The Child-Safety Issue No One Wants to Talk About

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Image via Flickr/ R0Ng

 

In a nation where more than 40% of all homes contain firearms, we can't just assume that all the people we know “aren't the type” to have guns or that everyone who does own one is storing it responsibly.

Written as a guest post by Karen Weese

The Christmas lights twinkled as 12-year-old Brian Crowell crunched down the steps of his family's two-story gray colonial in Saugus, Massachusetts, and headed around the corner in the snow to his best friend's house. It was late afternoon, still time for a few games of Nintendo before dinner.

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It had been a good afternoon — his sister had taken him to the mall to do his Christmas shopping, where he'd scored a box of chocolate-covered cherries that his dad was going to love, and his whole extended family was coming over that night for their big annual Christmas Eve dinner.

The kitchen was bursting with goodies his mom had been up all night baking; he'd remembered to do his chores (“The dishwasher’s already runnin', Ma!” he reported proudly when he called her at work); and the brightly wrapped gifts under the tree brimmed with promise. A skateboard? A bike ramp? Could be anything.

But Brian never got to open his presents.

A few weeks earlier, Brian's best friend, Matt, had discovered that his mom kept a .22 revolver under her mattress. When Brian took a break from their video games that afternoon to call home, Matt dug out the gun to show to his friend. Matt thought he was being careful, emptying out the bullets and placing them gently on the bedside table. But he didn't realize he took out only five.

There were six.

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