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My mom is 83 years old and keeps 2 loaded hand guns in the house "for protection."How do I deal with this? How can I get them from her? She keeps them hidden away and seems paranoid in general, but she's always been this way. Help!

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People and guns is a hot topic. A local law enforcement agency might have some answers.
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Josue... I totally agree. My honey has been through a lot (strokes, major heart issues) and recently I began to doubt the wisdom of allowing him to keep his gun (I have one and have been trained in the responsible use of it). My honey has been in rehab and I unloaded his gun and put it back in his drawer. After he threatened me on May 30th I purchased a gun vault and have the only keys and combination. Now both guns and all the ammo are in the gun vault to where he has, and will not have, access. Not taking any chances. I can out run a knife, stick or what ever but I cannot out run an bullet. I will be alert to any signs that he is moving toward violence and will immediately call 911 should he move that direction. Please understand this is a man that though we are not married, has treated me with respect and love. That is until last April.
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Hi Everyone,
Most of you are aware of our member comment policies and know that we do not allow direct solicitation of our members. We were contacted by JoNel Aleccia specifically regarding this thread. Although it is an older thread, it has received recent attention due to current events. We vetted the request, and would like to support Ms. Aleccia's work toward furthering information on aging and end of life issues. In order to honor your anonymous use of the forum we have decided to proceed in this direction, allowing you to make the decision to make contact with her. If you would like to participate in an article regarding this topic, please reach out to JoNel Aleccia at the email below. As always, we appreciate the advice and support each of you regularly provide in the forum.


I am a reporter with Kaiser Health News, the health policy news service and am part of the team focused on issues surrounding aging and the end of life. I'm working on a story about gun access among people with dementia and I see an interesting thread regarding the issue on the AgingCare.com site. Is it possible to contact any of the users on the site directly? I'd like to ask if they'd be willing to discuss their experiences.
Thanks,
JoNel Aleccia
JoNelA@kff.org
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I voted for the innocent and the responsible to be armed with weapons I never voted for the insane or criminals be armed that's never an option I believe in responsibility my father always told me that if you respect a gun it will serve you well but if you play around with it it will end your life why do you think so many accidents happen with guns because of ill responsible owners if the owners are more responsible there would be less accidents what's the point in regulating guns in the first place if you regulate a gun what's stopping the black market for getting the guns back on the streets what's stopping them from going to a place where buying a gun is legal what's stopping them from buying a gun from a gangster everyone should have the right to defend themselves if they are responsible citizens who are not mentally impaired or who are criminals that's my stance on this entire issue with guns so I believe that the person still has their mental capabilities and yes they should still be allowed to keep their gun but once their mental capability start to slip take it away they should not be allowed to have a gun I don't care if they're really love to be independent if they're ability to use it has been compromised I don't want to be involved in a situation where a loved one is injured or myself or a innocent person is injured or even killed having any type of weapon or tool in the hands of a mentally impaired person is never going to end well
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Well, if you don't take the guns away from the paranoid, the demented, the mentally ill, rest assured the orange messiah in the white house approves heartily of all of them being armed.   Toting firearms is a sign of true 'Murican, they have the right to self defense!  .  After all, innocent until proven guilty, right? If you voted for it, enjoy!
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I'd like to see "safety necklaces" or some such invention made for Anyone who might be in danger. There's necklaces that are for medical alert. Why not one for personal protection! YES, I know there are many details to work out. I have no answers to that! But it could be a safer device than guns to protect old people, girls in college campuses, people who live alone, on and on....it would have to come with a price, along with "charges" for people who hit the button every time they got scared, with no danger around! It might prevent oldsters from shooting the wrong people or themselves/ or people shooting them with their own guns, or someone breaking in to steal their guns / grandchildren getting guns, etc.,etc. Please consider this.
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My next door neighbor shot himself in the head early one morning. A few weeks later thentenent in one of my houses shot himself in the chest in the front yard.. Big mess in both cases and a lot of grief for the families and friends
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That's food for thought, Rosepetal. It's a way out for those who are tired of it all.... The thing is, innocent people can get hurt by brain dead old people taking potshots, hither and yon. I think once they lose their faculties, once they BEGIN to lose their faculties, they have no more use for a gun than they do for a Little Red Corvette to drive to the speedway.
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I HAVE BEEN PRESENTED WITH THE SAME PROBLEM. THE GENTLEMAN I TAKE CARE OF ,IN MY HOME, IS AN OLD FRIEND (SINCE THE LATE 40'S) AND HAS ALWAYS BEEN A GUN COLLECTOR, KNIFE COLLECTER,STAMP COLLECTOR - YOU SEE THE PICTURE.
ONE DAY WHILE WE WERE VISITING THE HOME HE GREW UP IN TO SEE IF EVERYTHING WAS OK AND WORKING PROPERLY - HE TOOK ONE OF THE GUNS, SECRETED IT ON HIS BODY, WENT INTO THE BACK YARD AND PREPARED TO SHOOT HIMSELF! FORTUNATELY I HAVE A VERY BRIGHT CARETAKER THAT SAW WHAT WAS ABOUT TO HAPPEN. LUCKILY SHE REACHED HIM BEFORE HE HAD A CHANCE TO PULL THE TRIGGER - AND WRESTLED THE GUN FROM HIS HAND. GOD LOVE MY WONDERFULL CARETAKER!! THAT WAS A BIG WAKE UP CALL TO ME. MY SON AND THE CARETAKER MADE ARRANGEMENTS TO REMOVE THE GUNS TO A SECURED VAULT. THE CARETAKER AND I HAVE HAD CONVERSATION WITH MY FRIEND ABOUT THIS INCIDENT. WE HAVE ALL TALKED IT OUT WITHOUT BLAMEING HIM - OR ANY ANGER - BUT INSTEAD TELLING HIM HOW MUCH WE LOVED HIM AND WOULD MISS HIM. I HAVE MADE AN APPOINTMENT WITH A PROFESSIONAL DOCTOR TO HELP HIM THRU THIS DEPRESSION. HIS FATHER HAD COMMITED SUICIDE AND I THINK THAT IS WHY HE TRIED.
WHEN YOU MENTION GUNS EVERYONE IS UP IN ARMS! BANG BANG!! I AM SURE MANY ELDER PEOPLE WISH THEY WOULD JUST DIE AND GET IT OVER WITH. THAT IS THE PROBELM - NOT THE GUNS!! GUNS ARE FOR PROTECTION AND BRINGING HOME MEAT FOR THE FAMILY - AND PROTECTING THAT FAMILY, SHOULD THAT ARISE.
SO, A BETTER SOLUTION WOULD BE FOR A LICENSED DOCTOR PRESCRIBE MEDS - GIVE THERAPY TO HELP THE PERSON WHO IS SUFFERING COMFORT.
I HAD MANY TALKS WITH HIM ABOUT HOW HIS FAMILY SUFFERED AFTER HIS DAD'S SUICIDE. HE IS A REALLY REALLY GOOD PERSON AND WOULD NEVER HURT ANYONE. I POINTED OUT HOW MANY OF US WOULD BE HURT IF HE DECIDED TO TAKE HIS LIFE.
AND YES I DO LOVE HIM, HE WAS MY HIGH SCHOOL JUNIOR PROM DATE BECAUSE MY BOYFRIEND WAS IN THE NAVY AND THEY WOULD NOT LET HIM COME HOME TO TAKE ME! MY FRIEND IS A WONDERFULL PERSON AND JUST NEEDS COMFORT, UNDERSTANDING AND MOST OF ALL MEDICAL HELP. THE KIND OF HELP THAT SPECIALIZES IN CASES LIKE THIS. THAT TAKES A LOT OF KNOWLEDGE AND UNDERSTAND - NOT QUICK DECISIONS BUT ACTUAL KNOWLEDABLE HELP,NOT A SOCIAL WORKER TO CAUSE MORE PROBLEMS AND THAN WE ALREADY KNOW ABOUT. DEMANDING COMING TO SEE THE PROPERTY TO SEE IF HE IS SAFE, ACTING LIKE WE HAVE BROKEN A LAW! WHAT LAW IS THERE ABOUT BEING OLD, SICK, AT 80+ YEARS?
IT MAKES NO SENSE TO ME TO HARASS THE CARETAKERS WHILE THINKING THEY ARE DOING THEIR JOB!! I AM SURE THAT THEY ARE SURE THEY ARE DOING THEIR JOB. HOWEVER, I AM ALSO SURE THEY HAVE NO COMMON SENSE!
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What a dilemma. At first it sounds strong and brave to want to be that independent. If raised around guns it is second nature especially out in the country. Perhaps you could take her to shooting range to see how she does. It would definitely scare an intruder away and complicated laws as to your rights to use weapons even if someone breaks into your home. My mum said she was getting a gun if ever alone. Good luck.
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My husband has "sun-downing" and would very often thinks I am an intruder trying ti kidnap HIS dog,  and wanted to sleep in a dark room wth the bedroom door locked because he could be murdered, etc. These behaviors, though not happening every night, were enough to convince me that though I had long ago hidden his handgun, that it had no reasonable place in our home. If "responsible" gun owners follow the law in most states, the ammunition must be stored away from the gun, both in locked boxes with a trigger lock as well. By the time an elderly person can get the gun ready to fire if there is a threat, the real intruder will have already subdued the person by any means available. And if there is a loaded weapon, this can just as easily be used on the caregiver as on an intruder. These are all very dangerous situations. If you can have a reasonable conversation about the care and use of a firearm without your loved one becoming agitated, that is preferable, but just like taking away a driver's license, our loved ones really resist, and  once there is mental impairment there should NOT be a gun in the home.
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You remove them! I called the police department-California-and they will take the guns. They can either destroy them or keep them for you. It was a hard decision, yet an important one. Think about what would need to happen for your mom to be able to "protect" herself. This is a very dangerous situation.
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I am amazed at how many people think that it is okay to have a loaded gun in the house. It is not safe under any circumstance. Paranoia is an irrational fear and is a sign of mental illness. The best of us would have trouble making a split second decision and for an elder it is ever so much more difficult. Take the guns for her sake and the sake of anyone that comes into her home. Leaving an unloaded gun is not the best solution as many have mentioned. She could be shot by a police officer or in the event of an actual intrusion, by the perpetrator.
By the way, I grew up in a home with hunting guns and own a .22 myself for killing raccoons and ground hogs.
I am sick and tired of hearing about the rights of people without acknowledgment of the responsibilities.
I do apologize that this may seem a bit hard-lined but I am writing this just days after the shooting in Florida.
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why is everyone suggesting disabling the guns if the cops see her armed if they ever come to your house they will shoot her no questions asked that would be my reaction if I had someone pointing a gun at me and I didn't know it was disabled I'm sorry if I have to be rude but cops are trained to defend themselves and will react on that training
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High-end airsoft guns are indistinguishable from real guns what happens if the cops come over to her house if there is a complaint and see the gun they could shot her or what happens if she points that weapon at someone never take a chance with safety
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My god people! Guns do not belong in the hands of someone with dementia! They will either shoot a family member thinking they are an intruder or themselves. Just take it to the police. This is a must if you are talking about someone needing daily care.
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Blanks can still kill. They aren't safe. People have been killed by guns loaded with blanks. It's all about the amount of energy released. It's not as efficient since it's loaded with a wadding instead of a bullet, but if the gun is pressed against or very close to someone it can still kill them since that energy doesn't have the space to disperse.

How about a fake gun? High end airsoft guns are indistinguishable from real guns. They are made out of metal and have the same feel, heft and movement of a real gun. From the safety to the hammer to the magazines. You can even get them with "bullets". They look like bullets but only contain a little plastic ball. The cartridges are even expended out the side. Replace the real guns with fake guns. Unless she takes them to the range, she'll never know. Now you'll need to have them weathered to look like her existing guns since they will be new. Or you can try telling her you took them to the gunsmith to get cleaned.
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At some point, what action is more likely to occur: You remove her weapons and she dies at the hand of an intruder? Or, she shoots an innocent person because her mind slipped or she had a UTI and hallucinated someone she didn't know?

If you left her weapons with her, the chances of her actually hitting a bad guy is low. Don't take gun safety too lightly. This issue is bothering you for a reason!

Me: I'd either take the ammunition without telling her or remove the weapons.
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ok my answer is to buy blanks and replace the ammunition. Go to the gunshop and explain the situation and they should be willing to help you! That way she FEELS the guns are loaded and they make NOISE when shot but do no harm! Swap out the blanks with the existing ammo!!  AND get a locking gun safe/cabinet with a combo lock she would have to know the combination to get into it. IF she can't remember the combo she cant get to the guns.
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My dad had a handgun. He was forgetting that we were in the house. One night he pounded on the bathroom door that my husband was in. It was about 11pm. Dad had gone to bed earlier but we were just going to bed. Scared the poo out of hubby. So, on advice of posters here we finally got dad to agree that we could have the gun. But now, about 3 years later, he's getting afraid to be alone in the house at night and talks about wanting his gun back. My friend's husband almost shot her and their daughter with his shotgun when they came home from shopping. Didn't know who they were, met them at the door. They had to call the police and he went into memory care right away. It's for YOUR safety and others. I thought about buying blanks for the gun but we ended up not having to do that.
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Look if she still has her senses and knows right from wrong then she is good but if she has a conditions that affect her state of mind like dementia or affects her memery then you should move to take it away thill then keep a eye on her
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Are you serious? If you don't want to take the gun away, get rid of the bullets! This is a great big honkin' disaster waiting to happen. Of course if you live in Texas or something where you HAVE to walk around armed in case you spot miscreants....
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Wow...sounds like your choice is between armed mama or angry mama...and it's not clear if she has any mental capacity issues which would sway the answer...but if the goal is to disarm her completely, I'd call the local police dept for assistance and take her out to lunch while someone else comes in, if you/they know where they are. Of course if she's competent, it would be wrong to let her think she has the protection when she doesn't, as in pulling the pin.
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I am very conflicted about the use of guns. Hubby has always hunted and these days i would just as soon there were non in the house. Hubby feels it is only a matter of time before the local druggies come this way.
I would really rather rely on a large dog but I am no longer able to exercise one. Maybe i will get an electric cart and have the dog run with me. A friend who is a correcyions officer and a very big strong guy makes and keeps a lot of guns. His advise was if you re going to shoot someone be sure to remain in your house. That way you are protecting your property. If i was living alone i would definitely want some way to protect myself. So I tend to come down on grandma's side as long as she is competent and knowledgeable about guns and observes safety precautions.
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Countrymouse I've seen cops shoot people because they think they have a loaded gun I wouldn't do that anyway
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she has the right to her protection I think she is smart. You have not mentioned any mental or physical frailties. If that is the case, then she has the right to defend herself against violent criminals Again, so long as she is mentally and physically competent, it is her right, and I say, go mom! now if she has something that impairs her judgement then take it away 
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Are you serious? TAKE THOSE GUNS AWAY. She is entitled to shoot her t*t off 'defending herself' but no one else should be in danger from wild gunshots or a child getting hold of the gun. NRA TrumpTards grunt approval of ANYONE owning a gun, but please take a short moment to think "what could go wrong".
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I agree with babylettice! In our town, we recently lost a child who found a loaded pistol in his grandma’s car and fatally shot himself in the head. We’ve had (too) many other children who found guns in the house and fired them, killing themselves or someone else. This is what would scare me. I do t have dementia, but as I age, my brain “slips”and since I’m no longer used to having children around, I have to be extra careful to put things that my grandchildren could get into away to keep them safe.

If grandma fears for her safety, get her whole house security for Christmas. If she’s going to shoot an intruder, she’d better be a dead shot. If she just wings someone and angers them, especially if they’re on drugs, things could go very bad very fast.
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Leave her alone and let her do HER thing. She did not get to this age by being stupid. In this world of today she needs a way to defend herself if needed. Ren
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