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Dilemma... gun safety for the kid...

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by RoostRider, Oct 20, 2008.

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  1. RoostRider

    RoostRider Member

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    So, I have a son with a former GF of mine who is a bit of a GreenPeacer (she actually worked for them.. lol), and a vegetarian (when it suits her mood... lol)... as you might assume, she isn't a big fan of guns.... luckily, her new boyfriend likes guns, and that has tempered her somewhat....

    my son is 13 years old (today)... he never showed a lot of interest in shooting until recently, and being a non pushy type of parent (and knowing no boy could resist guns forever), I just let him do his own thing... anyways, that's why he hasn't taken a Gun/Hunter Safety Course yet....

    He is a pretty mature and responsible kid. So, my plan was to give him a Ruger 10/22 .22 semi-auto rifle for his 13th birthday and sign him up for a Safety Course.... naturally, I thought I'd run this past his mom (she would find out either way)...

    He has gone shooting with me several times now and it's a blast. He also loves to play airsoft and that has helped him to grow to like guns.... I have taught him all of the rules of safe gun handling, and also all of the rules of safe airsoft handling.... which is similar, but not the same as gun handling rules...

    When I mentioned this B-day present idea to his mom she said "obviously you didn't hear about 'The Incident'".... *don don dooooon*.... "what incident?".... and she goes on to explain to me that she had just taken away his airsoft guns because she came to his bedroom door and knocked, and he said "come in"... and when she came in the door, he stuck his airsoft shotgun in her face and pulled the trigger.... luckily for her, he was right and there was no ammo in the gun... but it still blows out a burst of air and it scared the heck out of her.... she hit the roof (rightly so) and took away all of his airsoft guns (rightly so)... and then told him that he could not have the airsoft guns back until he took a Gun Safety Course.... which is good because he needs to take the course, and I need her to help out since the courses are multi-day and she will have him some of the time that he needs to be in a class....

    But here's the part I have issue with.... she is associating these toys with real guns.... she says that he acted irresponsibly with his airsoft (and I agree), and that this demonstrates that he is not mature enough to handle real weapons (I disagree).... I have seen him handle real guns, and he is very respectful of them (even others comment on the care he takes).... the rules for airsoft around here that he broke are "Never shoot at someone who doesn't agree to be shot at", "Never shoot at someone who isn't wearing proper eye/face protection", "Never shoot at the head" and the basic "wow that's freaking RUDE.... and WHAT THE HECK WERE YOU THINKING???... and your mom of all people!!!..."...

    I differ with her that this should be treated like he violated a firearm safety rule... first, the thing is not a firearm, it is a toy and he was taught that it was a toy, and that, under certain conditions, it was OK to shoot this toy at people... he did violate airsoft rules ("it's unloaded" doesn't hold any more water with airsoft than with a real gun..... he could be wrong and cause someone real harm!).... but she thinks this shows that he isn't able to handle a real gun (which he has)....

    I explained to her that although I would be giving him this gun, it would be no different than if I owned the gun and took him shooting with it.... it would stay in my safe, he would not have access to it without me, and I would be supervising him whenever he would use it.... it was more symbolic than anything, but a symbolism that I hoped would keep him interested in this thing we like to do together... and someday I would let him take the gun with him...

    She still insisted that this was a bad idea and that he should not "Be rewarded for misusing one gun by being given an even bigger gun".... which I have issue with because this thing is really just a toy that looks like a gun, and if he had misused some other item in a dangerous way, she would not associate it with guns (I used throwing a rock as an example... assuming he was trying to narrowly miss her or something equally stupid and irresponsible).... she admitted that she wouldn't associate it with guns, and then goes back to how the airsoft is a gun, so it does relate...

    I explained to her that, had we taught him to treat that airsoft gun with the same respect as a real gun, it would be very telling of whether he was mature enough to handle a real gun... but because we didn't use that same rule structure, or strict rule structure, it really wasn't the same... what he did was act stupid with a toy.... I even told her that we could implement a "same as a gun" rule with his airsoft, if she thought that was best.... but that punishing him as though it were a gun violation, when it was really a toy, doesn't seem right to me....

    She says she is still OK with me taking him shooting.... which is the same net result as if I give him the .22... *sigh*

    We have always maintained separate houses with separate rules and separate punishments for whatever he does.... but she thinks this should be different.... *sigh*

    So, do I panic and go out and find him a different present for his birthday, and sort of fold to his moms issue about this being a "gun safety" issue... or do I just go ahead with what I think is right, and possibly stir the pot?
     
  2. NavyLCDR

    NavyLCDR member

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    Sorry, RoostRider, I agree with mom on this one. Those habits he has with the "toy" airsoft gun will carry over. My humble opinion is that he doesn't respect the "toy" gun enough, he won't respect the real gun enough.

    What I would do: pay for the gun safety course for his birthday. Let him shoot the 10/22 with you for a year and, if all goes well, either give him the gun for his next birthday, or give him the gun + nice scope on it next year.
     
  3. RoostRider

    RoostRider Member

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    Don't be sorry, I am looking for opinions here.... you have one... :)

    I plan to pay for the gun safety course either way... and I'm not so sure this would make a good present (not to mention the dilema of trying to coordinate this all with his mom and get him signed up and whatnot before days end)...

    I might assume, from your answer, that you would not let the kid play with toy guns like this in the first place. And while that might be a very valid argument, and one I toiled over myself for a while, that is not the course of action that his mom or I took.... that is our fault, and may stand for correction...

    That being considered (the fact that he was allowed much more liberal rules with this 'toy') would you still say that his actions indicate how he would treat a gun, which he has been taught to treat with the utmost respect? That is not my experience in watching him handle both...

    I see the correlation between the two (and I told her so)... but when his parents essentially said "that correleation doesn't exist here... there are different rules for this 'gun like thing' ".... well, that sort of absolves him of being guilty of misusing something as dangerous as a gun.... doesn't it....

    I do agree that it displayed an immature, rude, careless action... something we shouldn't associate with guns... and that this might indicate that he might be less careful with other things that should be given more respect (such as guns, cars, knives, whatever)...

    Would you not give your kid a gun for his birthday if he was careless with a rock, but didn't cause any damage, a few days prior to his birthday? (a rock being a good comparison, because it can cause a lot of harm, but isn't likely to, and is very unlikely to kill someone... and we never gave him 'gun like' rules for rocks, but common sense should have guided him in this one)
     
  4. NavyLCDR

    NavyLCDR member

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    IMHO, there are too many similarities between the rules of the airsoft gun and the rules for a real gun. To me, there is only one difference. With the airsoft gun, it is OK to shoot people for sport under the appropriate conditions: all parties are wearing the protective equipment and all parties are agreeing to the sporting event. Other than that, I think the exact same rules should apply to the airsoft gun as apply to the real gun. It's too easy to transfer the negligent behavior from the airsoft to the real gun because the items are so similar.

    Rock throwing, no, to me that would not negate the birthday present. Or let's say he had a rule to wear a helmet when on the bicycle. I wouldn't think that could be applied to gun safety. But the act of pulling the trigger on the airsoft is just too close to pulling the trigger on a .22, in my opinion.

    Why not keep the .22 for a Christmas present?
     
  5. Aaron12

    Aaron12 Member

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    An air soft gun isn't a "toy" all guns should be treated with the same respect.
     
  6. HK G3

    HK G3 Member

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    This is probably partially my medical training kicking in, but this just has DISASTER written all-over.

    Immature kids (and this is no insult towards your child, it is simply the case that most children are immature for a variety of factors - I am pretty sure we all did immature things at a young age) can have all the gun-safety you want drilled into them, and they will still behave in an immature fashion, with potentially lethal consequences. I can't count the number of times we would try to impress upon teens on various things in clinic, only to see them back for failing to comply to something, and them being in much worse shape than before.

    Even when I had a paintball gun at a young age, I never even pointed it at a single member of my family - that was just unfathomable. Him putting an airsoft gun to his mother's head, and pulling the trigger is just a huge red flag against giving him a gun. If you want, stick him in the safety course. But don't give him a gun. Not until he's a lot older and fully comprehends what he did, and the implications behind it.

    I don't want to sound like an anti or anything, but seriously, some children are just not mature enough to comprehend the massive responsibility that comes with firearm ownership.

    I really say wait until he starts driving. If he handles a car maturely, then maybe it will be time to reconsider the gift, since driving a car is the first time where someone is given a responsibility that can have horrific outcomes if that responsibility is not taken seriously. But until then, I truly feel as if it would be an unreasonably large risk to give him a gun.
     
  7. Golden Hound

    Golden Hound Member

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    An Airsoft Shotgun? I've never even heard of that. What does that do? Does it literally shoot shells filled with little Airsoft balls? How can that possibly work?
     
  8. Hoplophile

    Hoplophile Member

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    I don't mean to be rude, but I'm with your ex on this one. He pointed what is more or less the closest likeness of a firearm at someone and pulled the trigger. It looks like a gun, it moves small objects at a high rate of speed, and antis hate them. Sounds like it's at least 90% gun to me.

    He'll come around.
     
  9. cambeul41

    cambeul41 Member

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    I never thought I would be on the side of an anti-gunner, but I find myself there at this time.

    [Multiple paragraphs deleted. I don't want to be too rough.]
     
  10. HKUSP45C

    HKUSP45C Member

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    Apparently I'm in the minority here but I agree with your assesment of the situation.

    Simply saying something doesn't make it so. Airsoft is exactly a toy, designed to be fired at other living things, for fun.

    In fact I would say that shooting someone who didn't want to be shot (which is immature and stupid for a variety of reasons) is about as inherently dangerous as throwing a snowball at them. Which, I think, a great many of us have done.

    Just because someone displays behavior that is undesireable doesn't mean that their enire maturity level and sense of responsibility in general should be judged by the one incident. Hell, I read on this very site fairly often of someone having a negligent discharge, should all of those people be banned from firearms ownership as "immature and irresponsible?" I mean they had to break at least one of the "four rules" to pull it off.

    So, yeah, your kid did a boneheaded thing and should be taught a lesson. I think it's important that you actually focus more on the teaching of the lesson than punishment though.

    13 is an awkward time for a boy. In many respects it's a very transitional period with a great deal of impact on one's personality in general. At least, it was for me.

    You know him better than I do so I would say you're more qualified to judge his overall maturity level. I would say you're correct in your logic that his idiocy with his mom's mug and his airsoft shottie are not an indicator that he's also an idiot with real, actual, non-toy guns. I think the comparison is apples to buicks.
     
  11. Vermont

    Vermont Member

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    I think you should give him the gun. You said it would be kept in your safe and he would only use it when supervised.

    I would have a serious talk with him about the airsoft incident immediately if you haven't already done so. Then I would give him the gun for his birthday along with the safety course.
     
  12. benEzra

    benEzra Moderator Emeritus

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    It is NOT designed for shooting people in the face at close range without them wearing eye protection who did NOT consent to being "shot".

    Training/playing with Airsofts is fine when (1) the participants have all chosen to do so (i.e., consent) and (2) the participants are all wearing eye protection.

    I agree with the mom. Safety course is a good idea, but hold off on the real guns until he's mature enough to handle the Airsofts responsibly, IMO.
     
  13. Officers'Wife

    Officers'Wife Member

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    Since I don't have children that age I must rely on the wisdom of my ancestors.

    I'm told that back in a gentler time my Dad and uncle had air rifles and invented a game called a 'BB gun fight." Now even though these toys barely had the power to propel it's projectile the length of the tool shed Gramps treated the incident as if it had been 'real' weapons and administered very strict punishment.

    The theory is simple, the toys are training in use of firearms and need to follow the same rules as firearms. Old fashioned overreaction? Perhaps, but one of the family traditions is that there has not been a firearms related accident on the farm since 1897. Since that tradition stands today, I see no reason to argue with success.

    Selena
     
  14. The Bushmaster

    The Bushmaster Member

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    Unless it was a cap gun and he and his mother were playing cops and robber or cowboys and indians. He was in the wrong. Ya mean ya didn't take him to the woodshed and blister his butt? .22 rifle for his birthday? Absolutely not...Mature? Not on your life..

    Just my opinion after raising 5 children (4 boys and 1 girl) and working on 6 grandchildren (4 girls and 2 boys).
     
  15. TexasRifleman

    TexasRifleman Moderator Emeritus

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    If you do allow your kid to play with toy guns, which is a different debate, the toys must go once you start with real guns. Can't have both.

    Throw every toy gun in the house in the trash if you plan on continuing him in shooting.
     
  16. Claude Clay

    Claude Clay Member

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    in her face.....
    burst of air.....

    he HAD airsoft equipment/ he HAD a computer and tv in his room/he HAD a cell phone. he HAD to sit on a inflatable doughnut for 6 weeks after his behind was tanned.

    and you want to give him a real gun.
    unbelievable---you HAD to have made this up
     
  17. solareclipse

    solareclipse Member

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    hang on now.. im way over 13 and i still play with toy guns. nothing wrong with that.

    what i would be more concerned with is that he is pointing them at people and developed a "sudden" interest. at 13 it is a pretty wacky age so it could be nothing more than a trend or he can just get the whole idea wrong at this age.

    a lot of supervision is needed. you will soon know if he is showing any strange beheavior.

    that said, when i was kid i aimed and shot an air rifle (no pellets) at people too... it is curiousity in part, because you just know you cant really hurt them with that gun. yes i know people will jump and say "its a gun period" and that is correct, however, EVERYBODY has done it. do not even dare tell me you havent pulled a toy gun on another person and "fired".

    just make sure such explorations do not turn into habits
     
  18. TexasRifleman

    TexasRifleman Moderator Emeritus

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    Once you are 18 you can make that decision as an adult, til then a parent should force that, that's their job.
     
  19. solareclipse

    solareclipse Member

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    Oh absolutely. But that's not what it was related to.

    Somebody said you can't have both, and thats rubbish, to put it this way. Personal responsibility and accountability are not dictated by whether you are wielding a knife, a mossberg or an airsoft. You can have all and be a model owner, or the complete opposite.

    Some people have the assumption that toy antics translate into real steel antics and thats just, well rubbish. I feel like saying rubbish today for some reason
     
  20. 45Badger

    45Badger Member

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    I'm with Mom on this. When my eldest moved from toys to real guns, the toys disappeared. I consider airsoft to be toys and not training aids for anyone but mall ninjas. .22s make good training aids. If you want less than lethal training aids, use simunitions. A gun is a gun and I want no confusion as to what is safe/responsible and what is not. In my home, guns are for two things- target practice (putting holes in paper/busting clays/clanging steel) and killing things (food and bad guys). Not for sticking in someone's face.

    As a young man (no longer a little boy) he is faced with lots of choices, and lots of consequences. At some point, we need to leave behind the toys of our childgoods and enjoy the tools (OK, big boy toys) of our adulthood. Same lesson applies to cars vs. go-carts/atvs, street bikes vs. dirt bikes. each comes with more risk, liability, and responsiblity.
     
  21. The Bushmaster

    The Bushmaster Member

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    Texasrifleman. If I had kept my Hopalong Cassidy two gun (cap guns) rig that I had when I was a kid (my mother convienantly lost it) I would have somthing. I would store his "toys" out of reach, but he may want them when he has kids of his own to hand them down to.

    45badger...Good post
     
  22. Quoheleth

    Quoheleth Member

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    RoostRider,

    As a father of three (11, 7, 4) I would suggest the greatest gift you can give your son right now is some SERIOUS (as in "deadly serious") time. He needs to know (not just "know" but realize) the serious responsibility of firearms. They are tools, but any tool used incorrectly can & will do bodily harm - even if a "joke."

    You mentioned getting him in firearms safety classes...this is good, right and salutary. But kick it up a notch and make it a weekend event for the two of you. Enroll yourself with him and the two of you, F&S, do it together. Be serious about it, too - set the example. Don't sit there and act bored because "I know it all."

    The next day, instead of buying him a gun for his b'day, go to a range where they rent stuff. Let him pick a couple of suitable rentals out of your pre-planned options and then spend the day shooting with him. Spend that $200 you would have spent on one rifle on a day's worth of shooting. Got an old family firearm? Break it out. This is a special day. (If such a rental place isn't an option, buy the rifle but don't tell him it's going to be his. Next year it can be "Remember your birthday last year and how much you enjoyed shooting? Here's the gun we used.") Observe his habits. Is he putting into use what he just learned? Four rules? Good weapons management? More than that, YOU exercise excellent firearms behavior so he sees it and knows what is correct. Talk with him and listen to him. I guarantee he'll remember a weekend like that - time with dad - for a long time.

    You need to do some hands-on work with your son, here. This isn't about pro-gun or anti-gun. It's more basic than that: its gun SAFETY.

    Let him see the progression: Gun SAFETY leads to gun MANAGEMENT which leads to gun USE which leads to gun OWNERSHIP (or whatever terms you choose...but show the progression is my point).

    My 2 cents...
    Q
     
  23. rfurtkamp

    rfurtkamp Member

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    I'd be appalled if a child of that age pointed something that actually fired in mom's face like that.

    He's not six. Even at six it'd be stern talking to with punishment he'd not forget.

    The 4H kids I've trained in handgun use know better, and they start at eight.

    Get him safety classes, but I wouldn't be rewarding him with his own gun at this point.

    I'd probably even tell him that incident cost him his gun and he'd have to earn it back.
     
  24. JImbothefiveth

    JImbothefiveth Member

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    :rolleyes:
    Um, no, it's shooting them, not throwing a snowball at them.

    If that's the case, and he never has access to it OR any ammunition, I guess that could be okay. From what I gathered, he wouldn't have any more access to it than if you didn't give it to him, but it would make for a nice birthday.
     
  25. CNYCacher

    CNYCacher Member

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    He isn't humble enough to accept the possibility that a gun he knows is empty might actually be loaded.

    He is also naive enough to believe that the puff of air directed right at her face couldn't harm her by itself.

    He is also immature enough to think that his prank was funny.

    Sorry, I have to go with mom on this one.
     
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