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majorrich's avatar

Should all children be given some degree of firearms training?

Asked by majorrich (11985 points ) January 4th, 2013

It occurs to me that accidental injuries, and the mystique of playing with guns might be reduced if children received some instruction on basic firearms safety, what to do when the find a gun and how to render it safe. To turn firearms in to their teachers, and a demonstration of the destructive power of a firearm would be important lessons. In doing this, children would be less apt to play with a weapon they find in the home and have some respect for what it can do. A touch of actual reality in the face of virtual reality.

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101 Answers

burntbonez's avatar

The only training needed is for them to learn to stay away from any weapon they see and report it immediately to an adult.

bkcunningham's avatar

I think that is entirely up to the parents or guardians.

KNOWITALL's avatar

Yes, absolutely! To me it’s just good parenting. I grew up with guns in the house as well as bourbon under my grandfather’s bed, and I never touched either one, ever without supervision. My family taught me better.

My niece is 13 yrs old and has already killed several deer by herself, but everyone goes through Hunters Education, it’s a requirement to hunt during youth season, and learns the safety rules first, how to handle a weapon safely, how to load and carry a weapon, that you never go alone with a weapon, etc…

I have to say, if I found a gun, I’d turn it in to the police in case it it material evidence.

janbb's avatar

Other parents can do what they want but since neither I nor my children have ever seen or touched a gun, I certainly would not have wanted them exposed to it.

WestRiverrat's avatar

The NRA has a program that does just that.

It teaches kids if they find a gun: do not touch, get away from the area and tell a responsible adult.

It is available at no cost to any school or group that wants to participate. The anti gun lobby started saying it is just the NRA wanting to promote guns to kids, so many schools refuse to participate.

Article

majorrich's avatar

The Eddie Eagle program is great, but it’s connection to the NRA may have hurt it’s acceptance.

JLeslie's avatar

No. There are people all over the country who have never held a gun and they get along just fine. I do think we should teach kids if you are at a friends house and see a gun you should run out the door screaming. A friend of mine teaches that to her kid and they are gun people.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@JLeslie I would seriously be freaked out if a kid ran out of my house screaming because they saw a gun in the hall closet with the safety on…lol

marinelife's avatar

I don’t think so.

JLeslie's avatar

@KNOWITALL The kid does not know if the safety is on, nor should he pick up the gun to find out, or wait for his 10 year old friend to show it to him. The gun should be out of sight and definitely out of reach. In my opinion.

Seek's avatar

I don’t even allow toy guns in my house, unless they have the word “Super Soaker” emblazoned upon them.

My son sees people get shot on TV and asks me “Why would they want to make other people dead?” So we talk about it. Better he knows what a gun can do before learning how to make it do the same.

josie's avatar

Yes. Just as all children should learn to swim. If they do not understand how firearms work, and the principles of safety and handling, they will be ignorant in a situation where someone is misusing firearms. I would never dream of letting my children go to home or place where there may be firearms without real instruction and training of their use and misuse. Just like I would never dream of letting them near water over their heads if they could not swim.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@JLeslie We’ll have to disagree.

For instance: If you teach a child who is diabetic not to eat candy from your candy dish because they’ll get sick, you’re treating them like an adult and they’ll remember. Just saying “If you see candy, run because it’s dangerous” doesn’t make any sense to me.

You’re scaring them not teaching them, does that make sense?

ucme's avatar

When I was a kid, me & all my friends had at least one toy gun, I even had a fucking holster…oh yeah, we was posh!! We’d have epic gun battles on a daily basis featuring “good guys” & “baddies”. Running through people’s gardens, seeking cover behind hedges & walls, or even random fat people who just happened along to “dodge” at the wrong time.
About as close as i’m ever going to come to firearms training, but boy was it fun :¬)

majorrich's avatar

With toy guns now having the end of the barrel painted blaze orange, at least educate kids how to recognize the difference between a toy gun and a real gun if it lacks the paint.

ucme's avatar

Oh mine was clearly a toy, my mum left the price sticker on £19.99 from Toys R Us, lost a lot of streed cred until I washed it off!

mazingerz88's avatar

Children are children. My concern is what they might do once they get some firearms training. And guns are swimming are really hardly related, c’mon @josie.

People will give answers to adapt to the reality of things that guns are all around us, so yeah, kids must be taught, right-? But here’s something more decent and humane, why not change the reality and come up with a world where we don’t have to teach kids about guns-?

The gun industry needs to sell more and more guns to survive. So they come up with all kinds of gun designs in order to keep selling. That’s one big business America does not need.

Rarebear's avatar

F*&# no.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

No, I find the thought disgusting. And that happens rarely.

flutherother's avatar

We did all our gun training with water pistols and cap guns. Real guns! You have got to be kidding.

CWOTUS's avatar

I think so. When I first got the least bit interested in guns, in my mid teens, Dad set up a short “range” for me in our basement, gave me his own course in basic firearms safety, and let me shoot his scoped bolt action .22 whenever I wanted (within reason). I did that for several months, got bored with it, and never picked up another gun until a few months ago when I did some pistol shooting.

The idea that “we can put it out of reach” is the most ludicrous idea in the world when we’re dealing with curious, ambulatory kids. That’s insane.

jonsblond's avatar

I agree with @KNOWITALL, I think it is better to teach our children, not scare them.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

I agree it wouldn’t hurt, as long as the parents agree. If three kids find a gun with no adult supervision you know one of them is going to pick up the gun. If he/she knows how to check the chamber to make sure it isn’t loaded he/she might save a life. I listened to a scanner one night when a 12 year old shot and killed his best friend with a gun he thought wasn’t loaded.

jonsblond's avatar

@mazingerz88 Children are children. My concern is what they might do once they get some firearms training.

I’m sure there are many parents who feel the same about sex-education and teaching kids (in school) how to use condoms. Children are children, right? What will they do once they know how to protect themselves with the use of a condom? Is teaching abstinence better? I think there are many who would disagree.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@jonsblond Frankly, I don’t get the comparison. I get that people make it but I don’t get them either – putting on a condom protects children when they engage in sex. Giving them firearms can be construed I guess as protecting them but (and maybe there is about where I live or who I hang with…I’m in NYC, so I suppose some might think it weird but I don’t know anyone who has a gun, never shot one, etc.) that’s only if you think they will face people shooting at them as often as they will face people wanting to have sex when they’re adults.

JLeslie's avatar

@jonsblond Scare them? How does it scare them?

augustlan's avatar

I taught my kids that guns are dangerous. That if they see one in public or at a friend’s house, they should NEVER touch it and should report it to an adult immediately. I have no desire for them to ever know more than that. We own guns, for the record. None of them have ever been fired.

@Seek_Kolinahr We didn’t allow our kids to play with toy guns, either. Our water ‘guns’ were spray bottles. My kids still think I’m a tad crazy for not allowing them ‘real’ water guns.

DominicX's avatar

I feel like this is the kind of thing that would be really popular in gun-toting middle America where NRA-meetings are second only to church.

I’m not saying it’s a bad idea, but it certainly is one that would clash with a lot of parents’ opinions and parenting-styles. The only way I could justify it would be by comparing it to other things children are forced to learn. Maybe it could be like sex-ed where you do have the option of opting out if there’s a strong objection by the parents.

filmfann's avatar

If you give them a little training, they will think they know how to handle firearms, and they will lose any fear of them. Training kids is insane.

bkcunningham's avatar

NRA meetings, @DominicX?

majorrich's avatar

I think watching a watermelon explode will imbue them with plenty of fear. :D

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

Our hunting class instructor used a cabbage. He explained it was similar in density to a human skull overall. Then he blew it apart with a shotgun round. There was complete silence after that.

WestRiverrat's avatar

@filmfann Then we shouldn’t train them not to play with fire.

bkcunningham's avatar

I wish we American’s had the attitude of the Swiss when it comes to firearms. Fear is a terrible thing.

JLeslie's avatar

@bkcunningham Whose fear are you referring too? The gun carriers or people who don’t like guns?

bkcunningham's avatar

Fear, regardless of who is afraid, @JLeslie, is a terrible thing. I would hate to live my life in fear or be afraid of something or someone.

JLeslie's avatar

I wasn’t afraid of guns when I was kid. It was basically a non issue. I was taught to not trust people I don’t know, not to go into anyone’s car, not to open the door without asking who is there. The basics in my opinion. But, I did not feel afraid all the time, it was just tucked away in my head to be aware of my surroundings and when you get older that is all part of common sense. We played outside walked to the pool about a half mile away, and the local mall, school.

I would assume our crime and dysfunction in our country is much higher than Switzerland, you can’t compare the two. Switzerland is usually in the top three in the world for citizens with tertiary educations, it is one of the wealthiest countries with a strong economy, it would be interesting to know mental illness rates (Denmark is said to be one of the happiest countries in the world, not sure where Switzerland stands) I would need to look at several factors to draw conclusions. There are many more examples of countries where gun ownership is extremely restricted and they have significantly less gun violence than the US than countries with high gun ownership with low gun violence. Switzerland is like a little bubble that is hard to replicate in America in my opinion. At least not how America is now. I think there is a very good chance gun ownership is not the most important factor regarding gun crime, but the people who are most fervent about wanting very relaxed gun laws also tend to be ones who reject other policies that Europe has. I don’t know the laws to buy a gun in Switzerland, that would be interesting.

bkcunningham's avatar

Did you grow up around guns, @JLeslie? Did your parents hunt or target practice? Did they teach you proper gun safety and how to shoot? I just wonder why you said you weren’t afraid of guns. Was it because you were taught to properly handle a gun, because you weren’t exposed to them or some other reason.

JLeslie's avatar

No, I was not around them at all. What I meant by that was I didn’t feel like there were guns all around me. It was an issue/topic that basically did not exist for me when I was young. If I had seen a gun I probably would have been uncomfortable. I think it would have been good for my parents to make a point to say if you see a gun don’t pick it up, but I don’t remember them doing it. As I grew older I must have seen things on TV about gun accidents, because I was aware children accidently got shot sometimes, things like that.

ragingloli's avatar

No. They should have no access to them in the first place.

RandomGirl's avatar

Give a child unattended access to a gun? No. Will I ever have a gun in my home? Probably not. Teach a kid what guns to do if they see a gun? Yes. And I do believe @josie‘s comparison to swimming is a good one.
Up until age three or so, all you can do to keep kids safe around water is to teach them to stay way, and do everything to keep them safe. After a certain point, though, kids get curious. If left in the wrong situation for too long, with inadequate teaching, they can be hurt or killed. Removing the mystique and teaching them how to swim is the most practical way to keep them safe.
Up until a certain point, all you can do to keep kids safe around guns is to tell them to stay away and do everything you can. But after a while, the mystique and reputation can grow. If they don’t know how to stay safe, they’ll get hurt or killed.
Teaching kids how to find and turn on the safety of a gun would be an important first lesson, along with how to safely set it down, and the importance of immediately reporting it to an adult. The demonstration of a gun’s power might be a good idea for kids who don’t scare easily.

woodcutter's avatar

If they are curious and mature enough to not automatically “run out of the house screaming” then sure. It would be important that the person doing the instructing not be a “screamer” also. It would be bad to force it though. There will always be those who let fear dictate their lives and they are exactly the type of people we all should hope to stay away from firearms, and power tools as well.

and ladders

ragingloli's avatar

I consider comparing guns to swimming incredibly insulting, disgusting and shameful.
Swimming is a benign leisure activity in which, if at all, you only endanger yourself.
Guns were invented for one purpose only, to kill humans more efficiently.

CWOTUS's avatar

Actually, @ragingloli, that’s why God invented water (re: Noah), according to the Bible, to kill humans and everything else.

JLeslie's avatar

@woodcutter The run out of the house screaming, again, is a family that has guns and teaches their children about guns.

woodcutter's avatar

@ragingloli Thats why you properly teach impressionable minds to do the right thing with things that are inherently dangerous and are for peaceful purposes if used correctly. I consider my sport to be a benign leisure activity and no one is endangered not even myself.

WestRiverrat's avatar

@RandomGirl Actually it is better to teach anyone not to touch a gun they find and to call the cops. If the gun was used in a crime, checking that it is safe and unloaded may compromise any evidence that can be used to link it to said crime.

As far as checking to make sure it is unloaded, that is not necessary if you teach them that any gun is loaded unless they have personally unloaded it themselves, and even then don’t believe it.

woodcutter's avatar

@JLeslie The run out of the house screaming, again, is a family that has guns and teaches their children about guns

and?

ragingloli's avatar

@CWOTUS
They had water before the flood. In fact, water existed before god made land.

JLeslie's avatar

@woodcutter The point is even my gun friend does not trust two kids who know about guns to handle them safely without adult supervision. Kind of like matches. You can teach your kid hpw to strike them, and show them how fast fires spreads, but they still might wind up setting the house on fire like my exboyfriend and his cousin did once. They weren’t trying to set it on fire, but it happened.

RandomGirl's avatar

@ragingloli: What about other leisure activities: boating or fishing? What if a freak accident happens while someone is out in the middle of a lake, and swimming turns into a life-or-death skill? It’s not always a leisure activity. Kids are taught to swim to save their lives. They need to also know what to do around guns.
@WestRiverrat: True. But I think it’s logical to assume that a kid isn’t going to find a gun in a suspicious alley next to a body – they’re probably going to find it in their friend’s house, with the friend saying, “Look at this cool gun of my dad’s!”. It’s a pretty common situation (at least where I live). Would it make more sense to have every kid in this situation either (A) call the police right away, or (B) make sure the gun is safe, tell their friend to leave it alone, and tell an adult? It would make sense for them to be told to touch it as little as possible – less contact, less possibility of them accidentally pulling the trigger. The police would be swamped with terrified kids calling with misinformation if everyone told their kid to follow choice A. I’m not saying the police should never be called – I’m just saying we shouldn’t tell kids to call about every gun they see, the moment they see it. They need to tell a trusted adult. They should definitely not be allowed to think that the mere presence of a gun means the owner is a dangerous person. There are many other reasonable explanations of why it might be there.

cookieman's avatar

Maybe because I’m a city guy from Boston who’s had little to no interaction with guns (nor do I care to), @KNOWITALL, but your first post (about the 13-year-old killing and hunting) sounds like you’re from another planet to me.

I wouldn’t dream of teaching anyone, much less a child, to kill anything. And I certainly wouldn’t introduce a gun into their life.

RandomGirl's avatar

@cookieman: Interesting. I’m in the Minneapolis suburbs. I thought everyone was surrounded by firearms, at least more than the degree you describe. In inner-city Minneapolis, there are gang shootings every few days, and you don’t have to go very far north or west to find that everyone and their brother (kids as young as 7 or 8 included) hunts. I’ve only handled a gun once, for clay pigeon shooting, if you’re wondering. It’s just a part of the culture up here. Thought it was pretty much everywhere. I don’t think it changes my opinion on the subject, though. Maybe some regions would put less emphasis on this sort of education. At least here, kids need to know.

janbb's avatar

@RandomGirl As I said above, guns have never been part of my life or my children’s. I don’t know anyone who has a gun. I’m from the Northeast.

JLeslie's avatar

@RandomGirl Now you are getting it, and maybe others, some of us grow up with no guns talked about or seen in our communities. We know there are some bad guys with guns in some places, and that some people out in other parts of the country hunt, but it is a totally foreign thing to us.

Edit: I just remembered a story of someone I know from NYC who now lives in Memphis, married a Memphian, took his family to NYC for a vacation many years ago. She tells a story of when they were on the subway her FIL was staring at a transvestite (they had warned him not to stare at anyone) and he was sort of freaked out and nervous I guess and started to reach for his gun! The idea of someone having a gun or pulling it out in the NY subway is so beyond my imagination, except to think someone is an insane criminal. Here in Memphis in bars and restaurants there are signs posted that they don’t allow guns on the premises, and people from other states like me think that is the bazaarist thing in the world. I had never seen a sign like that ever before, because people aren’t usually carrying where I am from.

woodcutter's avatar

Some degree of firearm training is so much different than let a couple teens alone with a gun with some training don’t you think? After all they still fall under the adult’s responsibility right? So now if the adult is irresponsible then that is something that nobody suggests ever right?

@JLeslie

RandomGirl's avatar

@JLeslie and @janbb: So it’s a regional thing. But there are kids in my area who are completely ignorant and think guns are playthings – should they go through life, just wondering about guns? When they actually get their hands on them, they don’t know they can’t look down the barrel and squeeze the trigger. Don’t you think they should have some training for that case?

JLeslie's avatar

@woodcutter Yes of course. Her kids are not even teens yet by the way. I am responding to you throwing out the screaming from the house like it is some liberal overreaction. She is talking about two kids playing and doing something stupid.

JLeslie's avatar

@RandomGirl I don’t see how anyone can be that totally ignorant. Are they raised in some sort of strict home with no access to TV or movies?

The regional thing is important, because people like @janbb and myself are saying, we do it, so everyone can. It is a different world. I don’t mean hunting, that is separate in my mind, or protection from wild animals.

janbb's avatar

@RandomGirl I definitely think it is a case by case or family by family issue. Fine for people who have guns in their milieu to teach about it, just don’t bring it into the schools.

RandomGirl's avatar

They aren’t completely isolated. It’s just that all they ever hear about guns is “They’re dangerous!”. They know that in movies and TV, the bad guys use guns to hurt people, but they don’t know how. They don’t know how really powerful a bullet can be. They don’t know you can’t watch the bullet come out of the gun and hit something. They don’t know what a safety is.
A child’s mind is a strange place, where the world isn’t cut-and-dried. Adults don’t understand why a child might not understand something, but unless it’s laid out for them in simple explanations, they might not connect something we would take for granted.
Kids have to be told not to chase a ball into a street. That one, they get pretty easily – there are cars going fast in the street.
Kids have to be told not to go near water until they can swim. That one, they don’t get quite as easily – until they can swim, they don’t understand the fact that you can’t breath underwater, and they might think they’re careful enough not to fall in.
Kids have to be told not to touch sharp or hot things. They don’t realize that sharp and hot things can hurt!
Guns are just another part of life (here, I guess) that kids need to be taught about so they understand why to avoid them.

JLeslie's avatar

@RandomGirl Well, for sure I support telling children guns are dangerous and accidents can happen. Not to ever touch a gun, not to ever point it at anyone, including oneself, especially if they live in an environment with guns. Like I said above, I never was really formally told that, and it wound up being fine because I never had a time when I was young that I saw a gun. But, I think it is prudent to warn kids of the basics. I don’t think they need to know how to handle a gun, because they are not supposed to touch it. Children run around making guns out of their fingers, taking aim and saying pow pow. It’s just hard for me to imagine a child being completely clueless, but I do agree with you that like swimming, burning ourselves on a stove, etc etc, children do stupid things even when warned, but sometimes they are simply completely ignorant, they just have not learned it yet, whatever it is.

But, as we discuss this what bothers me most is that the adults should be keeping guns out of a child’s reach. It’s like keeping chemicals under the sink or in the garage. The kids have been told not to drink them, but are you going to trust they won’t?

Response moderated (Flame-Bait)
WestRiverrat's avatar

@RandomGirl I don’t expect my child to be approached by a pedophile either, but I train him so he knows what to do. Stuff happens, and if you train your kids right they will have a better chance of surviving the event.

@JLeslie training in this case, to me at least, means letting them know when and under what circumstances they are allowed to handle a firearm. For some people it is nearly an everyday occurance, for others it is a never while you live under my roof kind of deal.

cookieman's avatar

@RandomGirl: I didn’t say I’m unfamiliar with guns, I said I’ve had little to no interaction with them. That’s by choice.

I have friends who are cops, my uncle was a warden, my wife worked in a prison and was later a probation officer. I’ve had friends who were into selling drugs, operated booking fronts – hell my grandfather was a bookie. I’ve worked and went to school in the city for years, around some bad neighborhoods.

I’ve been around plenty of situations, directly or indirectly, where guns could have been involved – but never were.

Everyone I know figures guns are for the bad guys and the cops. The fact that we’ve had our share of gun violence over the years makes folks I know want less guns in society – not more.

flutherother's avatar

The problem is that the United States is awash with guns otherwise this wouldn’t be an issue. When we were kids there weren’t any guns, they were only ever seen in films and there was no point in teaching gun safety. Teaching gun safety to kids is a second best. It would be far safer to eliminate guns from society.

Self_Consuming_Cannibal's avatar

@flutherother I’m totally in agreement with you. Unfortunately when you talk about eliminating guns from society, everyone starts screaming and crying about the 2nd amendment.

ucme's avatar

Nothing benign about catching a floating turd in your gob whilst swimming in your local pool…fucking toddlers ;¬}

bkcunningham's avatar

When were you a kid, @flutherother, and what country were you in that there weren’t any guns?

JLeslie's avatar

@WestRiverrat Do you think it should be taught in school? It isn’t the same as sex ed as others have suggested in my opinion. Over 90% of the population probably at some point will have sex. Not the case with guns. In 45 years I have never handled a gun (I held a BB gun the first time a year ago) unless you count water guns. The parts of the country where guns are plentiful, I wonder what percentage actually hunt? And, how many just go target shooting or like owning guns in general? I’m think there are a lot of people who don’t huntm and so the other guns let’s deem unnecessary for the sake of the conversation. Take away all those guns and then communities all over America would be more like how I grew up with an absence of guns, and then it is a non issue. Living here in Memphis I see why “gun” people feel they need guns and why they think if guns were outlawed then all the bad people would have them and we would have no way to protect ourselves. It’s because when you live where guns a everywhere, then it is very difficult to go backwards, but if the community was not gun oriented in the first place it would have been much better in my opinion. I don’t know the answer to that.

So, to bring my tangent about gun ownership back to the main question, raising a new generation of children not oriented towards guns I think could help, maybe eventually change the culture where guns are plentiful.

flutherother's avatar

@bkcunningham I grew up in Scotland in the 1950’s and 60’s.

Coloma's avatar

I’m with @burntbonez and @Rarebear

I second the Fuck No! sentiment.
I always told my daughter to never touch a gun if she came across one in anothers home for any reason and talked about a few potential scenarios such as other children that might wrangle up their parents guns to show off. We moved to a rural community when she was 4 and I have shared some of my renegade, gun totin’ stories from living in the hills.
We didn’t keep guns in our home. Absolutely not!

Seek's avatar

For the record:

My father is retired NYPD. There’s always been a gun in the house as long as I’ve been alive. It sat on top of the bookshelf (exactly like Mulder’s father’s in The X Files – gun and shelf – for my nerd-kin). I watched him clean it every Friday night for eight years. Dad would show me all the pieces, tell me what each of them did, as he took them apart and put them back together. And he told me what the bullets do – to walls, to people. He never hid the nasty side of anything from me, and I’m forever grateful for that.

I never once had the desire to touch or fire that gun.

My stepfather had – has – a frakking arsenal. By the time I moved out of his house, he had over 25 shotguns, rifles, pistols, new, old, military… all of them plainly piled up in his closet. Bullets on the shelf. If anyone came over he’d start showing them off.

And family gatherings, oi… get three people together and they hold a shooting competition. So, yeah, eventually I started shooting too. I tried a pistol, once. It was awkward. The .22 was ok. the 30–06 1903 Springfield bruised my shoulder. I did well at target shooting – better with a scope – but have never managed to hit a clay pigeon. Did well enough at target that I was actually invited on the annual deer slaughterfest they call hunting season. I declined.

Never once did I find the simple act of pulling a trigger to be enjoyable. I can understand learning how a gun works if your life is such that you need to know – i.e.: a police officer or military, or militia or something… but it’s so harsh..

I enjoy archery, and am actually pretty good at it. I do primitive archery – compound bows are weird, clumsy. Primitive bows – you control everything, to a point. And there’s a built-in safety feature: A wall will stop an arrow.

Archery is a physical skill – it builds muscle, posture, teaches grace and focus. One could argue much of the same for guns, but to be honest, that grace and focus isn’t exactly required to use a gun “successfully”. You can make someone dead simply by throwing a lot of bullets. And ammunition is cheap.

mattbrowne's avatar

Should all children be given body armor? Should all children be given some degree of hand grenade training? Should all children be given some degree of anti-chemical warfare education?

If all school teachers and school children carry guns, homicidal maniacs will upgrade their killing technology.

Do we really want an arms race in our schools?

My answer is: no. Instead we need:

1) Tougher gun control laws
2) More budget for school psychologists
3) Better awareness about the consequences of mobbing incl. online mobbing
4) Less violence in movies, tv series and computer games
5) Better scripts showing how conflicts can be handled without violence (STNG is a good example)

majorrich's avatar

Oh c’mon @mattbrowne we aren’t talking about taking them to the range kind of training! That would be ludicrous. A child needs to be able to recognize that a gun is not a toy, essentially how it works, and to leave them alone. Given the number of firearms in the world, it’s a pretty good chance that a child may see one “in the wild” at some point. Your answer is tantamount to sex education involving actual intercourse. Absolutely stupid to my mind. The material I suggest could be covered in an hour or less.

mattbrowne's avatar

I have no problem showing them pictures of firearms. But that’s it. No firearm training.

majorrich's avatar

I would go as far as showing them ‘rubber ducky’ mock-up’s The key is that ignorance of safety won’t bring bliss. Sometimes photos just don’t make it. Like going to the zoo, or the tool store.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@cookieman From another planet, that’s odd. I think people tend to forget history in regards to the US, especially the midwest. The first official gunfight in US history was here in Springfield, Missouri. The James Brothers were from Missouri. We have a long history when it comes to guns and gun rights, good and bad.

I see no harm in my 13 year old niece killing a deer during youth season, we’re proud of her, and youth season is not something constructed by myself, I assure you.

janbb's avatar

I think there are just real regional, cultural differences in the U.S. in terms of attitudes towards guns and we just have to leave it at that. I still think they should be kept out of schools on all levels and that parents who feel the need to can teach their kids about guns.

ragingloli's avatar

“I see no harm in my 13 year old niece killing a deer.”
See, I completely disagree. My opinion on that is diametrically opposed an I think this is one of the worst things you can possibly do to a child, bordering on child abuse.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@ragingloli Why don’t you take that up with the people who created youth season for hunting across the nation then.

And comparing it to child abuse is ridiculous when there are real abuses perpetrated on children that damage them mentally, physically and emotionally. Shame on you.

ragingloli's avatar

@KNOWITALL
I posit that it DOES damage them mentally.

Seek's avatar

Teaching a child that it’s OK to kill animals for the entertainment value? Yes, child abuse.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

Oh give it a break. I grew up hunting with all kinds of firearms and I’ve killed a lot of animals. I never suffered any abuse from it. Life and death are as natural as eating.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@Seek_Kolinahr Entertainment value? Where did I say that ever? Did American Indians perpetrate abuse when they killed a deer and ate it?

@ragingloli I disagree, and instead will posit that it is female empowerment. Just like when my grandfather taught me to shoot, knowledge is power, you choose to use it or not. Her father is a hunter, as are most men in our family, and none of us waste the meat. Actually her father donated one whole deer to the Mo Conservation project to feed the poor program where we pay to get it processed but the meat is donated.

Seek's avatar

Hm. The American Indians didn’t have Bass Pro Shop, three ESPN channels, and the BassMasters World Classic glorifying their hunts, either. And, also, they’d have starved without it.

Teaching your children that food comes from hunting is just intellectually dishonest. Sure, for two months after deer season they’ll eat “free range, organic venison”, but those Mickey D’s hamburgers? Hardly. Now, if you want to teach your kid about where food comes from, let them tour a slaughterhouse. But then, the kid might never eat meat again, and “Vegetarian” is just the Native American word for “bad hunter”, right?

KNOWITALL's avatar

Okay, I can see this is going nowhere quick. We eat the meat and if we don’t know enough people that want deer brauts and loins and jerky (which are delicious and yes, free range), then we donate it. Yep, we’re pretty horrible people I guess, teaching her things like personal responsiblity (safety), humane kills (perfect shooting during hunting), and giving to the poor (donating the meat.)

So when the deer are overpopulated (like always here btw) and someone dies from hitting a deer going 70mph down I-44, are you flying in to attend those funerals?

Seek's avatar

I know that deer are overpopulated. I also understand that people have a right to hunt for their own food. I’m also saying that it’s not a good idea to teach a person too young for a cognizant sense of empathy and decision-making how to kill things.

KNOWITALL's avatar

But that is YOUR perception, not ours and not the Dept of Conservation’s.

Do you realize how many people our country sent to Vietnam at a young age?

How can you gauge my niece’s capacity for empathy and decision-making when you’ve never met her?

http://mdc.mo.gov/hunting-trapping/hunter-education-and-safety/about-hunter-education
Parents should remember youth in Missouri under 16 years of age now have the opportunity to hunt any legal species through our youth and mentor programs without being Hunter Education Certified. Youth under 16 years of age must hunt with an adult mentor that is properly licensed and meets the requirements and follows the prescribed regulations.

You will receive a minimum of 10 hours of classroom training plus additional time for testing, practical exercises, videos and other classroom discussion usually taught in two or three sessions. Classes typically require 12–16 total hours to complete. Topics covered include the following:

Hunter responsibility and ethics
How firearms work and firearm safety
Wildlife identification, game care, survival and first aid skills
Firearm handling skills and hunting techniques
Awareness about wildlife conservation and management
Rules and information unique to Missouri.
At the end of the class you will take a written examination. You need a score of 80 percent to pass the course. Most students pass the test on their first attempt.

ragingloli's avatar

You want to prevent them from having sex until they are 18. Imagine her getting knocked up at 13. Yet you think it is fine to turn her into a killer at that age.

KNOWITALL's avatar

A killer of deer, which is encouraged by our state conservation dept to prevent unnecessary deaths.

She knows if she gets pregnant or does drugs or gets bad grades that there are repercussions, we have an open dialogue, so I think we’ll be okay.

Seek's avatar

16 might be acceptable. The question references children. Kids 5, 6, 7 years old in the back pages of Deer Hunter magazine proudly holding up the 10-point rack they shot themselves. Look at me, Dad, I’m just like you!

It’s disgusting.

jonsblond's avatar

Good lord. My daughter watched my husband clean fish for the first time when she was 4. It was gross for her at first but it didn’t damage her. She’s even expressed interest in bow hunting with her daddy. She’s now 8 (almost 9) and her teacher told us she’s a great role model for the other kids in her class because she’s very caring and helpful. She’s a friend to everyone and sticks up for those who are bullied. I’d rather she learned where her food comes from and how it gets from its habitat to the food table. It doesn’t magically appear in your refrigerator wrapped in plastic.

I’m really offended by the word abuse being thrown out there, but hey, I know my daughter, you don’t. too bad for you. she’s a sweetheart.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@jonsblond Preach it! Now I know why Missouri and other rural areas are considered isolationist, people don’t realize it’s our culture.

Look what these amazing children did to help our country:

Calvin Leon Graham (April 3, 1930–November 6, 1992) was the youngest U.S. serviceman, during World War II.[2] Following the attack on Pearl Harbor, he enlisted in the Navy in May 1942, at the age of 12. He was wounded at the Naval Battle of Guadalcanal, while serving aboard the USS South Dakota. During the battle, he helped in the fire control efforts aboard the South Dakota, but suffered fragmentation wounds in the process. For his actions he was awarded the Bronze Star and the Purple Heart.

President Abraham Lincoln’s 1861 call for an additional 100,000 troops to swell the ranks of the Union Army was met with enthusiastic response and long lines at local recruiting centers. Perhaps it was all the excitement and commotion at the Delphos, Ohio, recruiting station that first attracted the attention of Avery Brown, an eight-year-old, fatherless boy. Or perhaps it was the attention showered on him by the veteran, Samuel Mott, who encouraged the 4’6”, blue eyed, red-haired youngster to play his snare drum as a morale booster at the recruitment station.

Twice Avery accompanied new recruits to Camp Chase in Columbus, Ohio. Twice he was denied permission to enlist. On the third trip, Samuel Mott refused to allow the processing of the latest batch of 101 recruits, unless the drummer boy was also allowed to volunteer. Reluctant permission was granted, and on August 18, 1861, Avery Brown was mustered into Company C, 31st Ohio Volunteer Infantry, at the age of 8 years, 11 months, and 13 days. Like many enthusiastic young patriots of his day, he lied about his age, claiming to be 12 on his enlistment papers.

The youngest soldier that served in the great war (WWI) was only 13. about the same age as a yr 8 or 9 pupil in England.
———————————————————————————————————————————————————————
The question is not specific about which World War, nor about which country. So I am going to give some thoughts about the use of boy soldiers in the German Army in 1945, which suggest that the youngest might have been EIGHT years old.
REMPEL, Gerhard; Hitler’s Children – The Hitler Youth and the SS; University of North Carolina Press, US; 1989 has a photograph of four boy soldiers captured by the US Army. They are in uniform and they are reported to be between eight and fourteen years old.
GEHLEN, Wilhelm and GREGORY, Don; Jungvolk – The Story of a Boy Defending Hitler’s Third Reich; Casemate Books, UK; 2008 has the following comment from Gehlen’s own experiences:
“In 1943, I was 10-years-old,” writes Wilhelm Gehlen, “and at the age of 10, we Jungvolk knew how to change the barrel on a 20mm gun. We loaded magazines and ran messages, often under fighter-bomber fire, between gun emplacements or the headquarters when telephone communications had been shot to ribbons.”

janbb's avatar

I am about as anti-gun as they come and would never consider deliberately killing an animal, but my thinking on hunting has evolved to where I can understand and accept hunting as a sport for some. And I personally, don’t think that 13 is too young to be taught to hunt if it is part of one’s milieu.

KNOWITALL's avatar

I love that you said ‘your thinking has evolved’, it gives me hope for future generations. And yes, they are ‘taught’, not just thrown a rifle and told to bring home a deer. :)

ucme's avatar

Hey, with all this talk of guns & whether a child should use one, I think it’s time for a song :¬)

KNOWITALL's avatar

How about ‘Janie’s Got A Gun’?

You always make me smile Ucme!!

ucme's avatar

Equally fitting m’dear, another one who insists on capitalising my username…arrgghh!! ;¬}

KNOWITALL's avatar

Oops, it’s how I was taught, ucme. :)

ucme's avatar

That’s better, any more of this & you shall see me after class young lady…bring some music & we can dance on the desks :¬)

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