Teaching kids about firearms

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Teaching kids about firearms


Post by age_ranger » Fri Jan 05, 2007 9:49 am

I've got 3 great kids. Two boys 11 and 8 and a girl who will be 6 this month. I've taken the boys and taught them the basics of safety before we even went to the range. How to be safe, clean and take down/put together. They've been great. It's my daughter who's pushing for a pink cricket .22LR!!!! She wants to be daddy's bench rest shootin' buddy.

I was cleaning out the safe and had all the guns in locked cases so it was completely empty. My daughter came in and said "Dad, your safe is open." (which I already knew) I asked her what she saw and she replied "Kids aren't supposed to touch your guns or be in your room if it's open." I think I've finally figured out she's ready for her "safety course" and that all important first day at the range.

Warms the heart to know my kids are so darn smart. How old were your kids when they began shooting? Some of my friends criticize me for teaching them so young, but I think i'm ahead of the game. I just don't think it's too early to ever teach gun safety. I'm heading to the shop to pick out a Cricket .22LR for her this weekend. I actually saw a pink thumbhole stock version with bull barrel that might do the trick!!
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Post by hi-power » Fri Jan 05, 2007 10:19 am


I've been told that if your kids are old enough to pay attention for more than a few minutes while you're teaching them about gun safety, they're old enough to start learning. Doesn't matter what age they are at the time. Sounds like your daughter is old enough.

The wife and I don't have kids, but I've been bugging my sister for at least a year to let me start teaching her 8 year old boy about guns and gun safety. (She has a Taurus revolver locked up tight and put up high, but I believe it's past time to show him how it works, what it can do, and how to be safe around it).

I don't remember what age I was when my dad started teaching me, but it was early. I don't remember not knowing about guns and having a healthy respect for them and what they can do.

Keep up the good work and get her that little .22!

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Post by jdowdle » Fri Jan 05, 2007 10:43 am

Last week I was opening a Colt Python I had just purchased and my 3 year old asked me how a gun works. This was the first interest he had shown in my guns so I took this as an opportunity for his first safety lesson.

I first told him it wasn't a toy and let him hold it and feel how heavy it was compared to his toys. I then told him that if a grown up wasn't around he wasn't suppose to touch a gun. If he sees a gun he is suppose to

Don't touch it
Leave and go get a grown up.

Just the other day we were in a Cracker Barrel and they had a rifle on the wall. He said, "Daddy, look a gun". I asked him what he is suppose to do when he sees a gun.

"Don't touch it"

They are never too young to start learning.
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Post by longtooth » Fri Jan 05, 2007 10:56 am

You both have started them right. I have got to get but will return & share the lod man's story of teaching kids. We did not have locks when mine were toddlers. ;-)
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Post by kauboy » Fri Jan 05, 2007 11:38 am

Excellent stories guys. I remember my first experience with guns. I was about 10yrs old and my grandfather pulled out his single shot .22 that he had used as a boy in the backwoods of Tennessee. He showed me all the parts, how it all worked, and pressed the basic safety rules.
1)Always loaded
2)never point at anyone or anything you are not going to shoot
3)(with this particular model) Always remove the bolt if you are not going to be shooting.

I still follow all of them and more, but that last one really stuck with me and I often find myself removing the bolt from my .270 all the time. I even store it with the bolt open. :smile:
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Post by wrightcrew » Fri Jan 05, 2007 12:00 pm

I didn't learn about guns until I was an adult, and while I believe my parents did a great job of raising me, I wish they had been proactive when it came to teaching me about guns.

Now that I'm a parent with two fantastic sons, I am taking the proactive approach. My wife and I decided to give our older son his first .22 for Christmas in 2005 (he was 7 at the time). He and I have had a lot of fun shooting that little Henry Mini-Bolt in the last year or so. Before our first trip to the range, I taught him about safety and how to properly care for the gun.

I've found that teaching kids about safety is far from a one-time event. I find myself quizzing and reminding them virtually everytime we handle a gun whether it is just to take it out of the safe to clean it or take it to the range to shoot. My son has impressed me at gun shows with comments about unsafe practices that we sometimes see there (primarily people not treating every gun as if it is loaded).

For Christmas this year, we gave my older son a Russian TOZ .22 that we picked up from Military Gun Supply here in Fort Worth (great shop, by the way). We decided that he was ready for a rifle with a magazine, but we wanted to stick with a bolt action. Our son is really developing into a decent marksman with the rifle on the falling plates at 25 yds and the steel plate at 50 m. As a matter of fact, we are headed the the range for a bit this afternoon.

Our older son is now 8 and is very comfortable with guns. He is very aware of safety and conducts himself in a very professional manner.

Our younger son is 6 and we decided to give him his first .22 this Christmas. We chose a Davey Crickett (not with the pink stock, though) for him so that his first would be different from the older son's first. Everyone who has kids understands that dilemma! He was already familiar with safety and had shot some with his brother's rifle before, so safety education is just a continuing effort with him (as it really is with all of us). He just started wearing glasses a couple of months ago, and I think his vision is part of the reason he is progressing a bit slower than his brother did, but he is still making great progress. His little face just lights up when he hits those steel targets!

Some of you may recall that I posted a week or so ago about receiving a Taurus PT1911 for Christmas myself, so with the two rifles for the boys, we had a great time opening presents Christmas morning!

One other note ---

As a CHL holder who carries everywhere I legally can, I also believe that it is very important to educate my sons on why I choose to carry. We have had some great discussions as a family about the importance of accepting responsibility, the Constitution, and other subjects. Educating our children is one of our primary responsibilities as parents and educating them about guns is one aspect of it that we should take seriously.

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Post by HighVelocity » Fri Jan 05, 2007 12:04 pm

I started teaching my Son about 2 years ago by reading him Cooper's 4 basic rules from a sheet of paper . Then I handed it to him and told him that when he could recite them from memory in any order I chose, I would take him out to shoot my Grandfathers 22.

He did, and we did and it was great. He was 100% safe with the gun. I've also taken him to quite a few IDPA matches to see how guns can be used constructively in a large group and still be safe when safety rules are adhered to.

I told him that when he can cycle the action on my Colt Government I would take him to shoot it. He hasn't been able to do it yet. I'm thinking about putting a 12lb recoil spring in it just so Mama can see him do it. Then we can go shoot it after I put the proper spring back in at the range. ;-)

I am scared of empty guns and keep mine loaded at all times. The family knows the guns are loaded and treats them with respect. Loaded guns cause few accidents; empty guns kill people every year. -Elmer Keith. 1961

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Post by nitrogen » Fri Jan 05, 2007 2:07 pm

My parents are viciously anti-gun, but had a decent idea.

They taught me guns were NEVER toys. I was not allowed any toy guns, or even water guns. Part of me thinks that availability of toy guns might allow kids to think a real one is a toy, without any real (eddie eagle type) of education.

Sometimes even the antis can get it right, even for the wrong reason. :shock:
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Re: Teaching kids about firearms


Post by Chris » Fri Jan 05, 2007 2:59 pm

try wal-mart on the pink crickett. they have a catalog behind the counter where they can order anything from them you want. might be quite a bit cheaper. that's what we did.

my two were 3 and 4 when they started their gun familiarity on their own rifles. my oldest was 4 when she went on her first shooting trip.

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Post by KBCraig » Fri Jan 05, 2007 8:01 pm

nitrogen wrote:My parents are viciously anti-gun, but had a decent idea.

They taught me guns were NEVER toys. I was not allowed any toy guns, or even water guns. Part of me thinks that availability of toy guns might allow kids to think a real one is a toy, without any real (eddie eagle type) of education.

Sometimes even the antis can get it right, even for the wrong reason. :shock:
I'm very pro-gun, but I follow the same guideline as your parents. I'm not saying toy guns never pass through my kids' hands, but they are always of bright unmistakable toy colors. I also make them follow the same rules as for real guns: never point them at another person.

I had toy guns as a kid, but that was a world in which you didn't need to worry about the strong arm of the law --or worse-- coming down on a kid for playing with a cap gun. Even at school, when we weren't whittling with our pocketknives.


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Post by srothstein » Fri Jan 05, 2007 10:45 pm

My dad started teaching me to shoot when I was 8, using a Smith and Wesson M&P (WW II type, not Model 10, lanyard loop and Royal Crown proof markings) chambered for 38S&W (not 38 SPL). When he died, I asked my Mom for that revolver as my inheritance from him. Last year I gave it to my oldest son to pass down.

Since I met my wife on an Army ROTC rifle team, we have been shooting together for a long time. All of my kids went to the range with me while they were still toddlers, and started learning gun safety while they were learning to talk. I gave all of the ones who were interested in guns a .22 rifle on their 10th birthday. And when I say I gave it to them, I meant it as theirs. They kept them in their rooms and were fully responsible for cleaning them. I have one son left to go. He is 7 and has already been shooting and wants his own rifle.

Of the older kids, 4 got rifles and two preferred archery equipment. Interestingly enough, the first one to ask for archery stuff was the first one to enlist in the Army. She doesn't like guns that much yet, but she had no problems with the Army's range rules, cleaning the rifle, or qualifying.
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Post by WheySmart » Sat Jan 06, 2007 12:28 am

I was it most 7 when i first went shooting, first rifle (a 10/22 ruger) at 8. My theory along with most of my family is that you teach gun safety when you teach them not to play in the treet and not to walk off with strangers....the sooner the better. I remember my young days of watching Eddy Eagle ( NRA Gun Safety Cartoon)...gosh, I was probably 4 when i first watched that. They get it imprinted on their brains better when you teach young, it is like teaching a second language when their young, the sooner you do the easier it is. I still remember that song. "If you see a gun... Stop!, Don't Touch!, Leave the Area!, Tell an Adult...ladadadada. Ah, the good ole care free days. :drool:
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Kids and guns


Post by tallmike » Sat Jan 06, 2007 1:53 am

I bought my kids the Eddie Eagle video on ebay a couple of years ago and they love it. They even expanded the advice to other items they know not to touch (knives, matches, lighters, etc...) and I think its great.

I bought a bb gun last year and told my daughter I was going to show her how to shoot it. She flat out refused and ran away saying kids arent supposed to touch guns. Well, I thought that was just fine and I have not pressed the issue at all since then.

I keep that bb gun leaning against the wall in the garage now and Im waiting for her to ask about it. She still stops to make sure I see it just about every time we are in the garage but never asks to touch it. =)

My boy is 3 now, being a boy Im guessing that he will want to learn about guns when I try to teach him at age 5-7 (whenever I feel he is ready). My daugher has what I consider to be a perfect view of guns at this point (for a 6 yer old at least) so I just leave it alone.

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Post by WheySmart » Sat Jan 06, 2007 2:01 am

I was never interested in guns much when I was younger, they were so plentiful in my world that they weren't anything special. I have had pretty much full access to guns and ammo since the day I was born...I think a lot of kids get hurt in accidents because of curiosity, if it is an everyday item they won't get overly curious about it.

"Let's see whats in this box, oh, just another gun...we sure do have a lot of them." *Throws Gun aside, continues searching for toys* Do you understand what I am describing or is it too confusing?..it is hard to describe.

As far as Eddy Eagle goes, I didn't do exactly what it said. Eddy Eagle taught me, along with parental instruction, that guns can harm people if used wrongly and that it is important to be careful.
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If you don't have a gun or a lot of ammo yet you have 20 months left.

If you are offended by any of my comments GOOD, the First Amendment dosn't say you have to like what I'm telling you.

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Post by MrDrummy » Sat Jan 06, 2007 2:39 am

I'm taking my 14 year-old sister in law to the range to teach her how to shoot here in a few weeks. She's joined NJROTC in high school, and wants to do the marksmanship stuff, but she's never fired a gun! This is an awesome opportunity, because she comes from a family of antis!

I'm guessing that a little .22 rifle of some sort would probably be one of the best things, huh? I'd hate to let her fire my Mauser. I think she'd probably be done with guns for awhile, and so would fail my grand plan to switch that whole in-law family over to the light

Now if I just wouldn't have sold my .22 to get my carry pistol... any Lubbock folks out there want to lend me a .22 :grin: ;-)

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