Gun owners should store a gun in their kids’ room, according to a ‘Home Defense Concepts’ seminar offered at the National Rifle Association’s Annual Meeting, comments that came just days after the fatal shooting of a two-year-old at the hands of her five-year-old brother.
The course was taught by Rob Pincus, who owns the popular firearm instruction company I.C.E. Training. Pincus argued that, in the event of a home invasion, parents would instinctually run to their children’s room anyway, they might as well have a gun stored there to kill two birds with one stone:
PINCUS: How about putting a quick-access safe in your kids’ room? [...] Good idea or bad idea? We have an emotional pushback to that. Here’s my position on this. If you’re worried that your kid is going to try to break into the safe that is in their bedroom with a gun in it, you have bigger problems than home defense. [Laughter] If you think that the kid who’s going to try to break into the safe because it’s in their room isn’t sneaking into your room to try to break into stuff, you’re naive and you have bigger problems than this. So let’s settle that issue and think about it. In the middle of the night, if I’m in the bathroom or getting a glass of water or in the bedroom or watching TV in the living room, if that alarm goes off and the glass breaks and the dog starts barking, what’s the instinct that most people are going to have, in regards to, “am I going to run across the house to get the gun, or am I going to run over here to help the screaming kid?” And if I’m going to go to the kid anyway, and I have an extra gun and an extra safe, why not put it in their closet?
Defensive gun use against home invasions are extremely rare. Many of the statistics commonly cited by the NRA and its allies are based on mathematically impossible calculations, and the best available evidence suggests that almost all criminals hit in gunfire were shot by other criminals.
However, children are wounded and killed by accidental gunshots with horrifying frequency. Roughly 900 kids were killed in gun suicides or accidents in 2010. A Center for Disease Control study of 30,000 incidents of children killed by accidental firearm discharge found kids 0-4 were 17 times more likely to be killed in a gun accident in the states with the four highest levels of gun ownership than those with the four lowest (the figure was 13 times for kids aged 5-14). Relatedly, a RAND Institute study found that only 39 percent of parents who own guns kept their guns “locked, unloaded, and separate from ammunition.” Pincus teaches an intruder defense course in schools around the country.