Gun safety, laws, and regulations are all huge topics across the country right now. We, as a nation, have talked about children and teenagers who have access to guns, but we haven’t gone to the other side of the spectrum to discuss and address senior citizens who have guns or access to a gun.
We’d like to share a story with you that recently happened while one of our caregivers was in a senior client’s home. As an agency, during the initial assessment, we always ask when we enter the home of a new client if they have loaded weapons, and if so, are they put away. We have now learned to ask exactly where the loaded AND unloaded weapons are, to keep everyone, including the client, as safe as possible.
When our Care Manager asked a client if he had a loaded weapon in the house, he replied with “no,” and this was documented during the assessment. During a visit with his caregiver weeks later, he asked the caregiver if she would like to see his gun. She said no, that she wasn’t really interested in guns and would not care to see it. Unexpectedly, he pulled the gun out from the side table, where it was hidden beneath a newspaper. Without thinking, he pointed the gun toward the kitchen and pulled the trigger. The gun fired, and thankfully didn’t hurt the client or the caregiver, but it could have been a completely different outcome. This whole situation left the client feeling terrible, and he was extremely apologetic that this had happened. This event shook everyone up. He claimed he was unaware that his handgun was in fact loaded. Because a shot was fired, we filed a police report per our duty.
It is our goal to avoid situations like this in the future, but in order to do so we believe that a discussion needs to be had with seniors about gun safety. Are you talking to your parents about whether they have a gun? Or if they feel it necessary to have a gun? Many people feel safer in their home with a weapon, and seniors are no exception, but if your parents do want to have a gun around (or if they already do) go over some safety rules with them to keep everyone out of a bad situation.
Some topics to consider could be:
- Safe and secure storage of the firearms and ammunition
- Having a gun trigger lock
- Keeping the safety on
- The appropriate time to use the gun
Help us avoid more situations like these, and bring seniors and gun safety into the national conversation on this topic. As always, we’re here to help, so feel free to contact us to get the ball rolling on this discussion today.