All photos used in this piece are Courtesy of Guns Save Life, a 2A advocacy group working throughout Illinois. Please visit their website to learn more.
In our society, the current approach to the subject of children and guns seems more like banning books than teaching kids how to read. That approach is almost certainly doing more harm than good. Lets examine the subject and consider a better alternative.
I grew up in an area of South Jersey where many people hunted. Most of my friends hunted as well as many of my relatives. If you visited their homes you would find guns stored in unlocked closets, display cabinets or just openly in racks. From November through February many cars in our high school parking lot would contain guns either in the trunk or openly in a rack. Many kids hunted before or after school. It wasn’t uncommon to see people with guns.
I’ve spoken to a number of people from around the country with similar memories. No one remembers anyone shooting anyone else or any stories about young children playing with guns and hurting themselves or others. As kids we would never get a gun and start playing with it, it just wasn’t something we would think to do. So what has changed?
Before continuing I should state that I fully agree with how we currently behave as responsible gun owners. Our guns should always be either under our direct control or securely locked away, inaccessible to unauthorized persons.
We don’t have the space to fully address society’s view on children and guns but I’d like to briefly look at three areas and maybe inspire some thought on the subject. Consider the following:
- Schools – Today schools are gun free zones (criminals and lunatics are exempt). Any mention of guns is prohibited. Children have been suspended for nibbling pastry into the rough shape of a gun (this really happened) or for pretending their hand or a stick was a gun. Hunting and shooting clubs are aggressively banned. Gun safety education is not welcome in most schools. In the past, gun clubs and safety courses were common in schools. Guns were a non-issue.
- Entertainment Industry – You would be hard pressed to find a new film that doesn’t feature at least one shooting scene. The most popular films today contain multiple on screen shootings depicted in glamorous ways rarely with any consequences for the shooter. Similar content is seen on television and in video games. In real life, action movie stars ridicule the second amendment and promote gun control laws while earning millions glamorizing violence on screen.
- Media – Much of what you read or see from major news outlets regarding firearms is incorrect. Some of it is incorrect due to sloppy journalism while sadly much is intentionally incorrect. The media today has allowed political agendas and bias to impede their ability to report honestly on the subject of guns.
Given all that it’s not surprising we have what we have today. Keeping kids in the dark about firearms isn’t the answer, education is.
Hiding firearms, pretending firearms hurt people all by themselves, pretending they don’t exist creates a more dangerous situation for kids. Curiosity is natural. Curiosity without knowledge can result in tragedy.
The first step in creating a rational healthy understanding of firearms is education. The often demonized National Rifle Association (NRA) has been teaching safety and marksmanship to young people and adults since 1861. Since 1988 the NRA’s Eddie Eagle GunSafe Program has taught over 28 million pre-school through fourth grade children how to respond should they find themselves near a gun in an unsupervised situation.
Volunteers from the NRA affiliated group GunsSaveLife regularly teach children how to shoot safely at the nation’s longest running NRA Youth Shooting Camp. Local organizations like the Lemon Grove Rod & Gun Club regularly run youth oriented shooting events as well.
As responsible gun owners we have an obligation to educate children and young people in the safe responsible use of firearms. First to undo the damage from anti gun sourced misinformation. But more importantly we need to ensure that as our children grow into adults they are capable of self-protection. And finally so that they may experience the many rewards the shooting sports have to offer.
We can only do these things if we don’t allow anti 2A politicians to destroy our rights. Please get involved by joining San Diego County Gun Owners, the California Rifle and Pistol Association, and the National Rifle Association. Join the fight and help us restore and preserve our second amendment rights. Together we will win.
©2017 Joseph T Drammissi