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Discussion Starter #1
I am often asked why my kids have guns in their rooms. Is it really safe to allow an eight year old girl to have a .223, .22, and 20 gauge at her disposal? I simply say that she has never expressed an interest in them BECAUSE she has them. They are posters on the wall, a stuffed animal on the shelf. A bike, if you will, that she knows how to ride, and what happens if she falls off. When I say grab a gun she generally goes for one of mine for me and even forgets her own until I remind that she will need one too if she is to blow up milk jugs with me (a game we play with our empty ones). My older daughter (12 now), if told we’re going hunting, grabs her bow till I tell her we are ground hogging in an open field.

I think today we place too much emphasis on the wrong things. We stress safety so much that it reminds others that guns can kill. However, are you the same way with a kitchen knife, or a hammer, or even a car? No, we know they can be used the wrong way, and just don’t. Safety with these items is unconscious. We simply do it. That is how it should be. You should not need to stress it to the point that others are afraid of them. There is enough out there doing that right now.

The more you stress how dangerous something is, the more dangerous it is perceived to be. And then it becomes truth. Self fulfilling prophecy is a common theme in life. If you think it is, then it is. It is true no matter how you deny it that ANYTHING can be as dangerous as a gun if you make it so.

We always preach that guns don’t kill, people kill. Truth has a certain ring to it. Yet, we ourselves treat a weapon like it CAN hurt someone. What is a gun in reality? It is metal and plastic and wood. Nothing more. It only becomes more if we make it so. If we simply treat it like the bike we rode as a child then is it really so different?

Think of it this way. When Ronnie (my oldest and best friend) and I were hunting squirrels, we approached it like a military operation against the little tree rats. Fitting that we both became Marines, I guess. At times we would cross in front of one another as we crept through the woods. Amazingly and without thought, the other would dip or raise his muzzle even if it already was. Just like you slow down for the guy in front of you while riding. When we handed the rifles to each other (generally Ronnie to me since I couldn’t get a squirrel to save my life back then) so the other could have his hands, the action was open. Again this is done without thought, just put the foot down as you stop the bike.

I am teaching my kids to be like this. I don’t remind them to be safe with a weapon anymore than I do with their bikes. I watch and stay in a position to stop anything that shouldn’t happen, just like when I taught them to ride. I will do so until I am 100% sure they are as safe as me, just like them riding their bikes. I did not lock up their bikes unless they gave me a reason to (grounded for not cleaning I think was the last reason both guns and bikes were taken). I reinforce through my actions the very skills and habits I want them to have. But I don’t think about the last part until I am reminded because my daughter hands me my AR with the bolt still closed and I refuse silently to take it. This way they know it is natural to be safe. As it needs to be, as it has to be.

If you need to be reminded, Or if you need to think about it, you are too new to shooting and should be taught again.
 

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I am not sure what I think of your safety comment. Respectfully I can identify with some of your points. Others I tend to question. Are firearms dangerous? Absolutely. Do I remind my children of this? Of course. Do I compare a bike with a firearm? Never. I believe my repetetiveness is crucial and beneficial to their upbringing. When I was younger my father started me with a bb gun in the field and for the first year or so I actually thought that bb gun could kill someone. Thats because he taught me to respect the firearm and was always on my a__ about being safe. It's funny how I can pick out certain people that don't have that depth of firearm knowledge that only comes from "old school" upbringing. Like the guy at the office that decided to take up hunting a couple years ago because his buddies do it. Don't get me wrong, I think everyone should promote hunting and firearms related hobbies and I welcome all newcomers. But I also feel responsible to remind them of the right way. My 22 year old son told me a story about a friend of his that took up hunting recently and told my son and his other hunting friends that they were "too safe" and was tired of being reminded of whats safe and what's not. My son told me that this is why they don't hunt with this particular buddy.

Jim
 

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My son had his guns locked up in his room when he was 8, and he had a key as i did. If kids are taught about guns early on, and are allowed to shoot as often as they can, then there is no curiosity. curiosity is a dangerous thing when it comes to kids.
 

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Yep, if parents or other educators emphasize on how "deadly" they are, that immediately makes them a magnet for inquisitive kids. I've personally seen this with my 5 year old nephew. I would like to get him involved with firearms, but they live 250 miles away so it is difficult. My oldest nephew (10) got his first BB gun last year and has been having a lot of fun with it getting involved in target practice with the local VFW and 4H groups. Hopefully he'll be able to come hunting here when he turns 12.
 

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When I was teaching hunter safety a number of years ago I had a bunch of kids, aged 9 thru 15. When it was time to go to the rifle range one of the kids saw me pick up some .22's. He was a bit miffed. Said he wanted to shoot a "real" gun. Kept mumbling something about how .22's were just toys anyway. So, I took a quarter out of my pocket and had him take the gum out of his mouth. I used the gum and stuck the quarter up on the target backstop. I backed off to the 25 yard line, picked up one of the .22's and loaded it. I then
proceeded to put a couple of holes in the quarter. I cleared the rifle, opened the action and laid it down, and walked downrange to the "target". I took the quarter back to the kid. Two holes drilled thru the quarter. I handed the quarter to the kid and told him to hang it from a string on his wall and to think about it. "A quarter is a lot harder than flesh, yet see what a "little .22" did to that quarter?" Kid passed the course with flying colors. One of the safest kids out there that day. His Dad thanked me.

Safety is learned but must be reinforced. We call it "practicing safety" for a reason. Practice makes perfect.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
My daughter had been shooting her 410 for a year when she went to hunter's ed. The instructor focused so much on how dangerous guns were that he scared her into not wanting to touch it. Finally, she asked me, "Daddy, is my 410 really that dangerous?"
"Depends. You plan on doing something you shouldn't with it?"
"No"
"Then no it isn't"

I am not saying we should be unsafe. I'm just saying there is such a thing as too much. Safe habits should be automatic requiring no reminder or thought.

I learned to ride a motorcycle with a helmet, and drive a car with a seatbelt. I cannot do either any differently now. It feels wrong. Since I learned that they are a part of the process, I just can't break the habit of using them. The same applies to my firearms and I am getting it into my kids' heads that way too. I don't preach safety. I preach a process of shooting that is safe.

Hopefully I explained that well. I know what I am trying to say, but....
 

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My son has been hunting with me for several years. He knows a rifle kills things, and handguns do too (have finished off a couple of deer with my snubbie .357).

Pull the trigger - something could die. Not too complicated. And we eat the deer and pigs we kill. *****.... well.... something will be along to eat those, shortly.

When my dad built him a deer rifle, we took a pumpkin out to the lease. Filled it full of water and let him put a .250 Savage round through it. Needless to say..... spread pumpkin seeds over about an acre (I should go up to that area and see if any sprouted :D ).

A visual demonstration can be a good thing.
 

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Children are also very different from one child to the next. My oldest son, now 14, has his own 20 gauge pump shotgun, pellet gun, and 22lr marlin model 60. He is very good whith guns in general, they have never been a "toy" in his perspective. He and I go shoot skeet and he hits about 65%. Not great but decent. He is in charge of his own guns. I keep his 22 locked up in my safe, because we have a young child in our house. The others he stores in his room, out of reach of little hands.

My two year old(almost 3) has a daisy red rider bb gun. He can't cock it himself. I load it, cock it, and put it on safety for him. He takes the gun gets about 10 feet from a can we use as a target. he aims the gun at the can, takes it off safety and shoots in its general direction. I need to cut about 4 inches off the butt so he can aim it properly. He has hit the can a few times but more importantly I am teaching him safety with it. He once turned and shot our house. I scolded him heavily and took the gun away for several days. It really hurt him to not be able to shoot. He has not again shot at anything other than what I identifed to him as our target. I keep his gun in my safe because in his eyes it is a toy. He's getting there but he's not there yet. When he does "get it" then he will be allowed to keep it in his room.
 

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GDCPony... I am just like you. My daughters started shooting very early and while neither cared to hunt - both were up and at em for target shooting or plinking. They never abused their privileges, never ignored or neglected safety and were very responsible - never letting their friends handle their guns. That said, they were never allowed a loaded weapon until we were afield and never had ammunition near their guns or in their room. Worked for us...
 

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The thing about "safety" is that it depends a lot on the imposers mentality.

If you treat people as though they were mindless or unable to reason, you impose rules that are like safety gates for infants.

If you treat people as though they can think and behave responsibly, you impose rules that are like seat belts.
 

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The reason courts cut kids some slack about crimes is we know that their minds are not mature enough to be completely responsible for their actions. I'd never let a kid have access to a gun without supervision, until at least age 16, and then I'd have to have seen a very long history of mature behavior, not giving in to peer pressure, etc. Better safe than sorry!. Don''t give our enemies any more fuel for their antigun fire.
 

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FL has some fairly strict laws on this matter. We don't really have a choice. It's a felony to leave them were a minor can get to them.
 

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You can kid proof your guns, like with a safe, or you can gun proof your kids with training. I prefer to gun proof my kid. Although I also won't set my kid up to fail. Failing at gun safety is not an option as it can easily lead to death or dismemberment. Don't take any chances. same with a bike, like you mentioned a bike can be deadly. but more often with a bike it is carelessly getting in front of a moving car that causes the problems not the bike hitting the kid or the kid crashing accidentally. Those are accidents that less often result in death or serious injury. A simple precaution like wearing a bike helmet will prevent 80% of serious biking injuries to kids. Keeping them out of traffic maybe another 19.9% Unfortunately there is no such device or simple solution for gun handling. A safety on a gun can and will fail to keep the gun from going off. as will a lock or a safe if the person is either careless or determined to make it fire. The only reasonable thing to do is to train your kids to be safe with guns and provide reasonable and conscientious boundaries for them to gain experience within. As far as a minor child keeping the gun in their own room; I have not met one yet that I would say is mature enough to handle that responsibility. Mine will not, and I won't set him up for that kind of failure.
 

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Complex issue for certain. As there is no standard child, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. It all has to be tempered with what your state and local laws say about leaving a firearm where a juvenile can access it. Whatever else is done good proper training should be a key element.
 

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It would be the friends coming over that would worry me. Never quite know what other kids think and they might would grab a firearm without having any knowledge whatsoever of how to use one. Dangerous situation there, all my firearms are put up. My children want to use them they ask and we go.
 

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It would be the friends coming over that would worry me. Never quite know what other kids think and they might would grab a firearm without having any knowledge whatsoever of how to use one. Dangerous situation there, all my firearms are put up. My children want to use them they ask and we go.
Years ago, when my son was about 10, he had a couple of friends over one Saturday afternoon and I could hear them whispering down the hall where I kept the gun cabinet. I eased down the hall to hear the two friends trying to get my son to open the gun cabinet so they could handle the rifles and shotguns. To my pride and surprise, my son said no, we couldn't do that. We could just look. Of course, they didn't believe that my son had already shot his first deer, dove, and numerous other animals by that time.

Pier pressure can be brutal at that age, and I decided to get a safe. That is a lot of pressure to put on a kid. Not that anything would have happened but still a lot of pressure for sure.

I've handled them all my life and I still have a fear or deep respect for what they will do.

Good Luck
 

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very true. Even 18 year old kids succumb to it far too easily and often. That's why many states don't let them drink, and those that do so wish they hadn't.
 

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I received.22 rifle for 10th birthday, 20 Gauge for 12th birthday, .22 pistol (H&R 922) for 14th birthday. All kept, with ammo, in my room.

But. it was a different time. We fought with our fists, we didn't take a gun to school to shoot our teachers and friends. I am not all that sure that unrestricted weapons in the hands of today's children is such a good idea.
 

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When I was growing up it was a different time. Guns were every where and we were taught gun safety at a very early age. When I was a kid misuse or improper use or unsafe use could get you sever arse whipping.


I had a Red Rider BB Gun before I was 5 years old, a .22 SS rifle before I was 7, and 20 guage SS shotgun before I was 10.
 

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I grew up in the city & now live in a smalltown.
A friend of mine talks of life in this town back in the 60's.
A typical Sat morning , walk down to the drugstore, set your .22 rifle in the rack outside & go inside & meet your buddies.
Now comes your big decisions shorts ,longs or long rifle.
How much you spent on ammo was a deciding factor on what else you could get for your quarter such as a coke from the soda fountain for a nickle & candy bar & maybe some penny candy. After their purchases were made it was a couple block walk to the edge of town & they could go shooting or hunting depending on the season .
Times have changed , today if 4 or 5 kids were walking down Main St. with
rifles it would be time to call out the Swat Team or the National Guard.
Back in those days Hunter Safety was taken when you in a certain grade in grade school & Drivers Ed in High School.
They still teach Hunter safety at the school ,it is taught in the evening after school in the FFA ( Future Farmers of America )building, not as part of regular school classes.
 
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