DEAR ABBY: In this morning's paper, I read another tragic story about a 10-year-old boy who discovered a gun hidden in his house. While examining it, he accidentally shot himself in the neck, severing his spine, and now he's permanently paralyzed from the waist down.

Recently, my husband and I decided to buy a gun for our own protection, but first we accompanied a friend who is skilled with guns to a shooting range, so we could learn how to handle a gun. Our attitude about guns quickly changed from total ignorance to great respect for the immense power of destruction a gun holds.A suggestion to all parents: Children need to learn respect for guns. Just because you don't own a gun doesn't mean that your child will never encounter one. First, buy proper ear protection (a must!), then take someone who has had experience with firearms and go to a safe shooting range (some are better supervised and therefore safer than others) and instruct your child on the proper way to hold and shoot a gun.

We decided that the potential dangers of keeping a gun in our home far outweighed the benefits, so we will not be purchasing a gun. We have no children yet, but when we do, they will learn very early how powerful and dangerous guns are whether we own one or not. - KIRSTEN IN HOUSTON

DEAR KIRSTEN: How wise you are. Children see guns in action on TV, in the movies and in their comic books, so they need to learn that guns are not toys; they are dangerous weapons that have the power to maim and kill people.

Anyone who is interested in learning - or teaching - gun safety to children should call his local police department and inquire about classes that teach gun safety to children and adults.

Be assured, dear readers, I am not promoting the sale or use of guns; I am promoting SAFETY in a country where 250 children accidentally killed themselves, a sibling or a playmate last year.

DEAR ABBY: Twenty years ago I accepted an engagement ring from a young man, but I married someone else. (I kept the ring.) Feeling that my husband wouldn't want me to wear another man's ring, I gave it to my sister "Sue" because she wasn't dating anyone, and I felt sorry for her.

Recently, I noticed another sister, "Alice," wearing the ring I had given to Sue. I was shocked. Alice calmly said that Sue had given it to her. I told my husband, and he said I should ask Alice for the ring back.

Since that ring has been passed around so casually without my knowledge, would it be wrong to ask Alice for the ring before she passes it on to her daughter or someone else? - JUNE

DEAR JUNE: Yes, it would be wrong. When you gave the ring to Sue, it became hers to keep or give to anyone of her choosing. Once a gift is given, the giver has no claim on it, and the recipient may do with it whatever he or she chooses.

DEAR ABBY: Here's another "I saw Lindbergh land in Paris" story: In 1927, we were three young women (sisters) living in Paris with our mother. We were at a cocktail party when our friend, Al Laney, who was the sports editor at the Paris Herald Tribune, telephoned to say: "Get out to Le Bourget; some crazy American has just flown solo across the Atlantic!"

Luckily, Mother had a car and driver, so we were able to get there in time to see Lindbergh land!

We are now grandmothers, living in Minneapolis. - MARGARET BELL SPRAGUE, ANDREA BELL AUTENREITH, RUTH BELL OSGOOD

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