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Sun Feb 3, 2013, 05:01 PM

Last night I noticed my brother-in-law's gun safe was open

I'm interested in people's thoughts on this. I'll share mine below.

My wife, daughter and I were over baby-sitting their twin boys (5 years old). Later in the evening, I was checking out his gun-smithing bench in his office, and noticed that his larger gun safe was open, with five or so AR-15 rifles inside, in various states of customization. It inspired me to see if he had his ammo properly locked up, and I noticed that in fact he had several boxes of rounds sitting on his workbench, a few feet away from the safe. (this stuff resides in his house, in his office room, it's not out in a garage or out-building)

I generally think of my BiL as the stereo-typical Responsible Gun Hobbyist(tm). He had training in the military, he's a smart, level headed guy, he always took what I considered to be comprehensive safety precautions when transporting and operating his weapons, etc.

I was a bit shocked to see ammo and weapons just laying around his office unsecured and unsupervised. I can tell you his twin boys are damned smart, and clever in the way that causes kids to get into stuff and figure out how to operate it just well enough to cause hilarity. I've watched them figure shit out, and even as kindergarteners, I consider them capable of loading a gun and firing it, by trial and error or otherwise.

At any rate, it's one of those things where it could happen 1000 times, and nothing at all would go wrong, but then that 1001th time we'd get a horrific phone call, or see it on the news. Or maybe something could have happened last night, with my family involved too. I had no idea that stuff was laying out, and I can tell you my eye was not on those kids every second by any means.

As I said, I'm interested in other people's thoughts. Personally, my opinion of his gun safety credibility dropped a notch last night. I worried about his sons and gun safety in a more abstract way before, but now it's a bit less abstract.

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Arrow 33 replies Author Time Post
Reply Last night I noticed my brother-in-law's gun safe was open (Original post)
phantom power Feb 2013 OP
hlthe2b Feb 2013 #1
MissMarple Feb 2013 #2
sarisataka Feb 2013 #3
elleng Feb 2013 #5
sarisataka Feb 2013 #9
elleng Feb 2013 #11
iiibbb Feb 2013 #15
iiibbb Feb 2013 #7
hlthe2b Feb 2013 #12
iiibbb Feb 2013 #13
hlthe2b Feb 2013 #14
iiibbb Feb 2013 #16
hlthe2b Feb 2013 #17
iiibbb Feb 2013 #18
sarisataka Feb 2013 #19
hlthe2b Feb 2013 #20
sarisataka Feb 2013 #21
hlthe2b Feb 2013 #22
sarisataka Feb 2013 #23
iiibbb Feb 2013 #24
tblue Feb 2013 #26
elleng Feb 2013 #4
gejohnston Feb 2013 #6
mwrguy Feb 2013 #25
iiibbb Feb 2013 #27
gejohnston Feb 2013 #28
Warpy Feb 2013 #8
Tuesday Afternoon Feb 2013 #10
Jenoch Feb 2013 #29
GreenStormCloud Feb 2013 #30
phantom power Feb 2013 #31
Eleanors38 Feb 2013 #32
Bay Boy Feb 2013 #33

Response to phantom power (Original post)

Sun Feb 3, 2013, 05:05 PM

1. Your opinion of his gun safety credibility "dropped a notch"....

Last edited Sun Feb 3, 2013, 07:32 PM - Edit history (1)

really? a notch?

THIS is why pediatricians ask about guns in the household. Not to violate a person's privacy or substitute opinion on gun ownership, but to remind families of the hazards and need for properly securing.

Good gawd....

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Response to phantom power (Original post)

Sun Feb 3, 2013, 05:07 PM

2. Well, that situation doesn't sound very "well regulated", to me.

He sounds like an ok guy, but he may need a gentle reminder about kids and guns. And people breaking in and stealing things.

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Response to phantom power (Original post)

Sun Feb 3, 2013, 05:15 PM

3. You should mention it to him

Familiarity breeds complacency- much more dangerous than contempt. Sometimes a reminder...
"I noticed you left your safe open when you left last night. There was ammo in the room too. Nothing came of it but I kept an extra careful watch because of that. I'd hate for one of the boys end up hurt if they got into your stuff."

No accusation to trigger defensive denial. Just a statement of fact and concern. It strikes a deep chord in someone who does know better and brings it back home that safety is much more important than those shortcuts that are too easy to fall into.

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Response to sarisataka (Reply #3)

Sun Feb 3, 2013, 05:18 PM

5. Very good suggestions.

I'll be in touch with you when I need to find the right words.

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Response to elleng (Reply #5)

Sun Feb 3, 2013, 05:56 PM

9. I am very good at calling people

dumbass politely. My wife coaches me daily

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Response to sarisataka (Reply #9)

Sun Feb 3, 2013, 06:00 PM

11. a great attribute!

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Response to sarisataka (Reply #9)

Sun Feb 3, 2013, 07:47 PM

15. Diplomacy is the art of letting other people have your way

 

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Response to sarisataka (Reply #3)

Sun Feb 3, 2013, 05:26 PM

7. at least we got an adult response in 3 tries

 

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Response to iiibbb (Reply #7)

Sun Feb 3, 2013, 07:34 PM

12. Adult response is to be more concerned about the children in that household...

than bending over backwards to avoid even the mildest reproach to that highly irresponsible gun-owner.

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Response to hlthe2b (Reply #12)

Sun Feb 3, 2013, 07:45 PM

13. Are you in that family? No?

 

Then consider what constructive advice looks like. Accomplishes raising the issue without drama; what a concept...

Now, if BiL does it again, increase the heart, sure... but your idea that a non-hysterical response discounts child safety is ludicrous.

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Response to iiibbb (Reply #13)

Sun Feb 3, 2013, 07:47 PM

14. The children's safety comes first for anyone but the most irresponsible among us.


Take your excuses elsewhere. This is not different than a child left in a car parked but running, or locked in on a hot day, or exposed to an old type refrigerator in the back yard that has not had its handles removed.

Your excuses are contemptible.

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Response to hlthe2b (Reply #14)

Sun Feb 3, 2013, 07:51 PM

16. What excuses? I just spoke in admiration of an adult response in #3

 

sorry if you're embarrassed that you can't articulate something like an adult

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Response to iiibbb (Reply #16)

Sun Feb 3, 2013, 07:53 PM

17. Enjoy your stay here, which will undoubtedly be blissfully

short.

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Response to hlthe2b (Reply #17)

Sun Feb 3, 2013, 08:00 PM

18. My stay since 2004 you mean?

 

Have a nice night.

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Response to hlthe2b (Reply #12)

Sun Feb 3, 2013, 08:58 PM

19. A good response

will do both in a fashion that will make the subject listen and understand.

Having a screaming fit may make you feel good and not even be inappropriate, but the message will be lost when it passes your lips

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Response to sarisataka (Reply #19)

Sun Feb 3, 2013, 09:01 PM

20. I NEVER suggested a "screaming fit"--YOUR words... Adult response is NOT to ignore risk to children

rather than bending over backwards to avoid even the mildest reproach to that highly irresponsible gun-owner.

Again... what did I say? A mild reproach which can be fully courteous and constructive. But pull your head out of the sand. Children die when adults choose to ignore the obvious irresponsibility among their peers.

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Response to hlthe2b (Reply #20)

Sun Feb 3, 2013, 09:14 PM

21. You response seemed to indicate

a mild response was not enough.

I am going by the OPs description that BiL is generally responsible, level headed etc.

A mild mention of a safety failing, in which he has been trained and seems to otherwise be fully aware of safety, and including a mention of injury to his children would have the same effect as writing it on a 2X4 and smacking him in the eyes. Such a reproach is more effective by what it does not say. His own conscience will drive it into his heart

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Response to sarisataka (Reply #21)

Sun Feb 3, 2013, 09:17 PM

22. You and I are not in disagreement... You at least saw the need to intervene unlike the poster who

to whom I was originally responding.

But to NOT act makes one complicit in whatever horrific tragedy might befall this family. It isn't being adult, to ignore such a dangerous situation. One can do so tactfully, but you can't ignore overt irresponsibility that can result in a child's fatality.

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Response to hlthe2b (Reply #22)

Sun Feb 3, 2013, 09:38 PM

23. Correct we are in complete agreement about acting

I am not sure if the OP said anything, plans to or is looking for advice how to proceed...
Hopefully we will get an update

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Response to hlthe2b (Reply #22)

Sun Feb 3, 2013, 09:38 PM

24. I don't know where you got that I thought it should be ignored...

 

...I just thought the OP was better served by the measured advice offered in #3 vs the critiques offered by #1 and #2 which didn't seem to serve much at all.

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Response to hlthe2b (Reply #20)

Sun Feb 3, 2013, 10:10 PM

26. I'm with this one.

What is with the pussyfooting and babysitting this reckless man's tender emotions? Those would be my lowest priority. The safety of the family comes first. Not saying I would scream or be rude but I'd make sure he understood what was wrong and how dangerous his neglectful actions made that situation. I also wouldn't go over there again or allow my children to go there either. If he's sad, too bad. I honestly could not care less.

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Response to phantom power (Original post)

Sun Feb 3, 2013, 05:17 PM

4. I'd drop his gone safety much more than A notch,

and discuss the matter with him and his wife, asap.

DAMNED dangerous, in addition to setting a very bad example.

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Response to phantom power (Original post)

Sun Feb 3, 2013, 05:24 PM

6. what did you do next?

personally, I would give him a ring and offer to lock the stuff up, "is there anything special I need to do lock the safe". A shop teacher I had, sometime during the Carter administration, once told us that a master electrician was more likely to get zapped than an apprentice because of complacency.

Even though we always had guns, I got my first single shot .22 at age eight (I still lean towards those and lever actions, but I digress) we never kept them loaded. That changed when my oldest brother decided to join the local PD, following in Grandpa's footsteps. His wife was concerned about having his off duty revolver or his service revolver loaded even when not worn since her four year old daughter ( his step daughter, my niece) and myself (I was eight or nine at the time). His solution? He bought a couple of watermelons and took us for a drive in the country. The "this isn't a toy" speech was followed by what a demonstration of what a .357 will do to a watermelon. Then he offered me to try it. Like an idiot, I figured it wouldn't kick about the same as my mom's .22 pistol. Needless to say, neither of us had the urge to play with the police guns.

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Response to gejohnston (Reply #6)

Sun Feb 3, 2013, 09:56 PM

25. Called the police, I would hope

That's child neglect and abuse, leaving guns for them to find.

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Response to mwrguy (Reply #25)

Sun Feb 3, 2013, 11:28 PM

27. Yes, potentially destroy a family over a correctable problem..

 

. . . I mean, if you hate your siblings and in laws sure get the police involved. Or, be a grownup and confront him.... or be a real adult and handle the situation like #3.

I hope someone gets child "services" involved in your life some day.

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Response to mwrguy (Reply #25)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 12:13 AM

28. cops wouldn't even bother showing up

in most places. You might be charged for making a false complaint. No, it is not neglect nor abuse.

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Response to phantom power (Original post)

Sun Feb 3, 2013, 05:30 PM

8. Likely he just forgot

but that's dangerous with kids in the house.

He needs a lock for that door, one more level of security, preferably a dead bolt lock. Just tell him to be sure to keep the spare key somewhere it takes a ladder and flashlight to retrieve, like taped near the ceiling on the inside of the closet door.

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Response to phantom power (Original post)

Sun Feb 3, 2013, 05:59 PM

10. what did you do? and Yes, it was very slack on his part and not to mention his wive, too.

as a Mother, I would be appalled to learn this.

You should have rectified the situation immediately and contacted him ASAP to let him know what condition you found the area and what you were doing to correct the scene.

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Response to phantom power (Original post)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 02:49 AM

29. Your BIL screwed up and you should say something to him.

It is amazing how smart, alert, and observant young children are.

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Response to phantom power (Original post)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 08:00 AM

30. Dad never had a gun safe. We were too poor.

Besides, in the 1950s they were rare. Instead he taught me to respect his gun, and at age 11 gave me a shotgun.

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Response to phantom power (Original post)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 01:47 PM

31. thanks to everybody for their thoughts

In fact, I did not mention it to my BiL, which may seem odd, but keeping up with twin five year old boys has a way of driving every other topic out of my head. It's chaos, I tell you. Next time I'm over I'll bring it up. It's likely he just forgot. Because he lives with twin five year old boys 24/7.

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Response to phantom power (Original post)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 07:39 PM

32. You know him better than I, but he should (via another family member?) be told to change his ways...

On a hunting trip, I was sitting on the porch when another fellow offered to show him SKS (a semi-auto carbine of Chinese origin), and handed it to me. He had removed the magazine, but had not cleared the chamber. Safe procedures dictated that I should, so I pulled the action open and slung a live round end-over-end into his lap 15 feet away. I looked at him for several seconds, then resumed normal conversation. Later, he was critical of his weapon, and wanted to borrow my walnut & blue steel Remington 700 with scope, and I said: "I prefer not to loan it."

There are ways to get the message out.

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Response to phantom power (Original post)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 08:48 PM

33. Truth be told...

...it would be very difficult for a 5 year to lock and load an AR, even a pair of clever 5 year olds. I'm not excusing your B-I-L but just stating a fact.

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