If an individual’s dementia has progressed to the point that conversation is not possible due to the disease or lack of judgment, than it is important that family members take action to safeguard the individual and others in the home.
In this situation, here are some tips for dealing with firearms in the home:
The best option is removal of firearms before there is a major safety concern. But if that cannot happen then consider:
- Store all guns separately from ammunition in a secured and locked case or firearm vault.
- Remove ammunition from the house.
- Do not allow the person with disease to have unsupervised access.
- If guns are in the home, other adults in the home should make it a priority to learn proper and safe handling of the guns.
- Consider having an adult child, neighbor or friend “borrow” or “store” the guns permanently. Make sure you follow the laws on how to legally transfer gun ownership.
- Have the guns leave the house for “professional cleaning.”
- Have a professional disable the guns. This could still present risk if law enforcement ever becomes involved. They must act with the belief a gun is operational.
- Go through a licensed firearms dealer if the guns are to be sold.
- If you want law enforcement to destroy the guns and ammunition, call first and find out what is required. Do not simply walk into the station carrying the guns you want destroyed. They may want to see a statement of diagnosis from a physician and they can give you instructions on how to bring in the guns or whether they will send someone to collect the guns.
- Indiana has a “red flag” law which allows immediate and temporary seizure of weapons from a person who poses a threat to themselves or others. Contact law enforcement anytime you think there is an imminent threat.
With appreciation to the California Central Coast Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association for most of these tips!