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Gun safety training for kids

 
 
Reply Mon 10 May, 2010 09:12 am
Wait..... wait..... hear me out.....

As I've said before, my son, "Mo" (9), is fascinated with guns.

I'm not anti-gun. We own a gun. We take it when we go camping otherwise it stays locked in our firesafe. This isn't going to change.

Recently I learned that Mo's best friend's dad had purchased two new guns. When Mo was invited to their house the other day I kind of flipped out -- I didn't want him to go because I don't know these people's rules about guns. Before I would let him go I had Mr. B talk to the dad about Mo's absolute fascination with guns and how he was not allowed, under any circumstances, to see or handle the guns.

Later, Mr. B cautioned me that we couldn't control the whole world. We live in a place where guns are not uncommon. He's right. I know he's right. That's when I decided I wanted to send Mo to a gun safety class. Mr. B agreed that this was a good idea. We want to make sure he respects what a gun can do. (If you can't beat 'em, educate 'em.)

I googled "gun safety training" and found lots and lots of gun classes in our city. I don't know how one begins to evaluate the programs.

I don't want a class that focus' on "personal safety" -- as in "you're a potential victim and you need to shoot someone".

I don't want something that yammers on about politics or survivalism.

I don't want a class centered on hunting. We don't hunt. When he grows up he can hunt if he wants to.

I do want a class that teaches safety -- one that gives kids a healthy respect for guns, and maybe moves on to skeet or other sport shooting.

Many of the gun clubs and shooting ranges offer private lessons. Would this be a better option than a class?

What age is too young?

Any advice?

Thanks!

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Type: Question • Score: 10 • Views: 10,434 • Replies: 99

 
sozobe
 
  6  
Reply Mon 10 May, 2010 09:16 am
@boomerang,
Maybe something related to one of the outdoorsy kid-oriented clubs -- Boy Scouts et al?

Sozlet took a pretty good gun-safety class through one of those (related to the YMCA).

It included hands-on stuff, not just lectures.
0 Replies
 
chai2
 
  5  
Reply Mon 10 May, 2010 09:51 am
@boomerang,
boomerang wrote:

I do want a class that teaches safety -- one that gives kids a healthy respect for guns, and maybe moves on to skeet or other sport shooting.

Many of the gun clubs and shooting ranges offer private lessons. Would this be a better option than a class?



This is what I was thinking of all whilst I was reading your post.

ok, ok, hear me out.... Laughing

I think getting a class from someone who works at a shooting range is an excellent idea, IF you first talk to the person who would be educating Mo, to see if he can teach what Mo, on Mo's level.

Take me as a case in point.

I will freely admit to anyone that I am the most mechanically dis-inclined person who is currently alive.
I was well into my 40's when I finally learned why you turn a key in one direction to open a door, and another direction to lock it. Seriously, I would stand there and unlock a door, then, trying to pull the key out, I would bypass the "netrual" postion and relock the door....4 or 5 times in a row.
It wasn't until Wally held the door open and showed me how when you turn the key, that bolt thingie slides out.....and then back in when you turn it the other way, that I finally understood the process. Before that time, I thought it was just ******* magic doing it I suppose. To this day, when I unlock my front door, I think about that piece of metal sliding the way I'm turning the key.

Yeah, I'm a complete moron.

What I'm leading to is that Wally and I would go to the shooting range, and I'd always have a really good time. I love target shooting.
However even though I'm obviously careful around guns, it was really hard for me to "get" how they worked.
One day, out in the show room, Wally wanted to show me a gun he thought I should get for myself, and the guy behind the counter just handed it and started talking way over my head.
He and Wally were having a grand old time, while I just stood there feeling more and more stupid. When I tried to ask him a question, he would assume I was asking a lot more than I was, making the situation worse.
Long story short, when I left there, I burst into tears, because of frustration.

The next time we went, somehow I ended up talking to someone else who worked there. I was hesitant to say anything at all to him.
When I explained how dense I was mechanically, and how the other guy put me in such a tizzy, he explained how HE did things.

He said he would teach me how to take apart and put the gun back together, and ask as many questions as it took. Also, to ask the questions in the way that made sense to ME, since I was the one learning.

It was a whole different experience.
0 Replies
 
rosborne979
 
  4  
Reply Mon 10 May, 2010 10:17 am
@boomerang,
I think gun safety training (as well as shooting training) is a good idea whether you own guns or not. I think it gives people (and kids) a healthy respect for something which can be very dangerous.
0 Replies
 
boomerang
 
  4  
Reply Mon 10 May, 2010 10:21 am
I hadn't thought about the Y... or the Boys and Girls Club.... or some other youth services type organizations. I'll look into that. Thanks!

Yeah, chai, I hear you! Private lessons might be the way to go. Mo learns differently and I want to be sure he "gets" it.

Mr. B said he'd take him to the range and teach him but I nixed that idea. I think it would be best if Mo worked with someone outside the family so he could see that it isn't just me and Mr. B who are serious about this stuff.
0 Replies
 
boomerang
 
  3  
Reply Mon 10 May, 2010 10:37 am
The respect thing is exactly what I'm after, rosborne.

I remember being a kid and being really into cowboys. I carried my cap guns everywhere. Still I never thought of guns as "glamorous", like Mo and his friends do. Maybe it's because I'm a girl or maybe it's because times have changed. I don't know.

My thinking right now is almost completely opposite of what I ever thought it would be. Now it seems careless NOT to familiarize Mo with guns.
roger
 
  3  
Reply Mon 10 May, 2010 01:38 pm
@boomerang,
I'm reasonably sure that any group for his age group will be oriented on gun safety, not self defense or hunting, but it doesn't hurt to make sure. It will have to involve a certain amount of shooting, or he will just plain lose interest. I know I would.
dyslexia
 
  4  
Reply Mon 10 May, 2010 02:16 pm
When I arrived at the "guns are neat" stage my grandfather bought me a .22 single shot, bolt action rifle. It cost $12 from Monkey Wards mail order and I had to buy my own ammo which costs 48 cents per box of 50. Grandpa would cut the lids off of tin cans and nail them up to an old railroad tie stuck in the ground at the end of our property and that was my target. He took me out shooting about once a week followed by my cleaning "My" rifle. My rifle was kept in the hall closet with all the other guns my grandfather owned. The closet wasn't locked; nothing was locked in that house including the front door because noone had any idea where there were any keys but locked or not I was never to touch any gun without my grandfather's supervision. One day we were getting out My rifle to go do some shooting when I said to my grandfather, I sure would like to shoot that shotgun of yours, it was a 10 gauge double-barrel shotgun he used for goose hunting, so he took out that shotgun and a couple of 10 gauge O-O shells and said "lets just do that" so walked down behind the barn and he pointed at an old apple tree, pulled back the hammers on both barrels and handed me the shotgun. I shot that tree, I shot it good, I shot it with both barrels of that 0-0 10 gauge. I maybe killed that apple tree. I found myself about 5 feet back from where I had been when I shot that apple tree but when I stood to hande him back his shotgun I found that I couldn't life my right arm. For the rest of that summer I couldn't lift nothing with that right arm. I never fired that shotgun again.
Some days I wonder just what happened to that old shotgun. But then, I don't know what happened to the $12 Monkey Wards .22 either. They probably got sold at some garage sale after my grandfather died. That's too bad, I'd like to have both of them in my closet right now. So it goes.
0 Replies
 
boomerang
 
  2  
Reply Mon 10 May, 2010 02:19 pm
@roger,
Oh yeah. He's gonna wanna shoot stuff, no doubt about it. I prefer it to be in a constuctive environment.

The department of fish and wildlife offers a lot of gun safety courses that are geared towards hunting.

Private lessons are looking better and better to me.
ehBeth
 
  3  
Reply Mon 10 May, 2010 03:08 pm
@boomerang,
I'm not sure why you'd not want the gun safety courses that are geared toward hunting. At least gun use makes some sort of sense for hunters.
0 Replies
 
farmerman
 
  3  
Reply Mon 10 May, 2010 03:15 pm
@boomerang,
Gifving kids gun safety and cleaning and take down skill training is a means to get them to get it that guns are a tool, albeit a very dangerous one. The entire skills set of cleaning, shooting, take down , and safety is an entire package which I had as a kid and I taught mine.
0 Replies
 
boomerang
 
  2  
Reply Mon 10 May, 2010 03:18 pm
dys, I wonder about the "glamorization" of guns..... maybe it's because they're so off limits, almost taboo. If they were treated more like tools, or like a skill one learns, instead of this big NO, maybe I wouldn't worry so much.

Maybe more kids need to go shooting with their grandpas.

boomerang
 
  3  
Reply Mon 10 May, 2010 03:24 pm
That's a good point, ehBeth, certainly one that deserves further thought on my part. Right now I'd rather see him do skeet or target shooting though.

Farmerman, we overlapped with the "tool" talk! Our house is jammed with tools. Mo does indeed have a healthy respect for tools. I'd like him to think of guns the same way.

While browsing around today I came across several gunsmithing sites. Mo's way too young for that but I can't help but think about how much he'd enjoy such a thing.
ehBeth
 
  3  
Reply Mon 10 May, 2010 03:25 pm
@boomerang,
boomerang wrote:
If they were treated more like tools, or like a skill one learns


this is why I think hunter/gun safety courses are a good idea

guns are tools for hunters, and therefore treated with respect by most hunters

of course, archery's even better, but there probably aren't too many houses that Mo would go where he could get into bow and arrow trouble
0 Replies
 
ehBeth
 
  2  
Reply Mon 10 May, 2010 03:29 pm
@boomerang,
boomerang wrote:
We own a gun. We take it when we go camping


what do you think you might shoot on these camping trips? animals or people are pretty much the options - how do you talk to Mo about that? I think that could help you figure out what the best course for him might be, or where to find it. Do you have an outdoor supplies store that might offer classes? check the postings on the walls there
0 Replies
 
roger
 
  1  
Reply Mon 10 May, 2010 04:11 pm
@boomerang,
I once shot a rabbit. I was very young at the time, and it was not a happy experience. I think I favor target and safety training for now. Maybe skeet and traps later, though I cannot understand the interest.
0 Replies
 
boomerang
 
  2  
Reply Mon 10 May, 2010 05:13 pm
I don't think Mo has been aware that we have a gun when we go camping so we haven't really talked to him about it.

Like I said, I'm not opposed to hunting but that is a decision he will have to make on his own when he's an adult.

My concern is that his interest in guns will get him in trouble. I want to be sure he understands the power and damage that a gun can cause. With skeet it's all a matter of skill. I liken it to golf. It's a sport.

There are gazillions of outdoor stores here and they probably do have postings. There are dozens of gun clubs and shooting ranges within a 20 mile radius of my house. I don't think finding a teacher/class will be a problem. I just want to be sure I know how to find a good one.
0 Replies
 
ossobuco
 
  -3  
Reply Mon 10 May, 2010 05:23 pm
Sorry, but the title in itself is a foray into irony territory.
You are raising a kid who idolizes your brother. This may be good or not so. But you pump it.
boomerang
 
  4  
Reply Mon 10 May, 2010 05:41 pm
@ossobuco,
I don't get the irony. Care to explain.

And what does my brother have to do with this? He has never talked to Mo about guns. My brother hates guns. He won't allow them in his house. More than most people he truly understands how dangerous they can be.
ossobuco
 
  -2  
Reply Mon 10 May, 2010 06:15 pm
@boomerang,
Well, just read the words, it's all about shooting and killing for kids.

I have gathered from several posts of yours that Mo idolizes your brother, and you seem to be mildly fostering ... militarization, gung ho. Something of a done deal, as a place for him.

 

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