Kids and guns.


March 30, 2012, 10:53 AM
Read the thread about the 4yr daughter.

I think with some schooling my 4yr son could be at the same spot. He's aware my GF is a LEO and knows that she's has some pistols and deliberately stays away from them, but still plays with toy guns like he's an action hero. He seems to understand that you only use guns on "bad guys", etc.

I like the idea of running him through the Eddie eagle program and getting him on the track of treating any "gun" like a real loaded one. But at the same time, I don't want to take away the fun of rubberband/Nerf guns and maybe later paintball and airworthy based on that.

How do you guys handle that with your younguns?

I would take him to the range, but as it would have to worked out with the ex. She's not anti, but not interested in guns herself and definitely doesn't feel comfortable with little kids knowing their parents have guns based on some experiences from her childhood.

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March 30, 2012, 11:00 AM
I have no kids of my own, but I have 3 nieces (2 of which are 3.5 years old) that come over regularly, so its an issue I have to deal with.

I personally keep them out of sight most of the time, but they have been made aware of them and know not to touch them. I have a few toy guns that they can play with and they've been briefed on the difference between real and toy guns, but I try to hold them to treating the toy guns with the same respect due a real one (ie, don't point it at people even if its a toy).

Its always a personal choice, but just knowing them and several other kids, I personally wouldn't really take them to an actual range session before 8-10. To some degree I think you need to understand the gravity of life and death to truly respect the safety aspects of a gun, and that's a topic that most young kids still don't really grasp.

March 30, 2012, 11:12 AM
All 5 of my kids started shooting early. My youngest isn't even 4 yet, and he already goes to the range with me to shoot the "Go-Booms." He has his own little Crickett rifle. Getting the approval of the ex-wife was pretty easy. She's been a Deputy Sheriff for 10+ years, and I was a Marine, and now I'm a cop, too, so there have always been guns around.

It was just easier to teach proper gun handling and respect than it was to hide everything.

March 30, 2012, 11:28 AM
My now 7 yr old step son shot a raccoon at 4yrs old with a 22lr while helping me check traps. When he saw the coon doing the kickin chicken the light bulb lit up and he realized guns kill things. We had a talk about what took place and since then he has been very obedient about not touching any firearms without an adult and safe gun handling. He shoots at the range regularly now with a ruger single six and his cricket rifle. I put a red dot on the cricket when we got it because at 5 years old he could not get the concept of the sight picture. He does well now but he like the red dot so we left it on. As far as carry he knows mom and I both carry and he also knows NOBODY needs to know that we do. He knows the reason behind carry is for protection from bad people. We have regular conversations on guns and being safe. We recently went over our safe house plan on what to do if a bad person came into the house what his role is. I think the key is to talk openly and regularly about the topic.

March 30, 2012, 11:34 AM
As I mentioned on the other post about the 4yr old, I've started my daughter (she's 3 right now) on cap guns. The cappers are treated as real and are shot, stored and cleaned with the real guns and eyes and ears are used when capping. She loves it and there is hardly a day that goes by that she doesn't want to go capping in the back yard. It also keeps my wife happy, she's not an anti she carries and shoots herself but we agree to disagree on an actual shooting age so the cap guns are the compromise. For us it's been a great way to teach safety and the pop's get her used to the report from a real gun so when she does get to shoot 22's they don't scare her. She does have squirt guns and those are TOYS and so far she understands the difference. The way she puts it to me is "Daddy this one goes !POP! so it's real (cap gun) and this one just gets you all wet, it's just a toy daddy." Hope this helps.

March 30, 2012, 11:35 AM
Discuss the safety of the kids with the EX and GF. Education and respecting guns is key for kids to understand. I think he is still too young for the range, but that's your call as he learns and understands more. Make sure guns are stored safely so the EX is comfortable knowing that guns aren't just laying around the house. The EX probably feels she doesn't have any control when he's in your home and you should do everything you can to give her a little peace of mind.

March 30, 2012, 12:52 PM
My son turns 11 this October and will be getting either a Crickett or a 10/22.

March 30, 2012, 01:51 PM
My kids are older that the ones discussed above (21,17,15) but, when they were younger we had a number of discussions and exercises around the proper handling and reactions to firearms.

They all knew, by 4 or 5, what to do if they saw a firearm. I tested this with each of them at least once, by leaving an unloaded firearm out, where they could see it. All passed with flying colors.

Do not be fooled, if you have a firearm in the house, your kid knows it is there.. and can probally get to it unless it is in a safe or other locked area they can not access at all.

I also tested this theory once with my oldest. Offered him 20 bucks if he could bring me one of my pistols that was in a locked case, with a trigger lock on it. 10 minutes later he walked in with the pistol out of the case and un-locked. He knew where I 'hid' the keys to the Kingdom and had watched me open things up.

Cost me 20 bucks to prove the point, and 1600.00 for a gun safe. For once, the wife didnt question the need to spend the cash.

March 30, 2012, 02:31 PM
Mine are 4, 3, and 1. Everything is locked up except what we carry. On the hip (or in the pocket) or locked away. My kids (2 oldest, anyways) are very fascinated with them and when they ask about them, I let them see them. I always ask them, "What do you do if you find a gun that Mommy and Daddy don't have and that isn't locked up?" Their answer is always the same, "Tell Mommy and Daddy!" LOL... It's cute.

They've never been shooting, though this summer I'll probably take my oldest out; maybe the middle. I took them once, but they never shot anything because they would not keep their ear muffs on. I figured that was a sign that they were just too young. LOL

March 30, 2012, 02:48 PM
We had an inadvertent test once about a year ago.

Before we moved in together she had spent the night and had gotten up to shower on a sat. She had taken all of her stuff out of her pockets and set them on a high shelf before going into the bathroom. He woke up and wandered by the bathroom on his way to the kitchen and looked up and saw her KT P3AT and immediately came to wake me up and tell me there was a gun! It was out of his reach anyways and she felt terrible leaving it out uncovered like that as she's very adamant (more so than me and I am very) about hiding them from him, but we both rewarded him greatly for doing the right thing and telling one of us immediately. He seemed a bit freak out as this was the first time he'd ever seen one so I used it as an opportunity to reestablish (what id told him before) that what he did was exactly right. He was to immediately tell an adult, furthermore dont touch it and if some other kid has one or picks up one they found to leave and tell an adult, don't try to argue with the other kid.

Since we moved in all of my guns are stored out of reach (hell almost out of mine) on a high shelf in our closet until we can get a safe (a whole different issue) and have instructed him to never go into our room or leave our eyesight while in there without our permission. Which he follows to the letter. Even to the point where he will knock on the door and I tell him it's ok to come in, but he won't unless I open the door and lead him in.

March 30, 2012, 03:05 PM
I start 'em at 5 with a BB gun and a cardboard box stuffed with newspaper.

My girls have a slew of Nerf guns, ( 3 belt-fed Nerf Vulcan machineguns in the house with 6 belts of darts), and I don't worry that they'll confuse them with the real things.

My 2.5 year old just last week looked up at me and the Blackhawk on my belt and said "Daddy's pretty gun, No touch!!!!" (snif... so proud)

The 10 year old keeps trying to get me to the LGS to ask if her pistol has arrived yet, she's waiting on a Bersa .22 after a few years of working the AR-7 explorer. She actually asked to try to operate the hammer on the Blackhawk... The look on her face as she managed to thumb it back was utterly priceless.

The 4.5 year old is a bit too flighty to start yet, I don't put things in their hands till they can respond instantly without conscious thought when I issue commands that relate to safety.

March 30, 2012, 03:21 PM
i dont have kids but i would imagine that could help drive the point home. it would be better suited for older kids like 12 and up, any younger it might traumatize them for years to come

i have only been to that site once in my life and that was one too many.

March 30, 2012, 03:38 PM
i dont have kids but i would imagine that could help drive the point home. it would be better suited for older kids like 12 and up, any younger it might traumatize them for years to come

i have only been to that site once in my life and that was one too many.
Ah, I remember that site. I certainly drives the point.

If it where up to me solely, I think between 5-8 is a good age depending on the kid. Before we divorced the Ex and I brought up the subject when my grandfather decided to give me some of his old .22s (my first guns) and she said that she didn't want them to be in the home unless we had a safe and she didn't want him to know they existed until he was around 12, then we could think about teaching him about them (I was pushing hard for them as a right of passage).

For a little background her only experience with guns was when she was around 7-8 and her step father had gone off the deep end on drugs. He's a wonderful guy today, been clean a little over 10 years, but obviously had some judgmental issues back then. She said he'd left a pistol unlocked and sitting in his nightstand drawer and when he was coming down the birds outside would bug him so he'd get pissed off and go outside and shoot at them.

Really kinda freaked her out ever since. She's smart enough to know that they're inanimate objects and all that. She just really doesn't like the idea of guns in the house when kids are there, even if they're locked up.

Now I know a lot of people probably have had similar relationship issues in the past surrounding guns and have some thoughts about what I should tell her. But we really are good friends and on good terms, but above all we're still raising a kid and we have to work together and stay consistent if he's going to grow up right.

March 30, 2012, 04:31 PM
I would take him to the range, but as it would have to worked out with the ex.Work it out.

Explain that, while you keep your guns safely stored, training him (increases his safety) and range time (decreases curiosity) are supplemental safety measures that, as a concerned parent, you really must take.

I took my young kids to the range. Had to hold the gun for them, but they pulled the trigger. One of my sons is 8 now, and everyone on the range comments about what a stickler he is regarding safety rules.


Make sure to double up on hearing protection for him; they do make small size plugs and muffs for kids.

March 30, 2012, 09:13 PM
My son turns 11 this October and will be getting either a Crickett or a 10/22.

Don't get him a cricket...he will grow out of it faster than a pair of shoes.

And to the OP, it would appear a talk with the ex is in order.....based on her past, it might not be easy, but hopefully it can end up with the benefit of everyone.

March 30, 2012, 09:45 PM
My son turns 11 this October and will be getting either a Crickett or a 10/22.

Get the 10/22 or some similar rifle with a youth stock (and be prepared to upgrade to an adult stock in a few years).

My 11yo grew 6 inches this winter and is now way, way too big for the Cricket we got him when he was 7. He had to hand it down to the 6yo.

My older son was considerably taller than I am by the time he was 14 and handled his father's .22 without trouble.

March 30, 2012, 09:47 PM
To the OP,

Our kids have learned the difference between the Nerf guns and the real ones. We have rules about pretending to shoot -- only Nerf guns can be pointed at real people and the other toys can only be aimed at targets (we have some taped to the walls in rooms the youngest ones play in), or at imaginary bad guys.

March 30, 2012, 09:50 PM
I suppose the next step is a talk with the ex. She's a reasonable person, but I fear if I start off on the wrong foot it could put her off entirely.

On the side:

You guys might check out the 10/22 take down. They look pretty nifty.

March 31, 2012, 09:41 AM
they do make small size plugs and muffs for kids

Where can you get the plugs? I've been looking for a while.

March 31, 2012, 09:50 AM
We got the kid safety stuff at our local gun shop.

If your local shop doesn't carry them there's always

March 31, 2012, 09:59 AM
Where can you get the plugs?I like the ones by Howard Leight. Labeled for women (PINK!), but great for kids.

loose noose
March 31, 2012, 04:03 PM
All 4 of my sons learned with toy guns. In fact when I was a policeman, and took my pistol out to clean it, they'd do the same thing. The main thing I taught them was "once you pull that trigger, there is no wishing that bullet back in the gun". In fact a few years ago my oldest son was teaching my 5 year old grandson how to shoot a Stevens Favorite, I gave them, and low and behold those same words came out of my son's mouth. Another thing I demonstrated, to my boys was the damage a bullet could do even with a .22 rimfire. I would take a bar of soap out of the wrapper, stand back about 10 yards and shoot the bar of soap. They apparently were impressed as I never had a problem with any of my sons messing with guns.

War Squirrel
March 31, 2012, 04:30 PM
My stepdad taught me how to handle guns by teaching me the four rules, and then "letting" me clean everything in the gun cabinet. :p It was an easy way to learn how they operated and how to take them apart, and most importantly how to treat them, loaded or not.
Let your kids clean them and take them apart (with careful supervision), especially if they are mechanically inclined. The biggest hurdle is taking the mystique out of guns, so they don't play with them or think that they are toys.

March 31, 2012, 10:53 PM
I started my son at 10 with a BB gun. At 11 I enroled him in the gun safety class at the local range. He started out with a 22 pistol but got bored of that in about three weeks and jumped into a Ruger 9mm. We shoot every weekend at the local range. At home he helps with the cleaning, loading of bullets, and we practice at the home in the garage how to clear and properly handle the gun (Using dummy rounds I made with the press, no primers and no powder;))

Now at 13 he is shooting IDPA matches with me every weekend. He is getting very close to whooping his old dad on a regular basis. We have seen kids as yound as 10 at these matches and they have all handled themselves just fine.

All of the kids in my house know how to handle a gun. It was the one rule I had for having them. If you are going to have them then the people in the house should be trained. My oldest daughter(22) loves to shoot but my middle daughter could take or leave it. Either way, they all spend some time at the range with each one and they all know how to handle them.

March 31, 2012, 11:14 PM
I have been having a problem with armadillos and opossums tearing up stuff in the yard recently. So last night I happened to be awake and heard something trying to knock over the trash can, so I grabbed my .22 luck he scurried of before I got outside.

Anyway, I just propped the rifle by the back door instead of locking it back up in case he came back.

So my grandkids came over this morning to spend the day, the 22 month old saw the rifle as he was running into the kitchen and stopped dead in his tracks and pointed it out to me. Smart kid! Both his father and I have been talking to him and his brother about not touching guns and getting an adult.

It's seems to be working, now to get the Eddie the Eagle videos to reinforce the message.

April 1, 2012, 03:09 AM
Every child should be thoroughly schooled in firearm safety and know what they are capable of.
Taboos kill kids, knowledge saves lives!

My six yr'ol boy received his first rifle at Christmas, a Crickett .22lr.
He has proven himself fully cognizant of all firearms safety and responsible enough to handle a firearm safely under moderate adult supervision.
He is quite the little range safety/etiquette nazi, and I'll not correct that for the near foreseeable future.

Some of my past postings on this subject...
My youngest boy (4yrs'ol) is begging to go to the range with me.
I told him 6 yrs'ol, but I may do it for his 5th bday, if he learns/memorizes the Golden Rules and shows me more maturity/awareness.

We both shoot BB & pellet rifles in the yard, he is doing well with those.

I'll start him on my Marlin Model 60 .22lr.

Golden Rules (alot for a 4yr'ol to remember & practice)
1. All guns are considered loaded, especially empty guns.
2. No fingers on triggers until ready to shoot
3. Never point a gun at anyone/anything you don't want to shoot.
4. Know what is behind your target.

Just last weekend I finally took my 5 yr'ol son to the range with me for the first time, as a shooter.
He has the Golden Rules memorized, and can tell you the 'how & why' each one is important.

We sat down on the firing line and went over everything, the Golden Rules, Handling/Loading, Range Rules & Etiquette, sight picture and the six steps to firing a shot.
If he had shown any level of immaturity, of being unaware of self/surroundings or broken any rule in the slightest, he would've sat out the day five yards behind the line in a chair... But he didn't... Thats my boy!

He got to devirginize his Grandpa's newest 10/22, which is nicely decked out as a M1 carbine. I think Grandpa will likely give it to him for his sixth birthday.

I set him up at 10 yards with a 8" Shoot-n-C target and he peppered the hell out of it.
It is framed/dated and hanging in his room, he is immensely proud of that target.
.................................................. .

As for kids going to the range...
Every kid is different, maturity and being able to understand the reasoning behind the rules and being able to explain them is a must.

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