A common question that comes up quite often is, “How old does my child need to be before they should receive some type of gun safety training?” This is a great question and without a doubt something that any responsible gun owner should be asking if they have kids or grandkids around. But the answer isn’t always the same depending on who you talk to that offers training.
There was a great article in Bearing Arms that not only talked about it but showcased a group that took it on from a very young age. In their article, “Kids Receive Real-Life Gun Safety Training to Prevent Accidental Gun Deaths,” they showcased both why and how they go about gun training for children. They had a great way to describe why they put this together and I feel it is right on point for anyone owning a firearm.
“If we can keep just one kid from accidentally accessing and discharging a firearm, we’ve succeeded. There are too many accounts of kids getting hurt or killed because they found a gun and played with it,” said Sloane. “We cannot teach or train the curiosity out of children (nor should we), so we have to take other measures to raise gun safety awareness and to make sure guns are locked and safe when not in use.”
They conduct this through the local youth league and it’s a great way to get kids over the concept that guns are just something easy to use in video games and helps them see, feel, and experience the reality of firearms. I think this is a great idea to help our youth understand the power they are holding in their hands instead of in the controller of the video game.
Before video games, kids played with more life sized play guns from the Wild West and other memorabilia. They also got to shoot BB guns and Pellet guns to they had a little better understanding and feel for what a real gun might be like. Today, many youth don’t get this experience so when they are confronted with a firearm their only point of reference is what they were seeing on their TV screen…which isn’t even close to reality.
One of their areas of focus is to help the youth experience this first hand, both in the classroom and on the range. This is a very solid way to help them get the knowledge and then get the experience…as the owner of the range described.
“We’ve had a few parents come in who have limited knowledge of firearms, but want their children to learn about the firearm safety because there are guns in the house or a family member may have a gun,” Shockey said. “Firearms are also a big part of the culture in the United States. We try to dispel a lot of the myths or misconceptions that kids and parents have.”
I believe it’s time to be proactive with our children given the rampant use of video games. It’s time to help them understand real firearms and do it in a way that is both instructive and educational. It’s time to help create a positive (and safe) impact on their youth in their neighborhoods. We can certainly have an impact on the youth in our area and help them to be safer. Because in the end, it is all about our ability to…Be Prepared. Be Smart. Be Safe.