The question of child access to guns made national headlines this week after a five-year-old boy shot and killed his two-year-old sister in Kentucky. Just days later, a home defense seminar at the National Rifle Association's (NRA) Annual Meeting is raising eyebrows because of its suggestion that guns be stored in kids' bedrooms.
Home defense was a focus of this year's NRA members meeting, according to the Houston Chronicle. One of the offerings was a well-attended seminar on "Home Defense Concepts" taught by gun safety advocate and firearms instructor Rob Pincus.
In a video clip of the seminar obtained by ThinkProgress, Pincus asks the members assembled where they thought gun safes should be located, in the interest of home defense.
"How about putting a quick-access safe in your kids’ room?" Pincus asks. "We have an emotional push back 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."
As the group laughs, Pincus explains that in a home invasion situation, it makes sense to have a gun stored in a bedroom you're instinctively moving to defend.
"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?'" Pincus said. "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?"
In the past, Pincus has mixed gun safety training with the attitude that when provoked, gun owners must be prepared to use lethal force. Speaking with NPR's "Talk of the Nation" program in February, Pincus told the hosts that his classes focus on scenarios when the homeowner is surprised and required to make split-second decisions.
"If someone presents that firearm, but they're not really willing to use it, they don't need to use it, it can actually cause more of a problem," Pincus said, noting that home defense scenarios rarely play out like they do in the movies.
The Chronicle noted that the audience seemed "divided" on the question of where to hide gun safes. What is more clear-cut is the dangers guns pose to children.
The Asbury Park Press reports that "guns still kill twice as many children and young people than cancer, five times as many than heart disease and 15 times more than infection, according to the New England Journal of Medicine."
Since the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary, close to 70 children have been killed by gun violence, according to Slate.