In no way am I advocating or talking down to him. He's not 18 yet and is still a kid whether you or anyone wants to believe or address it. I would love for him to own a gun and become involved in the shooting community especially in light of how we are portrayed by the mass media. That right, requires maturity, understanding and knowledge of what you are doing, something that hasn't come across in the lines of inquiry to date. Just being old enough to buy a firearm doesn't mean you should, at least not until you have the proper training and confidence to do it safely.
Blindly encouraging him to go out and buy X,Y or Z just because he's had a birthday, its his right and bringing another into the fold is irresponsible. Making sure that he has to tools and guidance to make an informed decision so he is responsible is the only way to proceed.
Nothing I told him was in any way meant to be derogatory, even the "son" remark. I'm 40 and been involved with guns all my walking life, he's 17 with zero knowledge. It was meant to express the sincerity of my remarks, nothing more, nothing less.