I grew up in the late 50s and 60s and if a neighbor had let me handle a firearm my Mom would have been very upset with him. Of course I would have been thrilled and wouldn't have told her about it!
Of course you did the right thing, especially if you didn't really know the kids well, no matter what decade it is.
This also reminds me of what my buddy told me about when he was a 12 year old kid and him and his friends would stop by a hardware store on a Saturday morning and buy a box of .22s and they would head down the street. All of them would be carrying their trusty .22 rifles, can you imagine if four twelve year old boys did that today? Someone would call 911 and it would make the evening news!