Ask Athena: Going to Guns

Firearms are a fact of life, and the #1 cause of death for US children. 

Q: I just found out my ex wife’s husband took our boys (10 & 12) to the gun range where he let them fire his handgun, and I am livid! She says I’m overreacting but I say we’re in the middle of an epidemic of gun violence, why teach my children how to shoot?! What legal recourse if any do I have as a parent?     ~ Seeing Red


I am not going to get into what current legal rights you have;  you need to consult your lawyer about whether your divorce decree gives you any particular rights in this situation. You need to establish some practices with your ex about what kinds of activities your boys get involved in.

But the guns. I am most concerned about handguns in the house where your boys stay. A gun in the house increases the chance for accidental injury, homicide, and suicide.  You have every reason to demand that the gun or guns be unloaded and under lock and key and that the ammunition is kept in a separate place.

The key needs to be in separate secure location. Get answers. I would definitely consult an attorney if the answers are not adequate. You also can ask about whether the children were instructed on gun safety.

Since your children have held and shot guns, it is now your duty to talk about the importance of gun safety.  Talk to them about how dangerous guns are; stress that they should never handle a gun they happen to see.  Make sure you discuss that a responsible adult needs present around a gun and ensure the gun is not loaded. Reiterate that the gun needs to kept under lock and key.

Do not shy away from having many conversations about guns because you are afraid it will make them want to handle guns even more. Now that they have practiced shooting, whether you liked it or not, you are obligated to make them aware and responsible. Not talking about it will not make guns go away.

Children are naturally curious about their environment, which — like it or not — guns are a part of today. Pennsylvania’s firearm laws are quite lax; it’s up to individuals to take the lead in their safety and that of their loved ones. Consider signing up for a gun safety class with your boys, most gun ranges and even some non-profits provide education and instruction in responsible handling and storage.

AGREE? DISAGREE? Please comment below.

Send your questions to

Read last month’s Ask Athena here.

About Athena 44 Articles
When she’s not advising mortals, Athena spends her time on earth in NW Philly with her husband, two sons and a day job where she’s paid to tell important people what to do (naturally). Send your questions to


  1. The problem with teaching generic ‘gun safety’ is the undercurrents of bias the teachers transfer to the students. An example, it is pitifully easy to equate the habits of being safe to learning how to “handle” a gun, then to link it to “Getting your ‘man card'”.

    In other words, simply teaching “gun safety” without regard to the ease of which young minds can be poisoned into this wanna-be-macho gun culture “thinking” is in itself highly dangerous and can lead to the desire to hold, caress, and take comfort from guns. And to equate gun ownership as a symbol of respect. This sounds creepy, but it is very important to learn gun safety from people who have equal parts of competence with firearms and respect for young minds.

    Far too often the gun safety teaching crew HAVE AN AGENDA TO INDOCTRINATE toward modern NRA goals. One mus fully appreciate what “culture” implies to appreciate “gun culture” is not the slightest bit trivial.

    • Thank you for your comment! Athena has chimed in from her vacation to reply:

      “I agree with you – I was suggesting that the parents talk with their own children about gun safety. Parents, if you send your children to gun safety classes, please investigate who is teaching the course. The NRA has taken over many of these programs and you need to make sure the education comes from a balanced course.”

      • The NRA has always been the dominant player in gun safety education. They were founded for that specific purpose. They continue to directly and indirectly influence the the majority of instructors. But this belies the deep psychological mechanism at play here. Gun training is a sort of rite of passage. Passage to full manhood for both the men and women who take the next step and personally own that lethality. I’ve seen even far left liberals, women and men hypnotized by holding the power of death in their hands and wanting the status of having it under their control.

        In other words, the phenomenon is far, far deeper than training with a ‘balanced source’. Find someone you agree with completely politically as an instructor…… the damage to the mind begins as soon as the student feel the heft of that forearm in their hands. They no longer listen to the various warnings. Just words. This is a visceral experience. A modern reincarnation of ancient rites of passage and empowerment.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.