On Kids and Guns:
One of the posts mentioned that the child should be told in no uncertain terms that guns are for adults only.
Human Nature 101: Label something as forbidden to you or people of your group will do nothing more than make that object highly desirable.
This does not prevent a kid from playing with a gun. Now, at the risk of my wife being very upset with me when she reads this post, let me share my view:
I grew up in a family that had guns. My grandfather collects guns, as does one of my uncles. This culture eventually culminated in one intriguing Christmas present: A BB gun. (Not a Red Rider) Upon receiving it, my dad sat down with me and went over every single part of the weapon, how to work the safety switch, and various other serious things, notably:
- Don't point it at anyone for any reason at any time, Regardless if it is loaded or not. As far as you know, the gun is loaded. Same goes for the safety switch, even if the safety is on, don't do it!
- When walking, point it at the ground, Keep your hand away from the trigger.
Both of those points were well taken. I also understood the consequences for breaking any safety rules.
Because I was disciplined, and followed safety correctly, I had the privilege of using real guns, and eventually a bow and arrow. I knew how much force they had behind them. The gun simply because of its recoil, the bow because of the amount of force to pull and hold the string.
I've been in situations where another kid had access to a gun, pulled it out and started playing with it. I didn't stick around, and made it clear to that kid that I wasn't sticking around because the gun shouldn't be out, and he was reckless in handling it. I don't know how I would have handled that situation had I not had exposure earlier in life to guns. Further, I don't know how I would have reacted if guns were described as being for grown-ups only, but I do know how I reacted to certain "Adults only" magazines as a kid.... ;)
As an aside, I don't own a gun today. I don't intend to own a gun, and don't really want one in my house. Nothing against guns or people who own them, I just prefer not to have one. Would I give my kid a BB gun? Maybe. Anything more than that? Probably not. I'd let him or her fire one at a shooting range, just for the experience, but only after a long talk and a couple thousand copper balls.