Electrons don’t open doors

And mechanical objects don’t provide safety. In yesterday’s post about how certain popular models of electronic gunsafes can be easily defeated the concept of safety as a mindset was touched on but not elaborated fully. Passwords and keys don’t make things secure, what actually secures a box is the steel, the hinges, and the bolts. The password and the key are just how we interface with the bolts.

But that’s still just talking about physical security, and not the concept of safety as a mindset. Safety as a mindset starts with teaching children about gun safety from an early age, and understanding what that really means and how “gun safety” can applied to small children.

When you’re talking about securing your guns, there are two threats to your firearm’s security. People with malicious intent such as thieves, and people with inquisitive intent, such as children. The quick access safes that we looked at yesterday are pretty obviously not suited for defending against malicious intent, and I’d seriously question their ability to prevent inquisitive access as well. Preventing access by thieves and criminal scumbags is another post entirely, which contains the words “vault doors” and “automated machine pistol turrets.” Today we want to specifically look at access via curiosity and how to prevent that.

Nobody with kids, nieces, or nephews will argue with the statement that kids are curious. Small children are like tiny little velociraptors minus the claws, they’re always learning and looking for ways to get into stuff. Especially if the stuff in question is a place or things they’re explicitly not allowed to get into.

The other problem is that children of certain ages posses the manual dexterity to get into all sorts of trouble but lack the necessary mental faculties to process “don’t touch, call an adult.” Obviously, for older children education is your first line of defense. But what about younger children? How do we deal with the concept of firearms safety with children that don’t posses the processor speed to understand gun safety warnings?

Well, that’s where a certain amount of physical security does come in to play. A sturdy, locked door is far better security than cheap Chinese gun box with an electronic lock will ever be. It’s traditional and old school, but it also works. For quicker accessed handgun, I’d rather have a Pelican 1095 case with a good quality padlock (and the key kept on my person) kept in a drawer. Again, if the goal is to prevent curious children from accessing, that would be a reasonable solution.

The best sort of security for a home defense handgun though is to keep it on your body. It’s awfully hard for a kid to get access to a gun that you’re in physical possession of at all time, and even harder for them to get access to a gun that’s locked up in a proper gun safe or secure room when you’re not at home.

For children old enough to understand, get an early start on education. We learned growing up from a very early age that Dad’s guns were strictly off limits, and when we got a little older we were all given gun safety training. Until your kids can understand that training though, take appropriate precautions to prevent accidental access.


  1. Started at age 5 and been shooting every since them. My sInd and daughters started learning firearms safety at 10 and still learn it everyday!!

  2. Good points, but I’ll disagree that a gun on your person is immune to kids’ attention. When kids jump on you and horse around, they can accidentally or intentionally unholster it. It’s hard to predict when a kid will start to rough house with you.

    I’m not saying don’t carry at home. I’m just saying that as with anything, there are no absolutes, and in this case, you must be very vigilant when you are carrying around kids.

    1. As a father and uncle who regularly roughouses with his kids and nephews I’ll throw my hat in the ring of “it’s not as dangerous as you’d think, with a few caveats.”

      I wear a CrossBreed SuperTuck for my full-size XDm from the minute I get up to the minute I go to bed, every day. I also play with my kids constantly. Since I started wearing I’ve made a point to be conscious of where around me (body clock-wise) the kids are when we’re playing and I make it a point to park my 4 o’clock against the back of the chair/seat that I’m in rather than sitting perched on the edge. In addition, I don’t wrestle with them until I’ve got a cover garment on.

      Bottom line: with a cover garment the kids can’t get their hands on the stocks of my gun without my knowledge. Either their hands need to be running up my shirt or they’d have to grab through my shirt. Clearly, I could always tuck the shirt in, as well, which would make things even more secure. Occasionally my youngest might accidentally step on the gun while trying to clamber up my back, but they also know what if anyone so much as bumps my holster that everything stops until I remind them not to touch me there. If I plan to actually roll on the ground wrestling with the kids then I simply unholster first (out of sight) and then reholster later after I’m done. The few older kids who actually know that I carry are also aware of what would happen if I were confronted with someone who had a gun in their hands (particularly MY gun). They’re intentionally cautious and appreciative of having been let into the “inner circle” of the few who know that I’m always carrying. They also (without letting on that I carry) serve as a great preventative defense against one of their friends tackling me by surprise, simply because they’re interested in helping me keep the secret. With a few modest precautions it’s really a cinch to be playing with the kids AND able to defend them from anything.

  3. Sorry to be blunt but… if your or others kids are “ambushing” you to that extent, you need to either pay better attention to what those kids are doing, or you need to work on discipline. Yes they are little human beings capable of reasoning and rational thought, but they are more animal in nature than “reasonable”, and you need to deal with them as such. If anyone, child or otherwise, is making you fear for the security of the firearm on your person you need to swiftly and strongly deal with them and the concequences of their actions.

    My child (5 yr old boy) knows I have a firearm. he knows where it is, he knows NEVER to touch it or any of my other safes or cabinets that are off limits. Kathy’s 3 rules are frequent and constant mantras around here and I’m hoping to actually introduce firearms to him soon. I’m just waiting on my gut to tell me he’s ready.

    1. I’m not going to have this turn into a “I’m a better parent than you thread” so make sure to keep comments on topic.

    2. I’m not going to teach my 2 year old daughter that it isn’t OK to come up to Daddy and want to climb or hang on me. But as another poster said in the previous post on safes, to each their own – love that about this country. At 2 years old she knows that Daddy’s gun is under his shirt and not to touch it – but I still stay very vigilant while playing with her.

      One option to consider is a level 3 retention mechanism if there is concern that the gun will become accidentally dislodged while playing with your kids. That or remove the gun if you are going to be rolling around on the floor wrestling with them. (and store it in a safe location (still in the holster preferrably)

  4. I once had a firearms instructor who said he trained his 3 year old daughter the Eddie Eagle mantra and would actually test her with unloaded firearms laying around in places they shouldn’t be – such as her bedroom. Supposedly she always immediately stopped and found an adult in the house and the gun was always where he had left it…

    I’m not condoning it or even sure it is a good idea – but he swore by it.

    1. I think that’s a really good idea. I consider guns to be similar to water. I learned to swim when I was three. That doesn’t mean I was left alone in the pool. It means that if I fell in without an adult around I wouldn’t die. Same thing with guns. A kid that’s too young to shoot might be fully capable of learning Eddie Eagle’s rules. Ignorance is dangerous, knowledge is power.

    2. People, even children will rise to your expectations, especially if you take the time to teach them and work with them.

      It always amazes me how low many people set the bar just because it’s a child.

  5. Probably the biggest surprise to me after becoming a parent is how great kids are around guns when exposed and taught early. Knowledge eliminates curiosity and thanks to teaching gun laws even before our oldest had the chance to shoot for the first time she was very respectful even cautious right off the bat.

    Also, my 2 year old would resemble the Velociraptor comment. Some of her nicknames are “Wolverine, The Shredder, Whirling Dervish, Hambone and The Nothing.”

  6. “Small children are like tiny little velociraptors minus the claws, they’re always learning and looking for ways to get into stuff.”

    The only issue I have with anything stated in this article is the “minus the claws” part… as a disclaimer I don’t have kids of my own, what I do have are 3 nieces (and a lot of their friends), and from experience I can tell you little kids are devious, intelligent, posses a basic understanding of small unit tactics (distraction and destruction teams seem to be the basic unit break down) and have powers of destruction that are mind-boggling to behold.

    As an example I once witnessed 5 little girls (ages 4-8) lure me out of the house then: systematically rearrange the living room into doll town; dress the 100 pound black lab in a sun dress/eye liner/lip stick and turn on/operate/tune every piece of a very complicated home entertainment system (which most adults need training to operate) in the time it took me to get the distraction party back in the house (approx 5-7 minutes).

    A little electronic lock like the video posted yesterday is going to be well “child’s play” for these guys!

  7. “No with kids, nieces, or nephews will argue with the statement that kids are curious.”

    I think you mean “No one with . . .”

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