Talking about guns is even more difficult than talking about sex these days. The two issues have much in common. The generations may certainly have very different views on the subject, but even the partners may disagree. Both topics are infused with passion and irrationality. Both have extreme consequences unless practiced safely. Both guns and sex are so politicized that it feels like there’s little room for compromise. Abortion or life . . . more armed guards or restrictions on guns. The truth is, most of us can agree that protections are needed in both cases. Yet we are so polarized by the rhetoric that we are terrified to begin the discussion with our loved ones for fear of a conflagration.
Parents and grandparents may differ on their philosophies about gun control. One may think that having more guns equals more safety, while the other may think that getting all the guns off the street is the only way to reduce gun violence. They may not be able to talk about their differences without, well, taking out a gun. Families would do well to begin the discussion by focusing on the desire to keep the kids safe. Just as sex education begins at home, so does gun control.
If grandparents want to reassure their adult children, they can check their closets and drawers to make sure they have locked up all their guns. They can put the ammunition in a separate place and then tell their adult children they have made these safety precautions. Parents who own guns can reassure the grandparents by doing the same. No matter how you may feel about gun control, we all know that guns must be kept out of reach of children and all safety precautions must be observed.
Whether or not you support the President’s gun control proposals, every gun owner has an obligation to help prevent gun violence.
By Ruth Nemzoff, Ed.D., speaker and author of Don’t Bite Your Tongue: How to Foster Rewarding Relationships with Your Adult Children and Don’t Roll Your Eyes: Making In-Laws Into Family. Dr. Nemzoff is a Resident Scholar at Brandeis University’s Women’s Studies Research Center.
For more from Dr. Nemzoff, see: