A Theory About Teaching Your Child Gun Safety

From the time I was a little girl, I knew what guns were, knew how they worked, what they were for and what kind of damage they could do.  At the age of 7, I got my first gun and was considered an excellent shot by the time I was 12. 

Now i have small children of my own and have began the process of teaching them the same lessons my parents taught to me regarding guns and gun safety.  My oldest child, now 8, has been shooting with us many times.  She has shot several different guns herself.  From a small 22 pistol, to a high caliber rifle (with some help).  She understands the dangers and the necessity for being extremely careful when using or being around someone else who is using a gun.

Recently, however, it was brought to my attention that not all families share my same passion for teaching their children what I believe to be vital lessons.  A friend was mortified that I let my 8 year old daughter even be around a gun that was being shot let alone doing the shooting herself.  When I asked her her reasons for her fears, she stated that she wouldn't dare let her children (15, 9, 7, 5, and 3) be anywhere near a gun for fear that they would "like it too much."  She said that they had one gun in their house "for protection" and that it was locked in a gun safe, the key was kept in a drawer in dresser in their attic and the bullets were in a drawer in the garage just so they didn't have to worry about their children shooting each other.  So, lets say a burglar breaks into their house.  I can picture my friend now... "Can you hang on a minute, I need to run up to the attic and get the key to unlock the gun safe, then I'll run and grab a bullet from the garage, because you see, we have this gun for protection against guys just like you." 

I say, teach our children.  Teach them, show them what can happen when a gun is fired.  You don't have to kill something to get your point across.  Take them out and let them shoot some watermelons or something that will shatter sufficiently enough for you to be able to say "now see, if that were someone's head, do you see how it could really hurt someone or even KILL them?!?"

If you teach a child about the dangers associated with guns, how to use them, how to make sure they aren't loaded, they are less likely to want to "check them out" simply for the sake of learning about them on their own.  A child who is not taught these lessons is more prone to view a gun as something to covet.  Think for a moment at how many things we will not let our children have simply because we "said so".  Candy, toys etc.  Lots of fun, yummy things.  Now, to a child if you're not around and they haven't been taught about a gun, maybe they'll see one at a friends house, or even your house.  You're not around to tell them no, they figure "if mom doesn't want me to touch it, it must be something really cool."  The forbidden fruit - in other words.  Yet a child who has been taught the valuable lessons about guns will look at a gun as if it were any other object.  They will be able to see it and say "yes, thats a gun" and walk away.   They will be fully aware of what it can do and will know that it is not a toy. 

We don't give our kids enough credit.  The more we teach them, the more they are empowered.  The more they know, the better they will be equipped to make better choices. 

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