Too much safety?


PDA






gdcpony
November 17, 2010, 11:16 AM
I am often asked why my kids have guns in their rooms. Is it really safe to allow an eight year old girl to have a .223, .22, and 20 gauge at her disposal? I simply say that she has never expressed an interest in them BECAUSE she has them. They are posters on the wall, a stuffed animal on the shelf. A bike, if you will, that she knows how to ride, and what happens if she falls off. When I say grab a gun she generally goes for one of mine for me and even forgets her own until I remind that she will need one too if she is to blow up milk jugs with me (a game we play with our empty ones). My older daughter (12 now), if told weíre going hunting, grabs her bow till I tell her we are ground hogging in an open field.

I think today we place too much emphasis on the wrong things. We stress safety so much that it reminds others that guns can kill. However, are you the same way with a kitchen knife, or a hammer, or even a car? No, we know they can be used the wrong way, and just donít. Safety with these items is unconscious. We simply do it. That is how it should be. You should not need to stress it to the point that others are afraid of them. There is enough out there doing that right now.

The more you stress how dangerous something is, the more dangerous it is perceived to be. And then it becomes truth. Self fulfilling prophecy is a common theme in life. If you think it is, then it is. It is true no matter how you deny it that ANYTHING can be as dangerous as a gun if you make it so.

We always preach that guns donít kill, people kill. Truth has a certain ring to it. Yet, we ourselves treat a weapon like it CAN hurt someone. What is a gun in reality? It is metal and plastic and wood. Nothing more. It only becomes more if we make it so. If we simply treat it like the bike we rode as a child then is it really so different?

Think of it this way. When Ronnie (my oldest and best friend) and I were hunting squirrels, we approached it like a military operation against the little tree rats. Fitting that we both became Marines, I guess. At times we would cross in front of one another as we crept through the woods. Amazingly and without thought, the other would dip or raise his muzzle even if it already was. Just like you slow down for the guy in front of you while riding. When we handed the rifles to each other (generally Ronnie to me since I couldnít get a squirrel to save my life back then) so the other could have his hands, the action was open. Again this is done without thought, just put the foot down as you stop the bike.

I am teaching my kids to be like this. I donít remind them to be safe with a weapon anymore than I do with their bikes. I watch and stay in a position to stop anything that shouldnít happen, just like when I taught them to ride. I will do so until I am 100% sure they are as safe as me, just like them riding their bikes. I did not lock up their bikes unless they gave me a reason to (grounded for not cleaning I think was the last reason both guns and bikes were taken). I reinforce through my actions the very skills and habits I want them to have. But I donít think about the last part until I am reminded because my daughter hands me my AR with the bolt still closed and I refuse silently to take it. This way they know it is natural to be safe. As it needs to be, as it has to be.

If you need to be reminded, Or if you need to think about it, you are too new to shooting and should be taught again.

If you enjoyed reading about "Too much safety?" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!
M-Cameron
November 17, 2010, 11:20 AM
well the only real way i could see it being irresponsible is if you store the guns loaded( or are easily able to be loaded).....

...i mean, as responsible as your kids may be......kids will be kids.

SSN Vet
November 17, 2010, 11:23 AM
Whatever you decide.... just keep in mind that you can't undo your decision, should it result in a tragedy.

chevyman097
November 17, 2010, 11:28 AM
I enjoyed that read, and what I got from it.

Thankyou

CraigC
November 17, 2010, 11:36 AM
Watch the evening news for a week and see how many times you hear the word "safe" or "safety". Once you start to notice the proflic use of that word, safe(ty), it will make you sick. In our grand construction of the imminent Nanny State, "safety" is key. Everybody wants safety and security and folks will go to great lengths to feel "safe" but it is an illusion. It's become so important to the Chicken Littles of this nation that it is the one thing that people will trade their freedom for and we all know what Ben Franklin said about that. Hopping, skipping and jumping our way to a "safe" existence.....under the tyranny of our Great Nanny, the government.

Rail Driver
November 17, 2010, 11:43 AM
The only real safety the American people has anymore is the safety they can provide for themselves (this is not excluding or commenting on the military or the protections and freedoms they have historically provided the American people).

To the OP: +1, you have a similar method to my own. More people need to take responsibility like that!

Skribs
November 17, 2010, 11:47 AM
The difference is how easy it is for something to go wrong with a gun. You drop a knife that's pointed towards you, it will fall to the ground. Gun fires when it's pointed towards you, and you will fall to the ground. Even if the knife is heading towards you, if you react quick you can move. Unless you're Neo or Agent Smith, I don't think you'll be moving away from that bullet. If your daughter has an accident on her bike, it's likely to lead to a scraped knee or something similar. If she has an accident with the gun, it's likely to be a lot worse.

With that said, it sounds to me like you at least respect guns and what they can do. It doesn't matter if someone is 12 or 42, they're capable of making bad decisions. It just usually occurs that you make more of them at a younger age. You're also more likely at a younger age to have the mindset of "I've used a nerf gun, I can use a real gun," without realizing what can actually happen with a real one.

NavyLCDR
November 17, 2010, 11:55 AM
I don't think a gun is any different than anything else we decide for our children. We decide when they are mature enough to ride their bicycles by themselves out of the driveway. We decide when they are mature enough to go with their friends or alone somewhere after school. We decide when they are mature enough to stay home by themselves. Each one of these activities has the potential for tragic consequences. I don't see a gun as being any different.

I agree with what the OP has suggested - the idea that a gun is the most dangerous object in the world comes from the propaganda that the anti-gun groups have now pushed for decades.

gdcpony
November 17, 2010, 12:05 PM
When I was typing I thought about all those things that "could go wrong." I am the guy most likely to suffer such things. Just my luck. My oldest wants a Honda Rebel and an AR-15. I ask you this: Which one would you get her first? Both could kill her or others. Which is statistically more likey to? and which would the "public" rather see in the hands of a 16 (the age I set for either) year old girl?

Also, I know Marines I am deployed with I worry more about having armed than my kids to be honest. The biggest difference I see is in when they first touch a weapon and what they think it is. Tool for killing (the people I speak of) or a tool for living (me and my kids).

DCR
November 17, 2010, 12:22 PM
Thank you for raising two girls the right way; you are undoubtedly a proud Dad and have my kudos.

Skribs
November 17, 2010, 12:31 PM
Gdcpony, very very bad typo in there! It's "public." Not trying to be the grammar police, but that one...

gdcpony
November 17, 2010, 12:35 PM
The difference is how easy it is for something to go wrong with a gun. You drop a knife that's pointed towards you, it will fall to the ground. Gun fires when it's pointed towards you, and you will fall to the ground. Even if the knife is heading towards you, if you react quick you can move. Unless you're Neo or Agent Smith, I don't think you'll be moving away from that bullet. If your daughter has an accident on her bike, it's likely to lead to a scraped knee or something similar. If she has an accident with the gun, it's likely to be a lot worse.

With that said, it sounds to me like you at least respect guns and what they can do. It doesn't matter if someone is 12 or 42, they're capable of making bad decisions. It just usually occurs that you make more of them at a younger age. You're also more likely at a younger age to have the mindset of "I've used a nerf gun, I can use a real gun," without realizing what can actually happen with a real one.


I have cut myself many more times with a knife than hurt my self with a gun. Don't worry though, what kind of dad would I be to give my kids something to hunt with and not give them a knife to gut it out with? They love their hunting knives.

Skribs
November 17, 2010, 12:41 PM
That's my point exactly GDC pony, you can cut yourself with a knife and usually walk away from it. An accidental knife wound is usually a nick because you barely clipped yourself, or it's a barely-penetrating stab from a dropped blade that has no force behind it. A bullet is going to do a lot more damage should it hit you.

Again, I'm not saying guns are evil. I am saying guns are dangerous and deserve to be treated with respect. You can have a healthy fear of something - e.g. safety gear for construction workers, because they have a healthy fear of falling to their death. That doesn't mean the gun has to be locked up at all times, just that you have to understand that should it go off, whatever is in front of the muzzle is going to be hit, and know what to do to make sure that it won't go off in a direction that will hit anyone.

sig220mw
November 17, 2010, 12:51 PM
I agree that safety can be pushed way too much. Guns that have warnings on the barrel about reading the owner's manual. Four wheelers with warnings on the gas tank about wearing helmets. Lawn mowers with warnings about not placing fingers around the bottom while motor is running. Electric home appliances with warnings about immersing in water while plugged in.

I agree we need safety, but sometimes I wonder how far it has to go.

I read an article written by a man that had a friend from the UK visit him here in the US. Upon seeing so many written warnings the Brit said " What is wrong, are all Americans idiots"? His American friend responded "It's because of lawyers".

This is surely a big part of it but there sure are a bunch of idiots here too.

I have personally met and known college educated people that thought that New England was a state and that 12 midnight was 12pm instead of am.

It certainly makes you wonder.

As late as the 40's and 50's, school boys would bring their shotguns to school and stack them in the corner of the class room. They would hunt on the way home. Can you imagine that happening now? It would be on the national news as the lead story.

gdcpony
November 17, 2010, 12:52 PM
Gdcpony, very very bad typo in there! It's "public." Not trying to be the grammar police, but that one...
oops sorry

BP Hunter
November 17, 2010, 12:53 PM
Watch the evening news for a week and see how many times you hear the word "safe" or "safety". Once you start to notice the proflic use of that word, safe(ty), it will make you sick. In our grand construction of the imminent Nanny State, "safety" is key. Everybody wants safety and security and folks will go to great lengths to feel "safe" but it is an illusion. It's become so important to the Chicken Littles of this nation that it is the one thing that people will trade their freedom for and we all know what Ben Franklin said about that. Hopping, skipping and jumping our way to a "safe" existence.....under the tyranny of our Great Nanny, the government.

Safety has become a MAIN concern in the American way of life - make sure you wear your seat belt, wear safety goggles, don't forget you life jacket, etc. Honestly, do we really care?? It's our life and I will wear a life jacket if I want to. But no, the warning label on the boat says you have to and if you end up drowning...guess who gets SUED! The label on the coffee cup says, "Warning, contents are hot". WE KNOW THAT! Why must it have to be labeled?! It's because we have become a SUE happy nation! Safety and all that stuff were there because of companies and corporations who failed to add safety labels. The newer generation guns have all these ugly signs stating, "Read manual before use...".

Sorry for the rant! It what this nation has turned into.

To the OP, thanks for your post! It was very enlightening.

mcdonl
November 17, 2010, 12:56 PM
This is a serious topic that I have a very hard time getting my arms around. I have two daughters, 14 and 11.... the 14 year old hunts with me, has her own rifle and knows how to safely operate, load and unload all of my guns (Long, Short, Shot, ML, etc....)

My 11 year old casts, reloads and shoots my (Someday to be hers I am sure...) .357 revolver. She loves it and can shoot sub 4" groups at 21-25 feet dual action. She is also proficiant with the 9mm carbine. To be honest, better then me and I am above average.

So, they have the knowledge and the skills. They even check to see if doors are locked, we play (asses the threat) games and look for cover/concealment when we are out. Not openly, we do not wear 9.11 gear to walmart for tampons, we look and act normal we just do stuff like this because of my exposures to this website, others, training, IDPA, etc....

My struggle is when I am not home. Knowing that my kids know how to safely use and operate guns, and knowing that they maintain a safe environment, locked doors, etc... should I have a gun and ammo that is available for them if they need it? I do not know the answer.

gdcpony
November 17, 2010, 12:56 PM
That's my point exactly GDC pony, you can cut yourself with a knife and usually walk away from it. An accidental knife wound is usually a nick because you barely clipped yourself, or it's a barely-penetrating stab from a dropped blade that has no force behind it. A bullet is going to do a lot more damage should it hit you.

Again, I'm not saying guns are evil. I am saying guns are dangerous and deserve to be treated with respect. You can have a healthy fear of something - e.g. safety gear for construction workers, because they have a healthy fear of falling to their death. That doesn't mean the gun has to be locked up at all times, just that you have to understand that should it go off, whatever is in front of the muzzle is going to be hit, and know what to do to make sure that it won't go off in a direction that will hit anyone.
And that is the reason safety should be by instinct not coersion. What good would it do for me to remind how to walk every step you took? You do it because you know every part of what a step entails and can perform it without thinking about it. Going beyond that and demanding that you lift one foot at a time is the very thing we do.

dogsoldier0513
November 17, 2010, 01:03 PM
The only real safety the American people has anymore is the safety they can provide for themselves (this is not excluding or commenting on the military or the protections and freedoms they have historically provided the American people).

To the OP: +1, you have a similar method to my own. More people need to take responsibility like that!
DITTO! from a former LEO.

gdcpony
November 17, 2010, 01:04 PM
This is a serious topic that I have a very hard time getting my arms around. I have two daughters, 14 and 11.... the 14 year old hunts with me, has her own rifle and knows how to safely operate, load and unload all of my guns (Long, Short, Shot, ML, etc....)

My 11 year old casts, reloads and shoots my (Someday to be hers I am sure...) .357 revolver. She loves it and can shoot sub 4" groups at 21-25 feet dual action. She is also proficiant with the 9mm carbine. To be honest, better then me and I am above average.

So, they have the knowledge and the skills. They even check to see if doors are locked, we play (asses the threat) games and look for cover/concealment when we are out. Not openly, we do not wear 9.11 gear to walmart for tampons, we look and act normal we just do stuff like this because of my exposures to this website, others, training, IDPA, etc....

My struggle is when I am not home. Knowing that my kids know how to safely use and operate guns, and knowing that they maintain a safe environment, locked doors, etc... should I have a gun and ammo that is available for them if they need it? I do not know the answer.
I understand your concern. I am deployed right now and the wife works. The neighbors help keep an eye in the kids for the hour they spend alone, but...

My oldest has access to ammo for hers. Though to be honest like me she prefers and usually grabs the bow. Probably would if trouble came up too. She just likes it better.

My youngest has her weapons but no ammo. Since they use similar (the only difference is my oldest's .410 vs the younger's 20ga), I guess she could get the key from her sister for hers, but I don't see that happening. The younger has her arrows to if it came to that.

And the wife has her favorite (my Ultra Slugger with shot shells which equals a can't miss) if anything happens. During the rest of the time.

Rail Driver
November 17, 2010, 01:10 PM
Ultra Slugger with shot shells which equals a can't miss

I have to laugh every time I see someone say something like this...

Go shoot a few rounds of trap with that same gun and those same loads, you'll be surprised. For that matter, set up man size targets at HD ranges and shoot once at center mass into each target. You'll find that inside 25 ft the shot pretty much stays together acting almost like a slug. There is some spread, but not nearly as much as you seem to believe.

Skribs
November 17, 2010, 01:11 PM
Oh okay, I get what you're saying now. "Safety" as in shoved down your throat at every turn, not just general safe practices. And yes, I agree with you. I think you should either be safe with guns by instinct or not have them (I'm not trying to be "elitist" here, but if you're going to shoot me or yourself on accident, you probably shouldn't be near a trigger until you learn some respect for the boomstick).

BP Hunter, I agree with you. It's also bizzarre that society drew a white line in the sand at specific ages for specific things. It's like, before you're 18 you're too naive to own a gun, but after you're 18 you're suddenly enlightened. What happens during the nanosecond where you turn 18 that suddenly makes you okay to handle a weapon?

Mountainman38
November 17, 2010, 01:17 PM
I am often asked why my kids have guns in their rooms. Is it really safe to allow an eight year old girl to have a .223, .22, and 20 gauge at her disposal?
No. Kids brains are not fully developed, and while she may KNOW proper gun care and use, her brain may simply not fire correctly at some point and a tragedy can ensue.

I simply say that she has never expressed an interest in them BECAUSE she has them. They are posters on the wall, a stuffed animal on the shelf. A bike, if you will, that she knows how to ride, and what happens if she falls off.

If you can't see a difference between a stuffed animal and a gun, you seriously need to take firearms a lot more seriously -- as should your daughter. If you forget and touch a bikes pedal wrong, it doesn't fire a round that can kill your sister, a friend, or even just put a hole through a wall.

I think today we place too much emphasis on the wrong things. We stress safety so much that it reminds others that guns can kill.

What on earth is your point here?! Did you not know guns can kill? And that that's why they were designed? Firearms weren't invented so soldiers could relax after a hard day of swinging a sword and bending a bow -- they were created to make killing enemies much easier.

However, are you the same way with a kitchen knife, or a hammer, or even a car?

I give respect to anything that can harm me. I use my Spyderco Manix for many kitchen chores, and because I keep it very sharp, I give it great respect. Every time I cut something with it, I think about what could happen if I slipped, and where the blade would go. As a result, I've never cut myself with it. Same for a car -- small lapses can have huge life changing results, so I give my vehicles the respect they deserve.

No, we know they can be used the wrong way, and just donít. Safety with these items is unconscious. We simply do it.

It's making safe handling an unconscious thing that causes negligent discharges, fingers chopped off in lawnmowers, etc. Consciously thinking about safety is what keeps it in focus, and us safe.

That is how it should be. You should not need to stress it to the point that others are afraid of them. There is enough out there doing that right now.

There's a difference between being afraid of something to the point that you imbue it with power to move on it's own and come after you, and having a very healthy respect for the damage something can do.

The more you stress how dangerous something is, the more dangerous it is perceived to be. And then it becomes truth.

This sounds like you're trying to minimize the hazards associated with firearms. Pretending like they aren't dangerous, doesn't make them non-lethal.

Self fulfilling prophecy is a common theme in life. If you think it is, then it is. It is true no matter how you deny it that ANYTHING can be as dangerous as a gun if you make it so.

Huh? Is this your example of how saying something is true, makes it so? Simply stating that no matter how much I deny it that ANYTHING can be as dangerous as a gun is disingenuous, and patently not true. How is a spoon as dangerous as a gun? How many police officers have lost their lives as a result of a felon attacking them with a spoon? Or a paper towel?

We always preach that guns donít kill, people kill. Truth has a certain ring to it.

People use guns to kill, because guns are really good at doing that. This whole line about guns just being a misunderstood collection of parts is hogwash. Guns are deadly weapons, and should be respected as such. They're not autonomous killing machines, but they are certainly deadly tools -- and intended to be. Yes, truth certainly does have a ring to it, but I don't see it in this statement.


Yet, we ourselves treat a weapon like it CAN hurt someone.

Yes... because it can. I have to say, this statement shows a disturbing disconnect from reality.

What is a gun in reality? It is metal and plastic and wood. Nothing more. It only becomes more if we make it so. If we simply treat it like the bike we rode as a child then is it really so different?

Wow. You seriously need to work on your reasoning skills, if you can equate riding a bike to shooting a gun.

Think of it this way. When Ronnie (my oldest and best friend) and I were hunting squirrels, we approached it like a military operation against the little tree rats. Fitting that we both became Marines, I guess. At times we would cross in front of one another as we crept through the woods. Amazingly and without thought, the other would dip or raise his muzzle even if it already was. Just like you slow down for the guy in front of you while riding. When we handed the rifles to each other (generally Ronnie to me since I couldnít get a squirrel to save my life back then) so the other could have his hands, the action was open. Again this is done without thought, just put the foot down as you stop the bike.

I do agree that you should know the proper way to treat objects with the power to kill, and practice safe handling. This doesn't mean you shouldn't think about it -- that's how negligent accidents happen.

Most accidents don't happen because someone thinks it's a GOOD idea to point a gun at someone and see if the safety is on by pulling the trigger -- they just got distracted or careless, and something awful happened.

I am teaching my kids to be like this. I donít remind them to be safe with a weapon anymore than I do with their bikes. I watch and stay in a position to stop anything that shouldnít happen, just like when I taught them to ride. I will do so until I am 100% sure they are as safe as me, just like them riding their bikes. I did not lock up their bikes unless they gave me a reason to (grounded for not cleaning I think was the last reason both guns and bikes were taken). I reinforce through my actions the very skills and habits I want them to have. But I donít think about the last part until I am reminded because my daughter hands me my AR with the bolt still closed and I refuse silently to take it. This way they know it is natural to be safe. As it needs to be, as it has to be.

It sounds like you ARE still reminding them, such as when you don't take the AR with the bolt closed. I think what you're doing here is good -- but being aware of the consequences of that gun being loaded every time she hands it to you is still the way to go.

If you need to be reminded, Or if you need to think about it, you are too new to shooting and should be taught again.

This is kind of condescending. How do new shooters learn, except by being reminded when they forget to follow proper procedure?

I have been rock climbing for over 20 years. I was fortunate to be taught by a very conscientious instructor, and we went through the same safety check and verbal exchange EVERY time we started up or down a rock -- and still do. Both of us checked our own harnesses and rope tie in, then checked each others. We went through the same communication exchange every time, as well. Climber: "On belay". Belayer:"Belay is on". Climber:"Ready to climb". Belayer:"Climb on". Climber:"Climbing".

While doing this, we don't think about how dumb it sounds, or how we're good climbers who shouldn't have to think about what we're doing -- we realize that a harness opening, or a carabiner coming loose, or taking someone off belay while they're depending on the rope could send someone plummeting to their death.

Have respect for what you do! Safe handling of firearms should be instinctive, but an awareness of why you're doing it should always be at the front of your consciousness, too.

gdcpony
November 17, 2010, 01:20 PM
Just thought of a good example.

My younger one was out with me last deer season. She had her little Rossi 20ga and we were on a steep hillside. She slipped and fell. The whole way down-and it was a good slide- she kept her muzzle up and away from her sister and I. Afterwards she was ok and climbing back up looking for something. I asked her what she lost.

She said, almost crying, "I popped out the shell so when I slipped. I didn't want it loaded in case I dropped it. You told me I don't get another till I put this one in a deer."

Before she started crying I gave another slug. She didn't have to think about it, or be warned. She just did what she thought was right without thinking about it twice.

Mags
November 17, 2010, 01:23 PM
I am saying guns are dangerous and deserve to be treated with respect. But knives aren't dangerous? I bet alot of people on here only focused on the children with guns in their room portion of the OP and skimmed through the main point that there are many dangerous "tools" in our everyday lifestyle. So what's with the over emphasis on guns? I mean a car, knife, skilsaw, etc... can kill you just as efficiently as a gun, but do we see power tool guntrol advocates in the news? No, we see gun control freaks out there. As for Mountain Man you missed the point entirely or you are trolling.

Mountainman38
November 17, 2010, 01:28 PM
...Sho what's with the over emphasis on guns? I mean a car, knife, skilsaw, etc... can kill you just as efficiently as a gun, but do we see power tool guntrol advocates in the news? No, we see gun control freaks out there.

No, they sure can't. While many things CAN kill you, guns were specifically created to kill you -- and as I said before, they're really good at it.

When you start seeing movies with the gang bangers pulling a Skilsaw out of their sagging pants and running screaming at a house to do a drive-by sawing, you can start using this line of reasoning.

sansone
November 17, 2010, 01:30 PM
thanks to the op; I have many dangerous devices in the home and barn. The children have been taught to avoid certain items (no exceptions) .. I take offense when any entity believes they know what's best for my kids. Of course the world contains morons and unfortunately some become parents.

Blue Line
November 17, 2010, 01:32 PM
I'm not worried about my kids but I do worry about the others that come to visit mine.

mcdonl
November 17, 2010, 01:38 PM
People use guns to kill, because guns are really good at doing that. This whole line about guns just being a misunderstood collection of parts is hogwash. Guns are deadly weapons, and should be respected as such. They're not autonomous killing machines, but they are certainly deadly tools -- and intended to be. Yes, truth certainly does have a ring to it, but I don't see it in this statement.

This is the mission statement of the anti crowd.

My guns have the ability to kill, and some of them were designed to, but you and other antigun radicals fail to realize many of us shoot for recreation, and many guns are created with sport and recreational shooting in mind.

Fried foods kill more Americans than guns ever have, or ever will.

No, they sure can't. While many things CAN kill you, guns were specifically created to kill you -- and as I said before, they're really good at it.

When you start seeing movies with the gang bangers pulling a Skilsaw out of their sagging pants and running screaming at a house to do a drive-by sawing, you can start using this line of reasoning.

I feel silly, I was duped into your game. Troll indeed.

Lonestar49
November 17, 2010, 01:58 PM
...

Definitely a ~ Words of Wisdom ~ thread

My thanks to the OP and to those that also responded with other words of wisdom.

It's like the good ol days of great "Hanger talk" at various airports with other Pilots.

Refreshing, like a full meal, then digesting it, and then desert.. ;)

One of the best post-threads I have read in a while - just a great meal - food for thought, with an understanding of:

Less is More,

Thanks,


Ls

M-Cameron
November 17, 2010, 02:02 PM
Fried foods kill more Americans than guns ever have, or ever will.

im sorry, but that is not even remotely close to being true.....


.....are guns dangerous tools, yes, otherwise we wouldnt have such strict rules when it came to handeling and and using them......

i dont have to worry about someone getting hurt if i incorrectly use a foam pool noodle......but if you muzzle sweep someone with a firearm, there is a potential for injury or death....

Mags
November 17, 2010, 02:06 PM
M-Cameron, did you even read the whole OP? How about the part about how muzzle sweep avoidance was automatic for the OP and his buddy? I think many here zoned in on the guns in a kid's room part of the post and missed the point entirely.

Sam1911
November 17, 2010, 02:16 PM
im sorry, but that is not even remotely close to being true.....

Well, yes...if by "fried foods" you mean health concerns brought on at least in part by lifestyle.

In 2007, heart disease alone killed over 616,000 people. Assault (homicide) to include unarmed and armed with any kind of weapon at all was the cause of just a little over 18,000 deaths. Accidents of all kinds only took another 124,000 -- and gun accidents are an extremely small percentage of that total. http://www.cdc.gov/NCHS/data/nvsr/nvsr58/nvsr58_19.pdf

Edit to add:
The DOJ says in 2005, 11,500 or so folks died in homicides by firearm.

Firearms accidents account for 0.5% of accidental deaths, according to the NRA, which would indicate that 620 of those 124,000 who accidentally bumped themselves off did so with firearms.

Suicides did take a little over 34,500. Seems about 57% of suicides are committed with a firearm. Call that 19,700 then.

It would be hard to say that guns were involved in any way with "more" deaths than health concerns such as those exacerbated by poor diet. Looks like around 32,000 people died as a result of something having to do with a firearm, vs. 616,000 from heart disease alone, that year. So lets say 19:1 against.

Mountainman38
November 17, 2010, 02:19 PM
This is the mission statement of the anti crowd.

That's your opinion. If what someone says is true, a person who's willing to be honest with themselves will be willing to accept that.

My guns have the ability to kill, and some of them were designed to, but you and other antigun radicals fail to realize many of us shoot for recreation, and many guns are created with sport and recreational shooting in mind.

This is simple knee-jerk rhetoric. If you will look at what I said, you'll see there's nothing about guns being used ONLY for killing. I said that's what they were originally designed for -- but since I don't hunt, I only use mine for target shooting.

Since you know nothing about me, implying that I'm anti-gun because I advocate treating guns with the respect they deserve is absurd.

Fried foods kill more Americans than guns ever have, or ever will.

So do auto accidents, cancer, etc. You do what you can to protect yourself from all sources of danger, but that doesn't mean you ignore the danger.



I feel silly, I was duped into your game. Troll indeed.

You should feel silly -- because that's how your "rebuttal" sounds. If you can't handle discussing something with someone with a different opinion than yours, perhaps you should evaluate your logical base. Is it derived from fact, or more from a reaction to the blind accusations of completely anti-gun ranters?

In this area, as with politics or religion, keeping an open mind is healthy. If you can't handle having your pre-conceived notions questioned, maybe they're not worth defending.

sansone
November 17, 2010, 02:28 PM
I agree with lonestar, less is more. Many posts have been right on the money IMO.. gun accidents consist of an incredibly low percentage of screw-ups. Maybe gun owners are being more responsable than the average citizen. I like to believe so

FIVETWOSEVEN
November 17, 2010, 02:32 PM
To think, 60 years ago, elementary kids were riding the bus to school with their guns with them.

thezoltar
November 17, 2010, 03:54 PM
I have never worried about my kid, but some of his aquaintences are a different story. Security of firearms in my house is based on me not always being there and me not always knowing who is.

mcdonl
November 17, 2010, 03:55 PM
That was what I meant Sam... OP... great post. And thanks for your insights on this matter. I think you have the right idea.

gdcpony
November 17, 2010, 04:56 PM
Sorry for the delay. I had to go take care of a couple numb-skulls who definitely need not own firearms much less be issued them. Oh well,
Maybe I should have put the opening line in the bottom?

Mountain man- I don't think guns or any dangerous item should just be handed out blindly to anyone children or adult. Not to sound anti, but there are allot of people with them that shouldn't have them. On the flip side, I know of allot of kids who can handle the responsibility of dangerous items. How many have kids who ride dirt bikes? My oldest (sorry I am proud of my kids, I guess) used my little trim saw to help cut wood last year. The same thing applied there. Safety was ingrained with the learning of how to use the item. It was not a separate class. Is that not how you were taught to climb? The audibles were part of how to climb and natural as part of the process.

You say guns are meant to kill. In the Corps, or any military service, you are right. A military man may have to kill just because it is the enemy he is looking at. But NEVER should any civilian view them as such. Not even LEO's. Why? There job is to save lives. I may kill a deer at home, but I feed my family with it and as such we live. An officer may need to use his one day in defense of himself or others so that they may live. For me once this uniform is off (actually I hunt in it, but you get the point) my firearms are tools for living.

You question whether people focusing on gun safety makes them dangerous. Well, how about this. you may take precautions as you climb, but when talking to others is that your focus? Or is it on the enjoyment of breaking that crest, or just hanging for a moment and enjoying the view? And I bet more than half of the non-climbers you talk to are so caught up in that part. They may not want to try it, but they won't tell you you're wrong to do so. With firearms the first thing a non shooter says is how dangerous a gun is. Right off the bat they are considered in that light. By stressing how careful we are we only make this worse. After all anything you have to treat so cautiously must be horribly unstable. Right after that they hop in their car and drive off in even more danger.

My oldest was so scared after the hunting education course spent half of their time on weapon safety, I had to convince her they weren't so bad.
"Daddy is my 410 really that bad?"
"Do you plan to do something you shouldn't with it?"
"No"
"Then no it isn't, Kala"

You say that making safety unconscious leads to negligent discharges. I believe the opposite to be true. The fact that safety becomes a habit, means that it is ingrained. I feel odd if I start to walk toward my target without having opened the action. I can't do it. If I actually had to think about it, I might forget something. Not that I am perfect. The last perfect person I know of died at 33 for all of us. However, I feel similar to clasping my hands the opposite way if I break habits. I doubt I'll ever be able to ride a motorcycle without a helmet, because I learned that putting it on was a part of riding.

The part about weapons not killing is simple fact. I have yet to see a knife, bow, car, or gun kill someone. I have SEEN people die from other people using them though. A car bomb makes a great example.

I have gotten beyond the point where I tell my kids what they have done wrong most of the time. I can ask and they can figure it out. Sometimes just a quiet hint is all it takes to drive the habit into a child's bones. Yes they are still kids. They NEVER hand me a loaded gun. The bolt being forward would have been right after getting out of my gun cabinet, but I don't take a gun with the bolt forward, not even from my armorer.

And yes if safety is not ingrained you do need more teaching. I have said no one is perfect, but good habits with the use of anything are a necessity.

hso
November 17, 2010, 05:04 PM
And that is the reason safety should be by instinct not coersion.

Safety is learned, not instinctive. If you teach your children how to handle something or do something safely and then reinforce it they can learn it and turn it into habit.

Not speeding becomes a habit that is safer than speeding. Not driving while distracted (cell phone, texting, arguing, reaching into the back,...putting on your makeup drinking your Big Gulp of Vodka Sunrise) becomes a habit and is safer than driving distracted. Driving with or without a seatbelt becomes habit that improves your safety. They're not instinctive, but through being taught the hazards of this one activity they can be turned into good habits that lead to safe behavior.

Good habits, not instinct is what helps keep us safe when dealing with any hazard. To develop good habits they have to be taught and reinforced. To be reinforced they have to be consistently followed and when they aren't the failure needs to be discussed, the habit retrained the safe behavior reinforced. Sometimes the failure to follow the habit of behaving safely with certain activities can lead to such catastrophic consequences that the person who hasn't turned that conscious safe behavior into unconscious habit needs to be prohibited from engaging in the activity to keep them and others safe. That usually only is reserved where permanent disabling injury or death is the consequence. That is the case with firearms. Failure to handle them safely can lead to permanent disabling injury or death and failure to exhibit safe behavior should be treated as most serious.

Since your children sound like they are safe with firearms it is probably because you trained them well by making sure they understood the hazards around them and that you then reinforced the safe behavior so they would develop good habits. The fact that they still err and you don't seem to explain the nature of the error means that they are not instinctively safe nor have they developed the unconscious habits to make them as safe as you assume your will has made them.

While I agree that the way to make kids safe with firearms (or knives, or tools, or many things) is to make them familiar with them, to train them in all the ways required to handle them safely, to reinforce that training so that it becomes conscious practice and then unconscious habit, but don't assume that retraining on particular elements isn't needed nor that reinforcement shouldn't be clearly communicated instead of assuming that a raised eyebrow alone communicates enough detail.

gdcpony
November 17, 2010, 05:09 PM
To address your concerns about other kids in our house. We deal with that since kids like to show off, by simply removing the bolts or locking the Rossi. Nice and simple and the kids can only beat each other with them after that.

2ndAmFan
November 17, 2010, 05:10 PM
When I was in high school in a small Texas town in the early to mid 1970s a lot of the kids who lived on area ranches always carried a rifle or shotgun in their truck; usually hanging in a rack in the back window. They were allowed to have them at school as long as they left them in the truck. It was in the school rules handbook. The local LEOs knew them and their parents and never hassled them about carrying a gun around either. These kids grew up with guns and respected them.
I took the time to teach my kids about guns and they are very unlikely to do something dumb with one because they've used them and understand that they are a big responsibility. They don't have any curiosity about them (unless my wife or I walk in the door with a new one!) because they're familiar with them. I think that's a whole lot safer than trying to hide them from the kids because they WILL find them and are far more likely to do something very dangerous if they don't know what they're doing or what firearms are capable of.
As for young kids keeping guns in their room I guess that's a judgment call for the parents to make. My oldest daughter who is still at home, 18, has kept a .357 revolver stashed in her room since she was 15 or 16. She knows how to use it too. She's one of the most level headed teenagers I've ever met and I have never worried about her keeping that gun in her room. I feel a lot better with her having it than I would if she didn't. My youngest daughter knows guns but hasn't demonstrated sufficient responsibility/maturity/judgment yet for me to allow her to keep a gun in her room, especially since she has friends over a lot who may not know a darn thing, or whose parents might raise a ruckus if their kiddo came home and announced that their friend has a firearm in her bedroom, or even told them she keeps one there. She doesn't know big sis has a revolver in her bedroom either. On those very rare occasions when the youngest is left home alone, rarely for more than 20 or 30 minutes, I give her my SKS because it's her favorite long gun, she's shot it a lot and can hit her target, and frankly, she's a lousy shot with a handgun. I don't worry about her having the SKS for short periods, but I don't feel she's ready to keep a gun in her room yet, even unloaded. I explained my reasons for not letting her have her own gun to her not long ago and also why she is almost never left home alone and she said she understood and agreed she needs to grow up some. That took me by surprise, and impressed me as well.

gdcpony
November 17, 2010, 05:20 PM
Safety is learned, not instinctive. If you teach your children how to handle something or do something safely and then reinforce it they can learn it and turn it into habit.

Not speeding becomes a habit that is safer than speeding. Not driving while distracted (cell phone, texting, arguing, reaching into the back,...putting on your makeup drinking your Big Gulp of Vodka Sunrise) becomes a habit and is safer than driving distracted. Driving with or without a seatbelt becomes habit that improves your safety. They're not instinctive, but through being taught the hazards of this one activity they can be turned into good habits that lead to safe behavior.

Good habits, not instinct is what helps keep us safe when dealing with any hazard. To develop good habits they have to be taught and reinforced. To be reinforced they have to be consistently followed and when they aren't the failure needs to be discussed, the habit retrained the safe behavior reinforced. Sometimes the failure to follow the habit of behaving safely with certain activities can lead to such catastrophic consequences that the person who hasn't turned that conscious safe behavior into unconscious habit needs to be prohibited from engaging in the activity to keep them and others safe. That usually only is reserved where permanent disabling injury or death is the consequence. That is the case with firearms. Failure to handle them safely can lead to permanent disabling injury or death and failure to exhibit safe behavior should be treated as most serious.

Since your children sound like they are safe with firearms it is probably because you trained them well by making sure they understood the hazards around them and that you then reinforced the safe behavior so they would develop good habits. The fact that they still err and you don't seem to explain the nature of the error means that they are not instinctively safe nor have they developed the unconscious habits to make them as safe as you assume your will has made them.

While I agree that the way to make kids safe with firearms (or knives, or tools, or many things) is to make them familiar with them, to train them in all the ways required to handle them safely, to reinforce that training so that it becomes conscious practice and then unconscious habit, but don't assume that retraining on particular elements isn't needed nor that reinforcement shouldn't be clearly communicated instead of assuming that a raised eyebrow alone communicates enough detail.
You have me there. Sorry. You are right "instinct" was poor choice for wording.

But since the worst thing my kids have done since I put there guns in their rooms is to knock them down once while playing, I think they are plenty safe. I dropped my M-4 yesterday in the chow hall after all. In both cases the weapons were cleared before and during the correcting of the the situation. I still have another person clear my weapons before storing them. A habit I passed down to them by having them show me a clear weapon. I don't have to ask anymore they just do it.

If a lesson in habits is required. I do give it, but this country has slid far by figuring things out for others. Giving them a chance- which is generally all that is needed- and requiring effort in figuring out some things will only benefit today's youth.

sig220mw
November 17, 2010, 09:49 PM
When some one says that they unconsciously handle their guns safely I would say that they have built safety into their behavior to a degree that it is indeed instinctive.

What's to criticize about that?

TexasBill
November 18, 2010, 01:47 AM
My son has two rifles, a Ruger 10-15 and a S&W MP15-22. He is very good about guns and safe handling. However, I don't know that the same is true of some of his friends. Therefore, his guns are accessible to him but they are not in his room. Ammunition is locked up, not because I don't trust my son, but because I don't want a lawsuit because some kid did something he shouldn't.

As to the whole "life is sanitized for your protection" thing, lawyers wouldn't be making big bucks from product liability if people were willing to accept responsibility for their own mistakes. Politicians see political power in pandering to those who believe every one of life's misfortunes are somebody else's fault or who refuse to exercise common sense. As Pogo said, "We have met the enemy and he is us."

bhk
November 18, 2010, 06:32 AM
I grew up with guns and ammo in my room. I could go out behind the house and hunt/shoot as I wished. I took NRA safety classes and shooting courses as a child. I was a safe kid with my stuff. When alone. When my buddies came over things sometimes changed. We were safe most of the time, but I will admit we did stupid things with guns on occassion. Nobody got hurt, but I think we were lucky. One 14 year-old boy can be extremey responsible, yet be a total idiot when with other 14 year-olds boys. Human nature (especially with boys). Same thing with kids and cars. Same thing with teenagers and alcohol. If you were different when young, you are probably the exception to the rule.

Fast forward a couple of decades when my children were young. Our guns stayed in the safe, unloaded. The safe was unlocked when I was home and locked when I was gone. When I was home, they could access any gun they wanted and go shoot out back. No big deal. They did (and still do as adults) handle guns safely. I trusted them, but kept the stuff locked up when gone because I was more worried about their friends curiousity, lack of gun knowledge, and the very strong powers of peer pressure.

At one point my daughter challenged me to give her the safe combination, saying if I didn't it meant I didn't trust her. I said I trusted her, but didn't know about what would happen if groups of friends were over. I also told her that when her friends asked her what the combination was, I would rather her be telling the truth when she said she didn't know (rather than lying about it).

My daughter is now 26 and has her own Smith and Wesson, a gift from me. My son, 24, possesses a nice .22 bolt action and a M1 Garand, also gifts from me. He loves shooting.

Would everything have turned out the same if they had guns and ammo in their rooms? Probably. But I slept better knowing that one stupid moment wouldn't change lives forever.

MikePaiN
November 18, 2010, 07:01 AM
Funny, this thread has come up. I've been going to a few different clubs holding shooting matches lately and was taken back by the OVER the TOP emphasis on safety. I have no issue with safety rules in place and RO's in place to make sure all is well. That said, I was astonished to see these clubs treating everyone there like they were morons and the ridiculous amount of policing going. One club spent 30mins alone going over every single little detail, what angle a gun can be held at, where to stand, where to walk, where the hands can be on the gun....on and on ad nauseam even though the match. This week at a "local type" practical shooting match, after a round and clearing my gun in front of the RO, In order to reholster. I (first)bring my left hand across to bussel my shirt while I holster the gun and the freakin guy goes nuts....DON"T MOVE ANYTHING UNTIL THAT GUN IS HOLSTERED....!!! on and on beyond ridiculousness.. I never cross my muzzle but pulling my shirt out of the way is a good habit I got into so as not to have material holstered with my gun..;) Getting this point across only wasted oh, about 15mins of good shooting time....

Blue Line
November 18, 2010, 10:07 AM
But I slept better knowing that one stupid moment wouldn't change lives forever.

BHK - I hear you on this one!

devildave31
November 18, 2010, 10:48 AM
gdcpony,

I agree with a lot of your original post. One thing I might add is that by fostering that responsibility in your kids, you are instilling self-confidence as well, and I would not underestimate the impact that can have on a child, especially once they realize it.

I plan on taking a similar approach with my kids, though it will be tailored to the specific needs of my family. For example I plan to set some "SOPs" if you will with my family, such as clearing any weapons before entering the house, clearing a weapon as soon as you pick it up, hand it off, or recieve it. As a Marine, you know exactly what I am talking about.

I think there are some misconceptions about your comments on safety without thinking. If I understand correctly you are probably refering to something more along the lines of something that is so ingrained as practice that you couldn't do otherwise if you tried. When I hand off a weapon or recieve one, I look in the chamber and try to stick my pinkie finger into the chamber, EVERY TIME. Regardless of who handed it to me, etc. I couldn't not do it if I tried.

I do agree with some other poster's concerns, children's friends, for example. You are ultimately responsible for what happens in your house and you have developed a plan to mitigate those risks. Good for you. Despite others' misgivings you have taken positive action that many parents never even think about. So I'd say that already puts your family ahead of the game.

I hear a lot of people say that it's dangerous to allow your children access to firearms, however, most of those people will readily admit that a curious enough child has a near limitless capacity to try to get to guns anyways. I have seen first hand how access reduces curiosity to the point where the kids almost lose interest entirely. We have a couple of long guns that get leaned up in a corner in our bedroom slightly out of sight. Not only do our boys not play with them, occasionally we find toy guns stacked there as well.

gbw
November 18, 2010, 11:05 AM
I was a safe kid with my stuff. When alone. When my buddies came over things sometimes changed. We were safe most of the time, but I will admit we did stupid things with guns on occassion. Nobody got hurt, but I think we were lucky.

Exactly. Mountainman and BHK on this are right on this.

Unsupervised children and guns is a recipe for disaster. Kids are kids, and it only takes once. There is no benefit to the risk, the possible consequences not close to worth it. All of the anecdotes showing how this or that kid was 'safe' or got away with it doesn't change anything. They were the beneficiary of dumb luck, nothing else. Kids are unsafe by definition. Sadly so are too many adults.

Guns are different than knives, bats, vehicles. Denying this is silly. They are more far deadly, far easier to be deadly with, and will easily kill at long distance. Thats what they do and why we invented them.

Lock 'em up.

Robert
November 18, 2010, 11:15 AM
im sorry, but that is not even remotely close to being true.....
Well based on Sam1911's verifiable numbers I assume you'd like to retract that statement?

Rusty Shackleford
November 18, 2010, 11:25 AM
The OP is obviously an adult that is aware of the risks and consequences of his decision. He also knows his kids better than any of us do. It's his house, his guns, his kids. Unless you are his neighbor and are worried about his kids shooting you through the walls, we shouldn't get preachy with him. He seems to have acknowledged the risk and accepted it.

I will admit that when I have kids, they will eventually be given their own guns to keep in their rooms as soon as I think they are responsible enough for it. On the other hand, I do know how much trouble boys can get into as soon as they have some company around to give them dumb ideas.

The bolts will be locked up when friends are around at the very least. That's just my personal decision with my personal comfort level of the risk involved. You guys make your own choices.

gbw
November 18, 2010, 11:26 AM
Well based on Sam1911's verifiable numbers I assume you'd like to retract that statement?

No need, the two things really don't have much to do with each other.

If you choose to kill yourself eating too much fat you have time to educate yourself, to learn, to change your behavior if you wish. Your choice.

If someone pulls the trigger on a gun and it's pointed at you, you have time for nothing. Your time is up.

Justin
November 18, 2010, 11:44 AM
No need, the two things really don't have much to do with each other.


The point is that it was previously stated that more people die from ingesting fatty foods than die from gun shots.

This statement was contested by M-Cameron and then demonstrated to be clearly false when Sam1911 posted actual statistics.

Insofar as there is a public perception that guns are a statistically significant source of deaths in the United States, drawing comparisons between gun deaths and other, much more statistically likely forms of expiring goes a long way in demonstrating that most guns are handled in a manner that is safe and responsible, and that most people would be much better off being concerned about the health risks of what they eat rather than worrying about getting shot.

auschip
November 18, 2010, 11:46 AM
If someone pulls the trigger on a gun and it's pointed at you, you have time for nothing. Your time is up.

Mortality rate of a GSW is 13%, so 87% of the time you have more time.

gbw
November 18, 2010, 11:48 AM
Small consolation, you're gonna get shot. And those odds aren't that great.

most people would be much better off being concerned about the health risks of what they eat rather than worrying about getting shot.

I got the point, of course, and true for sure, but this is a gun forum. To me the argument is a distraction and not too relevant.

awgrizzly
November 18, 2010, 11:55 AM
I totally respect how the OP is approaching gun safety with his children. I too came from an environment where a gun was treated with respect, yet considered a common day item that required careful handling, just like axes and chainsaws. That which is forbidden becomes an irresistible lure for mischief to a youngster. Most the trouble I ever got into resulted from this.

Yet something bothers me here. Children need to be taught a natural regimen of safety in handling guns. Perhaps this should include safe storage and access. It might be better to teach the children to store guns in a family safe or locked gun cabinet. It's not a matter of trust, it's simply good practice.

Sam1911
November 18, 2010, 12:07 PM
It might be better to teach the children to store guns in a family safe or locked gun cabinet. It's not a matter of trust, it's simply good practice.

This mirrors my approach.

My kids were pulling triggers on AKs when they were 3 years old. My daughter was shooting a .44 revolver at 7. My kids have seen guns, hundreds of guns, their entire lives. They have no interest in goofing around with them. They can have access to them anytime they are interested. They are as much a part of their lives as is the car or the cat! I've never seen one of them make a single fasle move with a firearm, and darned few false moves with a stick they're pretending is a toy gun.

However, these are my guns (even those that are "theirs) and they are MY responsibility. I can't ask a young child to hold the mantle of responsibility over life and death of themselves, their family members, or someone else. Though they would make no mistake for all the world, it's just too much responsibility. They need time and a very real level of parental cushioning to keep them from adult level repurcussions for actions (including accidents) that their little brains are not fully capable of weighing. That is what childhood is for. A chance to practice and prepare for having to handle adult responsibilities without having to suffer your whole life with the consequences of that learning process.

Further, I don't leave my guns out and about. If it isn't in use or on my person, it is secured one way or another. That's the rule -- for many, MANY reasons. So, if I don't leave my guns lying around or stored unsecured, why would I ever let someone I am responsible to guide and protect do less?

gbw
November 18, 2010, 12:11 PM
Further, I don't leave my guns out and about. If it isn't in use or on my person, it is secured one way or another. That's the rule -- for many, MANY reasons. So, if I don't leave my guns lying around or stored unsecured, why would I ever let someone I am responsible to guide and protect do less?

Secured. Excellent.

gearhead
November 18, 2010, 01:07 PM
All of us come from such different backgrounds. I'm only 52 but my dad was 47 when I was born so the 100th anniversary of his birth is coming up in five months. He grew up on an 80 acre farm during the depression and spent time working some pretty rough jobs, like the East Texas oil fields and living in company housing working for a mill. For as long as I can remember he slept with a revolver under the mattress, even in our little suburban house in the good neighborhood. Whenever we went back to his ancestral home to visit the grandparents we stayed in the old farmhouse that still lacked indoor plumbing. There was a shotgun behind my grandmother's door and a .22 rifle over the fireplace. That's just the way things were, those WERE the proper places to store those weapons. I learned firearm safety on the farm then I was given a Daisy BB gun to earn trust. By the time I was 9 or 10 I was trusted with the .22 single shot rifle and they didn't follow me around in the woods to make sure I wasn't doing anything stupid with it. It's just the way of life back in the woods. I knew darn well not to touch my dad's revolver under the bed, I honestly couldn't even tell you if it was loaded or not because I never pulled it out to look at it during the 22 years I lived with them. I have no doubt that it was loaded but I had no reason to handle it to find out. Guns were tools and I didn't mess with the tools unless I needed one to solve a problem I had, just like the tools in his Snap-On tool chest.

Of course, the state where I lived granted Learner's Driving Permits to 14 year olds and full, unrestricted licenses to 15 year olds. My parents also allowed me to build my first car from a pile of parts when I was 16 and my first racing Stock Car when I was 18. I don't think I was unusually responsible, I just had a lot of good experience and good examples to follow.

Frank Ettin
November 18, 2010, 02:56 PM
...However, these are my guns (even those that are "theirs) and they are MY responsibility. I can't ask a young child to hold the mantle of responsibility over life and death of themselves, their family members, or someone else. Though they would make no mistake for all the world, it's just too much responsibility. They need time and a very real level of parental cushioning to keep them from adult level repurcussions for actions (including accidents) that their little brains are not fully capable of weighing. That is what childhood is for. A chance to practice and prepare for having to handle adult responsibilities without having to suffer your whole life with the consequences of that learning process.

Further, I don't leave my guns out and about. If it isn't in use or on my person, it is secured one way or another. That's the rule -- for many, MANY reasons. So, if I don't leave my guns lying around or stored unsecured, why would I ever let someone I am responsible to guide and protect do less? Well said, Sam, and I agree.

Also consider --

Safety is a good thing. But I think we put too much emphasis on trying to achieve safety by removing access to things that can be dangerous or by not doing things that might be dangerous. So we can reach perfect safety by sitting still in the cold (heaters and fires are dangerous) and dark (because electricity and candles are dangerous) until we starve to death (because eating is dangerous -- cholesterol, calories, choking, etc.).

Instead, we should be learning how to handle potentially dangerous things in a safe manner (like good, safe gun handling) and how to do things well (like learning to be a skillful driver).

There can certainly be too much safety when it's a matter of constricting our lives by removing sources of danger. But there can't be too much safety when it comes to learning how to use things and do things safely.

Life is a hazardous activity, and the world in not a safe place in which to play. We really can't idiot proof life or the world, but we can try to avoid being idiots.

gdcpony
November 18, 2010, 03:09 PM
I totally respect how the OP is approaching gun safety with his children. I too came from an environment where a gun was treated with respect, yet considered a common day item that required careful handling, just like axes and chainsaws. That which is forbidden becomes an irresistible lure for mischief to a youngster. Most the trouble I ever got into resulted from this.

Yet something bothers me here. Children need to be taught a natural regimen of safety in handling guns. Perhaps this should include safe storage and access. It might be better to teach the children to store guns in a family safe or locked gun cabinet. It's not a matter of trust, it's simply good practice.
You make a good point. We do have a storage rule in our house. Each weapon has its place. My AR is locked in it the cabinet with one five round mag. My shotgun goes beside my wife's side of the bed with 1-#7 shot shell, 1-#4 shot shell, and 2 slugs (I no crap have a sword under my side instead of the proverbial bat). My .257 hangs above the fireplace with the bolt open, and its rounds are locked in the bottom of the cabinet. My daughters' rifles are stored in the racks they have with actions open. Their bows sit in the top place (most used anyways). My oldest keeps her limited supply of ammo locked in the bottom of her rack. My younger daughter doesn't get any. Hers is locked in the main cabinet.

My son is about to turn five and may soon get his first BB gun. The other change would be that him turning five is when we agreed I could once again bring a handgun into the house. I have yet to decide how to approach that. I am thinking hard though.

I have found the best way to deal with curiosity in guests (kids) to be a simple phone call. "Can Adeline shoot with my daughter? Kenzie wants to show her her new rifle. Yeah, I'll be right beside them."

Luckily I still live in a place where that is not too unusual a request. Once they have been satisfied, they tend to be cooperative with rules. After all, breaking one means no more fun. If they give me a bad feeling, I secure the weapons from being functional. Pulling the bolt is easy, and a single shot come apart quick.

gbw
November 18, 2010, 03:15 PM
But I think we put too much emphasis on trying to achieve safety by removing access to things that can be dangerous or by not doing things that might be dangerous.

In general, I'd agree that as adults we do - you gotta live life. But we're talking children and access to guns. For me it's hard to see 'over-safe' where keeping unsupervised kids separated from guns is involved. Teach them respect and train them for sure. But lock up the guns when you're not around.

I could once again bring a handgun into the house. I have yet to decide how to approach that. I am thinking hard though.

Might want to look at the V-Line or similar small, very fast access lock-boxes. I use them. Modify if necessary so that they cannot be closed unless they are also locked.

Frank Ettin
November 18, 2010, 03:34 PM
But I think we put too much emphasis on trying to achieve safety by removing access to things that can be dangerous or by not doing things that might be dangerous.
In general, I'd agree that as adults we do - you gotta live life. But we're talking children and access to guns. For me it's hard to see 'over-safe' where keeping unsupervised kids separated from guns is involved. Teach them respect and train them for sure. But lock up the guns when you're not around.True, but there's another way to look at this. By allowing access to guns only under supervision, you're not really removing access. You're conditioning access -- the kid has access, but only when you're there to supervise.

And supervised access is how children will learn to be safe with guns. It'll be your job to decide how well they've been learning the lesson.

gdcpony
November 18, 2010, 03:41 PM
Here's a funny add on:

My wife has said that the kids have not used any of their guns since I have been gone or even asked to save for my oldest going out deer hunting with her grandfather this year. She has put them away in the cabinet, not for safety, but because they were getting dusty. I hope I don't lose out to video games by the time I get back.

gbw
November 18, 2010, 03:52 PM
the kid has access, but only when you're there to supervise.

Yes sir. That is exactly the condition I want. Its a kid and a gun. If you're advocating unsupervised access for children to guns, however you slice, dice, look at, or package it, then we disagree. Where the line is drawn is of course situation dependent - but if I'm going to err I'd prefer it be on the high end.

gdcpony
November 18, 2010, 04:05 PM
Yes sir. That is exactly the condition I want. Its a kid and a gun. If you're advocating unsupervised access for children to guns, however you slice, dice, look at, or package it, then we disagree. Where the line is drawn is of course situation dependent - but if I'm going to err I'd prefer it be on the high end.
That is a recipe for a kid to sneak in for what you have denied them. We all did as kids. My girls have only to ask. I caveat this with the fact that they had to prove themselves to get to that point. I don't preach safety to anyone I am teaching. I preach proper shooting which is safe. A big difference.

Last spring Kenzie came up and asked me if I was going to shoot a groundhog in the backyard. I went and grabbed couple rounds tossed them to her and told her I want it for dinner. We ate it in a stew with potatoes and carrots.

She gave me back the left over round and asked me to clear her rifle before she put it away. I had to say nothing to her. Had I watched it might have gone the same, but now she knows that she has earned a trust that I don't even have for some of my fellow Marines. She knows she can keep it simply by being a good shot which inherently, because of the way I teach, it a safe one.

awgrizzly
November 18, 2010, 04:22 PM
That is a recipe for a kid to sneak in for what you have denied them. We all did as kids. My girls have only to ask. I caveat this with the fact that they had to prove themselves to get to that point. I don't preach safety to anyone I am teaching. I preach proper shooting which is safe. A big difference.

Last spring Kenzie came up and asked me if I was going to shoot a groundhog in the backyard. I went and grabbed couple rounds tossed them to her and told her I want it for dinner. We ate it in a stew with potatoes and carrots.

She gave me back the left over round and asked me to clear her rifle before she put it away. I had to say nothing to her. Had I watched it might have gone the same, but now she knows that she has earned a trust that I don't even have for some of my fellow Marines. She knows she can keep it simply by being a good shot which inherently, because of the way I teach, it a safe one.
You sound like one hell of a good dad, and congrats on some good kids.

gbw
November 18, 2010, 04:24 PM
The idea is to make sneaking in a practical impossibility insofar as possible, along with all of the training and teaching you so rightfully emphasize. I think you're a very good father. (Now somebody is gonna yap that no method to secure is perfect. True. So what. That is no excuse for not securing them. )

At the end of it all, they're still kids, subject to kid goof-ups. But not with access to guns.

My girls have only to ask.

Mine as well. Permission is never denied, unless for some practical reason. The difference is that mine don't have access unless I'm there - they know it and they know why (and not only because they are children). To the extent yours do, well, then we disagree, and I pray that you nor anyone else ever has learn otherwise.

Sevenfaces
November 18, 2010, 06:05 PM
While I will teach my children gun safety and grind it into their minds, I would not keep weapons loaded or not, in a place they could obtain them. Thats my choice, and yours is yours. I don't think any good could come from such an arrangement.

Mountainman38
November 18, 2010, 06:55 PM
...Mountain man- I don't think guns or any dangerous item should just be handed out blindly to anyone children or adult. Not to sound anti, but there are allot of people with them that shouldn't have them.

I agree completely.

On the flip side, I know of allot of kids who can handle the responsibility of dangerous items. How many have kids who ride dirt bikes? My oldest (sorry I am proud of my kids, I guess) used my little trim saw to help cut wood last year. The same thing applied there. Safety was ingrained with the learning of how to use the item. It was not a separate class. Is that not how you were taught to climb? The audibles were part of how to climb and natural as part of the process.

Agree again.

You say guns are meant to kill.

I definitely didn't say that. I said guns were originally created to be used for killing -- and that's a big difference. I'm very happy that we have guns nowadays, and that they're used for a variety of reasons besides killing people. They are, however, very good at killing people, which makes them much different than a power say or a toaster oven.

In the Corps, or any military service, you are right. A military man may have to kill just because it is the enemy he is looking at. But NEVER should any civilian view them as such. Not even LEO's. Why? There job is to save lives. I may kill a deer at home, but I feed my family with it and as such we live. An officer may need to use his one day in defense of himself or others so that they may live. For me once this uniform is off (actually I hunt in it, but you get the point) my firearms are tools for living.

I think you're trying to make a distinction that doesn't exist. To say you have to kill something so something may live doesn't change the fact that you may have to kill something. I don't really care -- just don't expect me to get onboard with the idea that guns are no threat because they only save lives.

You question whether people focusing on gun safety makes them dangerous. Well, how about this. you may take precautions as you climb, but when talking to others is that your focus?

When I talk to people about guns, I don't spend a huge amount of time talking about safety. Unless I'm showing someone how to shoot, or they were to ask me a question on proper gun handling, gun safety doesn't really come up much.

I have one friend (wife's best friend) who has/had a strong aversion to guns. When my wife mentioned that I carry a gun, her friend made it a point to say that I wasn't to bring my gun into her house when we visited. I didn't make a big deal out of it, but when the conversation at one point turned to self-defense I mentioned how a firearm was a very good idea to have, given proper training.

Part of proper training is gun safety, so it's something that those who know you have a gun should know you practice. Letting someone know that I'm very careful about gun handling definitely helps calm their fears, and rightly so. As you mentioned, there are quite a few people who shouldn't have guns, as they do stupid/dangerous things with them that could get them (or worse, someone else) hurt.

...With firearms the first thing a non shooter says is how dangerous a gun is. Right off the bat they are considered in that light.

Guns ARE dangerous! Why else would we be so careful with how we handle them?! If some guy next to you slammed a magazine home in his pistol, racked a round into the chamber, and started pointing his gun at various people, would you just smile and laugh? No, you'd either hit the deck, or his thick head!

If the same guy picked up a pencil and did the same thing, obviously you wouldn't care. Guns have a terrific ability to do damage with almost no effort, and should be respected as such. To do otherwise would be foolish -- and on this I think we agree. So why is it hard to accept that guns are actually dangerous?

By stressing how careful we are we only make this worse. After all anything you have to treat so cautiously must be horribly unstable.

This is where you lose me. Stressing how careful we are doesn't alert people to the fact that guns are dangerous -- as you pointed out, they already know that. What it does is let them know that we are aware of that danger, and have trained ourselves to use them in such a way as to minimize that danger, while maximizing the benefit of carrying a gun.

Right after that they hop in their car and drive off in even more danger.

This is kind of a non sequiter. Yep, driving in a car can be dangerous. Drivers should be aware of this, and train to minimize the danger. How does this reflect on the need for gun safety?

You say that making safety unconscious leads to negligent discharges. I believe the opposite to be true. The fact that safety becomes a habit, means that it is ingrained. I feel odd if I start to walk toward my target without having opened the action. I can't do it. If I actually had to think about it, I might forget something. Not that I am perfect. The last perfect person I know of died at 33 for all of us. However, I feel similar to clasping my hands the opposite way if I break habits. I doubt I'll ever be able to ride a motorcycle without a helmet, because I learned that putting it on was a part of riding.

I'm not going to tell you that you're wrong -- your experience and perceptions differ from mine (except the part about the last perfect person -- there we're in accord). I will say that after reading story after story after story about stupid mistakes and negligent discharges, that they came from the operator NOT thinking about proper gun handling. "I dropped the magazine, but the doorbell rang before I ejected the cartridge. When I came back and saw the magazine on the bed, I thought I'd emptied all the shells. What a surprise when the gun went off in my hand!" (Yes, this is from a thread here on THR.)

After I come home and remove my Glock from it's holster, I keep the muzzle pointed in a safe direction, drop the magazine, then rack the slide to eject the shell. I lock the slide open, and visually check for a round. When I see there's no round in there, I stick my finger in the end of the barrel, just to make sure. The whole time I'm thinking about where the bullet could go if I accidentally fired my gun, and what exactly it is that I'm doing.

Being VERY respectful of what you have keeps you from getting complacent, which is what I think can happen if you just count on your training/instinct to do everything properly, and don't actually think about each step.

The part about weapons not killing is simple fact.

No, it's not fact -- it's semantics. If you are contending that there's no need to be concerned about dangerous objects, tell me which you'd rather face -- a desperate drug addict looking to score who wants what you have armed with a gun, or armed with a Red Ryder. Yeah, I'd take the BB gun guy every time. The Daisy won't kill me if the guy pulls the trigger, but the gun will. Big difference, and respect should be accorded as such.


...And yes if safety is not ingrained you do need more teaching. I have said no one is perfect, but good habits with the use of anything are a necessity.

Safety becomes ingrained, even in those who have been taught well, by keeping it in mind and practicing it. Taking class after class until you're perfect doesn't work too well, but taking care to learn the fundamentals, keeping them in mind, and practicing them, does.

Mountainman38
November 18, 2010, 07:17 PM
...this country has slid far by figuring things out for others. Giving them a chance- which is generally all that is needed- and requiring effort in figuring out some things will only benefit today's youth.

I used to think this, but I've seen too many incredibly stupid and downright dangerous things done by people to figure they should be left to figure things out themselves. Do you really want one of your kids friends to figure out how your AR works by sticking a full magazine in it, and then start racking/pulling/pushing on things to see how it works?

Back in college I went with some friends on a trip to Mammoth Mountain. Sitting around the condo we started talking about our various guns, and soon what we'd brought with us was getting passed around. I had a Colt .22 New Frontier, which a buddy of mine wanted to look at. I always kept my guns loaded, since they wouldn't do me much good if they weren't, and figured that was what another gun owner would expect.

Mike wanted to see my gun, so I handed it to him carefully. He started waving it around to see different parts of it, then wanted to see how the cocking mechanism worked by pulling the hammer back. I was almost too stunned to say something, but managed to yell at him to not pull the hammer back. Nothing happened, but it sure could have -- because I thought he could figure out the safe way to handle a gun on his own.

Now I always clear any weapon someone wants to look at, no matter what their qualifications are.

Assuming someone will figure out a dangerous tool on their own sure doesn't sound like a good idea to me.

NavyLCDR
November 18, 2010, 10:24 PM
There are things and people in this world that present much more danger to the children than guns that they respect and know how to use.

gdcpony
November 19, 2010, 03:00 AM
I definitely didn't say that. I said guns were originally created to be used for killing -- and that's a big difference. I'm very happy that we have guns nowadays, and that they're used for a variety of reasons besides killing people. They are, however, very good at killing people, which makes them much different than a power say or a toaster oven.
Sorry I misunderstood. However, Should you ask me to "kill" in my home I am likely to grab a bow. It is just as lethal in my hands as a 1911. I am just more accurate with it. So should I lock it up too? I practice swordsmanship so theme too? Once you deem something as "dangerous" should you lock it away and treat it with extreme paranoia or simply learn to use it properly if you wish to continue to have it? Same goes for a bike, car (which have killed more of my relatives than guns), and many of the tools we use in daily life.

I think you're trying to make a distinction that doesn't exist. To say you have to kill something so something may live doesn't change the fact that you may have to kill something. I don't really care -- just don't expect me to get on board with the idea that guns are no threat because they only save lives.
Ah the distinction is in the intent. Yesterday my M-4 was aimed in. What was my intent had I had to pull the trigger? Not defense. I was in an armored vehicle and the target had an AK. there was no real threat. Not food. I don't lean towards cannibalism. Not recreation as I don't find that kind of shooting fun. In the end the guy was just an armed bystander, but had he twitched the wrong way... The intent would have been KILLING the enemy. In this respect you have it right.

Me out with my kids plinking cans in the yard have no intent to kill. Even when hunting, our true intent is either relaxation, or food. Then our weapons our tools for that purpose. It is my personal belief- and you can disagree should you choose- that no on should consider a weapon a tool intended for killing. It- like a thousand other things around my house- can be used for that, but that is not the intent behind them. I would not own them if that were the case.

When I talk to people about guns, I don't spend a huge amount of time talking about safety. Unless I'm showing someone how to shoot, or they were to ask me a question on proper gun handling, gun safety doesn't really come up much.

I have one friend (wife's best friend) who has/had a strong aversion to guns. When my wife mentioned that I carry a gun, her friend made it a point to say that I wasn't to bring my gun into her house when we visited. I didn't make a big deal out of it, but when the conversation at one point turned to self-defense I mentioned how a firearm was a very good idea to have, given proper training.

Part of proper training is gun safety, so it's something that those who know you have a gun should know you practice. Letting someone know that I'm very careful about gun handling definitely helps calm their fears, and rightly so. As you mentioned, there are quite a few people who shouldn't have guns, as they do stupid/dangerous things with them that could get them (or worse, someone else) hurt.

Guns ARE dangerous! Why else would we be so careful with how we handle them?! If some guy next to you slammed a magazine home in his pistol, racked a round into the chamber, and started pointing his gun at various people, would you just smile and laugh? No, you'd either hit the deck, or his thick head!

If the same guy picked up a pencil and did the same thing, obviously you wouldn't care. Guns have a terrific ability to do damage with almost no effort, and should be respected as such. To do otherwise would be foolish -- and on this I think we agree. So why is it hard to accept that guns are actually dangerous?

You and I are not so far apart. Do not think the I don't want someone to be safe while shooting. I just teach in such a way that being safe is just a part of each shot, group, or session. It is inherent to the operation, not a separate step. After all, the guy you mention is not only violating your safety rules, he is also not using the item properly. If he were none of that would have happened. But say it was a chainsaw? A knife? And, yes, even that pencil. He is still not using it right and THAT is what is wrong.


This is where you lose me. Stressing how careful we are doesn't alert people to the fact that guns are dangerous -- as you pointed out, they already know that. What it does is let them know that we are aware of that danger, and have trained ourselves to use them in such a way as to minimize that danger, while maximizing the benefit of carrying a gun.

Just like EOD handling something that may or may not explode at anytime. That is how allot of people perceive our weapons. And we feed into it. By stressing how safe we are we give them a reason to fear. Why not instead just talk about how easy it is to learn to hit your target? Should they wish to learn then teach them that part. Why? Because if you teach them properly, then by the time they are hitting their target they will be safe- or at least have a good start. Build on their shooting skills from there and if you are ingraining safety in their shooting, we will both arrive at the same end.

This is kind of a non sequiter. Yep, driving in a car can be dangerous. Drivers should be aware of this, and train to minimize the danger. How does this reflect on the need for gun safety?
Um I was making a point on irony. Because they are in more danger right then than they were standing before a decent person with a gun. (At least you seem like a decent person). Statistically speaking of course.

I'm not going to tell you that you're wrong -- your experience and perceptions differ from mine (except the part about the last perfect person -- there we're in accord). I will say that after reading story after story after story about stupid mistakes and negligent discharges, that they came from the operator NOT thinking about proper gun handling. "I dropped the magazine, but the doorbell rang before I ejected the cartridge. When I came back and saw the magazine on the bed, I thought I'd emptied all the shells. What a surprise when the gun went off in my hand!" (Yes, this is from a thread here on THR.)

After I come home and remove my Glock from it's holster, I keep the muzzle pointed in a safe direction, drop the magazine, then rack the slide to eject the shell. I lock the slide open, and visually check for a round. When I see there's no round in there, I stick my finger in the end of the barrel, just to make sure. The whole time I'm thinking about where the bullet could go if I accidentally fired my gun, and what exactly it is that I'm doing.

Being VERY respectful of what you have keeps you from getting complacent, which is what I think can happen if you just count on your training/instinct to do everything properly, and don't actually think about each step.

I forgive the fact that you shoot a Glock (JK my brother likes those things too). I go through the same -or similar- steps. It just is not thought about. Just like taking off your clothes before getting into the shower. It is jut part of it. For us it is because ammo belongs somewhere, stored in it's box, mag, ect. Part of putting stuff away. Same result different method of instruction and thought.

No, it's not fact -- it's semantics. If you are contending that there's no need to be concerned about dangerous objects, tell me which you'd rather face -- a desperate drug addict looking to score who wants what you have armed with a gun, or armed with a Red Ryder. Yeah, I'd take the BB gun guy every time. The Daisy won't kill me if the guy pulls the trigger, but the gun will. Big difference, and respect should be accorded as such.
They are both guns to me. And I would treat the SITUATION as dangerous even if he was unarmed.


Safety becomes ingrained, even in those who have been taught well, by keeping it in mind and practicing it. Taking class after class until you're perfect doesn't work too well, but taking care to learn the fundamentals, keeping them in mind, and practicing them, does.
Class after class? No not really. If I have to keep something in mind I WILL forget it. Trust me and ask my wife. But she'll tell you in the next breath that if it is habit, I can't forget it. Both things annoy her to no end. And my kids are just like me for some reason.
I used to think this, but I've seen too many incredibly stupid and downright dangerous things done by people to figure they should be left to figure things out themselves. Do you really want one of your kids friends to figure out how your AR works by sticking a full magazine in it, and then start racking/pulling/pushing on things to see how it works?

Back in college I went with some friends on a trip to Mammoth Mountain. Sitting around the condo we started talking about our various guns, and soon what we'd brought with us was getting passed around. I had a Colt .22 New Frontier, which a buddy of mine wanted to look at. I always kept my guns loaded, since they wouldn't do me much good if they weren't, and figured that was what another gun owner would expect.

Mike wanted to see my gun, so I handed it to him carefully. He started waving it around to see different parts of it, then wanted to see how the cocking mechanism worked by pulling the hammer back. I was almost too stunned to say something, but managed to yell at him to not pull the hammer back. Nothing happened, but it sure could have -- because I thought he could figure out the safe way to handle a gun on his own.

Now I always clear any weapon someone wants to look at, no matter what their qualifications are.

Assuming someone will figure out a dangerous tool on their own sure doesn't sound like a good idea to me.
Ok I think this guy needed some of the "How to use this item properly" course first. If it came to that kind of thing, then not only a reminder, but a smack upside the head is in order.

My kids and I- Heck even Ronnie and I to this day- transfer weapons between us with actions open. Ronnie and I may have a bolt gun loaded if we still have some shooting to do, but the action is open.

If you and I shot together and you handed me your Glock (I guess I'd have to let you use a real pistol-1911- too) and it wasn't open, I would immediately open it for a check. Marines point this out to me all the time when we are stacking weapons or such. To be honest I don't think about it then either till they remind me.

My kids had to be taught to do this as I was. It was taught not as a safety item, but as checking out the firearm before shooting or when finished with it. Habitual and safe, but not because it is safe. Because it is a part of shooting and using any item to check it first.

Maybe it just seems like semantics to you, but it is a very real distinction to me.

gdcpony
November 19, 2010, 03:11 AM
dbl post sorry dang foreign servers

Sport45
November 19, 2010, 04:14 AM
gcdpony,

I wish you the best and hope nothing ever goes wrong. But do keep in mind that if one of the kids (or one of their friends) does something stupid, it's you or your wife that may wind up in jail.

I always trusted my children but that trust had limits. I never let my kids have free access to things that could ultimately ruin me. I didn't give my under-age children firearms, keys to the car, or login info for the bank account. As they grew older the trust grew as well. They now have firearms and keys to everything in the driveway. The bank business will have to wait...

Spec ops Grunt
November 19, 2010, 04:23 AM
No. Kids brains are not fully developed, and while she may KNOW proper gun care and use, her brain may simply not fire correctly at some point and a tragedy can ensue.


You know, kids have had guns in this country for hundreds of years, and it seems to me that this thing about kids killing each other with them seems to have become prominent in the 60's and 70's. Seems to me like another way to take away the rights of minors, which seems to happen a lot in this country.

o Unforgiven o
November 19, 2010, 04:50 AM
Ammunition is locked up, not because I don't trust my son, but because I don't want a lawsuit because some kid did something he shouldn't.



This is the exact reason that "saftey" has become what it is today in this country, because if someone comes into your home and does something stupid with one of your things you will be sued and you become responsible for there actions.

To think we live in a country where someone can sue for millions of dollars for spilling hot coffee on themselves when in all reality tens of millions of other people had their hot coffee just fine that morning, and if they had given you cold coffee you would either have taken it back or sued for frostbite. /rant

General Geoff
November 19, 2010, 05:21 AM
Kids are people too.


Millions of adults entrust their teenagers with dirt bikes, ATVs, power tools, even cars. It would be very silly to draw the line at firearms for no reason other than their dubious legal and (perceived) moral status.

hey_poolboy
November 19, 2010, 06:59 AM
I tend to agree with the OP. Of course, I think a lot of it has to do with how you were raised. We farmed when I grew up and so did my buddies. I had my own .22 and 12ga in my closet by the time I was 9 or 10. I shot ALL the time with and without my buddies. If we were out working on fence, or cutting wood I had a gun leaning on something nearby.

Had my friends not been exposed to guns in the same way I was I could see problems arising when they came over, but they weren't. Guns were just another tool...they just stayed in the house instead of the machine shed. I don't ever remember getting a gun out just to horse around. We would go out and target shoot, but never just play with the gun. Guns were shown respect in our house, but they were always present, so it was no big deal.

oldfool
November 19, 2010, 07:55 AM
good topic
short version, agree with Mountainman38 #23,#34,#71. hso #40, Sam1911 #58

Long version would have a lot to do with the subject being not really guns, but children. The irresistible temptation to believe (each and every one of us) that our offspring are perfect clones of ourselves -
and since we, as individuals, are "more right" in our opinions than anyone else (because of course, we are) our perfect clones will always do exactly as we would do, having been taught by the best

none of which, tragically (?) is true
no matter our sincere efforts, they are not clones, and they will spend most of their waking hours with others "out there", not you or I

my choice-
they should have guns and ammo readily available at their fingertips just as soon as they "carry their own water"
until that time, they will be asking my permission, and will be readily accommodated so long as they demonstrate what I have taught them

good intentions and good training mean not so much as we would wish, behavior counts, always
age 8... no way
with just a little bit of luck, you earn love by merit of being born; trust you have to earn the old fashioned way, and it is a long but necessary road


PS
OP, when that girl reaches age 13, be ready to respond to that "you don't trust me !" line
but.. it probably won't be "gun related"
good luck and best wishes !

Frank Ettin
November 19, 2010, 11:04 AM
....And we feed into it. By stressing how safe we are we give them a reason to fear. Why not instead just talk about how easy it is to learn to hit your target? Should they wish to learn then teach them that part. Why? Because if you teach them properly, then by the time they are hitting their target they will be safe- or at least have a good start.... Sorry, I disagree completely. Having helped teach hundreds of beginners over the years, including a lot of kids, the place to start is safety and safe gun handling.

gdcpony
November 19, 2010, 02:10 PM
Sorry, I disagree completely. Having helped teach hundreds of beginners over the years, including a lot of kids, the place to start is safety and safe gun handling.
Safe gun handling should be part of normal gun handling. Our unit had an ND (negligent discharge) today. Umm.. this was a fully trained adult Marine NCO. I'm sure he had all the "safety" crap we all did in training. Still it obviously was not part of his "normal" routine.

I have no illusions that my kids are perfect clones of me. The girls are not biologically mine in any case. I am just the one who wanted them and their mother in my life. Nor do I think I am any better than anyone else. I just think we teach a bit backwards and preach too much.

Since we seem to be focusing on kids, but this really applies to anyone.

Frank Ettin
November 19, 2010, 02:18 PM
Safe gun handling should be part of normal gun handling....All gun handling needs to be safe gun handling. Whenever a gun is handled, it is to be handled in a safe manner.

TheProf
November 19, 2010, 03:59 PM
I'm pro gun as much as anyone else. And yes, guns are just that....tools. And the person behind it is the key to safety.

HOWEVER, 1) Kids are kids...and even the most responsible kid may have lapses of good judgment.

2) Unlike a kitchen knife (which can kill also) the gun's unique ability to project harm halfway across the house, penetrate walls, etc... makes it a uniquely dangerous items for children WITHOUT adult supervision. The gun's unique ability to do great harm at the press of a trigger should be recognized. If we really think that guns belong to the same class as any other dangerous tools... such as kitchen knives, power drills.... then we would be packing those instead.

3) The very thing that makes me want to have a gun (if ever attacked by a criminal) is the very reason I would not trust guns to unsupervised minors.

Manco
November 19, 2010, 11:55 PM
Guns are different than knives, bats, vehicles. Denying this is silly. They are more far deadly, far easier to be deadly with, and will easily kill at long distance. Thats what they do and why we invented them.

I'd have to agree with at least this aspect because while guns are not unique in this regard, they do have an extremely high ratio between potential harm and the ease with which such harm is (in this case literally) triggered, both deliberately and through negligence. I could kill somebody with a pencil, for example, but that would take a lot more doing on my part than pulling the trigger of a gun. And while a bow is similar to a gun once it is drawn, the deliberate, forceful act of drawing it is a constant reminder of the potential danger involved, whereas with a gun it is all too easy for somebody to forget that a round is still in the chamber, pull the trigger to decock the hammer or play with it, and BANG!--somebody could be killed at a good distance away, even through walls.

Developing good gun-handling habits and avoiding fear of guns are good things, but because of the nature of guns, as described above, one should take active steps to avoid complacency and maintain a healthy level of respect for something that is, quite frankly, dangerous--no more so than automobiles, for example, but dangerous nevertheless. While anything can be taken too far, and I think that I understand the intent of the original post, in terms of semantics and point of view, I find myself much more in line with Mountainman38's arguments in this debate. Those on either "side" don't necessarily have very different underlying beliefs, but I think there is a large difference in how we express (particularly in terms of framing) and/or view them.

As for children and guns, I'm going to refrain from making any blanket statements about children. They're people who happen to be relatively young, and they're all different just like older people. Some children are mature enough to handle guns responsibly on their own (which was not uncommon during some eras historically), while some people in their 40s sadly are not. Maybe most children these days should be supervised at all times, statistically speaking (certainly if all ages are included), but we're not dealing with absolutes here.

neededausername
November 20, 2010, 02:20 AM
I'm a relatively new dad my son is only 16 months old. I've been learning recently that sometimes the best way to get a kid to lost interest in something you don't him messing with is to let him play with it supervised. My son was obsessed with the T.V. remote control and we wouldn't let him play with it. Then we started giving it to him and he got it out of his system and quickly lost interest. When it was no longer something he couldn't have it just wasn't as interesting to him. So I think the same strategy should apply to guns. Train the kids to use them properly, remove the taboo aspect, the fear, the unknown and they wont be a big deal to the kid.

gdcpony
November 20, 2010, 02:18 PM
I'm a relatively new dad my son is only 16 months old. I've been learning recently that sometimes the best way to get a kid to lost interest in something you don't him messing with is to let him play with it supervised. My son was obsessed with the T.V. remote control and we wouldn't let him play with it. Then we started giving it to him and he got it out of his system and quickly lost interest. When it was no longer something he couldn't have it just wasn't as interesting to him. So I think the same strategy should apply to guns. Train the kids to use them properly, remove the taboo aspect, the fear, the unknown and they wont be a big deal to the kid.
If you read one of my earlier posts, that is exactly what happened. They didn't want to shoot without me so my wife has put the guns away. I am ok with that. I put stuff in storage I don't use often. But once I get back the g-hogs better hide!

Old krow
November 20, 2010, 02:23 PM
trust you have to earn the old fashioned way, and it is a long but necessary road

I'm not sure that anything that I could or would type here could explain it better than that.

smallbore
November 20, 2010, 04:16 PM
NavyLT summed it up nicely.

Pronghorn
November 20, 2010, 07:50 PM
Im also concerned with the amount of people who make the shooting sports difficult by being "too" safe. I have sen countless times when during a round of skeet or trap someone leaves their safety on when they go to shoot, and when they are done they open the gun and put it back on safe to be forgotten the next time. My cousin has trouble even shooting a rifle off a benchrest because his uncle won't let him put his finger in the trigger until he "takes the shot".

A gun is a tool, and if you treat it with respect, you will be fine.

AKElroy
November 20, 2010, 08:07 PM
My kids (boy, 9 & girl, 12) understand the 4 rules & recite them often. I have lots of guns in the house, some of them belong to the kids. They can see them whenever they ask, so I agree with the OP with regard to removing the mystique around guns to discourage unauthorized foolishness. That said, when they want to see one of the guns, they have to ask me. I get them out of the SAFE, I clear them, and then the kid has to double check. Every time, no exceptions. My wife & I are the only ones with the combo.

I have two loaded guns out at all times, and both are off limits to the kids & they know it. A 12 gage pump next to the bed, and a 12 gage coach SxS on the mantel. On the vary rare occasion adults are not in the house, or whenever the kids have friends over, even those two go in the safe.

My dad was exactly the same with me, except he had no safe. Even though it was forbidden, I still played with his guns when he was not home, luckily without incident. (The 4 rules were tattoo's on my inner eyelids)

Frank Ettin
November 20, 2010, 08:08 PM
...My cousin has trouble even shooting a rifle off a benchrest because his uncle won't let him put his finger in the trigger until he "takes the shot". His uncle is absolutely right. Trigger finger discipline isn't all that hard to learn.

...I have sen countless times when during a round of skeet or trap someone leaves their safety on when they go to shoot...And that can be fixed by training and practice.

...A gun is a tool, and if you treat it with respect, you will be fine. And it's a tool that can kill someone a long way away. Respect it accordingly. The level of respect needs to be commensurate with the risk.

AKElroy
November 20, 2010, 08:20 PM
Originally Posted by gdcpony
....And we feed into it. By stressing how safe we are we give them a reason to fear. Why not instead just talk about how easy it is to learn to hit your target? Should they wish to learn then teach them that part. Why? Because if you teach them properly, then by the time they are hitting their target they will be safe- or at least have a good start....

Sorry, I disagree completely. Having helped teach hundreds of beginners over the years, including a lot of kids, the place to start is safety and safe gun handling.

+1. Learning safety and learning to shoot are completely different, and the safety portion MUST preceed the shooting part. I teach gun safety as well, and even the most savy, well taught kid can be tricked into disobeying the rules. Using slight of hand, I regularly load a snap cap into the "unloaded" gun used for instruction, and get a show of hands from the class on whether it is loaded. (Mag out of the gun, they just watched me clear it)They almost ALWAYS say it is empty, at which point I shuck the plastic round loudly onto the table at the front of the room.

9mmforMe
November 20, 2010, 09:11 PM
Safety should ALWAYS be number one and inculcated appropriately. It is the responsibility of the parent(s) to know their child/children and use an effective way to impart this information and ensure that follow-up is attained.

oldfool
November 21, 2010, 09:01 AM
sidenote story - some other forum some years ago

a senior member, highly experienced former LEO, real deal firearms skills, knowledgeable, intelligent, well educated, professional
went on the usual rant re: toy guns bad, children will think real guns are toys
real guns good, advocated keeping loaded firearms in plain view around the house
not laying on the floor or table, but easy accessible, loaded and not locked
claimed if trained right, the child would learn proper respect and safety, and would be far better off in the long run than playing "irresponsibly" with toy guns, you know

at that time his one and only child was 3 or 4 months old
long on firearms knowledge and skills
a few rounds shy of a full clip on "cookie jar experience", though
hope it all worked out ok for him

PS
agree 100% with those who say, do take the mystery out of it
teach them to ask permission, and let them safely look, feel, and hold when they do
they won't be nearly as tempted to get in that "not a cookie jar" when you are not looking
but put a lock on that 'cookie jar' anyway, and buy 'em an Eddie Eagle video
YCMV.. (your child may vary)

InkEd
November 21, 2010, 09:09 AM
All I want to add to this thread is simple.

YOU CAN NEVER BE TO SAFE WITH FIREARMS!

THE 4 RULES SHOULD BE TREATED AS GOSPEL!

SAFETY FIRST AT ALL TIMES!

Manco
November 21, 2010, 09:18 AM
Im also concerned with the amount of people who make the shooting sports difficult by being "too" safe. I have sen countless times when during a round of skeet or trap someone leaves their safety on when they go to shoot, and when they are done they open the gun and put it back on safe to be forgotten the next time.

Well, they need to train better so that they won't forget.

My cousin has trouble even shooting a rifle off a benchrest because his uncle won't let him put his finger in the trigger until he "takes the shot".

That's exactly how I do it, even with defensive shooting--my finger only touches the trigger when I've made the decision to fire immediately, or while I'm in the process of shooting a series of rounds. Whenever there is a pause for whatever reason (even between each shot in slow-fire), my finger moves off the trigger and back onto the frame.

A gun is a tool, and if you treat it with respect, you will be fine.

It's not enough to respect the gun itself, but all the random crap that can happen when it's in your hands and your finger is on the trigger, such as tripping while moving about or somebody bumping into you, which can potentially cause a negligent discharge. Trigger discipline is, of course, one of the fundamental and necessary tenets of gun safety, and is predicated on the idea that the trigger is for shooting only--not resting your finger while pondering the next shot, walking around, or even maneuvering in combat (unless you're shooting at the same time!). That keeps things nice and simple, and therefore easier to follow habitually, and ultimately safer for everybody by making shooting a decidedly deliberate, conscious action on your part. Once it's ingrained in your "muscle memory" it should be easy enough to follow.

InkEd
November 21, 2010, 09:22 AM
I can't remember if it was Eddie Eagle video or something else I saw as a kid that said:

"If you find a gun, don't touch it. Tell an adult."

IIRC the phrase would be shown with a cartoon picture of kids finding a pistol laying in some grass near a playground or something.

This may have been a message from the local LE dept/public safety board. I can't honestly recall.

Someone more familar with/better memory of Eddie Eagle care to remind me?

Whether he did or not, I think it's a simple, clear and good message for small children.

oldfool
November 21, 2010, 10:00 AM
I can't remember if it was Eddie Eagle video or something else I saw as a kid that said:

"If you find a gun, don't touch it. Tell an adult."

IIRC the phrase would be shown with a cartoon picture of kids finding a pistol laying in some grass near a playground or something.

This may have been a message from the local LE dept/public safety board. I can't honestly recall.

Someone more familar with/better memory of Eddie Eagle care to remind me?

Whether he did or not, I think it's a simple, clear and good message for small children.
yes, that is Eddie Eagle :)

my 1st born grandson (who now has a boy of his own, who I have a Chipmunk in my safe for, and great-grandson has learned to shoot it safely, just like his dad did) got an A+ on his 1st or 2nd grade done in crayon presentation on that, complete with a picture of me and my gun cabinet with a big lock on it

both are off hunting bambi together this weekend (daddy has the gun, Chipmunks ain't deer killers), earning each others trust

AKElroy
November 21, 2010, 05:20 PM
Originally Posted by InkEd
I can't remember if it was Eddie Eagle video or something else I saw as a kid that said:

"If you find a gun, don't touch it. Tell an adult."

The NRA will send Eddie Eagle material free of charge. I recently taught a group of 25 10-13 year old's, and they sent a DVD & posters for the classroom, and Booklets & stickers for each of the kids.

Your Eddie Eagle quote is close: :Stop! Don't Touch! Leave the area, Tell an adult!

It is not a shooting safety or skill program; it is exclusively a gun safety program.

gdcpony
December 19, 2010, 11:27 AM
I am sorry I have been gone too long. Kinda busy over here sometimes.

I think many of you have the impression I send my kids out armed and dangerous everyday. They do have access to their weapons. My pldest daughter has her .410 out today trying for a deer. She is in her own spot with my afore mentioned friend Ronnie about 100yds or so away with his son (who is younger). My younger daughter didn't want to go so she is at home baking (at last report an hour ago).

My son (4) is wondering around the house looking for me because it is my job to help mommy cook. The rifle racks in my kids' rooms contain only bb guns (I guess there are mice in our garage) and their bows. The rest are in the case. That is because they just stay cleaner there since the kids have no wish to use them without me there. Perfect for all of you I guess.

The actual point of this thread was not really kids or adults. It was more the attitude that many of these replies imply. A gun is sooooo dangerous. You must treat them as if they will jump out of your hand and shoot you. Safety must be sooooo stressed that you aren't allowed to think about anything else like....aiming or having fun. Wow. Why do we even own them?

I think a bit differently. Maybe it was in my upbringing. Any "weapon" (of which my most lethal is my bow) is a tool. You use it in this way to accomplish this task. I actually treat my chainsaws with more caution because I think they are more likely to injure me. Probably because I am not as experienced with them (5 years on saws and 20+ on weapons). If I use any tool wrong it could cause damage or harm. I don't use a torch to heat a fuel line junction that is tight. I don't use a bow to pick fruit from peoples' heads (the old apple shot). If I use anything appropriately, that will make it safe.

I hope the distinction is understood. I do not advocate just throwing anything to someone and letting them run hogwild with it. I just do not teach "safety" over "use." Such instruction has yet to fail me and I have taught MANY shooters children and adults.

Frank Ettin
December 19, 2010, 01:58 PM
...It was more the attitude that many of these replies imply. A gun is sooooo dangerous. You must treat them as if they will jump out of your hand and shoot you. Safety must be sooooo stressed that you aren't allowed to think about anything else like....aiming or having fun. Wow. Why do we even own them?...Sorry, but I still think you're off base and that it is inappropriate to try to minimize that need for safety in connection with the handling of firearms.

Yes, in many ways a gun is "...soooo dangerous...." It projects destruction, injury and even death at a distance; and once it is discharged, nothing will call the bullet back. An unintentional discharge is completely unforgiving.

But no, we know that a gun won't jump out of our hands and shoot anyone. A gun fires only when the user does something to make it fire, and that is why safety is so important. Safety is up to the user.

And that doesn't mean we don't have fun with our guns. But we have fun because we have made the effort to learn to manage them safely. I suspect that nothing will take the fun out of a day's shooting quite as fast as to negligently shoot a friend.

As I wrote back in post 61

...There can certainly be too much safety when it's a matter of constricting our lives by removing sources of danger. But there can't be too much safety when it comes to learning how to use things and do things safely...

gdcpony
December 22, 2010, 11:36 AM
Sorry, but I still think you're off base and that it is inappropriate to try to minimize that need for safety in connection with the handling of firearms.

Yes, in many ways a gun is "...soooo dangerous...." It projects destruction, injury and even death at a distance; and once it is discharged, nothing will call the bullet back. An unintentional discharge is completely unforgiving.

But no, we know that a gun won't jump out of our hands and shoot anyone. A gun fires only when the user does something to make it fire, and that is why safety is so important. Safety is up to the user.

And that doesn't mean we don't have fun with our guns. But we have fun because we have made the effort to learn to manage them safely. I suspect that nothing will take the fun out of a day's shooting quite as fast as to negligently shoot a friend.
Originally Posted by fiddletown, post 61, emphasis added

...There can certainly be too much safety when it's a matter of constricting our lives by removing sources of danger. But there can't be too much safety when it comes to learning how to use things and do things safely...

As I wrote back in post 61

As you say learn to USE safely. It is the use that should be safe. That is different than safety being seperate from use. Proper use is safe use. You point a rifle at a target and not your friend because it is properly used to shoot targets and not friends. Amazing concept. Very similar to you drive on the street and not the sidewalk. (oh wait cars kill more than guns so bad example) How about- you use the saw on the tree/log not your leg because that is what it is used for.

See my point. Sure safe use is needed. But preaching safety by itself is like me telling you that getting wet is seperate from getting a shower and not part of it.

Legionnaire
December 22, 2010, 11:53 AM
gdcpony, I understand and agree with your main point. Our education system (such as it is), legislators (local and national), regulators, and lawyers have collectively "wussified" our basic sensibility. Kids are going out for the evening; we've been conditioned to say "Be safe," rather than "Have fun!"

You and I may differ on how we react to this knowledge (I don't leave my own guns generally accessible, much less my kids'), but I'm with you in principle. I trained my kids on gun safety and proper handling when they were very young. They learned the four rules, and helped me clean up after outings. When they showed interest, I got them involved. They were always welcome to ask, "Hey, can you show me ..." Well before they were teenagers, they had lost the fixating curiosity of the uninitiated. To them guns were tools to be used appropriately and with respect ... just like the table saw and router that can mess you up in the blink of an eye if you're not careful.

When you learn to do things safely, the emphasis should be on "do things!"

And I guess there is a gender thing here. I can remember my Mom saying to my brothers and me, "Oh, don't fight (wrestle); somebody is going to get hurt!" Whereas my Dad would say, "Take it outside, guys; I don't want you to break the furniture!" Too bad there aren't more Dad's involved in kids lives teaching them to LIVE with respect for themselves and others.

Safety is an important ingredient to be sure. It's why I taught hunter safety for many years. But the point is to HUNT!!

Nushif
December 22, 2010, 12:00 PM
Using slight of hand, I regularly load a snap cap into the "unloaded" gun used for instruction, and get a show of hands from the class on whether it is loaded. (Mag out of the gun, they just watched me clear it)

That would peeve me, tbh. Basically you're misdirecting them by clearing something and thus rendering it safe for your own use and then prove the procedure wrong?
Can't say I'd be cool with that if you pulled something like that if you hypothetically ever taught my Nugs a marksmanship class.

Frank Ettin
December 22, 2010, 12:02 PM
...Sure safe use is needed. But preaching safety by itself is like me telling you that getting wet is seperate from getting a shower and not part of it. I'm sorry, but I really can't understand what you're talking about. You give the overall impression of downplaying the importance of safety, and I find that unacceptable.

Who preaches safety by itself? We teach gun safety in the context of using guns, but we teach safety first -- continually emphasize the importance of safety when using a gun. We start our classes with a discussion of safety and the basic safety rules. When our students go through the various gun handling exercises that are part of the class, the instructor observes and continually reinforces safe handling rules. Each time the students go on break, and each time they return from a break, we recite the rules. And during live fire exercises the safety rules are further reinforced as the student handles and fires a variety of guns.

In IPSC, IDPA and Cowboy Action Shooting competition, the safety rules are emphasized and rigorously enforced.

In many contexts in the organized shooting sports, we are emphasizing safety. Safety always comes first. But we are still using and enjoying our guns.

So I still think that the fundamental premise of your first post is flawed. It's not a question of too much safety. It's a question of the wrong approach to safety -- emphasizing avoidance over mastery.

Mountainman38
December 22, 2010, 12:04 PM
That would peeve me, tbh. Basically you're misdirecting them by clearing something and thus rendering it safe for your own use and then prove the procedure wrong?
Can't say I'd be cool with that if you pulled something like that if you hypothetically ever taught my Nugs a marksmanship class.

While it is misdirecting, I have to agree that it proves a good point: all guns are to be treated as if they were loaded, all the time.

Even when I've cleared my gun and know there's nothing in it, I still certainly don't point it at anyone. I don't even let my kids point their toy guns at anyone, or pretend to shoot anyone -- get that basic rule down, and a lot of grief can be saved.

As Fiddletown said, nothing is going to take the fun out of a day of shooting like accidentally shooting a friend.

therewolf
December 22, 2010, 12:17 PM
I hear a lot of endless blather about "safety" and "security" from the media,too.

IMO, it commonly goes in one ear and out the other.

Not that I notice a lot of proper gun safety being demonstrated by the media, who somehow have managed to equate BBguns with Atom Bombs From Hell.

What I do see is a shocking amount of carelessness and ignored safety from actual gun handlers. It seems that no matter how much we emphasize gun safety, some people just don't seem to absorb all the fine points.

For example, I just watched an FBI instructor on youtube shooting himself in the foot, all the while bragging about how proficient he was with a .40 Glock.

Nushif
December 22, 2010, 12:30 PM
As Fiddletown said, nothing is going to take the fun out of a day of shooting like accidentally shooting a friend.

Keep this in mind though...

Nothing takes the fun out of shooting anytime, ever when you think the instrument in your hands is unpredictable and no amount of training or confidence in said training on your own end can make it safe for use.

By saying a gun is never, ever cleared even after clearing it, we have non-shooters believing they can go off randomly. Little stuff like that perpetuates the myth that guns are indeed never safe. And definitely does not win over new shooters who are just as nervous putting it in a safe after clearing it, as they are shooting it.

dirtykid
December 22, 2010, 12:38 PM
I've raised my kids with similar values although im confident they are capable of safely handling any weapon i give them,, ALL of our guns remain in our bedroom,,rifles and shotguns in steel-locker (only my AR has a clip in it) with key hidden nearby where everybody knows ,, my SP-101 sits next to the headboard on my side of the bed (out of obvious view) and mom's glock 26 sits in a between- the- matress holster on her side ,,, all 3-of my kids 12,14,17 know where they are and how to operate them safely,,,,,,, HOWEVER kids will be kids ,,, it's not my kids i would worry about,, more-so their friends who have'nt had proper training/experience,,, NOT TO MENTION THE SECURITY FACTOR,,,, we live in a 'good' part of town and i still would be devastated to come home to an empty or missing gun-safe,,,,much less having them laying around for the easy-pickin,,,

Frank Ettin
December 22, 2010, 08:14 PM
...What I do see is a shocking amount of carelessness and ignored safety from actual gun handlers. It seems that no matter how much we emphasize gun safety, some people just don't seem to absorb all the fine points...Regrettably true. So does that mean that less emphasis on safety will improve matters?

And by-and-large, IME you'll see good proper gun handling by folks who have had good training, especially at places like Gunsite, Front Sight or Thunder Ranch, and/or who compete in IPSC or IDPA. And most of the lousy gun handling will be by folks who have had no or little formal training.

...Nothing takes the fun out of shooting anytime, ever when you think the instrument in your hands is unpredictable and no amount of training or confidence in said training on your own end can make it safe for use....And I'm not aware of any decent instructor who fosters that sort of nonsense. In fact what the well and properly trained person learns is that the gun is not the safety issue. The user is responsible for being safe with the gun, and if something goes wrong it's not the gun; it's the user who is responsible. The gun is safe, so it's up to the user to be safe with it.

...By saying a gun is never, ever cleared even after clearing it, we have non-shooters believing they can go off randomly. Little stuff like that perpetuates the myth that guns are indeed never safe. And definitely does not win over new shooters who are just as nervous putting it in a safe after clearing it, as they are shooting it. Not when safety is properly taught.

Nushif
December 22, 2010, 09:41 PM
Not when safety is properly taught.

Exactly! But pulling a move like sneaking a round into a gun you just *personally cleared* does nothing in making a student feel good about their training.

Call me odd, but when my instructor can't manage clearing a weapon and proving to me that it can be made safe, I won't ever trust a weapon. At least not if I was a impressionable little learner.

Frank Ettin
December 22, 2010, 10:45 PM
...Call me odd, but when my instructor can't manage clearing a weapon and proving to me that it can be made safe, I won't ever trust a weapon. At least not if I was a impressionable little learner. Well you may be odd. But Jeff Cooper used to make the point that the Rule 1 was always properly stated, "All guns are always loaded." As John Schaefer puts it, "All firearms are loaded. - There are no exceptions. Don't pretend that this is true. Know that it is and handle all firearms accordingly. Do not believe it when someone says: "It isn't loaded." (http://www.frfrogspad.com/safety.htm )

In that article, Mr. Schaefer quotes John Farnam in part as follows:

"...The correct philosophical approach to serious firearms training is the "the condition doesn't matter" method. This was first articulated by Uncle Jeff in his four rules, but all four can all be rolled together in the universal admonition "DON'T DO STUPID THINGS WITH GUNS!" The "hot range" concept logically flows from this philosophical conclusion. Now, we handle all guns correctly, all the time. We don't have to "pretend" they're loaded. They ARE loaded, continuously, and all students need to become accustomed to it...."

As Colonel Cooper himself has put it:

"ALL GUNS ARE ALWAYS LOADED
The only exception to this occurs when one has a weapon in his hands and he has personally unloaded it for checking. As soon as he puts it down, Rule 1 applies again." (Jeff Cooper's Commentaries , pg. 8, Vol. 6, No. 2, 1998)

As further explained by Col. Cooper:

"...A major point of issue is Rule 1, "All guns are always loaded." There are people who insist that we cannot use this because it is not precisely true. Some guns are sometimes unloaded. These folks maintain that the rule should read that one should always treat all guns as if they were loaded. The trouble here is the "as if," which leads to the notion that the instrument at hand may actually not be loaded. This leads to disaster, yet we hear it all the time...."(Jeff Cooper's Commentaries , pg. 64, Vol. 11, No. 13, 2003)

The point, and the way we teach it, is that:

If you see a gun, as far as you're concerned, it's loaded.
If I have a gun in my hand, I know it's a loaded gun and conduct myself accordingly.
What do I do with a loaded gun if I don't want it to be loaded? Why I clear it of course.
The gun is only unloaded once I have personally cleared/checked it and it remains under my complete control.
If the gun is out of my control, even for a moment, Rule 1 applies; it is a loaded gun; and I conduct myself accordingly.

Some of the corollaries to this are:

One never trusts a gun to be unloaded unless and until he has personally properly checked/cleared it.
If you tell me that the gun is unloaded, it won't matter to me, because unless I have properly checked it, I know it to be loaded.
If you hand me a gun and tell me it's not loaded, it's nonetheless loaded as far as I'm concerned; and I will conduct myself accordingly. If I don't want it to be loaded, I will properly clear/check it myself.
If the gun goes off and you didn't intend it to, don't bother to try to tell me that you didn't think it was loaded. You're supposed to know that it's loaded unless you have personally properly check/cleared it.

So it's not up to your instructor to "...manage clearing a weapon and proving to me that it can be made safe...." It's up to you to clear and check the weapon for yourself.

And you know, the raw beginners we teach don't really have a problem grasping all that. We show them what they need to know and what they need to do, and we, as instructors, scrupulously model the behavior. And pretty soon they're all properly attending to business.

Deltaboy
December 22, 2010, 10:57 PM
1000's of things can kill you if you misuse them or have an accident. Only Guns get the Bump rap.

Frank Ettin
December 22, 2010, 11:07 PM
1000's of things can kill you if you misuse them or have an accident. Only Guns get the Bump rap. So does that mean we shouldn't be teaching people how to handle and use guns safely? Should we not care if the guy next to us at the range or with whom we're hunting is handling his gun in an unsafe manner?

And how is it a "bum rap"? Folks handling guns in an unsafe manner do in fact unintentionally hurt and kill other people, injure or kill themselves or damage property. True, it's not the guns. It's the users.

Deltaboy
December 22, 2010, 11:15 PM
No we need to teach every one how to safely do things. But I am tired of everything except guns being neglected when it comes to teaching safety. I will never forget how my Dad showed me the dangers of a Hi-lift jack if you didn't use it correctly.
Too many people focus only on Gun safety and not anything else in the house that can maim or kill you.

Nushif
December 22, 2010, 11:16 PM
Ok, first of all, even when my wife hands me a weapon and says it is clear (and she is as safe as I am with weaponry), I still check it. That is acceptable safety.

If my wife clears it in front of me, however, I can reasonably assume that she is competent enough to clear it. If she then handed it to me, and it wasn't clear, I would doubt her, not the gun.

If she were my instructor, I would have no confidence in the instructor's ability to clear a weapon. I am not at a learning session for a magic show lesson, I am there for a gun lesson.

Yes, guns are NEVER safe. But guns are not tricks. Sleight of hand does not figure into handling weapons. SAFETY is knowing your gun. Tricks don't allow you to know your gun, they lower your confidence in your weapon.

Anyone who doesn't have confidence in their gun is unsafe, and therefore a risk to the general public.

What you are proposing is that no one can clear or handle a gun safely. Your students will never be able to trust themselves to clear a weapon, and they will always be skittish around their gun. And in a pinch, that might prove deadly for them.

The point it that you should inspire confidence in those under your tutelage. If they are not confident, that is a reflection on you.

Only a confident person can defend themselves under pressure. I simply disagree with your method of teaching. It does not inspire confidence in either the pupil or the teacher.

That's all I'm saying. Safety, YES. Paranoia, NO. Enough said.

Frank Ettin
December 22, 2010, 11:42 PM
No we need to teach every one how to safely do things. But I am tired of everything except guns being neglected when it comes to teaching safety. I will never forget how my Dad showed me the dangers of a Hi-lift jack if you didn't use it correctly....True enough. But this is a gun forum, so I guess it's natural that our discussion should focus on gun safety.

...What you are proposing is that no one can clear or handle a gun safely. Your students will never be able to trust themselves to clear a weapon, and they will always be skittish around their gun....Balderdash. Our student learn to handle a gun safely and to do it consistently. In fact, they learn to be safe with loaded guns.

The reality is that most novices start out fundamentally afraid of guns. With a solid grounding in safe gun handling habits they come to realize that guns can be handled safely and they realize that they can learn to do it.

...I simply disagree with your method of teaching. It does not inspire confidence in either the pupil or the teacher.... And that's also nonsense. I and the folks I teach with ourselves learned from teachers like Jeff Cooper, the other instructors at Gunsite, Louis Awerbuck, Massad Ayoob and others of similar standing. And we teach doctrine learned from those sources. (BTW, if you'd trouble yourself to review this thread, you'd know that I'm not the guy that does the sleight of hand.)

Nushif
December 22, 2010, 11:50 PM
Glad I'm not your student then.

My point still stands. I'm not talking about you, I'm talking about Mr. Sleight of hand who decided that adding a round that wasn't there before is something that is good for new shooters. It isn't. It's something that is going to scare anyone in their right mind away from firearms. That is not what we are trying to do here. Subterfuge has no place in teaching, EVER.

The moment you are dishonest with your student, you have failed in your obligation as a teacher, and have lost their trust.

If you enjoyed reading about "Too much safety?" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!