Kids Need to Know About Guns and Gun Safety
Here's why it is foolish and dangerous not to teach our beloved children about firearms
Many people called for tighter gun restrictions in the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary School attack in Newton, Connecticut — and did so again, on the fourth anniversary of the tragedy this week. Yet I know from personal experience that guns in the hands of trained and licensed owners is a good thing. The right to bear arms is a fundamental constitutional right.
The safest gun owner is the well-trained gun owner. That is a fact that not even the most liberal of liberals can debate. Proper training prevents reckless accidents.
So why, then, does the Left so harshly oppose teaching children about guns and gun safety?
Most times, it is a child’s curiosity that causes a firearms-related tragedy.
We all have seen the news reports about a curious child picking up a gun owned by a parent — and then the unthinkable happens. These accidents are hard to read about or see on TV. As a parent, I cannot even imagine what that must do to the entire family of that poor child.
I was single when I bought my first handgun. There were no kids in the picture, and I kept my gun on the nightstand next to my bed. After marrying, I taught my wife to shoot, taking her to a gun range in Jacksonville, Florida, where we lived, to train.
Eventually we were blessed with a son, and having a gun in the house presented a small challenge. I wanted quick access to my weapon, but didn’t want the unimaginable to ever happen. We bought a gun safe. That was an easy answer when our son was a toddler.
As he grew, I gradually introduced him to guns, like millions of other fathers do, focusing on both handling and safety. Initially, it was the gratuitous spring-loaded BB gun that allowed me to lay the groundwork of keeping the gun pointed in a safe direction, and keeping his finger off the trigger until it was time to shoot.
When he was around six years old, we moved up to a .22 caliber rifle. This weapon taught him to respect what a real firearm can do. The kickback let him feel the power of the gun.
Most times, it is a child's curiosity that causes a firearms-related tragedy.
When my wife and I took a training class in Georgia, my son came along and watched us use both shotguns and handguns. The Range Safety Officers at the event were an older married couple. They saw us talking to our son about handguns, and approached us with an offer.
The gentleman had a .22 caliber handgun and holster that he used when training his children. They offered to work with our son using a handgun. My wife and I agreed this would be a great opportunity for him. They took him off to the side and worked on gun safety fundamentals, drawing from a holster and presenting, and firing the weapon. He eventually came to the firing line with us during a target identification drill.
He did extremely well and was the talk of the class. I was truly a proud father that day!
Our house now contains a fair number of guns belonging to me, my wife, and our now-12-year-old son. It's so common to see a gun in our house that it's no big deal to any of us. The curiosity has been removed from my child's mind. He knows how to handle all manner of firearms. He understands that he doesn't ever need to pick it up unless we are training, or if it is required to defend someone's life — including his own.
Most times, it is a child's curiosity that causes a firearms-related tragedy. We all know children are naturally inquisitive. Many parents think that by keeping guns away from their children, they are eliminating any potential problems. The flawed logic behind that thought process is that you most likely will not be with your children at all times for the rest of their youth.
When they go to a friend's birthday sleepover, does that household have any guns? How about when they go to a buddy's house after school? Can you absolutely be sure that your child will never be around a gun?
For those who aren't "gun people," as we are, there are resources readily available. There is a program offered by the NRA, free to any individual or school that wants it, called the "Eddie the Eagle Gunsafe Program." It teaches children what to do should they ever find themselves near a gun without their parents nearby. It teaches these four things to school-age children:
2). Don't touch
3.) Run away
4.) Tell a parent
It does not promote gun rights or gun ownership. What reasonable, logical, or rational person would not want their children taught these lessons? None — but many liberals and leftists are not logical or rational. Their hatred of the NRA overrides their common sense. If their concerns about guns really were "because of the children" as they often claim, they would be on board with teaching these four basic fundamentals to all grade schools in the U.S.
If you have a son, get him in the Boy Scouts of America. Firearm safety and handling is pretty standard in most troops.
Primarily, though, the responsibility goes back to individual parents to do this for their children. People must not bury their heads in the sand about guns just because they don't like them — or are afraid of them. Make an effort and get the information necessary to ensure your kids' safe action and reaction, should they encounter a firearm.
People like me, who know guns and gun safety, should not hesitate to help out friends or family who may not have that kind of knowledge. Offer to help, or point them in the direction of the appropriate resources. My wife and I are friends with a single mother of two, and teaching her to shoot and helping her to get a gun were very important goals to us. We wanted her to be able to protect herself and her family. On a couple of occasions, we have taken her whole family to the range to teach them gun safety, and to respect firearms.
If you have a son, get him into the Boy Scouts of America. Firearm safety and handling is pretty standard in most troops. (By that age, though, he should have already been instructed on gun safety.)
In an ideal America, we would never have an instance of accidental shootings of children. The resources are there, but they need to be unleashed in the nation's schools. They need to be promoted and not opposed due to political ideology.
There are an estimated 300 million guns in this country. With the ratio of 90 guns to every 100 Americans, gun safety training should be "kid stuff," too.
John Cylc is an eight-year U.S. Army veteran and lives with his family in eastern Tennessee. His primary advocacy is promoting and protecting Second Amendment rights.