Relationships with in-laws can be fraught under even the best circumstances, but 2020 has sent all sorts of unique stresses our way making family dynamics that much more challenging. One mom is facing a particularly tough situation with her in-laws and reached out to Reddit readers under the anonymous AITA column for help. They own guns and she does not want them to babysit her children unless the guns are under lock-and-key.
“My in-laws (80M and 70F) have a gun for protection,” the mom wrote on a recent AITA post on Reddit. “They do not keep it locked up in a safe. They will not tell us where it is except that it’s in their bedroom, but my husband is fairly sure it’s under their mattress. My father in law assured me that he doesn’t keep it loaded, but will not show us where they keep it. All I have is his word.”
Because the gun is not locked up, the mother has not let her in-laws watch her 5 and 3 year old until they tell her where the gun is kept and keep them in a safe. Her in-laws do not understand why they are not allowed to watch her children. The mother wrote that because her in-laws will not show her where the gun or ammo are kept, she will not allow her children to be at their house unsupervised. To further complicate matters, her husband is on his parents side about the issue.
“My husband started telling me that maybe it would be okay for them to watch them for an hour if they kept their bedroom door locked but I said absolutely not, they will not be watching them until I see the gun in a safe, unloaded, and completely out of my kids’ reach,” she wrote in the AITA post.
Commenters overwhelmingly sided with the OP. “Absolutely NTA and this is a hill you should die on,” one commenter wrote. “Guns in the house with kids CAN be okay IF the guns are properly stored. Kids are kids and accidents happen. Preventable accidents if guns are locked up. It’s sketchy AF that he refuses to show you where it is. Hold firm in this and keep protecting your kids.”
“NTA. And you only have his word that it is unloaded. So many accidents with kids and in each of those cases the adults assumed nothing would ever happen to their loved ones,” said another.
Many pointed out that each year, children die by accidental gunshot wounds as a result of guns not being locked up. “The attitude that children won’t find a gun when it’s not locked up is astounding. And he thinks it’s safe under a mattress?? Are you kidding me?,” one commenter wrote.
Others pointed out that kids can get into all sorts of trouble in seconds. “Have these people never dealt with kids? I’ve seen a toddler climb to the top of a fridge for a cookie, unlock a double locked front door for the dog, AND somehow manage to turn on a stove all in less than the minute I took to pee, there is no impossible outside of a locked safe with a hidden key,” wrote one seasoned parent.
While there is no update from the OP on her AITA question about where things stand with her in-laws now, it’s clear she’s got many people on her side. Ultimately, it’s about her kids safety and that, above all else, should come first.
When I’m not hanging out with my three-year-old and husband in Brooklyn, I’m busy writing stories for Mamas Uncut and managing PR + Marketing for Magnolia Bakery, based in New York City. On weekends, you can usually find me at a local park or playground pushing my daughter on the swings, “researching” the best almond croissants in Park Slope or launching into impromptu family dance parties at home, the sidewalk or, every once in awhile, a restaurant bathroom. I’m still trying to master the whole parenting thing, but I have learned that copious amounts of coffee, humor and humility are involved on a daily basis.