There is an epidemic today of overkill and under parenting when it comes to guns. The uninitiated and fearful are persecuting children for being children. There are too many parents trying to raise their kid by proxy.
Every time I read or hear about some child being suspended for making the likeness of a pistol out of toast, Lego blocks or a twig, I shake my head. For the real parents out there, I know you must do too.
The knowledge of firearms and gun safety in the house should come from the parents first. You know the maturity level or your child and what they may be capable of learning or figuring out better than anyone on the planet.
How to tackle the subject of firearms and gun safety depends on you. As the man known internationally as the Black Man With A Gun, my relatives assumed that I would be taking my son and daughter to range in diapers or gave me the “crook eye” in disgust thinking I would. I preface this so that you will know that even in your extended family you will have differences of opinions. The ultimate say for everything should be yours, the parents.
I decided to introduce my collection of firearms and love of shooting to my son at the same time even though they are nine years apart in ages. The first thing I did was to prepare what I was going to accomplish in my mind. I decided to go “the speed of a slug” slow. I brought all of my firearms to the living room with the actions secured with plastic cable ties to prevent bolts, slides and cylinders from closing on small fingers and had a show in tell. I let them go for it and discover the real weight and length of things they had seen on TV or used in video games. When that was done, we had “the talk.” It included the NRA’s Eddie Eagle safety course with video and coloring book. From that stage I moved to the news, the law (my rules).
I did my job so well; neither of my kids shared my passion for shooting. They thought it was dads’ thing not theirs. I have found out that kids take more of how you present things than what you say. My daughter was actually a good shot but thought this was “boring.” My son eventually wanted to know more but still doesn’t ask to go to the range much as I would. Both are now adults and not much has changed.
If your child wants to go to the range (us urban folks can’t shoot on our properties) with you after you explain all your rules, go for it. It’s not a specific age. It’s more of a comprehension, physical capability and maturity thing. And you can always say no. Maybe your kid is not ready now, “your mileage may vary.” Only a responsible parent would know.
Success or failure, however are both ours when it comes to educating our children about gun safety. Don’t let any personality, or politician suggest otherwise. You can tell them Rev. Kenn Blanchard said so.