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Should parents teach their children to use guns?

In the red rock and sand of the Arizona desert, just past the retirement villages and golf greens that have made this sun-worshipping city famous, sits the biggest public shooting range in the United States.

Not far away are the Wal-Marts where Arizonans pay Sun City retirees to wait in line when a new ammo shipment arrives, lest the supply run out. Residents have the right to carry handguns openly, and starting last month residents who have no criminal records and are at least 21 also are able to carry concealed weapons just about anywhere, without the bother of getting a permit. Read the full article.

By Jodi Westrick  |  August 18, 2010; 10:40 AM ET  | Category:  National Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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if they are taught young to respect what a gun can do there won't be fascination later

Posted by: nall92 | August 18, 2010 1:05 PM

The answer is obvious. You cannot 100% child-proof a gun. You MUST gun-proof your children. This means age-level appropriate training.

Posted by: TFred | August 18, 2010 2:08 PM

My father's gun rules: Guns should not be loaded unless you are standing on the firing line of a target range or have arrived at that area of the hunting field where you expect the birds to be. Unload the gun before you set it down. Do not touch a gun unless you know how to make sure it is unloaded and have done so. Never point a gun at something unless you intend to shoot it. Obey my dad and nobody will get hurt. (advanced class for hunters available, but the one time I shot a 20 gauge was enough for me). Hunting and target shooting are lovely hobbies, just not my thing. Every child should be taught age-appropriate gun rules. Guns should not be left where children can find them.

Posted by: abbyandmollycats | August 18, 2010 2:40 PM

I've used this analogy before; if you're going to teach your kids about safe sex, you should teach them about safe gun handling.

(For the record, I'm pro-teaching both; absintence is dumb in both situations)

Posted by: reiflame1 | August 18, 2010 2:59 PM

The first thing I did when I got my 1911 was to show my kids how it worked, and what the safety rules for my house were. First thing I did *before* I got my 1911 was to get a safe to put it in. I think the taboo nature of guns and the kids never seeing them leads to curiousity and accidents.

Posted by: mdpeterso | August 18, 2010 4:36 PM

86 to 14?
Even if both the NRA and the Brady Bunch alerted their members...it's kind of obvious that the Second Amendment is broadly supported by those who give a darn -- either way.

Posted by: daskinner | August 18, 2010 4:53 PM

Early education in the proper care and handling of a firearm will last a lifetime.

The poll just goes to show you that you can't believe eveything you hear on the tube or read the internet. The liberal left would have us believe that EVERYONE is opposed to guns.

BTW: Positive comments from intellegent people on the WaPo website? I am both shocked and thrilled! I was about to cancel my link to this left-leaning propaganda machine, but you have re-newed my faith in the American public! I guess we're all curious as to what the left is plotting...

Posted by: GiveUsLiberty | August 18, 2010 5:10 PM

I support teaching children to use guns, because it would definitely reduce gun accidents involving children. In PA, they have a hunters' gun safety program that is taught to 12 year olds and above. I think that if children learned "Rules of the Range" posted here by abbyandmollycats would be a good start toward teaching children gun safety. The NRA actually has some good gun safety programs that teach gun safety very well. Contact the NRA to see if there is a program near you.

Posted by: jayd041 | August 18, 2010 8:21 PM

The best way to avoid a gun accident is not to own one.

Posted by: AxelDC | August 19, 2010 8:31 AM

Kids should learn about dangerous things in order to respect them.

Even not owning a firearm is no guarantee your child will never be exposed to one, and knowing what to do, even the "Eddie Eagle" don't touch and get an adult stuff, will prevent a lot of accidents.

Arguing against this is like arguing that if you don't show your kid a condom, they won't have sex.

Posted by: jwalter6 | August 19, 2010 10:09 AM

The study is a bit out of date, but I just came across this quote on "The Cornered Cat" website (a great resource for women & guns, as well as kids & guns).

"The most important factor affecting how children deal with guns is how they are taught about them. A study of 675 Rochester, New York ninth and tenth graders contrasted children who had been socialized into gun use by their family with children who had been socialized into gun use by peers. For the children whose families had taught them about lawful gun use, the children were at no greater risk of becoming involved in crime, gangs, or drugs than children with no exposure to guns. But the children who were taught about guns by their peers were at high risk of all types of crime and improper behavior, including gun crime. -- Alan J. Lizotte & James M. Tesoriero, "Patterns of Adolescent Firearms Ownership and Use," (Albany: Hindelang Criminal Justice Research Center, State University of New York, 1991), Rochester Youth Development Study, Working Paper no. 11."

Posted by: skiingislife725 | August 19, 2010 5:46 PM

All kids should be taught the basics of safe, responsible and legal gun handling, as it helps keep them safe and teaches respect for these tools. The kids - and adults - who get hurt or accidentally hurt others handling firearms aren't the ones who understand them.

Youth also get a lot out of participating in both competitive and noncompetitive shooting sports. Our own area has some of the best high-school age shooting competitors in the country - in fact, in 2010 the co-ed Robinson Secondary School rifle team (Fairfax VA) won first place in both the NRA National Championships (in 4 rifle disciplines) and the Civilian Marksmanship Program Junior Olympics air rifle championship. Sadly, this newspaper apparently didn't think such an outstanding accomplishment was newsworthy...

Posted by: zippypinhead1 | August 19, 2010 6:58 PM

I taught my son to shoot when he was 8 years old. He turned 12 this month. He owns a Ruger .22 rifle and he is very good with it. Even with a prosthesis left arm, he can load, clear jams, unload, shoot and practice range safety at all times.

There are a few children who are too immature to be around guns and they will probably continue their immaturity through adulthood. Most immaturity appears to be caused by environmental factors like computer games, stupid movies and the smug attitudes of their peers. That does not excuse them. It just means that they are weak minded and cannot be trusted with a weapon. Fortunately, they are few in number.

I am a former law enforcement firearms instructor, so I took it upon myself to teach my son. However, if I had to do it again, I would let an NRA instructor do the job since they are better experienced at teaching young shooters.

Posted by: OIFVet06 | August 19, 2010 8:47 PM

Scrolling back on these posts, I read comments about gun safes. Good idea. I have one and it holds all of my firearms except the one left out at night.

Posted by: OIFVet06 | August 19, 2010 8:54 PM

I taught both of my kids firearm safety when they were very young because I remember the stupid things I did when I was a kid. My daughter and grand daughter are NOT interested in guns but my son and grandson are interested. Son is high on the list for a local LEO position. My son has been proven safe with a firearm because of this training. My daughter is also safe because she does know to respect a firearm if she does come across one. Training even informal training has worked for my family. Even when I was young and stupid I had enough safety training to be safe until I got my curiosity under control. That's all I have to say on this.

Posted by: bob1911 | August 23, 2010 10:09 PM

Children are naturally curious. Remove the curiosity and they will not want to play with it.

We teach our kids about the dangers of a stove, pools, cars, strange people, sex and many other items, yet many parents refuse to educate themselves and their children when it comes to guns.

Ignorance is not an acceptable reason when it comes to children. Education is key.

Posted by: SoCalAdam | August 23, 2010 11:21 PM

"The best way to avoid a gun accident is not to own one."

Yeah, and the best way to keep your daughter from getting pregnant is just don't tell her about sex.

The best way, statistically, to avoid being hurt or killed in a robbery, rape, or home invasion is to have a gun. (see the award-winning research of Gary Kleck and John Lott)

The old, tired, wives tale about how having a gun in the house is supposed to make you more likely to be shot has been thoroughly discredited as many times as it has been been repeated. It is truly dangerous advise.

Posted by: gigster | August 24, 2010 12:07 AM

Do you teach your kids how to use chainsaws too?

Posted by: envcontractor | August 27, 2010 10:04 AM

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