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Parents: how/when to introduce children to guns

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by moi_self26, Nov 30, 2008.

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  1. moi_self26

    moi_self26 Member

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    I'm just curious as to what other people's opinions on this subject are. What do you think is the appropriate way to go about introducing a child to guns? What do you tell them when they are toddlers, young children, pre-teens, teens, when would you take them to shoot for the first time and w/ what type of gun? Etc...?
     
  2. Glock River

    Glock River member

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    Introduce IMMEDIATELY. Let them handle one as soon as they can recognize the difference between a gun and a bottle. Why do some people imagine that "introducing" involves shooting? :confused::confused::confused: Introducing your kids means just THAT, to show them and let them handle. My son has been handling guns since before he could lift them.

    I get tired of these people who claim there is a point where the kid is too young for information and education, because their subtle implication is that education about guns is inherently bad and therefore should be postponed :fire:. I have encountered a lot of that idiotic attitude among gun owners (usually the result of a patently spineless man and/or a man who is trying to compromise with an ignorant wife).
     
  3. PBinWA

    PBinWA Member

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    Whenever they are really able to listen to you and follow instructions properly.

    In some cases this will be an 8 year old and in others it may not be until they are 28. ;)
     
  4. chbrow10

    chbrow10 Member

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    I think that you are going to get a variety of different responses here. I'll tell you what I do for my 3 kids, ages 3, 8, and 9.

    I started my 8 and 9 year old boys (19 months apart) on a pump BB gun with iron sights when they were about 6 and 7. When they learned the basic rules of firearm safety and could demonstrate range safety and muzzle discipline in the back yard, they moved on to a 22 rifle. I would have preferred a bolt action to teach them to slow down and get thier hits, but all I had was a semi auto.

    Now, the 8 year old can hit a 8" steel plate at 50 yards with iron sights on a rested rifle and the 9 year old competes in USPSA action pistol.

    The 3 year old wants to be involved, but isn't ready yet. She does know that if she finds a gun, she is not allowed to touch it. Nontheless, all firearms are either out of reach or secured.

    My boys know that they don't handle ammunition and a gun without being on the range.

    I think that no matter what the age, you need to be right behind them at all times anticipating what could possilbly go wrong. Be prepared to grab the gun at all times.

    Just like the first time you take youngsters fishing, you don't give them a fly fishing rod and reel, it is also important that the first thing they shoot is appropriate. 22s are good for first timers of all ages.

    hope this is helpful, or at least prompts others to share thier thoughts...
     
  5. Glock River

    Glock River member

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    Seriously WHY did you wait so long? You wasted years of good instruction.
    If they wouldn't listen until 28 it's probably because you didn't take advantage of teaching them when they were 3.
     
  6. m38shooter

    m38shooter Member

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    I somewhat agree with Glock River, though not quite so harshly. It's really up to the parent to evaluate both the amount of time they have to work on the basics and to determine if their child could be responsible enough.

    My son (2 1/2) helps me clean my firearms, and we practice what the parts are called as we take them apart and put them back together. He already shows pretty good muzzle control with his toys, and I think he'll be ready to shoot around 6 or 7.

    The shooting age question is really an individual one. Obviously, the child is going to have a better understanding of the rules if you teach from the time they're old enough to start learning. Kids learn things at different rates, and there are things that HAVE to be learned before they handle a loaded firearm. If 3 children start learning about firearms at age 7, one might be ready that year, one might be ready at 9, and one might not get the hint until the 'teens.

    It comes down to interacting with your child enough to know where they lie on the maturity scale.
     
  7. Vertigo

    Vertigo Member

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    In my opinion, although I am neither a parent, nor a gun owner, one should not set a definite age at teaching their kid how to properly handle a firearm, however...

    Although some might say, you cannot ever teach them young enough, I beg to differ. I believe letting them handle and shoot a firearm shouldn't be for any under 10 year olds. They can however watch you handle yours, but under this age, children just shouldn't do this themselves. They should at least have to be able to fully grasp the seriousness of handling a potential very dangerous weapon.

    And frankly, in my opinion "wasted training time" is not really a serious argument. But then again, this is my personal belief and I might get convinced otherwise in the future when I do have kids of my own.

    V.
     
  8. WardenWolf

    WardenWolf member

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    A very young child should be taught to never touch them. I'd say around the age of 8, you should consider introducing them to a .22 bolt action, and buy a BB gun so you can teach them in your backyard if space permits. Once they have a couple of years of practice with proper handling procedures, you can introduce them to .22 pistols and work up as they get more experienced and more able to control a higher powered load.
     
  9. chbrow10

    chbrow10 Member

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    Glock River has an excellent point. However, I didn't buy my first gun until 2 years ago. At that time, they were interested in firearms and so I started working with them. Also, props to the Boy Scouts of America, as they shot thier first BB guns (Daisy Red Riders) at a cub Scout camp. They had a blast, so we got them thier own.
     
  10. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

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    Both of my sons shot guns when they were 7 or 8. Loved it.
     
  11. CoLJ

    CoLJ Member

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    I was introduced to my dad's Remington .22 at 5 y/o. I got to shoot it with assistance of course. I was introduced to small game hunting around 9 which meant carrying a 22/20 over/under, and a .22 revolver.

    Never have been involved in an "incident" and never went poking around in the gun closet on my own.
     
  12. TAB

    TAB Member

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    There is no age at which its right to start them... there are kids that will be ready at 5-6 and thier are kids that are still not ready at 45.
     
  13. zammyman

    zammyman member

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    I was started with a Daisy air gun at the age of about 6, and wouldn't have it any other way. Just be sure they know how to handle a handgun, too. I never shot a handgun until my 20's.
     
  14. indoorsoccerfrea

    indoorsoccerfrea Member

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    i was introduced around 6. .22 pistol was the first gun i shot. i would say that what i will do with my children when i have some is that i will teach gun safety right off the bat, b/c i own guns. im not sure when i would begin allowing them to shoot, but i have already started teaching my younger sister gun safety (shes 3), and she understands my words (maybe not the ideas behind them), and she has shot a pellet gun several times with me holding onto it and helping. shes not much of a shot yet, :) but that will come in time. i would say that as young as the maturity or understanding allows. with parental supervision of course
     
  15. Glock River

    Glock River member

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    Again, shooting doesn't HAVE to go with handling. Some people seem to continue to misunderstand this point. I'm not saying that kids should be shooting as soon as they can stand up. I'm saying that you should put it in their lap and let them hold it. My son was taking the magazine in and out when he was three. He's 6 now and just barely began being able to shoot the .22 pistol without my hands over his.
     
  16. TRGRHPY

    TRGRHPY Member

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    I have two boys ages 4 and 6. I taught them about firearms safety over a year ago. And though some may disagree with this, I showed them a couple of pictures of what happens to a human who has been shot. The concept worked well with them and the effects of playing with matches/fire, so I applied the same to firearms. They now know that you cannot put a person back together and that once a bullet has left the gun that you cannot take it back. I was sizing the boys up for a .22 at my dealer and he was impressed that they knew to check the chamber, safety, etc. Their mom and I both feel that they are ready for strictly supervised shooting after the man in the red suit visits them in a few weeks.

    I do not feel, however, that all kids this age are ready for that. Reason? Not all kids are interested in firearms and will not take it as seriously, and some kids just won't be still enough and don't have a long enough attention span. There isn't a specific age, and age shouldn't be a determining factor. The child mentality should.
     
  17. David904

    David904 Member

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    My sons (aged 3 and 5) have both known for a long time that daddy owns and carries guns. And they are curious about them.

    I sat them down and said to them that if they ever wanted to look at any of my guns, all they had to do was to ask me. We'll sit down and handle them safely. And that is what they do. And whenever they ask, I accommodate them.

    The point is that I don't ever want the kids to look on guns as forbidden fruit. They know that they are never allowed to so much as touch anything related to my guns in the house. And to date, they have not broken that rule.

    I also instruct them that if one of their friends asks them if they want to see their dad's gun or anything like that, he is to say NO and come straight home and tell me. I educate my boys the way I talk to them about drugs and alcohol. It seems like the best way to me.
     
  18. JImbothefiveth

    JImbothefiveth Member

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    Just should make sure they don't think it's a toy, or treat it like such.
     
  19. everydog

    everydog Member

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    IMHO children can be "introduced" to firearms at any age . For the unsupervised use of a gun i would say about 16 years of age when they are introduced to another unsupervised item commonly refered to as an automobile. As a parent both events cause me an equal loss of sleep.

    Johnny
     
  20. shiftyer1

    shiftyer1 Member

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    I have always shown my sons when I buy a new weapon. Mostly so if I leave it out or something like that they have already seen it and the curiousity is already gone. I grew up shooting bb guns from a very young age but I do remember finding a .22 rifle in the closet as a kid and thinking it was a bb gun. this was my first introduction to a real gun (not a daisy). I didn't want to make this mistake with my kids. I come from a non shooting family. So I just kinda decide ok now it's time to teach ya this or that judging from the childs maturity level and attitude.
     
  21. TRGRHPY

    TRGRHPY Member

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    That is exactly how I have handled the situation in my home.
     
  22. Birddog1911

    Birddog1911 Member

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    To quote Vertigo: Although some might say, you cannot ever teach them young enough, I beg to differ. I believe letting them handle and shoot a firearm shouldn't be for any under 10 year olds.

    You prefaced that you are not a gun owner; that is obvious. Like many here, I have been handling firearms since I was literally 3 years old, and shooting small caliber centerfire handguns since I was around 5 years old. All with supervision, strict supervision. As with anything, the person learning must be mature enough and supervised enough to handle the situation accordingly. You might as well say no one should drive until they are 25 years old. Oh, by the way, I have tought dozens to shoot the M16A2 service rifle, and between myself and all of my students, no one under my supervision ever had a negligent discharge. That is because I live and breathe safety, and always will.

    My teaching included this restriction: I didn't own a BB gun until I was 15 years old, and had to purchase it myself. I already owned 2 .22 rifles and a 6mm Rem. deer rifle by that point. My father refused to buy me a BB gun because he didn't want me EVER thinking that a firearm could be a toy. Something I carry to this day.

    Parents, teach your children responsibly about firearms, and you have to be the judge of when they are old enough to use them properly.
     
  23. moooose102

    moooose102 Member

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    well, my kids have seen guns since they were a few weeks old, but as far as handleing, and then shooting, that is a different story. handleling an empty gun, in my lap can begin as soon as they can talk so you can communicate with them. shooting (bb gun) can begin when they can follow instructions reasonably well. you can not expect a child to be perfect, they have a pretty short attention span. my son was sharp enough to get his own 22 @ age 6&3/4 (early birthday gift). but, i stand right over him or next to hin all of the time. a mistake with a gun is not an "OOPS". you have to watch them like a hawk.
     
  24. Hot brass

    Hot brass Member

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    I started my kids off with gun introductions when they were 2-3 yrs old. Bought my daughter a .22 before she was born, bought my son a .22 when he was 3yrs old. What has this done to my kids? They know a gun when they see one. They were told at a young age if you are at someones home and a kid or an adult is handling a gun leave, call me or mom and we will come and get you. Why do you ask? I told my kids that bullets do not have eyes. If someone shoots you, sorry is not enough. Sorry did not do it. Leave get away. My kids started shooting at young ages. 3-4 yrs of age they were shooting .22`s. When the kids were 6 and 3, I would remove the mag from a 1911, lock the slide open and place the gun on the floor and after a few minutes leave the room. I would be watching from around the corner to see the reactions. It ended when my daughter walked over by the 1911, put her hands on her hips and yelled, MOM dad left his gun on the floor. Tell him to come and get it. Guns are not new to my kids and I made sure that the couriosity of guns did not get the best of them. When I buy a new gun my son will ask when are you going to shoot it? The daughter will ask what is it, turn around and leave. Guns are no big deal to them, but they both own guns now.
     
  25. gglass

    gglass Member

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    As early as possible

    My 4-year old daughter comes to the range with my me and my wife, and she shoots my wife's Walther P22 with assistance.

    With a kids natural curiosity and the tendency of everyone to want to touch forbidden fruit, it seemed obvious to me to teach her early. She knows never to touch them around the house (although they are locked up) and only has access to them at the range.

    This approach allows her to appreciate through observation the destructive power of a gun... This is something she could never learn without direct experience.

    I do not believe that BB guns or Airsoft guns are a good starting point for kids, because it does promote a toy-like notion of guns. Even adults tend to be careless and waive BB guns around since they know that you don't usually cause much damage with them. This is not a notion that I ever want my daughter to associate with any weapon.
     
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