When is the right time to tell the kids about your guns


February 22, 2007, 04:38 PM
I keep my guns in a safe at home. My oldest (19) was told about them and to stay away period.

My question is more toward my youngest (11). He is currently clueless about my guns and IMHO still a bit immature for his age. I'm wondering when in everyone's opinion is the time to tell him about them.

I'm looking into actually carrying soon, so it may become an issue. Any advise on when and how to tell him would be appreciated.


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February 22, 2007, 04:42 PM
I've been teaching my 9 year-old shooting, with heavy emphasis on the Four Rules and she seems to get it. The rules are literally simple enough for a child to understand. She also knows that she can handle guns under supervision whenever she wants and that I will kick her butt if I ever find out that she has handled one without supervision. Teach your kid. Remove the mystery. Curiosity and ignorance are a deadly combination.

Bazooka Joe71
February 22, 2007, 04:42 PM
Well if they stay locked up, why would it matter?

Unless he is VERY immature for his age, now would be as good a time as any I would think.

February 22, 2007, 04:49 PM
Maybe missed the boat on that one. He is old enough to serve already and all that. My kids started with their BBs at 7 and .22s at 8. Most kids out here have taken their first deer by 9. Some earlier some late, depends on the kid. Also check your local laws. You don't want to get in any legal trouble.

February 22, 2007, 04:53 PM
My kids are 4 & 5.

They know mom & dad are armed, that there are guns locked up in various places around the house, and that they're to Stop! Don't Touch! Leave The Area and Tell an Adult! if they see a real gun.

If they grow in trustworthiness, our daughters are getting an airsoft for her 6th, a bb gun on her 8th, a 22 on her 12th, and an AR for her 18th.

February 22, 2007, 05:04 PM
She also knows that she can handle guns under supervision whenever she wants and that I will kick her butt if I ever find out that she has handled one without supervision. Teach your kid. Remove the mystery.

That's pretty much how I do it too. I've got 3 boys, ages 8, 6, and 3. They have all been exposed to firearms (mostly surplus rifles) since they were able to help open the boxes the BBT delivered(probably a year and a half old). They all have some interest, but not a great deal. They know where they are kept, and they know that they can see and handle them simply by asking "Dad, can we look at a gun?" As long as I can stop whatever I'm doing to show them, I do whenever they ask. Sometimes I have to tell them no, and they are good with that. Honestly, they often have as much fun getting and using the flashlight to walk into the storage area as they do holding the rifle they pick....:)

February 22, 2007, 05:09 PM
I was introduced to my family's firearms 'formally' at the ages of 4 and 5. My uncle, cousin, or my dad would bring out one and clean it and show it to me. I would sit on his lap as he went over the gun, polishing it and pointing out various parts of it. I particularly remember the .410 pistol one of them had--it was small enough for me to hold properly, and I understood it was a 'special' gun a bootlegger friend of my father's had carried. Otherwise, the firearms I remember were a Western Field Browning 20-ga. pump (my mother's duck gun) a Winchester 94 (father's deer gun), and a few different .22 pumps.

I also remember getting a child-sized M1 Garand toy gun for Christmas just before I turned five, and I already had SAA cap guns. Those toy guns were used to teach me the fundamentals of safety along with the small .22 pump--what's that turn-of-the-century remington model with the hex barrel and exposed hammer? That's the one they started me shooting with when I was five. My Dad had one that had been cut down, and it fit me well.

This conscious exposure to firearms doesn't count the times my mother took me duck hunting when I was about ten-eleven months old, snuggled in a backpack. She said I used to squirm around to get over behind her 'other' shoulder to avoid the recoil.

The point being, guns were a natural part of our family's life. I simply learned to never play with them, and I did not get them out by myself. Ammo was, of course, kept separate from the guns.

I dunno if we can do it that way any more, to be honest. This was long enough ago that TV didn't exist in our home for another five years or so.

February 22, 2007, 05:15 PM
My son is 4 1/2 & my daughter is 1 1/2 they know I have firearms. My daughter has no idea what they are other than "dadda gun", my son knows he is not to touch my firearms, and he will tell me that my "gun is out" if I have one out.

My son will only see my firearms if I or my wife are present. If he asks and I'm not busy then I will show them to him, we will go over the four rules plus other rules we have regarding if he finds an unattended firearm when I'm not around or at a friends house, he's really quite uninterested in them most of the time.

If you remove the mystery and teach respect of the object (can be any tool) most kids will leave them alone.

February 22, 2007, 05:17 PM
holy crap dude, i think it's a little late now. my daughter was helping me reload when she was 2-3 yrs old. she got her first 22lr at age 5, and a nice one at age 8.

gun discussions are as frequent around my house as "what's for lunch?" and "what's for dinner?" discussions. (i usually don't talk about guns before breakfast, unless it's match day)

February 22, 2007, 05:22 PM
We still do it that way around here, except we don't have any toy guns. We have cable TV but almost never watch it. Every single show gets the once over. Someone gave us our first computer game console last year but they only play it on Saturdays if we don't have anything else planned; which we almost always do. We don't allow violent games.

It has never been the guns that caused the problems it has to do with the kids getting the wrong idea about them.

February 22, 2007, 05:25 PM
My oldest (19) was told about them and to stay away period.
Telling a teenager to "stay away period"... that's a recipe for disaster.

The allure of the forbidden fruit is great... better be sure your kids at least know enough about how a gun functions that they don't hurt themselves or somebody else if (when) they do run into a gun.

February 22, 2007, 05:29 PM
Im really gonna hold back here...... I think that waiting till your kid is 19 and able to go out and buy a gun themselves is a huge disservice to the kid, in fact its a disservice to society in general and to gun owners in particular. I mean seriously, do you think now that they are driving and presumably out the door for good soon you might have waited a bit to long ?

My kids had bb guns at 5-6 and by 7-8 were/are active shooters. My 12 year old little girl shot an M1 Garand a couple of weeks ago and wants me to take her to the CMP South Store so we can pick out "her" a new rifle.

Was this post a joke? Seriously?

Get them younguns to the range, teach them safety and marksmanship.....its a skill that if taught well they will carry long long after you are gone.


Mr White
February 22, 2007, 05:40 PM
When Mrs. White was pregnant, I would recite the Second Amendment over and over into her belly when she was asleep. :D

One of the first things I did was take them to the range and let them watch me shoot gallon water jugs an water-filled pumpkins. That makes quite an impression on a 5 year old kid, especially when you're talking their ears off about the damage a bullet can do and why we have The 4 Rules. After a range trip or 2 like that, its very clear in their minds that guns are not toys.

My boys are now 12 and 10. They've both been shooting since they were about 6. They both shot last year in 4H competitions. They both accompany me to the range quite often and to matches sometimes.

They both shoot my AR, my M1, my pistols, SKSs, and a lot of other ones. They're both still a little bit afraid to shoot my K31 or any of my MNs yet. Maybe this summer.

I don't think there's ever too young an age to start teaching kids about guns. Its like sex; The more they learn about it from you, the less they'll learn elsewhere. I firmly believe that by taking them shooting and teaching them that guns are OK, but only with proper supervision, it takes away much of the 'forbidden fruit' mystique and makes your kids less susceptible to temptations when you're not around or when they're at a friend's house.

February 22, 2007, 06:09 PM
This year when the 8 year old was making his resolutions in school this was his list (ISYN):

1. I will renew My NRA membership

2. I will exercise more

3. I will help clean up after dinner

It is still on the frig, I get a warm fuzzy feeling every morning when I am having breakfast.:)

February 22, 2007, 06:09 PM
My son and later my grandson were exposed to guns and gun safety rules beginning around 3-4 years old. My grandson could quote the two primary gun safety rules when he was 4. He is allowed to see and handle my guns UNDER SUPERVISION any time he wants. I am always glad to open the safe or let him look in when it is open. My objective was/is to take all the mystery out of guns but make sure the youngster understands basic safety rules. Am hoping to start him shooting .22 rifle during this year. He will be 7 in April.
No disrespect but waiting until children are 11 or 19 in my opinion is WAY TOO LATE!!!

Good shooting and be safe.

February 22, 2007, 06:33 PM
Never too young--My children are around guns (they are both under four) and they are being 'gun proofed'. This in no way means that guns are forbidden to them--just the opposite. Under the right circumstances, when they are physically held by me, my wife, or my Father-In-Law--they may be touched and examined. I never want them to be some exotic forbidden fruit. Is it indocrination--you bet. I can control my weapons and my kids--but I can't control the outside world.

For your situation, since your 11 year old is right at the 'prime' age--why not take a gun safety or hunter education class WITH him? I plan on doing so with my kids when they're older myself. The time to tell him is now--you've obviously got your security wire tight on your guns--but even if you didn't have any in your home he WILL encounter a firearm in a friends house at some point. You and your rules need to be there in his head when that happens to keep him safe.

From my own experience I had that 'lets look at my dad's guns' moment at age 11 over at a friends house (friend was 13). I shudder to think what would have happened if I hadn't been trained (by family, and NRA/BSA) how to handle that moment.

You know, giving a kid who might be a little immature some graduated responsibility (ie. gun safety training and target shooting/hunting) is the way to go. Best of Luck-


February 22, 2007, 06:53 PM
Dude, it's hard to comment in any relevant fashion without context.

I don't know how to address your 19-year-old. I don't know the situation.

I have a 19 y/o daughter whom I take shooting any time she'll go.

I also don't tell her there are pistols in the safe. She only knows I have rifles. Why? She has very poor taste in friends and, while I trust her not to do something stupid, I don't trust any of her friends. I can't risk that she will slip and "mention" the pistols and start the mental wheels turning that culminate in an attempted burglary. Wife and I practice strict InfoSec regarding the safe and its contents.

When I believe she's less of a risk on that front, she'll get to know the pistols.

My son is a year older than she is. He not only knows about the pistols, I keep his 9mm in the safe along with ours.

If we had been someplace more "shooting friendly" in the previous years, and if I had awakened from my "RKBA slumber" (or coma) sooner, I would have had them shooting from the age of nine or ten. I still have the occasional twinge of regret about waiting this long.

Earlier is better.

Earlier is better. The school system is contaminated with the squishy thinking of psychology and socialism, and actively works to frighten kids about guns and "violence" of all kinds.

You get to them first. Get to them first and often.

Trust me, the schools will not offer them anything that's as much fun as shooting. If you're shooting with your kids, you will have their attention. If you have their attention, you can administer the only effective antidote to the socialist crap the schools will dish out: facts and experience.

If you need to, enlist the help of a High Roader near you.

Teach them safety and get them having fun as soon as possible.

You children's future is at stake.

February 22, 2007, 06:56 PM
You should have told him when he was old enough to understand the words.

Beyond that you need to treat your kids with a little more respect. Maybe then they won't be "immature" for their ages.

February 22, 2007, 07:17 PM
My kids are 11 and 8. Started both on BB guns at 5 or 6, and moved to single shot 22s pretty quickly.

My older son was shooting a Ruger Bearcat at 8, and competed last summer (at 10) in a steel challenge league with a sig Mosquito. Just picked up a Kimber .22 conversion, and he's doing well with that. He can shoot any .22 rifle as well or better than I can, and can shoot 2", off-hand groups at 50 yards his .243 (Model 700). His little brother isn't as interested in guns, but goes out plinking with us a couple times a year. They both like to help with reloading and cleaning guns.

Both know where the guns are (in a safe), and know that they are not to touch a gun without direct parental supervision. No ifs, ands, or buts.

Take your son shooting! Teach him the rules and responsibilities of safe gun handling. You'll both appreciate the time together (it goes fast, and he's not getting any younger!).

February 22, 2007, 07:21 PM
My daughter just turned 1, and she is begining her training. Just leave a gun out where she/he can get to it, and when they try to touch it tell them no. Rinse, lather, repeat.

February 22, 2007, 07:22 PM
I was 6 when my father bought me my first weapon, a S&W 243 rifle, which I still own. Of course, I wasn't ready to use it yet, but it sure got my attention! I started that same year with a pellet gun and then a .22 in NRA matches and general hunting. By the time I was 10, I was hunting or fishing just about every day. From age 6 until I moved out of my parents home at 17, I got a new gun for each and every Xmas...damn I miss that!

February 22, 2007, 07:31 PM
My kids are 5 & 8. The 8 year old is responsible, but not interested in guns, the 5 year old can't wait to start shooting, but is positively not ready to handle guns yet due to a lack of ability to follow instructions.

Both have known about guns since they were old enough to understand the concept. Both reallize that guns can cause serious bodily injury and excruciating pain.

Every time I have a gun out of the safe I show them the gun and go over the STOP, don't touch, LEAVE the area and tell mom or dad or a responsible adult. My guns are ALWAYS locked up, but, if they weren't I don't want a simple oversight to turn deadly.

The kids get the same drill with drain cleaner, kitchen knives, the natural gas stove, the lawn mower, the drill press, the circular saw, the automobiles and anything else that can kill or maim them.

If you take a quick trip around your house and vicinity you'll find a number of things the kids ought to be trained to aviod. The #1 for us has been the cars. More kids are killed in and around cars than by guns.

February 22, 2007, 08:26 PM
When is the right time to tell the kids about your guns?

As soon as you can, they must be taught. My daughter is still learning to, y'know, walk so it will be a while before she's coming with me to the range. But, the first rule with any potentially dangerous object (guns, knives, fireplace, dogs, etc.) is to teach the child: Stop! Don't Touch!

They should be able to understand that between 9 months and a year.

Then you progress to: Stop! Don't Touch! Walk Away, and Tell An Adult!
The average child should be able to do that between ages three and five. Although, obvioussly the parent has a duty to keep as many of these dangerous things safely away from the child. Oneposter her on THR teaches his kids with water pistols, I believe, and I plan to start doing the same at about age 3 or 4.

I'd say that once the kid is old enough to enter school (not that I'm sending my daughter to school mind you, but at that age ;) ) then you can teach them the Four Rules, and probably start teaching them to handle a gun themselves.

As to th OP... 19? He could go out to any sporting goods store right now and by a rifle. Tell him you own guns, tell him why, and take him shooting. He's an adult, he could be in Bagddah or Kabul right now, let him help you protect the family.

February 22, 2007, 08:29 PM
My son got his CZ452 scout for his 6th B-day. He shoots it pretty darn well too! With proper supervision, instruction, and help he has acquired a healthy knowledge and respect for firearms. Now is the best time to make your kids aware, as your bus has long since gone. So, you better start instilling the knowledge, and respect of firearms ASAP since hiding them is a recipe for a curiosity disaster. Catch the next bus!.

February 22, 2007, 08:33 PM
I'm going to have to agree with both of these:

Beyond that you need to treat your kids with a little more respect. Maybe then they won't be "immature" for their ages.

Take your son shooting! Teach him the rules and responsibilities of safe gun handling. You'll both appreciate the time together (it goes fast, and he's not getting any younger!).

11 is too old. 19 is way, WAY too old.

February 22, 2007, 08:54 PM
I was exposed to them at about 6 or 7 and taught what they were all about and safety-I started shooting about 8years old. The younger the better-once the age of reason dawns it is better to demystify firearms than let curiosity lead to accidents.

February 22, 2007, 09:00 PM
My kids are 9, 7 and 5. I've been drilling the 4 rules of safety, Eddie Eagle videos and "Stop, Don't Touch, etc, etc" into their heads for over 4 years.

When my oldest was 3 or 4, we didn't say a thing to him thinking he would be too fascinated...guess what, he made guns out of sticks and his finger. Once I told him about them, taught him safety rules, the fascination ended.

Now he has his own pellet gun (that he doesn't touch unless it is with me) and for his 10th, he will get a .22 LR single shot rifle.

In my opinion, waiting until they are 19 or even 11 means you've lost at least 5 years to make them responsible...by that age, they are forming personalities and values and you may be swimming upstream against some of them.

Start 'em young, raise 'em right, they'll make you proud.

February 22, 2007, 09:02 PM
I keep my guns in a safe at home. My oldest (19) was told about them and to stay away period.
Sounds like there are some trust issues in your house.


February 22, 2007, 09:15 PM
My kids have been raised around guns. That doesn't mean that they get to touch them or use them, but it does mean that they see them and know that I have them. Heck, every time the UPS driver drops off a package, the kids all shout out, 'Daddy's got new rifle parts!'.... :D

I've been drilling the Eddie Eagle training into them, and recently tested my two youngest. The 3yr old passed (don't touch, tell an adult) but the 5 yr old picked it up 'to see if it was a toy gun'. He was, ah, recalibrated after that, and we'll try again in a bit.

I guess my point is that there's no sense in not TELLING them about them unless you have such serious trust issues such that you believe you cannot secure the guns from the kids. Presuming that they're not lockpick experts, I suggest casual exposure (you cleaning them with the family in the house, etc.) to get them used to the idea of seeing their parent(s) with guns, and keep them locked up in a safe that the kids can't find when the gun is not physically in your control. You must be SCRUPULOUS in the Four Rules yourself; you'd not want to have an ND with the kids around.

And get the Eddie Eagle stuff. Even if you don't use the actual Eddie Eagle materials, you can use the material as source data for some one-on-one talks with your kids.

February 22, 2007, 09:18 PM
My kids learned about my guns and have been taught gun safety since the day we brought them home. I have never hid or kept my firearms from them. They are locked in the safe when not in use, however, the kids are always involved with cleaning them and trips to the range. My kids are 13 and 8 and have years of gun safety and shooting under their belts.

February 22, 2007, 09:33 PM
When I was a kid, guns were a no-no. Real, toys, TV shows about, etc. I can still remember finding my Dad's shotgun in the closet: Double barrel, side by side 16 ga. I also found a shoe box full of shells. The good thing was, I couldn't figure out out to put it together. If I had, I would have loaded it and who knows what. All from ignorance. I really think this was my parents failure.

On a similar note, I always wanted a motorcycle when growing up. The answer was always: NO! When I came of age, 18, and scrounged up $100 I went and bought one. A piece of junk I had no idea how to ride.

Both of these stories reflect that I've been very lucky. I knew kids in HS who found there daddy's service revolver who were not so lucky. And the same goes for motorcycles or any other potentially dangerous activity. As a parent, it's our responsibility to educate them about reality, not hide in some moral fantasy land.

I have a boy just turning three. You bet I'll do my best to educate him. Guns, motorcycles or whatever he shows an interest in. You can't control them forever. Just set them off on the right path.

Wonder what age I should interduce him to the guns. He know where the motorcycles are parked. :D

February 22, 2007, 10:32 PM
Well, if you've read these, I think you're getting the general drift... you have also unfortunately missed many years of fun and companionship with your kids. All my kids were shooting by 6. I still have my son's picture on my desk of him with his bb pistol and my first grouse. He was also present when I got my first Canada goose. My daughters get new guns or large boxes of ammo for Christmas. My youngest is 27, my oldest is 30 and a better trio of great people you'll never meet.

February 22, 2007, 10:58 PM
My kids are 3 and 5. They have both seen and learned about propper handling and safety since they were old enough to stand.

History Prof
February 22, 2007, 11:17 PM
My oldest (19) was told about them and to stay away period.Please don't take this the wrong way, but - wow.

The rule in my house (the wife and I agreed upon this before our marriage) is that ignorance is NOT bliss, and that our children would be well educated in firearms. Locking them up and saying NO is the best way to stir curiosity.

So, from a very young age our daughter was told "any time you want to see, touch, clean or admire the firearms, just ask." Any time she asked, it became an opportunity to teach the rules.

She was also taught NEVER touch them without asking first. To be sure, before I had a safe, all had trigger locks. BUT, I don't believe she ever got into them without permission.

I did have to size up her maturity about the time she hit 8 or so, but that was when she fired her first rounds in .22LR. She's coming up on 16 now (Help Me, Oh Lord) and a few years ago graduated to 9MM pistols and .223 rifles.

For the last 6 years or so, she has NEVER asked to see the firearms, and rarely accepts my invitation to go shooting.:( But she knows the rules, she knows how to use firearms, and has NO unsatisfied curiosity about them. And if she ever develops a new unsatisfied curiosity, all she has to do is ask.;)

February 22, 2007, 11:22 PM
When my son was 2-3 years old, I intro'd him to the guns in the house. I taught him how to ID toys & real guns and if he ever ran across guns at his friend's houses, to leave & come home. As he got older, he learned how to use all the guns in my/ our collection.

February 22, 2007, 11:49 PM
I'm not a parent, but 20 years ago, I sure was a kid. I remember well when I'd go into my parents' room and play with the only gun in the house, Dad's .22 Star pistol. It was totally unlocked, stored in a greeting card box in Dad's top dresser drawer. I had absolutely no idea how it worked, if it was loaded, what any of the buttons did - nothing. One day I ejected the magazine and almost vomited, I didn't know what I'd done or how to fix it. It never occurred to me that screwing around with a gun was dangerous. Nobody ever taught me, until I was 17.

So my advice is to start well before age 17.

February 22, 2007, 11:55 PM
As an instructor, I have parents ask me often "at what age should I teach my child about guns?" I ask them "are they born yet?" You've got to start teaching them to respect guns from the moment you bring them home from the hospital! Educate, educate, educate! And most importantly, you MUST satisfy their curiousity, or they will do it on their own.

February 22, 2007, 11:56 PM
My two year old understands the difference between "Daddy's guns" and his cowboy set he got for Christmas.

If you ask him "What's the rule around here?" his reply is "Don't touch Daddy's guns". If you ask him "What do you do if you find a real gun?" his answer is "I tell Mommy and Daddy!". For now, this is absolutely perfect. Just to be overly safe, I keep them in either the gun safe, or the quick access nightstand safe.

When he is physcially able to handle the size and weight of a youth gun, I will start taking him to the range. I'm am looking forward to that day.

As far as when will he get a real gun of his own... Already has. He got a single shot youth .22LR / .410 interchangeable Rossi from his Poppy when he was 9 months old. He does not know it yet, but in a couple years when he can hold it on his own, we will begin the training and the rule of "with supervision ONLY" will go into effect.

I got my first .22 when I was nine and my first 12GA when I was 12. I obeyed the rule of supervision until I was 18 and it worked great for me.

February 23, 2007, 12:05 AM
19 ?!?!?!?!?!?!?

We start at birth in our family. We have many generations
of this tradition.

My 11 year old yawns at the notion of a gun. He gets scared
that he is gonna have to stay up late the night before and load
mags. How many 11 year olds find the notion of loading up M16
mags to be a chore?

I am often at a lose for words when trying to argue against
sex ed at an early age when people say it will make
sex seem like school and hence prevent kids from having
sex when I think about how my kids respond to guns. I know
the do so because they were ' indoctronated' at an early age.

tasco 74
February 23, 2007, 12:30 AM
my oldest son was about 10 i guess when i got my first revolver... a s&w model 13 .357 magnum.... i told him about guns by having him with me when i shot it and letting him expereince the muzzle blast,the flash, and the damage such a gun can do first hand....... i never had any problem with him trying to get away with anything as far as guns were concerned...... he KNEW the power of the weapon first hand.......... when the second son came along he kinda quided him from it.......... i say let them see the power and show them the capabilities (sp) of the guns............

February 23, 2007, 12:30 AM
There have been guns in my houses well before my kids were born. I don't know if I ever formally introduced the kids to guns but they saw them, they saw me handle them and went on hunts with me so they understood what they were for and what they could do. It was just another tool like the hammer and saw. I never made a big deal about them and the kids never "fiddled".. Maybe I'm just lucky or maybe because I used them for their utilitarian purpose the kids have true understanding of what they are.

As the kids have gotten older (24,23,16) we've discussed the rights and responsibilities that come with gun ownership and from what I can tell they each have a healthy respect and understanding of the rules..

My 23 year old daughter has her CCW and uses a Kimber 45, my youngest daughter shoots with me at the range, likes my lever gun but prefers her bow, and my son has a Ruger P89 but likes to shoot my 357 wheel...

This is just my world it may or may not work for you.


February 23, 2007, 12:44 AM
All this reminds me that when the nieces come over we are always extra extra careful. They know nothing about guns and are at the curious just big enough age to be really dangerous.

Although there was humor around the homestead one morning when the they were last visting. I was at work and everyone else was having breakfast. The wife looked out the kitchen window and saw the rabbits in her vegtable garden. She ran and grabbed her .22 and did what you are supposed to do with bunnies that are eating your peas. What she didn't know was that some city folk actually keep rabbits as pets including the nieces...

Jacob Staff
February 23, 2007, 12:54 AM
I've got 3 boys, ages 8, 6, and 3.

I've got girls the same age. The 2 oldest know Eddie Eagle rules. Its about time to teach the young one.

Both also shoot a BB gun. Before they were able to touch the rifle they had to be able to recite the 4 gun handling rules. They really like having their own "cool" yellow shooting glasses.

I'm looking for a CZ 452 Scout .22 for a birthday present now.

We have an air gun shoot every Thanksgiving. Some of the family was not too sure about it at first but after they saw I was running a "strict" range and insisted on safety, order, instruction and fun they lossened up and became a cheering section.

Art Eatman
February 23, 2007, 12:56 AM
I guess I started on cap pistols around age four or five? Lordy, that's so long back I'm not sure. I had a Daisy Red Ryder at age 7, but I'd alredy shot my grandfather's .22 rifle.

I guess my son was around age four when I first let him mess with my 1911. He agreed that it was too big for him. I told him that when HE thought he was big enough, yes, we'd go and shoot it.

He could hit okay with a Ruger Blackhawk, light loads, around age seven or so.

My main idea was to take the mystique out of the whole gun thing. No mysteries, no lure of the illict. Guns were merely tools, like saws and hammers. And since he got to help with "autopsying" deer, he easily understood that real guns weren't toys.

And there was never any problem at all.


February 23, 2007, 01:22 AM
Henry has "grown up" with guns. Although all firearms ( and air rifles) are in the safe, he knows that at any time he can ask and we will pull out whatever and look at it and talk. He got his first bb gun at 7 and an air rifle after that. He learned at an early age about muzzle control and "the stiff finger" and always treated any "gun" be it air powered or a firearm like it was loaded. It is great watching him shift into a focused little man when we start shooting! He is 10 now and has a Mk2, a Henry youth LA .22 and a 10/22, the kid is a GREAT shot. By bringing him up with firearms I believe I am taking away the novelty. I think it is the novelty that gets kids killed in gun accidents. If a kid ever tells my son that "he knows where his dad keeps a gun" Hank isnt going to go see it. He recognizes that as trouble, and can go home and hold a MG if he wants. If they are old enough to start talking with about drugs, they are old enough to talk to about guns. ... my 2cents!

February 23, 2007, 05:27 AM

February 23, 2007, 06:08 AM
How old is old enough. When they are old enough to understand. 9 years old for my son was approaching too old when I told him and instructed him in the safety and the use of firearms.

February 23, 2007, 07:32 AM
Under strict supervision, my 19 month old daughter has been allowed to handle the unloaded guns that the hubby and I own that aren't too heavy for her to pick up easily.

Ala Dan
February 23, 2007, 07:42 AM
Actually, I think it varies from one individaul too the next~! For example,
my 30 year old daughter learned at a very early age (3 or 4, I think?)
that firearms are off limits. As she got older and could understand plain
Ole' Gun Gospel (if you will), that if she wanted too look at a particular
firearm to let me know; and I would make it SAFE, and let her hold it~!
At 'bout nine she shot her first gun, which was a .22 rifle; and right at
14, she shot her first handgun.

February 23, 2007, 08:22 AM
Before teachers in Municipal indoctrination centers convince them guns themselves, are inherently evil!

February 23, 2007, 09:04 AM
My 6-year-old daughter and nearly-8-year-old son both know about guns, and are being taught the Four Rules of gun safety using suction-cup-dart toy pistols (which are only used under supervision, for now). If they are curious about a firearm, I will get it out of the safe, clear and safe it, and let them examine it/hold it with my hands-on supervision, and they wash their hands afterward so they don't get any lead residue. They don't ask often, because their curiosity is satisfied. My daughter wants a black rifle when she is old enough, though.

My son has a Daisy Red Ryder BB gun that he can use, again, under our hands-on supervision. We will get one for our daughter soon.

We do keep our guns in a safe when not in use.

Now, I haven't taught my kids much gun terminology yet, because I don't want my daughter telling friends what we own.

When they're old enough (next couple of years, probably), I'll take them to an informal range and let them shoot .22 CB's, and move up from there.

February 23, 2007, 09:56 AM
He's just waiting for his first rifle, practices firearm safety with a toy AR and toy 1911. he loves Daddy's No4Mk1*, for some reason.

February 23, 2007, 10:21 AM
Thank you, everyone for the responses. I'm sorry, but I should have clarified my original post a bit.

I purchased my first hand gun, only a year ago. My stepson, was already 18 and living outside the home at the time. He recently returned to the house do to issues at college. Yes there are some serious trust issues combined with the typical, he knows everything about everything attitude. I don't care for some of his friends and also have trust issues with them as well. When he came back home I told him that I had them and they were locked up. I also instructed him that when he comes home late at night to ensure that he notifies me so I don't come running out armed when the alarm sounds. Needless to say, this hasn't worked as planned from day one. fortunately enough he usually calls to notify us approx. when he will come home, so I at least expect to hear the alarm chime.

As for the 11 year old, I've slowly started talking about them to him but not with specifics. He is the one that I was really looking for advice on. I plan on taking the advice provided and start explaining and showing him.

I came from a strict family in which guns were never allowed, so I guess this mentality stuck with me for a very long time. I'm working on changing it for my kids. I guess I should have started immediately with the younger one.

February 23, 2007, 12:13 PM
Do what they showed me at the range during my NRA hunter safety course, 29 years ago. They took a cinder block, put a silver dollar on it, face up, a coffee can full of water, and an empty soda can on top of the coffee can lid.
Then they shot the coffee can with a 7mm Mag. The soda can went into low earth orbit, the cinder block crumbled, the coffee can split as wide open as a TV evangelist "telling all", and the bottom of the can had a perfect imprint of the silver dollar, down to the date. This impressed me as little else did on the power of a fired bullet.
Ya know, I don't think we found the silver dollar, either.:what:

Now is the time to get him into training, see if there is an NRA hunter safety course offered nearby, see if the local range has a kids night, or airgun day, or start him with an airsoft pistol to practice both shooting and safety. Oh, yeah, get a copy of Massad Ayoobs' book, "Gunproof your kids".

February 23, 2007, 03:10 PM
My kids have been involved with and familiar with my guns since I bought my first one a couple of years ago. They've all shot, including the 4 year old. I was at an FBI range event a while back, and trotted all 4 of the kids up to the agent supervising, and he was astonished that they'd all shot guns before!

I think if you mix practical physical security, along with enough exposure to remove the mystery, you'll do fine.

Problem is though, you really have to step it up once friends come around - I can't think of any good outcome to showing off your collection to a young age group, especially when the knowledge gets disseminated into an extended group that may include budding criminals.

February 23, 2007, 03:59 PM
I just got back into shooting and collecting, so I just started talking to the boys (9 and 13) about guns. I've shown them what I have and let them hold them. I really wish I would have started and done this earlier.

They both want Dad to build them their own ARs for when they get older. My oldest wants to try and get into long range target shooting. Since he just turned 13, he is getting his first bold action .22 this weekend (daddy holds if until he's 18 ofcourse) and the youngest will get his in May for his 10th birthday.

If you teach them young, the aren't as curious as they grow older. If you let them shoot, then they will understand that shooting isn't a video game. They understand that death is final and if someone or something is shot, it's over... no reboots or retries. END OF GAME !

February 24, 2007, 09:12 PM
I've talked to several other individuals about how I dealt with guns in my house with my children.

The technique I used and I was happy with over the years was fairly simple.

Everytime I bought something new, I would show them and explain to them how I make sure it's safe to handle and what type of firearm it was (bolt action, lever action, etc.).

They understood they were NEVER to touch one without me but they also understood that anytime they wanted, I'd get it out and show it to them again.

The important thing was to mean it! I didn't care if they asked me during a movie or football game or while I was working on something. If they came and asked, I stopped whatever I was doing and got it out for them to see. I would use it as another lesson in safe handling.

After a couple of days, they didn't ask to see my latest acquisition but they never felt a need to sneak around to take a look at it. (of course, everything is locked up in my safe)

I really hate seeing how some people keep their firearms a secret from their kids - the kids will find them anyhow but now they'll hide the fact that they know about them from their parents and not have a clue about safe handling.

February 24, 2007, 09:20 PM
My daughter was shooting .22 at 5 and 5.56mm at 7.

My son is just starting .22 now at 6. He wasn't as mature.

Younger is better, especially as far as safety.

February 24, 2007, 09:23 PM

Several pics of kids here:)

February 24, 2007, 09:38 PM
Started my Kids on the 4 Rules of gun safety at an early age when they got their first BB guns (5). Both shot .22s shortly thereafter. Firearms were always locked in a vault. When they were 10 or so, we went out after Halloween with the left-over pumpkin. I let them shoot at the pumpkin with a light birdshot load from 20-some yards away. When we approached the target, it looked as if they had flung pepper at it . . .no big deal. Then I had them shoot another round from "up close & personal" . . . pumpkin flew everywhere & they were duly impressed. I informed them that they had just witnessed the awesome power they held in their hands when they discharged a firearm. When asked if they could put the pumpkin back together, they obviously replied, "No way!" I told them to remember that; there's no undoing the damage after you shoot something. With the "awesome power" comes an even more awesome responsibility. The rubber thing on the butt is called a recoil pad; there is no eraser for mistakes. In later years, I personally taught them handgun self-defense. Today, both are safe shooters, are a competent marksman & markswoman, they know how to reload, and each have a concealed-carry permit. To this day, if someone hands either of them a firearm, they exercise muzzle control, check to see if it's empty (even if I hand it to them), and if they didn't know how to check, they ask "how" before proceeding further I have no doubt that the legacy my Father left me will go on . . .

February 24, 2007, 10:37 PM
stogiegila ~

Stop by my site, www.corneredcat.com

Several articles there about introducing children to firearms, and lots of other stuff that might be of interest to a new gun owner.

And ... welcome to THR! :)


February 24, 2007, 10:55 PM
I don't know the answer to your question, but this is the perfect opportunity to relay something I heard today.

Was in a gun store that I don't usually frequent. It's a range/store that usually has shady and often reckless people, hence why I don't like it.

Anyways, a guy was in there with his kids. He had a daughter (oldest) and a son (youngest). The daughter was probably 9 I want to say. Maybe 10.

The son, probably 8.

I don't really know what he was doing, paying for something, I didn't pay too much attention.

I did however catch the girl say to her brother, "If I were to buy a gun, know which one I'd buy?" and then she pointed to a large HK with a suppressor. "That one! Big with the tube thing on it."

Then the son pointed to a gun and said he'd buy it. Then the girl ran over to a SMG and said, "No, I'd get this! It's the one that goes....'brrbrbrbrbrbrbbrrbr (*pretending to shoot an SMG*)" and the son pointed at a little .22lr NAA that I actually was eyeing myself as I was there looking for a pocket pistol/mouse-gun. She said, "Who are you going to kill with that?! It's too small." and the boy replied with, "Everybody!"

Now, normally, maybe I'd just chok this up to the immaturity of kids and watching too many movies. However, in the gun-store, it got me thinking.

I was kinda peeved the father didn't stop them and say, "That is not what guns are about - you know that, right?" Of course he didn't....

got me thinking how to handle the gun thing when I have kids later in life.

The line that got me though was, "Who are you going to kill with that?" - response of "Everybody!"

Messed up. Even for young kids playing that's just messed up. If the father is going to bring his kids into a gun store, then he needs to educate them about guns. Period. That's my opinion. They're young - but they should know better than that.

February 24, 2007, 11:20 PM
Got my first toy machine gun when I was like, 6? Had a lever you pulled back, and ratatatat.... took out a lot of neighbor cong with that weapon.

Then, I got a daisy .45 replica bb pistol. I usually shot from about 50 feet to a backstopped target milk jug, at about 9. Got so I could sit out there all day, and recycle BBs out of the jug, and back into the gun.

Nobody had to tell me about firearms. I was asking by about 10 or 11 if we were going to move into powder firearms. If the kid isn't asking, don't push it.
I got a wrist rocket about 11, and began to get into a little trouble. Street lights became targets of opportunity. Mercury vapor bulbs. "Where are the fishing weights going? " I dunno...

11 years old? I'd wait till they're about 13. My .02. YMMV

February 25, 2007, 12:57 AM

When is the right time to tell the kids about your guns?

About midway between their first word and their first step.


February 25, 2007, 03:49 AM
As soon as possible.

My son is 5 and he knows all about my guns.

My daughter is 1 1/2....here she is with her first gun this last Christmas.


I prefer to remove ALL the mystery about guns.

Want to hold a gun, follow me....I will make one safe (watch how I do it, check for yourself) and you can hold it all you want. I do this for my son all the time.

Couple that with Eddie Eagle Gun Safe video and I think we have a winner. I spot check him with empty guns and so far hes 100%.

February 25, 2007, 04:34 AM
and IMHO still a bit immature for his age. I'm wondering when in everyone's opinion is the time to tell him about them.

I genuinely mean no disrespect but: When's a good time to start teaching your kids about responsibility in any form? That's the time to tell them. :banghead: :banghead: :banghead:

It's just a tool after all, whether it's used for evil or for good.:(

February 25, 2007, 04:48 AM
I was always just aware of dads guns, If I messed with them I just knew there would be spankings in my future...so I never loaded them when showing them to my friends:evil:

He recently returned to the house do(sic) to issues at college

Dr Laura would not approve! (give him his walking papers, he knows everything, right?)

I say let kids be kids, let them play with toy guns it is how they learn that good conquers evil.
preventing them from playing (yes including pointing at each other) is just the kind of liberal hogwash that turned the Columbine killers into the columbine killers.

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/ 'Boys will be boys so let them play war games with toy guns' By Tony Halpin, Education Editor FOR more than three decades earnest staff in nurseries and primary schools have banned boys from acting out war games and superhero fantasies in the playground wielding pretend guns and swords. But experts at a conference in London today will be told that that approach is a mistake. Boys and girls should be allowed to play their violent games and may even suffer harm if they cannot. Penny Holland, senior lecturer in early childhood studies at London Metropolitan University, says that boys have fallen victim to a politically correct dogma that is ignoring their need for boisterous rough-and-tumble play. Some become disruptive and live up to a "bad boy" image because they have been told off constantly for playing in a way that nursery staff and teachers, most of whom are female, regard as unacceptable. A new book by Ms Holland, We Don?t Play with Guns Here, urges early-years centres to reconsider the ban on "war, weapon, and superhero play", arguing that boys will be boys. There is said to be no evidence of a decline in their desire to play violent games despite 30 years of official disapproval. Boys continued to play behind the backs of staff, even when they had been told it was wrong. "It is very much part of them making sense of the world. It relates to timeless themes of the struggle between good and evil," she told The Times. "It seems to represent a developmental need to play with these things and my feeling is that it is counter-productive to work against that. You can see in some situations, where there has been rigorous enforcement of zero tolerance, that it marginalises these children because their interests are so squarely rejected. If they are constantly receiving negative responses to their play interests, with people saying ?No, we don?t play with guns here?, they absorb the sense that they are bad boys. They seek negative attention and it becomes a self-perpetuating cycle." Ms Holland said that the zero-tolerance approach had emerged from pacifist and feminist movements in the 1960s and 1970s that assumed that "the spiral of male violence" could be broken by preventing boys from playing aggressive games. But there was no evidence that boys were more or less likely to grow into aggressive men because of the games they played. Her book observes that nurseries that had relaxed their ban on guns, swords, and violent games had reported that boys had more fun together, made closer friendships, and became more creative in other areas of play, such as dressing up as princes in fairy tales. Most such nurseries found that levels of real fighting between boys declined. Staff who stood back and watched children play-fighting, instead of intervening, discovered that they were much more careful to avoid injuries than had been believed, the book says. The children often agreed rules of the game between themselves to ensure that nobody got hurt. "This has particularly been observed in episodes of sword fighting and superhero-karate style fight scenarios," Ms Holland writes. Yet because of their prejudices, staff in many centres felt uncomfortable about allowing boys to make guns and swords out of toy bricks and other materials. "At best, do we respond to their energy and exuberance as irritatingly alien and male? At worst, do we see them as wife-beaters, armed robbers and rapists in the making?" Ms Holland writes. "Do our sincere desires to eradicate violence cloud our ability to interpret their behaviour as play?" A refusal to accept war games meant nursery staff were missing opportunities to talk to children about events they witnessed on television. Many nurseries reported seeing children pretending to be aircraft and knocking down tower blocks made of bricks after the September 11 terrorist attack in New York. Ms Holland told The Times: "The idea that they can leave these things behind at the nursery gate has to be changed, and that is one reason why practitioners are challenging zero tolerance." DEBATE What signal does this send to our children? E-mail your views to debate@thetimes.co.uk

Prince Yamato
February 25, 2007, 02:53 PM
You know, my parents never owned guns, but I always knew that they were deadly. I could in part thank my father to buying me Victory at Sea tapes when I was 3 (I loved airplanes). I just always assumed that guns were used to kill. It always made for interesting moments watching GI Joe cartoons and wondering why everyone was geting shot, but nobody was dying. Incidentally, I never noticed that noone died on the A-Team until about 20 years later :D

February 25, 2007, 03:25 PM
Long before that talk about the birds and the bees...

February 26, 2007, 08:39 PM
would have told them many many years ago regardless of there Maturity level
what do you think your 11 year old would do if he found your gun when you arent around if you havnt taught him gun saftey?

Molon Labe
February 26, 2007, 10:18 PM
I may catch some flack for this, but I don't care.

We have three children - 9, 7, and 3. I never keep a loaded gun in the house, and I check them on a routine basis to ensure they're not loaded. But they're not locked up. My FAL and 50-BMG rifles are in the bedroom next to the bed, and the AR is in the closet. Our 9 year old has a Crickett .22, and it's next to her bed. All ammo is stored in a far corner in the basement, with the exception of a 30-round FAL magazine on my dresser that is fully loaded with FMJ.

Now some of you may be shocked at the arrangement, and this is understood. But our children grew up this way since the day they were born, and guns are "part of the furniture" in their eyes. Even though the guns are easily accessible, none have ever attempted to touch a gun without asking first. It's not out of fear... I've never had to tell them not to touch them. They're mature kids, and they just know.

At any rate, none of our kids have any "fascination" when it comes to guns. There's no mystery or "forbidden fruit" syndrome. But I do not recommend this as a new arrangement for parents who already have children; it only works if you do it from the day they're born.

February 26, 2007, 10:46 PM
When my kids were growing up, they went with us everywhere, including when we were shooting, which was almost everytime we went camping or hiking or whatever. None are in prison, all are employed or in school, and I now have 6 fine grandkids who will start learning to shoot at the range at about age 8. The 6 year-old has started with a pellet rifle.

February 27, 2007, 10:11 AM
Never too young to start teach them. My 6 year old daughter brought home a picture she colored at school about guns. It says what kids should do when they see a gun. Do not touch it. Leave the area. Tell and adult.

I asked her if she was going to run away from me and she asked why and I pointed to the gun on my side and she said NO DADDY that one is for protection.


February 27, 2007, 10:24 AM
I may catch some flack for this, but I don't care.

We have three children - 9, 7, and 3. I never keep a loaded gun in the house, and I check them on a routine basis to ensure they're not loaded. But they're not locked up. My FAL and 50-BMG rifles are in the bedroom next to the bed, and the AR is in the closet. Our 9 year old has a Crickett .22, and it's next to her bed. All ammo is stored in a far corner in the basement, with the exception of a 30-round FAL magazine on my dresser that is fully loaded with FMJ.

Now some of you may be shocked at the arrangement, and this is understood. But our children grew up this way since the day they were born, and guns are "part of the furniture" in their eyes. Even though the guns are easily accessible, none have ever attempted to touch a gun without asking first. It's not out of fear... I've never had to tell them not to touch them. They're mature kids, and they just know.

At any rate, none of our kids have any "fascination" when it comes to guns. There's no mystery or "forbidden fruit" syndrome. But I do not recommend this as a new arrangement for parents who already have children; it only works if you do it from the day they're born.

Not criticizing- but wondering if you've ever caught flack from school teachers who found out about this from your kids?

I'm wondering if when school teachers tell kids that guns are evil, what your kids say in response? Or are they too young to respond?

February 27, 2007, 11:30 AM
In response to everyone saying "too old":

It doesn't mean they are unteachable, it just means they have some catching up to do.

Plenty of people don't get into shooting until they are adults.

What a lot of posters here are saying is "you have waited long enough, more than I would have waited, so get started ASAP".

February 27, 2007, 01:04 PM
As soon as we can have meaningful conversations. For the first three that was about 4-5 years old. The two boys, now 9 and 7, have a .22 Crosman CO2 rifle.

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