Adapted from a recent online discussion.

Question: My husband and I have two children (5 and 7). We also own firearms, both for sport and personal protection. We are shining examples of how to do gun ownership right! We have attended safety courses, passed background checks, and are fully permitted. We also keep the guns safely locked away at all times.

In addition to this, our children know exactly where the guns are stored, know not to go near guns, and know exactly how dangerous guns are.

My 7-year-old apparently told his best friend that we own guns, and the child told his mother, who called to inform me that her child will not be allowed in our house anymore and that I should be ashamed of myself for owning guns in a house full of kids.

Knowing about guns and how dangerous they are is good for kids! My kids have never been tempted to tamper with the guns, because they know the dangers.

I don't want this mother spreading gossip that I am a crazy gun-owning bad mom all over town! What can I say to her and her child?

Answer: You can invite the mother over to show her your setup, so she can make an informed decision.

She's not the only one making what sound like politically tinged assumptions, by the way. She assumed the guns are handled irresponsibly, without bothering to ask. You, meanwhile, assume your children "know not to go near guns." You have told them this, but can't assume they will heed it. That's the whole point of locked safes.

Have her come look for herself. Then, discuss the gun issue as two adults who both believe you are protecting your kids, versus two adults looking to protect a viewpoint. Then accept her now-more-informed decision, even if it doesn't change.

Chat with Carolyn Hax online at noon Fridays at www.washingtonpost.com.