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TEACHING KIDS ABOUT GUN SAFETY

Dear Ann Landers: As a frequent reader of your column, I was impressed by your response to the lady who was distressed that her husband, though himself untrained in the proper use and storage of the guns inherited from his father, refused to take the necessary steps to protect their children.

You were quite right. The guns should be stored in a proper gun safe, out of the reach of children but where her husband can display or sell them.

You will be pleased to know that the National Rifle Association spends $1 million a year (far more than any other organization in the country) visiting hundreds of schools to teach proper gun safety rules to children. The training mantra? "What do you do if you see a gun? Don't touch it. Leave the room and call an adult."

Best wishes,

-- Charlton Heston, Beverly Hills, Calif.
Dear Mr. Heston: Never thought I'd live to see the day I would give space to someone touting the National Rifle Association. But, fair is fair, and here's your letter. I appreciate your taking the time to write.

Niceness won out

Dear Ann Landers: A lot of people who write to you have in-law problems and can't seem to get past them. Perhaps my letter will help.

When I first met my husband's mother and sisters, they were warm and friendly. Shortly after the wedding, they became cold and downright insulting. I never did anything to provoke such hostility, and it was difficult to endure. At one point, my husband said: "That's it! We are never going to see those people again."

I knew my husband wanted all the women in his life to get along, so I refused to give up. I swallowed hard and let them know I was available when they had problems. I invited them to our home for dinner. I made a big deal of their accomplishments and fussed over their children. It took almost 10 years, but at last, I am considered a cherished member of the family. My children adore their cousins, aunts, uncles and grandparents. We truly are one happy family.

I don't know what caused the initial hostility, but it doesn't matter. Now I see them as wonderful, loving family members, and they feel the same about me. The best reward? My husband knows that the women he loves most are enjoying one another's company.

-- Never Give Up in Detroit
Dear Detroit: You've proved the old adage, "You can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar." Four cheers for you, Lady!

Offer must be honored

Dear Ann Landers: I am six months pregnant with our first child. My husband, "Gene," has a drinking problem, and we both are working on it. Yesterday, while drunk, Gene called one of his cousins and asked him and his wife to be the godparents to our baby. I have never met this cousin, and I know for a fact that Gene is not close to him or his wife. Ann, I don't want these strangers to be godparents to my child. When Gene sobered up, he agreed with me.

What am I supposed to do now? How can I retract this offer without offending these cousins? I've asked Gene to call them and explain, but he is understandably reluctant to do so. How do I handle it?

-- Pregnant in North Dakota
Dear N. Dakota: Sorry, dear. The fat's in the fire. No way can you retract the "offer" without doing a lot of damage to the relationship. Talk to your minister about the possibility of having a second pair of godparents, or setting aside some other honor for these cousins. Let's hope this unfortunate incident will get Gene into Alcoholics Anonymous and that he didn't make any other commitments when he was juiced up.

Problems? Dump on Ann. Write her at The Buffalo News, P.O. Box 100, Buffalo, N.Y. 14240.

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