The storms hit at my house this week. A level 5 if ever I've seen one.
I'm all twisted up inside. I want to yell, scream, cry, withdraw, attack and hide. All at the same time.
I've posted about my husband and I's arguments concerning hunting. This is not about hunting. This is about safety and trust.
My husband and I had very in-depth conversations about firearms before we were married. We re-visted those discussions as we moved houses and had to decide where to put the gun safes. Again as we had our daughter, as she started walking, as my niece/nephews were older and visiting, and on other occasions. There is no doubt in my mind that I have made it crystal clear that there is never, ever to be a weapon left unlocked. That ought to have been common sense, but apparantly it was not. The last major argument was when I walked downstairs to find guns lying out on the work bench in the basement. My husband said he had left them there to be cleaned and put away. I told him if I ever found a gun left out and not locked up, that all guns would need to be taken out of the house.
Husband and I have differences of opinion. He's a man and feels the need to protect our family. He wants access to a loaded gun for protection. I respect that and appreciate it. So, I tried to come up with something that would meet both our needs. After our last argument, I gave him carte blanche to go buy any gun safe he wanted. I suggested a fingerprint one - easy access, but only by him, safe, can keep under our bed or in his dresser drawer. That was approximately 10 - 11 months ago. I suggested he ask for one for Christmas - he didn't like that idea because it was a need and not a want. He preferred to get a gun for Christmas.
We've had conversations about a gun he was given that is an antique and not able to be fired. It doesn't fit in our gun safe. I asked him to put that one up high on the shelf in the basement, rather than on the bottom shelf where he had it. Husband doesn't think it's a big deal because it can't be fired. I told him I didn't care. If a child takes a gun out and points it her friend, that friend doesn't know if it is loaded or capable of being shot. Heck, people rob banks with water pistols.
That was also my point when he packed his guns in the soft, zipper carry-cases the night before he went hunting. He would leave the guns out in the spare bedroom or the basement. I didn't care that they were unloaded. They were not locked up. Again, a child can take the gun and point it at someone else - that other person will not know if it is loaded or not. All of this to say, I made it very clear that no guns were to be left unlocked - regardless of if they were loaded.
So earlier this week, I went into our bedroom to get the checkbook and register so I could balance the checkbook. We keep it in his dresser drawer. His dresser drawers were all askew and I went to close them. One got stuck and when I went to fix it I saw a gun. Not the one that I know he has in a locked plastic gun case (that he unlocks before bed at night and re-locks in the morning - that I've asked him to put in a fingerprint safe because I'm worried he'll forget to relock it one morning). No - this was a handgun, in a soft carry-case that was not zipped or locked.
I saw RED.
I'll spare you all the details. But the gun was unloaded. He thinks it's okay then. I reminded him of what happened when he left a gun out before. I told him to get the guns out of the house immediately. He said No. I said I'd have to think about where the children and I would go. I meant it - I was ready to leave.
I then slept on it. So has he. I think at this point he would remove all the guns to his parents. But resent me forever. He would see it as an attack on hunting. I want it to be 100% clear that it is safety and trust. I can no longer trust him to lock his crap up and not make it accessible to our children. I was livid when I found out my daughter was over at a friend's house and the dad had an unloaded rifle in a room where my child was playing, just leaning against the wall. My husband knows this. We had NINE children at our house for a birthday party this past weekend and there was a gun in his dresser.
He wants another chance. I told him I had to think about what I wanted to do.
The next night I had calmed down some. He had spent all day thinking up "better" arguments. He apologized and admitted he broke my trust in one sentence. In the next he accused me of being a hypocrite for not having the medicine and cleaners locked up. Then he tried to tell me everything would be okay because our Daughter is scared of guns - he knows this because Daughter noticed a gun under FIL's bed and told Daddy about it. What? How does that support your point? All it means is that our Daughter will not be over at the grandparents until that issue is addressed.
Because Husband admitted he knows he broke my trust, and because he was willing to remove all the guns, and to save my marriage, I agreed to a compromise, under certain conditions.
First - the house must be seriously child-proofed. I went to the store today and purchased a lock for the basement deep freezer, the basement refrigerator, all the cabinets, and the basement door. I also picked up a lock for the closet door that leads to the closet where the large gun safes are. I purchased a big rubbermaid bin for the medications that can be locked with a padlock. As for the guns, Husband will immediately purchase a fingerprint gun safe. Until then no gun is left unlocked.
Second, I have a call in to get a joint counseling session. I want Husband to know that I am dead serious about this issue. I'm compromising to preserve our marriage. I also want witnesses when I say that if I ever find a weapon left out at all, loaded or not, all guns will be destroyed (probably by me in a fit or rage).
Third, our agreements will be reduced to writing. He will agree in writing, not to leave any firearms accessible to children. Loaded or unloaded. Accessible meaning not locked up with a padlock or in a locked safe. Neither of us will permit a child of ours to touch a gun for any reason whatsoever, without joint agreement. In other words, he will not take our Daughter out shooting without discussing it with me in advance. We have very different ideas about the age at which things are appropriate.
Fourth, he must come to some resolution about his relationship with his father. Turns out FIL has guns under his bed and in the basement on the wall. Unlocked but unloaded. And FIL leaves his guns out between the morning and evening hunting sessions. Again unlocked. But Husband says that the gun in the basement is kept there in case FIL needs to shoot a snake in the yard quickly (we do have poisonous snakes here). Well, if that is the purpose, then that means the ammunition must be close by as well. Not acceptable. Husband agreed....BUT he said he talked to his mother to tell her to bring it up with his father. What? I initially told Husband that I would talk to his father since he was apparently too chicken. Then I thought about it. This is not my battle - FIL is not going to take it seriously from me. So I told Husband he had to talk to his dad about it and the kids could not visit until I was sure things were locked up.
Sure hasn't been fun at my house lately. It's dark and stormy with more clouds on the horizon.