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Old September 17, 2016, 07:06 AM   #1
adamBomb
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5 yr olds and guns

My wife and I had debated when to start and do this and it was finally time. So training has begun on my 5 yr old son. He just started kindergarten and a few kids in his class have been talking about shooting guns with their dads and he seemed curious so I thought it was time. Since he could talk we have discussed what to do if he ever found a gun but today we took it a step further.

I sat him in my office and asked him if he had any questions about guns. I asked him if he would ever want to see one and he said yes. I showed him a rifle and handgun and explained some very simple basic safety rules, told him why I have them, stressed the importance of gun safety and that these were weapons not toys, etc. I stressed what to do if he ever found one or saw another kid with one, etc. I told him these were very serious tools. He wanted to touch them so I let him but he was very serious and seemed nervous during the whole discussion. I told him if he had any questions to ask, if he ever wanted to see them again to ask, if he ever wanted to shoot a gun or see one shot to ask. I plan to take him shooting when he is ready but this was a good first step and hopefully helps ease some of that curiosity he had when he was hearing his one classmate talk about shooting fish or something like that.

What have others done with their kids? How did you approach the subject? My wife is very anti gun, although she does want me to have them for protection, so its a touchy subject in the household and around many of our friends.
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Old September 17, 2016, 07:45 AM   #2
mehavey
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Uninformed curiosity is what kills small kids -- especially where weapons are involved.

Teach him early/constantly as to what they are, how they function (to minimize
ignorant mistakes), and train him progressively to where weapons are seen as tools
-- not fatal attractions.





postscript: That applies to wives & friends too. On that note I told my wife early in our (50-year) marriage that while she might not particularly care for weapons, if harm came to our family because she deliberately chose NOT to train herself on its defense -- it would a cold day in hell in the aftermath.

It was not said in threat. Nor was it said in jest. But the light dawned.... And so as my three daughters can outshoot their husbands, so too my military son's wife was not to be outdone.

I regard the individual care & competence req'd w/ weapons to be the basic underpinning of the free social order of Western man

Last edited by mehavey; September 17, 2016 at 07:56 AM.
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Old September 17, 2016, 07:54 AM   #3
wild cat mccane
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Eddie the Eagle is NRA propaganda. If it isn't guns, no one disputes kids lack critical thinking skills. Think of teaching your kid not to run into the road. How long and how frequent was that lesson? Years and always.

Youtube "marshmallow test" on kids. Oh wait, they have that same test with fake guns. Every one picks it up.
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Old September 17, 2016, 10:41 AM   #4
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5 is certainly old enough to begin the process. Better for you to help satisfy his curiosity in a positive way than wait till he tries to do it himself. I started my grandson shooting with a single shot .22 under constant supervision when he was 7. Talked to him about shooting a few years earlier.
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Old September 17, 2016, 11:04 AM   #5
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Quote:
Uninformed curiosity is what kills small kids -- especially where weapons are involved.

Teach him early/constantly as to what they are, how they function (to minimize
ignorant mistakes), and train him progressively to where weapons are seen as tools
-- not fatal attractions.
Amen.
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Old September 17, 2016, 11:14 AM   #6
mete
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5 years old ?? You missed the mark ! I watched a 2 year old operate the bolt on a rifle ! He hadn't seen that we had arrived . I held the father back and we watched for a bit. The father said they were very strict about permitting the boy to touch guns ! BUT children often learn by just watching.
A two year old is very often underestimated !! They are smarter ,physically more capable and curious than most parents believe !
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Old September 17, 2016, 11:14 AM   #7
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If you're a responsible parent, you'll keep all of your guns under lock and key if you have small children in the house. I teach firearm safety and I just cringe when I hear people taking small children and let them handle guns or shoot guns. At the age of five their brain isn't developed enough to make critical decisions regardless of how the info is presented to them. A couple of years ago we had a father who took his five year old son down to his hunting camp and let the child shoot his 44mag revolver. Some how the child shot himself in the head and died instantly. I personally have been within fifty yards of a child shooting himself in the head with a .22lr revolver his father left in his truck and the young boy had been given all kinds of safety training by the father. He was showing another child the gun and in doing so he shot himself. The father was nearby when it happened. It's your choice and I know many fathers think they can do it and their kid will listen to them and adhere to what they say. Sadly, kids are kids....not adults.
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Old September 17, 2016, 11:18 AM   #8
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My dad bought me a Browning .22 semi auto when I was three. He held it while i pulled the trigger. I learned to shoot from the hip when I was five because I couldn't shoulder it and reach the trigger. There were guns all over the house. In drawers, in racks on the walls, in closets, even standing in corners throughout the house. I had four on racks in my room when I was eight. I didn't mess with them, I knew better. I didn't let my friends mess with them either.
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Old September 17, 2016, 11:24 AM   #9
mehavey
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There is no excuse for some of the (otherwise) ridiculous child accidents that have made internet rounds these days
But that doesn't mean reasonable introductions using age appropriate weapons (e.g. "chipmunk" syle 22 rifles) shouldn't happen at age 5-8-ish or so.

The objectives are to remove the "forbidden" curiosity factor, negate the completely irresponsible Hollywood shoot`em-up no-consequences garbage seen every day, and ground them in basic safety.

It's never too young for those three principles.

As the twig is bent.....
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Old September 17, 2016, 08:54 PM   #10
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My kids have been going to the range since birth. Teach them well.
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Old September 17, 2016, 10:26 PM   #11
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Both our boys had a Chipmunk the day they were born, and were handling them regularly, as soon as they could. The sooner you start, the better off you will be. The Chipmunks are great starter guns, as they are scaled to small children, and fit them, allowing them to learn properly.

At the time they were little, I was shooting a lot of high power/military type matches, and constantly dry firing. After my session, it was their turn. They didnt learn to shoot off a bench, nor were they ever encouraged to do so.

By the time they fired their first "live" rounds at 4, they had "fired" a bazillion rounds in dry fire practice in the living room with me. Thier first rounds were fired at 10 yards, offhand, and the first, and pretty much every round after that day, was in the black of a standard NRA 25 yard pistol target.

The rule in our house was, they could handle their guns, or anything else they were interested in, whenever they wanted by simply asking. This was pretty much done on a daily basis. Safety was stressed from the start, and reinforced at every opportunity.

They were allowed to play with toy guns, as toy guns (they were kids after all), and they never once had an issue knowing which was what.

If you do your part, your kids will be safer than many, if not most of the adults you know. I know I was more comfortable around them than many of those I saw at the ranges we shot at. They were also quick to point out (to me) anything they saw that they thought was wrong too, which was also encouraged.

I think waiting until they are older is a major mistake. The older they get, the dumber they get, as they "learn" from what they see on TV, the movies, video games, etc. When we were kids, we were given a lot of responsibility at a young age. Something you dont see much of these days. Seems its not "PC", and the lack of it really shows. Our parents, and the majority of my buddies parents would be arrested today for what we were allowed, and expected to do. Times sure have changed.
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Old September 18, 2016, 09:46 AM   #12
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When kids grow up with guns as a familiar part of their surroundings, there is no mystery, and little curiosity. Of course, keep them under lock and key as well. Children don't always obey, and kids will likely have friends in your home at some point.

Finally, get them out with you when you are shooting ASAP. Not necessarily to shoot and handle a firearm, but to experience and witness the big flash, the sudden recoil, and the boom you feel through your body when it is fired. Nothing verbal can relate that experience, and nothing will better command instant respect for a firearm.

And for God's sake, when they are old enough to begin handling under close supervision, use only weapons suitable for someone of their physical size and strength. Parents who push kids beyond their limitations so they can brag about their child's "advanced skills" are dangerous.
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Old September 18, 2016, 09:58 AM   #13
adamBomb
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Thanks, yes they are all locked up in safes in rooms he is not even supposed to be in.

When he is ready I plan to start with a BB gun so he can learn basic safety and I can see that he is ready for a .22. Its been 3 days and he hasn't mentioned anything and I am not going to push anything on him. I will ask him again next week if he has any questions and remind him that if he wants to see them he can. My plan is to ease his curiosity and train him to use them when he is ready.

Part of this first introduction was to see if he would run and tell his little 3yr old brother and he didn't...so he is showing some maturity around the issue.
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Old September 18, 2016, 12:59 PM   #14
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Personally I started when my son was 9 or 10. I started him out on a Daisy red rider BB gun. Up until then he never knew I had any guns and when I pulled one out for hunting, he never really shown any interest. They stayed locked up in a safe. After he was 9 or 10 I started giving him the safety lesson on owning and handling a gun. He went through boyscouts where they reiterated gun safety (shotguns and 22 rifles). Today he is an Eagle Scout and is in his 3rd year of college. To this day, he really hasn't shown much interest.
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Old September 18, 2016, 01:08 PM   #15
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I am in education and work with young children, while personally I think 5 is a little young to introduce to shooting guns, what I can say is it depends entirely on the kid. The maturity differences and capabilities from one kid to the next can be pretty vast, and that doesn't just go for young children. So really only you will know when he is really ready. Honestly out of the 25 or so kids in my first grade class last year, ages 6-7, I am not sure I would introduce any of them to guns yet, at least not to live ammunition. Starting them off with a BB gun and teaching them gun saftey at that age is never a bad idea. One thing to note, in the 4 schools I have worked at, and it may be because I live in MA, guns are a very sore subject and are off limits on the playground and such. Just something to think about.
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Old September 18, 2016, 01:30 PM   #16
wild cat mccane
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Consider the lead factor too. Kids put their hands in their months a lot. No amount of lead is safe for a human, especially a young kid.
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Old September 18, 2016, 01:54 PM   #17
adamBomb
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Quote:
I am in education and work with young children, while personally I think 5 is a little young to introduce to shooting guns, what I can say is it depends entirely on the kid. The maturity differences and capabilities from one kid to the next can be pretty vast, and that doesn't just go for young children. So really only you will know when he is really ready. Honestly out of the 25 or so kids in my first grade class last year, ages 6-7, I am not sure I would introduce any of them to guns yet, at least not to live ammunition. Starting them off with a BB gun and teaching them gun saftey at that age is never a bad idea. One thing to note, in the 4 schools I have worked at, and it may be because I live in MA, guns are a very sore subject and are off limits on the playground and such. Just something to think about.
I agree. This all started because a kid in his kindergarten class shoots with his dad and tries to talk to the other boys about it even though he is not supposed to. Its the beginning of the school year so they are still learning the rules. The teacher told us so that we wouldn't be surprised if our son said something about a kid in class that talks about guns. As a result I figured it was time to at least have the discussion with my son and show him a real gun and start the safety talks. I agree that they can differ a lot from one to the next and I don't think my son is ready to shoot a real gun much less a bb gun at this point. The bb gun will be the first step though once he asks.
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Old September 18, 2016, 03:44 PM   #18
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Slow and easy, wins this race ....

Quote:
Uninformed curiosity is what kills small kids
Two questions that are often asked, is how soon to start and how much to teach. .......

If you keep in mind that firearm knowledge is an evolutionary process and young or old, we are all on that learning curve. With my kids and grandkids, I waited until "they" showed interest and measured their progress by the level of receptivity. Age is not the question. I have a 20yr. old grandson that hasn't even started and may never do so. You as the parent, know your son better than anyone and now that you have started, you will know his limits. ....

Quote:
? My wife is very anti gun, although she does want me to have them for protection, so its a touchy subject in the household and around many of our friends.
That is because there are too many mothers that are losing sons and daughters, to gun violence and does not want her family to be a statistic. I can understand her fears. She too in on a learning curve and it comes down to a matter of trust. It's best not to push her or your son to fast and hard. From what you have posted, I can tell that you will do the right thing at the right time. I wish you and your family well .......

Be Safe !!!
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Old September 18, 2016, 04:25 PM   #19
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I plan to take him shooting when he is ready
Just make sure you research hearing protection and how it fits children before you take him shooting. That is probably going to dictate when I teach children about it.

I have a circular saw, reciprocating saw, power drill, cordless grinder, electric chainsaw and many other things that could be operated by a young child and cause injury. Most of them are not locked up and almost no one seems to think they should be locked up. I've been in many houses where they are readily accessible in garage or basement.
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Old September 19, 2016, 03:50 AM   #20
b.thomas
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Started both my boys at age 5 with a .22 rifle, at age 12 both went through hunter safety course. Both still shoot (when they can) at age 41 and 44.
Best thing you can do is start them young........................
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Old September 19, 2016, 01:03 PM   #21
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Whole thing depends entirely on the kid. Five year olds tend to have the attention span of a turnip(far worse with a 2 year old), but gettin' 'em young and training 'em is a good idea.
Like mehavey says, stuff they don't know about draws 'em like candy.
There is no such thing as "gun violence". Firearms are inanimate objects that cannot do anything whatsoever by themselves. The term "gun violence" is a media invented term that strives to blame the inanimate object for the actions of criminals. It's too many mothers that are losing sons and daughters to said criminal activity.
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Old September 20, 2016, 12:30 AM   #22
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All of my kids grew up around shooting. My son's didn't shoot 22's til 5 years old. My daughter was completely different. Started her out at 3. She knew her basic safety rules and knew how to operate the bolt and safety on the Lil pink savage rascal. The only thing she had to learn the day of shooting was loading a live round. She is 6 now and has shot countless rounds. She has shot a 223 and 300blkout, but says they are too loud. If any of my kids ever wanted to see one of their guns all they had to do was ask. I would check the gun before handing it to them with a open action and they would check it. They also knew that guns were not allowed out at anytime if they had friends over.
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Old September 20, 2016, 08:05 PM   #23
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having two DAUGHTERS, they were about the firearms that

I owned always in my presence.
They always helped me reloading shells in the basement where we talked of what I was doing.

In the fourth grade my oldest, agreed to my suggestion take the Basic Firearms course during the winter at the gun club. She enjoyed being the only girl in the class. A couple of years later she participated in the 4H competitive rifle program, which she enjoyed, especially with the other three girls, that LISTENED and APPLIED what was taught and SKUNKED the boys.

The younger daughter followed a couple years later and enjoyed the BB gun shoots and blasting the NEECO wafers.

She went and got her Hunter Safety Certitifcate and accompanied for one week-end deer hunt.

Both now are on their own and own self defense firearms.


Teach them wisely and safely.
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Old September 23, 2016, 08:04 AM   #24
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I don't teach 5 year old kids to shoot and I don't want 5 year old kids shooting guns around me. Makes me nervous. Their attention shifts faster than I can shift a 6 speed crotch rocket. Not enough time for me to have gradually taught the kid about what a firearm is,how it works, how they are dangerous, what they are for and all the rest. You don't need to teach a 5 year old how to shoot a firearm to keep the kid from playing with your firearm. Likewise, I don't need to teach a 5 year old how to drive a car or how to swing an 8lb maul to keep him from doing those things either!

I don't personally care what people do with their 5 year old kids so long as they don't end up shooting guns anywhere near me. Yes, I'm a stick-in-the-mud who thinks kids often do stupid things and can be difficult to control at times.
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Old September 23, 2016, 09:01 AM   #25
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If I was at the range and a 5 year old was EVER given complete possession of a loaded firearm that would be a 'pack up and leave' event. If an adult was in possession of the firearm and the child was simply pulling the trigger, not so much of a problem.
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