouldn’t allow my child to be in a home where a gun isn’t locked up securely 100% of the time. I don’t think you’re being unreasonable.
Post # 13
My baby/child or I wouldnt be caught dead in that house. he also has substance abuse history. Sometimes you just never know, and you cant say for sure you know what someone will do or wont do…
Post # 14
Agreed with other posters. I wouldn’t go over there unless I can trust the gun will be safely stored. Otherwise people can visit your house if they want to hang out with the baby. I don’t like guns either and wouldn’t be compromising on that.
Post # 15
Why is this a problem? I mean- for your brother? Why is he being so weird? I don’t really get it. Why does he think this is funny? I can’t really see his angle. I would probably talk to him (just you,) seriously in private and then end up yelling at him the next time if it happened again. Sometimes people are different in how you have to treat them to get through to them- but this is really inappropriate and would piss me off.
Post # 16
I don’t care that an infant of 4 months can’t grasp a gun or reach for one. The only way I would let my child near that house is if 1) the gun is securely locked up at all times or 2) it is not loaded at all times. It is especially troubling because the gun belongs to an individual who is not entirely recovered from substance abuse and depression.
I know it sucks to punish your parents for this, but you need to consider the safety of your child first. Accidents can happen and it’s better to be safe than sorry.