When do you teach kids about guns?


April 30, 2008, 04:45 PM
When do you teach children about guns? When do you start teaching safety rules? When do you start teaching them to shoot?

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April 30, 2008, 05:10 PM
what a limited poll. I have an 8 and 11 year old. I drill both them about the safety. I have only had guns a couple years but I would start drilling safety and do not touch as soon as they understand the words. Teach shooting when or if they have an interest and are big enough. The 8 year old isn't big enough to physically handle pistol or rifle and isn't really interested. I let him shoot my co2 pistol in the backyard and he has to use both hands to squeeze. The 11 year old is shooting with me but most the rifles don't fit him yet.

April 30, 2008, 05:14 PM
I should have said, first start teach kids about guns.

April 30, 2008, 05:14 PM
your questions and poll options don't work. example:
when do you teach children about guns? As soon as they show interest or will retain knowledge

when do you start teaching safety rules? same as above

when do you start teaching them to shoot? couple years later

Ghost Tracker
April 30, 2008, 05:18 PM
In the womb. Earlier if possible.

April 30, 2008, 05:20 PM
Dude, I started my son young. I had him gun-smithing by age two!

April 30, 2008, 05:43 PM
Before they enter preschool. Otherwise, the preschools will be working on them regarding guns.

"Does Daddy have any guns?"

"Where does he keep them? Do you know? Can you get at them?"


April 30, 2008, 05:45 PM
8 years old. My daughter, now 22 taught very early on. To teach them when they are older. I spent a long time teaching her gun safety when she was around 6. I taught her how to load the gun unload it. Everything i thought i covered. Everything. So i took her shooting. Reminded her of everything. Then she fired her first shot. About 10 minutes later she seemed to be doing ok. Then she saw her mom looking. She fired a round then stood up turning towards her mom swinging the rifle around with her. I almost had a heart attack. After that i thought she had enough. Later on thinking about. She was just too immature and too young at the time. Many years later im out again teaching my 7 year old. At the time he was almost 8. Gun safety was very good. He repeated everything i told him respected the gun and since then has been shooting with me a lot. He is now 9, his older brother my older son is 15 now. He has been shooting since around 9. I think 8-9 years old is a better age to teach them. I will never ever teach a kid that young.

April 30, 2008, 05:47 PM
Ongoing indoctrination from day one. There are, of course, graduated and age appropriate actions--but most firearms safety rules are learned by modeling parents behavior with guns--as with just about all things.

Our kids are 3 and 5-both girls. The hard and fast age appropriate rule is don't touch unless Dad/Mom/Grandpa are PHYSICALLY holding the weapon and said it was OK. That's it for now and we will keep it that way for a while. We practice checking the chamber together. We keep the muzzle pointed in a safe direction, etc. They are allowed to handle firearms any time they want given these conditions. Firearms are in no way forbidden, shameful, or 'hidden' away; I think many well-meaning people end up setting themselves up for serious problems later by 'fetish-izing' guns. They are matter-of-fact objects that have very serious rules attached to their handling. Weapons are secured, but are sometimes laying about (sans ammo) if being worked on. As the kids get older and have friends over, that will be more of an issue so I've got locked storage set up and in place.

Our oldest received a Cricket .22 from us for her last birthday--we will shoot later in the Summer when there is quiet one-on-one time with me or Grandpa.

I really don't like 'toy' guns unless they are handled in practice like a 'real' firearm (squirt guns I am OK with). I see no real point in mucking things up with bb guns as, really, it is EASIER for me to explain cartridge guns and how they work FIRST; we are lucky to live in a rural area and backyard practice at Grandpa's house is always an option.

April 30, 2008, 05:47 PM
That is teaching shooting. Of course, I was hunting at age 7 with dad, carried a 410 shotgun (that I still own). But, my son will probably be 8 or so before he can shoot on his own. At that age, he will be doing single-shots only.

As to teaching him about guns...


April 30, 2008, 06:04 PM
Safety is paramount, so teach to leave guns and components alone as soon as they start to understand 'NO'. With toddlers and crawlers, everything goes in the mouth. Many of our components near the reloading bench need to stay out of our children's orafices. Teach them to wash their hands after touching any part of our hobby. But, teaching them to shoot, or to reload all depends upon the personallity and maturity of that child. Humans don't understand death until age 4-5 or so. So the parent/adult needs to take due dilligence to make sure that guns are not available to a child. Don't allow any chance of them getting curious and playing with guns when an adult is not supervising.

I started my boys with .22's when they were 9 and 11. Different maturity. Different strengths and weaknesses. I allow them to 'assist' with some reloading tasks some times. They were required to pass the hunter-ed safety class the first time through without any study help from me. -If they asked me a question when reviewing their work book, I'd help, but I did not go out of my way to push study time. Incentive was to be able to hunt that same year. Else, I would not allow them to re-take the class the next month. They would have had to wait until the next year to take the class again. They wanted to hunt, so they studied and asked questions.

When they're old enough to understand, teach them to respect instead of fear. Even if your wife/little girl aren't shooters. Teach them safety and respect. Not fear. Most kids get curious, or fear what they don't know. Teach them, and the curiosity factor goes out the window.


April 30, 2008, 06:10 PM
I would say ASAP. The best advice I have heard is to allow them to handle them or maybe go shooting whenever they ask, but under your supervision. Don't turn it into forbidden fruit. That way you can teach them the proper rules and proper way to handle guns. I hope what I just said is already known by most.

April 30, 2008, 07:46 PM
My very wise 6 yo wants to hang out with her dad (she only has one parent) and is very fond of the things I do. I told her when she can recite the 4 rules on command, tell me what they mean; then I will get her a BB gun to start with and we will work up from there. I bought the BB/ Pellet gun last summer to keep woodpeckers off the house, so she will just use that for now we will move to a single shot henry next summer, I bought the .22 lr and a reactive target last year with my refund from IRS.

April 30, 2008, 07:48 PM
As soon as they understand what you are telling them. Start with "no", and "don't touch". Then when they actually start comprehending things, they can handle them under my supervision.

The 2 yr old saw me shopping for holsters for my new gun. The pic of the gun was on the screen. She pointed at it and said "Daddy's gun." She only saw it once. Kids have never been as stupid as history has thought they were.

Rook rifle
April 30, 2008, 07:57 PM
YOU better teach your children about guns as soon as they understand the word NO.

April 30, 2008, 08:08 PM
My son calls my firearms "dad's pows." He knows not to touch, but he also knows he can hold, at present, a long gun in his lap and look at it. He is 3 1/2 years old. They will never be forbidden fruit and will be commonplace and yet, he will know never to touch them unless I am around (of course, they are kept locked up otherwise). In the long term, he will always be very safe because he knows what they are, the damage they can do, and they will be no big deal to him because he will have grown up around them.


April 30, 2008, 08:17 PM
All of the above.

April 30, 2008, 08:35 PM
I have some firm ideas on this but will only mention two that I used.

First, each of my three kids first accompanied me to the range at about age 3. The only purpose of doing that was to let them hear the bang and be intimidated by it so they would understand that they had best keep hands off unless I was present. They sometimes went back but only after age 8 to 10 did they express any personal interest in learning to shoot.

Second, the first shot each one of them took was a .22RF rifle with HP ammo, fired at a water filled gallon milk jug from about 10 ft. Didn't want them to miss it and did want them to experience the resulting spray so they would appreciate what a bullet could do. It worked; BIG EYES! I pointed out that the splash could be their siblings, their mom, or me, or one of their friends so care with guns was important, not a movie. They believed me.

After that, teaching shooting safety took repeated drills in muzzle control, open actions except immediately before shooting, knowing the target and backstop, never getting in front of the shooter, etc.

Now they bring me the grandkids to train.

(PS - My first shot was at age 5 with my granddads single shot Reminton. Each of my kids also used it for their first shots. Each of my grandkids, so far, have also used it for a starter. It was a cheap "farmers" rifle made in the 20's but it's priceless to me and the kids.)

April 30, 2008, 08:40 PM
I don't have kids, but here's my thoughts.

They'll be visible (But not accessible), not stashed away, never to be seen. When questions are asked, they will be answered. If they want to hold it, that will be allowed, in a safe manner. education starts on day one, because they will not fear that which they know.

April 30, 2008, 09:42 PM
My grandfather lived in the country and kept a Remington model 11 in the corner behind the front door - generally to kill armadillos and rabid raccoons. There were 10 grandkids and 11 great grandkids, and nobody ever shot anybody with that shotgun.


April 30, 2008, 09:46 PM
Eddie Eagle 0-7.
Occasional CLOSELY supervised empty gun handling 3-6.
First range trip 6,7, 8, depending on the kid

April 30, 2008, 09:48 PM
not having any rug rats...:uhoh:

i voted 0-1 year.
but i think a good time is when they show a intrest in guns...of any kind.:what:

start small and easy (cap gun-aka toy) and work up from there.

no big thing but just let them get it at there rate of learning all the time working on safety and then shooting.



XD Fan
April 30, 2008, 11:04 PM
Saxety need to start coming up as soon as they have the vocabulary to deal with the concept of a gun. As said earlier, for the littlest, NEVER touch without daddy, momma, grandpa, or uncle saying it is okay. At this point no one else can give permission. My six year-old got a cricket last summer. What can I say. She asked so sweetly for pink gun.

Louisiana Carry
April 30, 2008, 11:47 PM
Gun safety for children- their Four Rules

Children who are generally considered too young to be allowed to handle firearms at all have a different set of rules which can be taught to them:

Don't touch.
Leave the area.
Tell an adult.

These rules for children are promulgated by the NRA's Eddie Eagle Program. The point of these rules are not to instill that firearms are bad, only that they are dangerous, and that they should not be handled by anyone not able to understand and practice the Four Rules.

Louisiana Carry
April 30, 2008, 11:48 PM
Learn Gun Safety With Eddie Eagle (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wIEBrb_wRYc)

May 1, 2008, 11:44 AM
As soon as they can understand what you're saying. I open my safe and let my kids handle my guns whenever they want. It's kind of "special time with dad." They know they have but to ask. I teach them the 4 rules, with particular emphasis on trigger discipline and muzzle discipline. I always check that the gun is unloaded every time, re-emphasize what they should do if they come across a gun at someone else's house, etc. If they slip up and come close to sweeping me or anyone else with the muzzle, they know the session is over, no arguments. I just taught my 8-year-old how to make sure a handgun is unloaded (the ones I hand him), but also reminded him that if he finds one elsewhere to leave it alone and tell an adult.

May 1, 2008, 11:50 AM
We just began basic gun safety with our daughter, age 2.5.

You know, Stop, don't touch, come get an adult, etc.

May 1, 2008, 01:56 PM
Started with mine, at 3. The new airsoft guns are a great begining. He did not go to the range till that was handled correctly. He made me proud when he corrected some other kids in a store pointing guns at each other...:rolleyes:

May 1, 2008, 03:09 PM
When do you teach children about guns?
When do you start teaching safety rules?
When do you start teaching them to shoot?
First question: As soon as they can understand what you say.

Second question: As soon as they can understand what you say.

Third question: Once they show a good understanding of safe gun handling.
a) Pointed in a safe direction (and why it is a safe direction)
b) Finger off the trigger until........

All of these are dependent on the individual child.

Please understand that I'm not saying there are differences in the way individual children learn, it's just that there are differences in the way individual children learn. You as the parent are in the best position to evaluate - your - child and begin teaching - any - subject once the child is capable of really understanding the subject. Not just when you want them to.

In fewer words: some are ready at five, some are not ready at fifty.

Mr White
May 1, 2008, 03:15 PM
I used to shout Cooper's 4 rules into my wife's belly when she was pregnant. :D

May 1, 2008, 03:20 PM
i started at almost two years

May 1, 2008, 06:56 PM
Maybe I did it wrong but there were no toy guns for my daughter or her friends while at my home. My reasoning is guns are never toys and toys are never guns.... and yes I had them.

I taught her handling practices with a bb gun as soon as she was interested, never rushed her.

May 1, 2008, 07:20 PM
While in the womb man, in the womb!

May 1, 2008, 08:46 PM
In the absence of toy guns, kids make up toy guns. I have seen it too many times to believe otherwise. My son has toy guns. He plays with them. My friend's boys have no access to toy guns. So, they use sticks, water sprayers, pens, you name it for guns.


May 1, 2008, 09:03 PM
My 2yo boy builds guns out of his Duplo blocks. We have a target taped to the wall and insist that he only shoot targets and never people.

The Crickett rifle for the 8yo boy is on order. He can recite all the rules of gun safety. But, because he is a clever child who occasionally gets "good ideas" (today's was to let the cockatiels out to fly in the fresh air because he thought it would make them happy -- fortunately this time he asked first), we are using every redundant safety measure we can think of.

The 14yo girl had no great interest in airsofts or air rifles but got to shoot a .22 revolver recently and fell in love with "cowboy" style guns. We're finagling her into an NRA Basic Pistol course (she's underage but the instructors are going to work it out -- probably DH will have to be there with her), to make sure she learns right.

The 16yo boy, whose interest is shotguns and rifles, will be doing hunter's ed this summer.

Educating the kids is a lot easier since we've moved to a place where we have access to a range nearer than an hour's drive. :D

May 1, 2008, 09:07 PM
Come on. Under 5?? Kids should not even know that they exist under 5 imho.

May 1, 2008, 09:07 PM
You're serious?


May 1, 2008, 09:34 PM
By the age of five I had already found three operable & loaded firearms, the first when I was three. I found that S&W .38 special in a box of home movies in the closet of Grandma's guest bedroom. Brought it to Dad and immediately got my first gun handling lecture.
First, bring dad to gun, not gun to dad.
Second, don't pick up "toy" guns until an adult says it's okay.
Third, don't point guns that have moving parts at people unless it's a squirt gun.

That set of rules held sway for quite a while.

May 2, 2008, 02:48 PM
Come on. Under 5?? Kids should not even know that they exist under 5 imho.
Please. :rolleyes:

May 2, 2008, 03:03 PM
Come on. Under 5?? Kids should not even know that they exist under 5 imho.

As soon as they can understand the words. "No don't touch. Those are dad's (bullets/guns/fishing tackle/insert whatever dangerous thing you want to). It can BITE you." is EVERY bit as important as "NO, don't touch. The stove is HOT. It can BURN you."

My kids may have been born in the era of the "bubble wrap generation", but they are NOT part of it. Not one of the five has ever been burned by the stove, or been shot, or ingested anything harmful to them. They have known better. Each of my 3 older daughters has their OWN .22 rifle, and have taken at least one class/course in gun safety......... Eldest has taken up trap shooting, and she's but 11.......

May 2, 2008, 04:52 PM
Come on. Under 5?? Kids should not even know that they exist under 5 imho.
Not only did my sons know about guns before they were 5, they saw the damage that guns could do. And they weren't under the mistaken belief that hamburgers grew on a tree and venison mysteriously showed up on the dinner table.

Hot brass
May 2, 2008, 09:26 PM
I put 3yrs old, but I started my kids at a very young age and continue to talk guns today.

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