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Youngsters With Guns

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by Steve S., Dec 27, 2019.

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  1. Steve S.

    Steve S. Member

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    I would like to ask others to test my thoughts. I have five children and now five grandchildren so I am familiar with young behavior. Being Christmas break, there were several groups of children (with adults of course) at our gun club range.
    Being groups on both sides of me, I noted the muzzles (not all the time) waving around pointed down range and up at the bench cover structure. As I watched children being children, getting excited, jumping up/ down from the bench seats, waving the muzzles sometimes, parents/ adults correcting sometimes, I got very nervous.
    I never did see a muzzle pointed in my direction but I saw children holding loaded guns excitedly and youthfully waving the guns all around in the general direction of “down range”. After about 15 minutes of being overly watchful, I realized that I was too distracted to relax and shoot well so I packed up and went home.
    Again, I never saw a muzzle point in my direction but I could picture that one bad moment in my mind. I know children and their sometimes hyper behavior especially when they are excited but with a gun in their hands, I got very nervous and observant. It was in my mind, right at that limit that I should get nervous and save myself before that one (possible) bad second. My question: was it the children having their normal hyper, jerky excitement or this old man being overly cautious and judgmental?
     
  2. troy fairweather

    troy fairweather Member

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    I think it matters on the kid. I started young but knew the dangers and good gun control. My nephews are 8 and 10 and are fare from ready to shoot guns.
     
  3. AK103K

    AK103K member

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    The sooner you start (from the time they can begin to understand), the better off for everyone involved. If you wait until they are older, it just becomes a lot more difficult.

    Our kids were shooing on a weekly basis at 4 years (and they spent a lot of time in handling and practice on the living room floor prior to that), and that kept up until they were well into their teens. Constant education and positive reinforcement, along with access to anything they want to see, handle, and/or practice with, with just a request, and your kids will likely be a lot safer and more aware than many adults.
     
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  4. Basura Blanca

    Basura Blanca Member

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    I've left similar encounters where adults were doing the same thing.
    Kids feed off each other's energy so if they aren't being supervised enough to be told not to "youthfully wave" loaded guns, regardless of muzzle discipline, I'd say you did the prudent thing.
     
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  5. PWC

    PWC Member

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    People worry too much about what others think. It does not matter what we think or comment; you are the person on the scene and only you can judge what's right for you.

    That said, I would have done the same.
     
  6. GEM

    GEM Moderator Emeritus

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    It's the adults' responsibility. I might opine that larger groups of kids are trouble and each kid with a gun needs an adult next to him or her. Too many stupid accidents that adults are to blame for. Remember that poor little girl who killed the 'instructor' who had her fire full auto. In TX, we had a horror when a boy was given a 454 Casull to shoot. The recoil was to much, the barrel came back and smacked him in the head and he died from the trauma.
     
  7. otisrush

    otisrush Member

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    I would have, and have, done the same as you. There's the classic saying that goes: What is legal isn't necessary ethical. I think that can be adapted for these kinds of situations: Behavior that follows the rules of safety doesn't always make one feel safe.

    But that being said, IMHO, unless it is clear that a rule was broken, then the reasonable response if the (rule following) behavior makes one uncomfortable, is to leave. As soon as that muzzle pointed down or behind the firing line....that's when I'd make a comment. But since it sounds like a rule wasn't actually broken....I'd have left just as you did.
     
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  8. NIGHTLORD40K

    NIGHTLORD40K Member

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    Sounds like inattentive parents. If either of my girls EVER pointed a muzzle in an unsafe direction, they got a verbal warning immediately. Same if their trigger finger was in the guard anytime except when the weapon was sighted on the target.

    My youngest gave me flak on her second range trip about my oversight. I ended her shooting session right then and told her we would not return unless she obeyed my commands immediately and without argument. She never gave me a problem again.

    For the first couple of years, I wouldnt get to shoot at all. I would just give them help with their technique, clear jams, adjust sights, load magazines, spot shots- and watch them like a hawk.

    As far as the OPs example. I would have notified an RSO and left as well.
     
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2019
    jjadurbin, JeffG, .38 Special and 4 others like this.
  9. redneck2

    redneck2 Member

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    You could always go over and very politely ask if they would like some additional help if there were more kids than adults
     
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  10. NIGHTLORD40K

    NIGHTLORD40K Member

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    We had a tragic accident locally a couple of years ago where a Dad was trying to supervise 8 kids(!) at once and one got shot and killed. IMO, they never should have been allowed on the range like that......

    Personally, Ive never taken more than 2 at a time, both had some experience, and even then I made them sit next to each other at an outdoor range where I could watch them (and the other shooters) simultaneously.
     
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2019
  11. jar

    jar Member

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    I would think that any range would demand a one to one ratio of adult to child and real stringent control over where those not on the line must be.
     
  12. Harriw

    Harriw Member

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    I started shooting later in life so I dont have a lifetime if experience to draw on. But I did bring my 2 oldest kids shooting for the first time this last summer (Son is 12 and oldest daughter is 14) and can share the way I felt comfortable handling it. I brought them both by themselves, so I could keep the ratio 1:1 and devote 100% of my attention to 1 kid. Only one gun was ever uncased at any given time (no simultaneous shooting), and I only took a few shots here or there to demonstrate a few things. If I want to shoot, I go alone.

    For the forsee-able future, I think I'll continue with that pattern. I don't want the sibling rivalry (or "goof around with friends") factors to enter the equation until they're more experienced and the safety rules become second nature. That's based on knowing my own kids of course, and may not be an issue for some.

    There was only one incident I question my handling of. I tend to ramble so I won't go into detail unless folks are interested, but I stepped in IMEDIATELY to correct him. My only question is whether I should have been more severe in my handling of the situation.
     
  13. jar

    jar Member

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    If the correction worked then you dun gud!
     
  14. Good Ol' Boy

    Good Ol' Boy Member

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    I wont go into what I would do with new shooters/a new shooter. All I'll say is that at a public range, outdoor or indoor, you have to do what's in your best interest.

    Given the little info on the scenario I would've done the same.


    And this is the reason I dont frequent public ranges and am glad to be blessed to be able to shoot at home.
     
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  15. Peter Gun

    Peter Gun Member

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    As a new father f a one year old, it seems insane to me to do anything even a little dangerous with inexperienced kids with anymore than one kid per adult.
     
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  16. sequins

    sequins Member

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    There is a balance between being so zealous regarding safety that we instill fear in our students, and being lax and unsafe.

    I have seen scolding and chiding to a degree I can imagine a stress complex might develop, and the student might turn away from the sport (same thing I see with power tools where dad won't let his son touch a power tool because it's so dangerous).

    Guns are to be respected but not feared. It's hard when it's someone else's kids though. I wonder if a line like "boy, it's nice to see excited young shooters, I haven't been that enthusiastic in years. The muzzle discipline is making me a little uncomfortable though, do you mind being a little more strict on my account?" With a friendly tone might get us somewhere good.

    I never stick around when I feel unsafe either, whatever the reason, so i think you did the right thing. I hope those young shooters grow up right and stock with it.
     
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  17. DeepSouth
    • Contributing Member

    DeepSouth Contributing Member

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    Imo, it’s to be expected that kids (or adults for that matter) will screw up when being taught how to properly handle and shoot a firearm. This time of year lots of kids got their first gun, therefore I’d expect lots of mistakes, especially at public ranges so I wouldn’t be overly judgmental.

    Sometimes the best way to learn is to allow the screw up, for instance I’ll only tell you so many times to “hold it tight against your shoulder” sooner or later I’ll let it punch you, then I’ll explain why that one hurt. Obviously other times (most times) you can’t allow failures with firearms. Which Is why I’d only teach kids on a direct one on one basis, and preferably in private.

    A group of kids with guns would make me nervous, even if they had major adult supervision. I’m not saying their aren’t circumstances where it’s ok. But if I’m not in control of that situation I’ll probably be leaving. It’s very difficult to monitor, much less correct and teach, multiple kids at the same time.

    In the situation of the OP, I wouldn’t hang around. No judgment of any kind toward them, they may be fine and they may completely irresponsible. It’s not my business but When it comes to guns, kids that aren’t in my control are out of control, so I’ll remove myself from the situation.
    Fortunately I have my my own property to shoot on.
     
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  18. Dibbs

    Dibbs Member

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    Steve, I think you did the right thing. The subconscious mind processes information at a far faster rate than the conscious mind, so if you had
    a bad "gut" feeling, it was probably because something bad was busting to happen, just below your threshold of awareness. I've bailed out on a few
    "bad" range visits, with dangerous people, who were not completely in control of their firearms.
     
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  19. Wisco

    Wisco member

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    1:1 competent adult to child with one loaded weapon between them. Period.

    But I’ve also been flagged by grown men who when I told to stop flagging me told me to stop being a crybaby.

    Nothing much you can do besides leave.
     
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  20. entropy

    entropy Member

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    I ran a range for 4-H, with kids from 12 on up, and had less problems than running a range in the military with 18 year olds with M16's. I can only remember one kid I had to watch like a hawk, he was too much like his uncle when he was that age. I did have some help in both cases, parents for 4-H, other Armorers and NCO's in the Army. I think you did the right thing.
     
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  21. Ignition Override

    Ignition Override Member

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    I was with two very experienced rifle shooters, very calm adults (late 30s or older)--members of our private club-- almost try to insert a .303 cartridge into my Yugo Mauser, or vice versa, and something else which looked similar.
    We had about three surplus rifles too close to each other.

    Just contrast that very calm situation with squirrely kids, even with just one or two guns? None of us could have felt safe unless our hands could have been there to prevent sidewards movements of gun barrels.
     
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  22. 94045

    94045 Member

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    Only one kid at a time should be touching a firearm when learning. As they gain more experience you can allow a little more latitude but only to the point they can behave in a responsible fashion.

    If your uncomfortable it's time to leave.

    PS I was hunting quail with a 20 ga single shot at 8 but I was expected to behave in a calm controlled fashion with safe gun handling. If I couldn't have controlled my exuberance when a dog went birdy, was on point, at the flush or after shooting a bird I would have been sitting at home instantly.
     
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  23. .38 Special

    .38 Special Member

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    My oldest boy is interested in guns and I take him to the range whenever he likes. His first time was at the age of eight. He did very well. I stood right behind him and intervened whenever he was about to screw up.

    We worked together until he understood the rules and knew there was no "wiggle room". He screwed up once after that, and the correction was harsh. It left him in tears and me feeling like a monster. He knows now, though, that there is no "grey area" when there is a gun in his hand.

    Short version: kids should be taught how to shoot. That process should not endanger anyone. If it does it is being done wrong. It is reasonable, at that point, to object or to leave.
     
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  24. JeffG

    JeffG Member

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    Firearms sessions with children needs to be done one-on-one. The seriousness of what is transpiring must be stressed.

    Our society seems to be drifting away from teaching children serious behavior, concentration, and single function purposed behavior. Adults suffering from short attention spans and behavior punctuated by distractions such as cellphones and other electronic devices, can't be expected to effectively teach young people how to behave. I'm talking about these kids' parents, not the range instructors.

    Place those kids into a loosely supervised atmosphere, (finding people to work a range with kids is challenging) and kids excited to get to the punch line of shooting the gun, and outside observers are less than confident about what they see.

    Filter all of this through an adult's eyes that is not used to child behavior anyway, and who has seen the effects of bullets on human tissue.

    I'd be packing my gear, and coming back another day, also. My 2cents.
     
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  25. Sovblocgunfan

    Sovblocgunfan Member

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    What are children but adults in training? If children are never taught serious things they cannot expect to be taken seriously as an adult.

    Good post above^^
     
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