- Published on Monday, 16 May 2011 19:35
- Written by Christine
If you want to get into a heated discussion simply start talking about guns and kids in the same sentence. As I have stated repeatedly I am not a gun expect or an expert on any subject but I do have very strong opinions on the topic of kids and guns.
I belive that kids should be taught young to respect guns and not fear guns. As with everything else, if you teach a child to fear a gun it will create a certain curiosity that could to lead to misfortune at some point in the future.
So what do I mean about teaching kids to respect guns? I mean from the time they get their first toy gun they must be taught the ground rules. It doesn't matter if it is a cap gun or a nurf gun kids should be taught to know their target and what is beyond. Kids need to know that you don't ever point a gun at anything you do not intend to shoot and kill or harm. Does this sound harsh? I don't think so. It would be harsh to allow a child to run around pointing a toy gun at people shooting them and then one day have them come across your gun and expect them to do something different.
Oh I hear some people already. My kids would never come across my gun because I always properly store my gun. It is always locked away with the ammunition stored separately. Okay so you are great at keeping your gun out of your childs reach, that is great. Now what happens the day that the are are their friends house and they come across a gun that was perhaps hidden but not locked away? Can you be sure that your child would not touch that gun? Can you be sure they would not play with that gun? Would they have the understanding that that gun can kill?
I believe that children should be taught young that guns are to be respected from a very young age. About the age of three is when each of my kids and then grandkids started learning the lessons of guns. We start them with airsoft guns first and then they graduate to BB and pellet guns and eventually they get their first .22 lr. When do they get their first .22 lr? That has depended on each child. Each child graduated at their own time to the next level. My oldest grandson was about 6 when he fired his first .22lr rifle. My little granddaughter is going to be 5 soon and we will just have to keep practicing the rules and see if she will be ready by then.
If we are target practicing with airsoft guns and a child does not strictly follow the rules then they are removed from the practice area and it is explained to them that they will not be able to participate until they can follow directions and all the rules of the range.
The first thing the kids have to learn about guns is how to maintain them to include cleaning them. This is not something you usually do with an airsoft but it is something can can be simulated. They learn how to lead a magazine.
(Note: In the picture to the right my daughter-in-law is explaining to my 3-year old grandson and 4-year old granddaughter how to load the airsoft BB's in the magazine and the rules for the day. The rules should be explained before each shooting lesson so that it becomes a habit for the children.)
Then they learn how to aim. We teach them right away that you do not point the gun at someone even if it is "empty". We teach them you always treat a gun like it is loaded. We teach them that they can only touch a gun if they have a grown-ups permission and assistance. They are taught that you never walk in front of someone holding or pointing a gun.
Would I hand any type of gun to a 3 or 4 year old child and allow them to shoot unassisted? No, I would not. If you continue to include your children in your gun sports and continue to work with them on the responsible handling of firearems then your children will grow up to be responsible gun owners in their adulthood and you will have years to enjoy spending time with your children and watching them grow into responsible adults.