Sarah Stankorb7 months ago
Thanks Ray (and Reese, sorry your comment didn't show--I think they are working to fix that). You are absolutely right, having guns at home statistically makes you less safe. But Americans own somewhere around 300 million guns and sales have skyrocketed after Sandy Hook. I certainly wouldn't want one in my house, but I think a lot about my neighbors' guns after writing this article--and all the guns around us everywhere.
As I interviewed people who had kids and asked how they stored their guns, I got a range of answers (anything from a high, top shelf in the case of a police officer, to never bringing it home and keeping it locked up at the shooting range). I've certainly never thought to ask when my kid goes on a play date if guns are in the house and if so, how they are stored.
One gun-owner I interviewed told me that the current climate around guns had him deeply concerned, because it made the discussion all about rights to own guns, and not the very important responsibilities associated with them. It put gun-owners in a defensive crouch, more apt to buy more. He wondered if instead of talking first about regulating gun sales (to him a bit of a lost cause) we might first focus on fostering a public movement around gun safety. Tax breaks for buying gun safes or incentives for storing them at shooting ranges. Celebrities talking about how, when they are done at the shooting range, they properly store and secure their firearms so they can't fall into the wrong hands. He seemed to see a middle ground there, for those who hate guns and those who own them, to work together to make everyone safer.
Trust me, before I started working on this story, I never would have considered that there could be a middle ground or a bridge between, or that I'd want to be there, but I think we can all agree, we don't want more school shootings, we don't want cities torn apart by gun violence, and with the realities we've got (millions of guns and second amendment rights protecting those who own them legally), we need a more productive starting point if things are to improve. Seeing gun-owners as evil or trigger-happy is not productive.
And last, a big part of that number of shootings that happen at home are suicides (nearly 2/3 of gun deaths are suicides), and as a society, I feel we really need to talk about that as well. I have no answer there, and would be curious to know what you think.