Older generations often have a different view of firearms than people raised in the last few decades, thinking of the weapons more as items for self-defense than as something that should be locked away in their home and used for emergencies, shooting on a range or hunting.
As we age, sometimes our mental faculties tend to become a bit fuzzier, adding to the level of danger involved in having guns stored in the open and fully loaded. If there is an older senior citizen in your life, it is helpful to ensure that they are being safe with their gun storage to protect not only the senior, but also others who are interacting with them on a regular basis.
Safe Storage Gun Laws
Many states and municipalities have started to enact safe storage gun laws that require guns to be stored unloaded and in a locked or highly secure location. Seniors may not be aware of the passing of these laws, which lawmakers purport are for their safety.
If the elderly individuals in your life are still storing their loaded guns under their bed frame or in their nightstand, it might be time to have a conversation with them about why it’s important to securely store their weapons — especially if there is the potential of a grandchild entering their home. Accidental injuries and suicide are most often found in the homes of individuals with their guns stored in what is considered an unsafe manner: loaded and in an unlocked or highly visible location.
Protecting Older Adults With Dementia and Depression
Dementia and depression are two of the key diseases that tend to overtake older adults, making them more likely to make decisions that can turn out to be self-harming. While there is not necessarily the attempt at suicide, it’s possible that dementia or depression could cause seniors to make assumptions about the source of danger and take steps to protect themselves in such a way that causes harm to themselves or others.
Separating guns from ammunition and keeping firearms protected at all times can help reduce the possibility that accidental death and other injuries will occur. Memory loss is another danger to seniors, as they could easily forget what they know about gun safety and make a fatal error in judgment that can’t be changed after it happens.
It’s extremely important to have good conversations with older relatives and friends who have guns to be sure they are clear on the various concerns that you are having. This shouldn’t be done in such a way that they feel as though their rights are being taken away. Instead, frame the conversation as a safety precaution that will protect not only your aging relative but also any children or caregivers who are also in the home. It may even be time to make the difficult decision to remove the firearms from their home completely if there are clear cognitive difficulties that are causing concern.
~ Firearm Daily