It seems like an absurd, farcical headline you might expect to read in The Onion. But it isn't.
According to MSNBC, the source of the headline, earlier this week, a man in Alabama was carrying his Glock .40 handgun from the glove compartment of his car to his home when he tripped and accidentally discharged the weapon, wounding himself in the leg. When the man's wife and their young son hurried to his aid, the child got to the gun first and as the mother attempted to take the gun away from him, it discharged again, this time wounding the mother in the neck.
It would almost be comical if it weren't all too real and if similar-yet-less-sensational-tragedies didn't happen several times a day, every day, in our country.
The fact is, most parents who choose to own guns in homes with kids seem oblivious to the real risks and dangers those guns pose to their families.
Every day, as parents, we make very rational choices regarding our kids' safety -- we buckle their seatbelts, make them wear bicycle helmets, cover electrical sockets. Yet when it comes to firearms, it seems for some reason, we are just not able to look at it so rationally. Perhaps it's the media and other propaganda that glamorizes guns as protective while ignoring their dangers. Perhaps it's something even more visceral or cultural or, even worse, political.
Regardless, either wittingly or not, when it comes to firearms, millions of parents make bad choices every day that put their families at a dramatically greater risk of danger.
In my job, I see on a regular basis the harsh reality of firearms in homes with kids: that more than four children under 18 die every day from guns in America -- many from suicides, accidents and homicides from firearms parents chose to leave accessible.
I believe we all, as parents, need to wake up to this reality.
I am not advocating any gun control policy. I am simply urging -- pleading with -- America's parents simply to be aware and realistic about the dangers associated with the choice to own a gun in a home with kids. It is no different than being aware of the dangers of driving a car, riding a bicycle or sticking objects in an electrical socket. We just need to be smart and sensible and act in the best interest of our families and our kids. I am certain, if we can do that -- and not let anybody's rhetoric or marketing stand in the way -- we can make our families safer and prevent many of the firearm-related tragedies that occur every day.
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