Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Would you have guessed this percentage?

A friend of mine with small children, on advice of his pediatrician, inquires of the parents of playmates whether they have a gun in their house.  (This is also the advice of the Brady Center.)  If so, he respectfully asks that the play date take place in his home instead of theirs. 

Here's the surprise (at least to me):  30% of families he has talked to have guns.  This, in my hometown, one of the highly educated, affluent, low-crime rate suburbs west of Boston.

12 comments:

R said...

Not surprising, even though your state makes it difficult. Firearms are a cultural issue that many don't understand.

What does confuse me is that people will freely admit that prohibition didn't work for certain consumable substances and then expect it to work for durable goods like firearms.

beverly said...

It's hard to say firearms are a cultural issue that many don't understand when I read in the newspaper every day about another kid who shot another kid with a gun he found in the house. The latest one found the magazine 'nearby' and loaded the gun himself. This father is doing the right thing, and kudos to his pediatrician for braving all the blowback he no doubt gets.

Jason Butler ‏@jpbutler said...

From Twitter:

Yikes. I would have guessed far less.

Jonathan Hutson said...

This is not a question of prohibition: no one is trying to take your guns away. It's a question of keeping guns out of the wrong hands. Kids and guns are a lethal combination.

Every day in America, seven children are killed by guns. And 1.7 million American children live with unlocked, loaded guns. So it makes sense to ask, Is there a loaded gun where my child plays?

Ray Collins said...

I would expect the percentage to higher, but I live in Texas. (Go ahead, make jokes about Texas, Texans, and firearms.)

Paul Levy said...

Thanks, Ray.

I already told this Texas story!
http://runningahospital.blogspot.co.uk/2013/08/two-gun-stories.html

Ralph Ranalli said...

Guns are a part of the current culture for large numbers of Americans. But the fact that people question the value of this is not because they "don't understand." It's because they believe that the current rampant irrational proliferation of (non-hunting) guns and an American culture that glorifies violence and sells it as a commodity are harmful, morally-bankrupt trends that need to be reversed.

Joanne Roberts said...

My mother, a hardscrabble woman whose family emigrated out of Appalachia into central Tennessee, used to tell me, "Honey, if we kept guns in the house, you wouldn't be alive today." I think that pretty well sums up our country's problems with guns: One gun plus one hot argument can produce at least one corpse.

Mark Graban said...

Having a gun in the house and being unsafe and irresponsible with a gun are two different things. I guess one could play it safe and not let a child in a house with a gun, but one could also inquire about how said gun is locked up and kept safe.

Elaine Schattner said...

This terrifies me.

ktm said...

I never have and probably never will own a gun. I'm anti-NRA and pro-gun control, at least on some level.

But why, exactly, is a pediatrician, a medical professional, seen as an appropriate person to be talking to patients about guns, on any level? It's mind-boggling to me. They are not gun safety experts. It's none of their business. To me it's on the same level as a pediatrician asking about what kind of car I drive, then lecturing me if the safety rating isn't high enough.

I have never seen any meaningful answer to this question, and I feel too few people are asking it.

Bobbie said...

Ktm: it's like how the pediatrician used to be sure my kids used seatbelts in cars and helmets when they rode bikes. It's not like asking what kind of car you drive - it's asking how you drive it and/or what safety precautions you take to protect the young lives in your care. Guns + children is a public health issue: doing what's possible to protect children's health and welfare.