Gun Store Makes Room For Kids


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dracphelan
August 12, 2006, 09:58 AM
http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/news/city/garland/stories/DN-kidguns_12eas.ART.North.Edition1.2bd34a8.html

Making room for young guns

With an emphasis on safety, firearms shop offers kids' area

12:00 AM CDT on Saturday, August 12, 2006

By KARIN SHAW ANDERSON / The Dallas Morning News

You're never too young for a gun, says Beverly Melton.

"A lot of guys come in and want to buy a Crickett as soon as they find out their wives are pregnant," she said, showing off small-caliber rifles in the "Kids Corner" of the Garland gun shop she owns with her husband, Steve.

Flanked by bandanna-print curtains with displays set against faux-weathered paneling, the Western-themed nook is designed to appeal to bored youngsters tagging along with parents.

Baskets filled with pompoms and foam footballs rest on the floor. Decorative touches, including sheriff-style gold stars, sparkle on the walls.

But it's the firepower that catches the eye.

Buyers have a range of choices, including a hot pink .22 rifle if it's a baby girl, or a 20-gauge shotgun for an older child.

Despite the overt marketing, the Meltons say their goal isn't to put a powerful weapon in the hands of every child.

"You can't emphasize safety enough with a gun," Mr. Melton said. "They're dangerous. They're guns!"

Handguns generally are not made for children. Rifles and shotguns designed for the youngest shooters must be purchased by parents and hold only one round at a time.

"These are the guns that teach them how to handle a gun," Mr. Melton said.

Education, including proper handling, is the key to firearm safety, said Jim Kessler, a board member of Americans for Gun Safety.

"Owning a gun is a right, and along with rights come responsibilities," he said.

Mr. Kessler said his organization doesn't disagree with the concept of a gun department for children.

"Our feeling is that as long as a parent is involved, we have no problem with that," he said.

A spokesman for the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence said his organization had no comment because the topic was outside its primary focus.

With proper training and extreme emphasis on safety, handling a gun shouldn't be considered that different from handling a fishing pole, said Jason Meek, a director with The Hunter's Dream. The organization matches mentors with children who would not otherwise have an opportunity to hunt.

"It's an education," Mr. Meek said. "Some of the best times I ever had growing up were sitting around a campfire. ... A good mentor can pass along the whole education and safety side of it."

Though the Kids Corner has been part of the Meltons' gun store only about a month, youth guns have always been available in the store and can be purchased in many others.

"The kids' guns were just scattered around in different sections before," said Krystle Dodson, the Meltons' daughter, who helped design the Kids Corner as part of a recent store makeover.

Ms. Dodson, 22, grew up hunting but eventually gave it up.

"I never killed anything," she said.

Her father said it's important for gun dealers to reach out to younger folks. "They're the up-and-coming hunters," he said.

Reid Durbin agreed. The owner of Ray's Sporting Goods in Dallas said he knew of no other stores with children's gun areas, "but I think it's a good idea. This industry doesn't really market itself to kids the way it should."

A table tucked into the Garland store's youth section holds an array of safety brochures published by the National Rifle Association. Next to them sits a framed photo of Laryssa Bonacquisti of Rockwall, a frequent beauty pageant winner, budding entertainer and avid hunter. In the snapshot, the girl squats to hold up the head of a doe she has taken down with a .243-caliber single-action rifle her dad bought for her at the store.

"Shooting sports and hunting are big parts of our lives," Gary Bonacquisti said in a letter submitted for this story. "It provides an excellent opportunity for us to spend time with our children outside while teaching them respect for nature and wildlife management.

"How many fathers can say they got to spend eight hours one weekend sitting in a deer stand, in beautiful surroundings, talking to their daughters?"

I've never been to this store. I think I will have to check them out next weekend.

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UnintendedConsequences
August 12, 2006, 10:09 AM
She has a "single-action rifle"? I think that is supposed to be a "single-shot rifle."

Other than that one flaw, it sounds like sound marketing strategy mixed in with a good basic safety opening to teach children proper use of firearms. I will have to do something similar with my own store and the 4H kids I will be teaching to shoot later this year.

geekWithA.45
August 12, 2006, 10:31 AM
A spokesman for the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence said his organization had no comment because the topic was outside its primary focus.

BULLoney!

A few years back, they put up a white paper about the evils of the gun companys marketing to youth so as to lure them into the evil gun culture.

They carried on at length about the topic. I can't find the article now, I suspect it's been flushe down the memory hole.

aerod1
August 12, 2006, 10:38 AM
I read that in the paper this morning. I have been an occassional customer of B&S in the past. I am proud to do business with them in the future.
When my daughter was a child, I taught her to shoot safely. Today she is 31 years old and has had a CHL since 1996. Now she has givien me a GRANDson and I am looking forward to the day when we are teaching him to be a responsible shooter, gun owner and hunter.
Kudos to Beverly and Steve (B&S Guns)
I plan on taking my GRANDson there for a visit and to maybe make a purchase.
As for today, I am headed to the gun show at Big Town.

Jim

PT-Partners
August 12, 2006, 10:45 AM
Good job from B&S.

Also there will be no future of the shooting sports and industry if there are no "new shooters" getting into shooting.

Keep that in mind.

Norton
August 12, 2006, 10:56 AM
Education, including proper handling, is the key to firearm safety, said Jim Kessler, a board member of Americans for Gun Safety.

"Owning a gun is a right, and along with rights come responsibilities," he said.

Right.....sure, we believe you :rolleyes:

Trouble is that you want so many "responsibilities" that no one will want to exercise their right.

freedom and guns
August 12, 2006, 03:42 PM
Glad the article was not biased. Things must be better (and different) in Texas. ( besides the food)

bigun15
August 12, 2006, 05:35 PM
A spokesman for the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence said his organization had no comment because the topic was outside its primary focus.

Well isn't that just a slap in the face. I never want to hear "for the chilren" from any of them again.

Bulldog
August 13, 2006, 12:16 AM
Man, this is just awesome to see from the DMN.

Justin
August 13, 2006, 01:39 AM
FANTASTIC!

I can only hope that this is the beginning of a trend.

Frog48
August 13, 2006, 02:00 AM
Thats pretty cool. The best way to solidify gun safety practices is to get 'em started at a young age.

the 22 junkie
August 13, 2006, 09:57 PM
How come none of the shops I go to have a kids section?!? Well, coming to think of it, I'd probably consider it an insult. :D :p

dodge
August 14, 2006, 09:24 AM
Well 22 junkie arn't we all little kids at heart. In fact I call the gunshop that I go to all the time my toystore. When I get a chance to go into a gunshop that I've never been into before I feel like a little kid in a toystore.

Basic
August 14, 2006, 11:18 PM
:cool:

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