Regardless of whether or not you own guns, your child is eventually going to want to talk to you about firearms. Whether they grew up in a family of hunters and shooters or are introduced to guns by television or movies, kids have an innate desire to learn more about the world around them. This may seem like a basic developmental process, part of growing up and determining where we fit in in the world that surrounds us, but those early lessons can have a long-lasting impact. That’s why it’s important to talk to your kids about firearms early on, and the message must be clear.
A few months ago, as I was researching jogging holsters, I came across a forum that was dedicated to distance running and aerobic training. Someone approached the topic of running with a firearm, and the response was overwhelmingly negative. One comment that struck me as particularly galling purported that if “you’re running in a neighborhood where you might need a gun then you’re running in the wrong neighborhood.” Perhaps it wasn’t meant to do so, but that comment made some pretty upsetting assumptions, assumptions like violent encounters never happen in good neighborhoods and that if you choose to run in the wrong neighborhood that you, as the victim, are at fault. I found it pretty appalling. But other readers, perhaps those who didn’t immediately recognize the dangerous assumptions in this statement, might not have paid much attention to that sentence at all.
It is our responsibility as gun owners to share the truth about firearms with the next generation. We need to help them understand why we own firearms, what past generations sacrificed to earn that right, and what our responsibilities as gun owners really are. Here are five key points to share with your children regarding firearms and gun safety.
1. Generations of Americans Have Fought to Preserve Our Rights, Including the Second Amendment Kids should understand that there are generations of American who have fought and sometimes died for the Right To Keep and Bear Arms. Over the years, Americans have had to work hard to maintain that right, so the ability to own firearms is not something that should be taken lightly. The Second Amendment is one of the cornerstones of American liberty.
2. Guns, Like Fire, Knives and Motor Vehicles, Aren’t Inherently Good or Bad Guns can cause harm, but they can also do a great deal of good. Just like the other items listed here, firearms are essential and beneficial when used correctly. But “correct use” implies a level of respect for firearms, and understanding of how they work, and responsibility for their care and use.
3. If Handled Improperly, Guns Can Cause Serious Injury or Death One mistake with a firearm can alter lives forever, and kids need to understand that. That doesn’t mean that we should fear guns, but rather have a high respect for them. It’s important that kids understand the permanent consequences of making a mistake with a firearm. There are no second chances.
4. Guns Are Only To Be Used By Those with Appropriate Age and Training Kids are curious, and that curiosity gets them into trouble. As far as firearms are concerned, kids need to understand that curiosity—either on their part or the part of others—can be dangerous if a firearm is improperly handled. Children need to know that they should never touch a gun without adult consent, and they also need to be prepared to tell an adult immediately if another child is handling a firearm.
5. Firearms Can Provide Food, Fun and Protection As previously stated, guns can offer a lifetime of benefits. Target shooting in the back yard, hunting, and trap and skeet shooting are just some of the examples of activities that kids can enjoy using guns. Exposure to these activities in a safe environment teaches proper firearm handling and also provides kids with a respect for what firearms can do.