Unfortunately, introducing children to guns has become taboo in this country. Especially if you live outside of the southern states. With 270 million civilian firearms in America, this suppression borders on absurdity. How can we expect children to respect what they are being taught to fear?
You are truly living outside of reality if you think guns are ever leaving the American culture. Kids are not dying because of our Second Amendment rights. They are dying due to parental negligence. As a parent, it is your job to educate your children about gun safety. Even if you don’t own any guns.
Introducing Children To Guns: What Not To Do
Probably the worst thing you can do is tell a child, “See this gun? Don’t touch it.” And then just put it away. All this will do is create curiosity and temptation towards the forbidden fruit. No child should ever fear guns or become nervous around them. It’s just not safe.
Furthermore, with TV and video games glorifying guns, your child will be confused if he is told “guns kill.” Children do not understand death. They do not understand what they shoot will not get back up. Children view guns as toys. How has hiding a toy ever worked out for you?
Introducing Children To Guns: Gun Safety For Pre K – Grade 3
It is difficult to recommend an exact age to introduce children to real guns and shooting sports, but it is never to early to introduce them to gun safety. Fortunately, the National Rifle Association has a wonderful program aimed just at children this young age.
The Eddie Eagle gunsafe program engages younger children kind of like the “Stop, Drop and Roll” program. In addition to the adorable and educational video, parents can download other resources to help reinforce the lessons. Age specific activity books, stickers, certificates, and additional dvds are among these bonuses.
Introducing Children To Guns: Gun Safety 4th Grade And Up
By the time a child is 10, he or she is probably ready to handle a real gun. At this age, kids absolutely know the difference between a toy gun and a real gun. The best thing to do at these grade levels is to take the mystery away by letting them hold the real thing and ask questions. Always start by going over the safety rules, and have them repeat the rules back to you. Explain each major part of the gun, and how it works. Quiz them! Kids love to learn!
If you are pro gun, this is the age to gift your child with a firearm. But make it clear that the gift comes with conditions. A child this age can clean and maintain the firearm, practice trigger discipline, and understand personal responsibility. If they falter on any of these, punishment should include confiscation and denial of shooting privileges until their skills are proficient.
Introducing Children To Guns: Firearm Choices For Kids
For a first time shooter, child or not, it is very important to choose a lightweight firearm with little to no recoil. The last thing you want to do is scare the child into never wanting to shoot again. Fear of firearms is not safe, and in fact, has the exact opposite effect as what the gun grabbers want you to believe. I could write 1000 words on why this is true, but I digress.
The best choice for a first time shooter is a bolt action, single shot, .22 rifle. Other great choices include .22 pistols, and gulp, the dreaded AR 15. Contrary to what you have been told, the AR is just a tripped out version of a .22 rifle. While its caliber in actuality is a .223, it is super fun and easy to shoot, accurate, has minimal recoil, and actually is quite safe. It is also a far superior self defense weapon compared to the .22 rifle.
If you do not own a gun, or do not own a gun suitable for a child to shoot, most ranges will have these available for you to rent at a minimal cost. At the range closest to me, you can rent any gun for just $10 an hour.
The age to shoot at my local range is 9, but exceptions are made. Most Range Officers are off duty police officers, and they LOVE helping children learn to shoot! Don’t be afraid to take your young child to a range…you will be pleasantly surprised at the reception you get. And your child will be thrilled to get the one on one attention from a real police officer! Bonus: your child not only learns to respect firearms but also law enforcement!
Introducing Children To Guns: Range Time
Family range time is bonding time in my household. But only you know your kids, and when they are ready to fire live ammunition. One of the pictures in this post is my daughter at age 3; because she refused to wear eye and ear protection we denied her shooting privileges. Soon after, however, she realized what she had to do to participate. Every kid is different. Never force a child to do anything, especially when it comes to firing live ammo. They will let you know when they are ready.
One of the best things you can do for your kids regarding firearms is to give them confidence! Make targets easy to hit! Then step up the game. Kids love challenges! Encourage them to want to learn. What kid wouldn’t think it was cool to shoot at a watermelon or water jug and watch it explode?!
As with any activity, kids just want to be included. Our lives have become so hectic that many families hardly spend quality time together at all anymore. While it is good to have separate interests, like sports and dance, shooting is an activity the entire family can enjoy together. And while none of us like to think about the dangers we face every day, learning to shoot together could just save one of your lives one day.
Introducing Children To Guns: Family Preparedness Plans
You probably already have some sort of family preparedness plan in place in regards to fires or tornadoes. It is absolutely imperative that you add gun safety and self defense to this plan. It goes without saying that guns should be locked up and out of reach from young children at all times, but what about older children? Latch key kids home alone after school make easy targets and criminals know this.
Many of you might find it appalling to suggest leaving a gun available to a tween or teen. I happen to disagree, but you know your children best. Education is the key. Did you know that guns are used to save 80% more lives than they are used to take?
Training is a life long endeavor with any interest, but especially when it comes to shooting. The only way to make kids safe around guns is to make them competent. Kids not only need to know how to defend themselves, but also that it is ok to do so.
Do not make the foolish mistake of refusing to give your children a solid education about guns and gun safety. Even if you don’t own any guns or are anti gun, your children will encounter guns in other homes and out in society. It is your responsibility to prepare them for this.
Introducing Children To Guns: Final Thoughts
Gun ownership has been an important American tradition long before we even became a country. Guns have kept us fed, protected, and free, and are here to stay. Whether you like it or not. Whatever your personal views are regarding this, we can all agree on one thing. Children need to be properly educated on gun safety. I hope this article has provided you with a good start on how to do this.