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He made threats when he was very sick at home, saying, I should shoot anyone who comes in here unanounced. But, I had to have emergency crews take him to the ER several times. Now he is home and better, and wants his guns back. Cognitively he is fine now, but deteriorates rapidly anytime he gets ill, which is about every 4 to 6 months. I just dont know what to do. Do I give them back to him? He has threatened to put the law on me, if I dont bring them over. He also says, I will just buy another one if you dont bring my pistol. Please help me know what to do...

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Just FYI, this question was asked in July.

Knight58, if you are still with us, it would be really interesting to hear what you decided and how it is working out.
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Tough question. I would call the sheriff and ask for his opinion and offer to submit a list of the weapons that are being held, and Dad's medical reports.
On farm, a shotgun is a very basic tool for survival. In a remote area, 911 can't get there in time.
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Tell him he can have all the guns he wants, IF he can pass a Gun Safety Course taught by a Certified Firearms Instructor, AND if he reports to his local shooting range once a week and can fire 50 rounds within 90 percent of the bullseye on a 50 foot target (however they call that). IF he can do all that, then let him have his toys, and check to make sure he keeps the guns on the bedroom level, locked in a safe, and the ammo goes 2 floors down, locked in a safe. And of course he has to hire an assistant to take him to the gun range to do his target practice. If he really wants his guns, make him aware that it is a huge responsibility and if he's not gonna take it seriously, No Guns.
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There are some simple ways to disable the guns so that they cannot be fired. Recently, this has become a concern for myself as well, so I have looked into it.

Are you associated with anyone that is familiar with guns? If so, they can remove the firing pin so that it looks as if all is well but the guns cannot be discharged before they are returned to him. That way, he will feel no need to go get another one as he has "his guns".
I am not so familiar with weapons that I could do this myself so I asked a friend of the family to do it for me.

It's a frightening prospect to imagine a person that has recurring issues of not being in their right mind having access to firearms.
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My father is also 87 and for many years I did not realize how bad his dementia was but I finally became afraid that he might shoot one of us by accident. So first we slipped the bullets out of the house. He never knew. Then later we took the guns. You need to worry about your own safety as well as others. I think you should do whatever is necessary to keep him away from them. If you live in a smaller town the sheriff or police may help you in some unofficial capacity. In any case if you fear for the safety of yourself or others the local law enforcement need to know about the situation. Don't feel guilty or disloyal, your life may depend on it. I love my father very much but I no longer trust him to make rational decisions.
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When dad started to get bad, he kept a pistol beside the bed. Once he was messing with it, and Mom asked him what he was doing. He pointed it at her. She told us, and the bullets disapeared mighty fast! And I mean all the bullets, for the hunting rifles, everything! We left the guns, there was no way he could buy more ammo. Made him feel better they were there. Then when they moved in with us, all the guns went into the gun safe.. if Dad askes we tell him they are "safe"... If dad is not ALZ and you don't have POA this could be trickier. Can you tell him you took them to be "checked out for safety at a gun shop"?
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As GardenArtist had mentioned, maybe a shotgun.... as I have read where just the "chung chung" sound of pumping a shotgun, or whatever, will scare off someone.
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If he is living alone, they are his. Not that I would want him to have them, but they are his and we are still in the USA. Could you possibly disable them? Another thing that I would be scared of, is theft. They might get stolen.
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If his concern is for his safety, perhaps a compromise approach might work. A double barreled shotgun might provide protection, even when it's not loaded. An intruder couldn't tell whether it's loaded or not.

With semi-autos that take clips, an intruder could see there's no clip and possibly conclude there was only one round in the chamber (although that would be enough to deter me if I were an intruder!).

Some other nonlethal weapon might work as well to scare off an intruder...maybe even a cap gun! I would think that if someone is breaking in and sees the barrel of a gun pointing at him/her, he/she would hightail it out of there rather than stop and analyze what the weapon is and whether or not it's loaded.

One of my father's friends bought him a can of insect spray; it's easier to use than a gun and would certainly cause discomfort - the smell alone is sickening.

Hair spray has also been used as a weapon; I carry a little tube of spray in my purse. Your father could easily aim a can of hair spray at someone, although it won't have the range of any gun.
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I would definitely have a psych exam on him for dementia.I believe in gun rights but when someone is having cognitive problems this is a lit fuse and dynamite.Does he live alone? Does he drive,because if he isn't safe to drive I would really believe he doesn't need a gun around. Better to be safe than sorry, especially if he gets paranoia and shoots a family member or a neighbor's child.
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Is he a hunter? Target practice shooter? Has he had guns all his adult life?

Do you think his threat to shoot someoneo who came into the house when he was ill is a reflection of his personality or was it because he felt vulnerable from his illness?

I think one of the reasons people want guns as they get older is because of the sense of increased vulnerability. Life can be violent, especially in some cities.

Is he able to handle a gun when he's not ill?

Perhaps you could also disable them, or keep the ammo. If he has an empty gun w/o ammo, he might feel at least some level of protection, until he discovers the ammo is gone.

This is a really tough decision; if you do keep the guns and he does attempt to buy another, do you think he'd be able to to do so, or do you think a gun dealer would decline to sell to him because of his age? And more importantly, would he even have transportation to go find one to buy?
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No guns. He's already threatened to shoot people. If he buys another one, so be it. At least you didn't make it easy for him if goes off his rocker. How would you feel if he used the gun you gave back? Spare yourself that guilt. Lock them away.
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Good question. More than half the population will say with his health concerns that he shouldn't have his guns return, and the remainder of the population will say its his 2nd Amendment right to have his gun.

The reason I say more than half will say "no" is because back in 2010 only 32% of households own firearms, compared with 50% back in 1973.

If you do give back the guns and he does seriously harm someone during a bout of illness, you will be made to feel very guilty. Why not ask his primary physician what he/she would recommend to take that burden off you.
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he had knives too . he'll get his by god guns back . count on it ..
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