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February 28, 2001
2:31 PM   Subscribe

Guess what? Kids are interested in guns.
posted by OneBallJay (24 comments total)

 
This was disturbing to me.

As a gun owner, I find the low/nonexistent level of education given to the children of today about guns is terrible. I grew up denied access to toy guns, and ended up buying a real one as soon as I turned 18 just because I was unbearably curious. Now I own both a long gun and a handgun, and can say that I will make sure my children (once they come along) know what a real gun is and can do. I want to make sure that their curiousity is satisfied while in my presence and that they have learned respect for a firearm's power before they happen upon one in the "real world" or in some experiment and decide they need to play with it.
posted by OneBallJay at 2:48 PM on February 28, 2001


Indeed. It's always amazing to me to find parents who think that by pretending guns don't exist, they will somehow magically convince their children to ignore guns. As far as I'm concerned, every child should learn the basics (stop! - don't touch - leave the area - tell an adult) young. Ours will learn more than that as soon as they're old enough to share an interest, but that's a different subject.
posted by ffmike at 3:51 PM on February 28, 2001


That was my feeling too. When I grew up, my mother was the parent that taught me how to shoot and respect weapons. The NRA (I can almost hear the boos now) has a very good educational course called the "Eddie Eagle" program which teaches kids not to touch guns and go get an adult. Most schools are so PC these days that they look at anything from the NRA just like it was Joe Camel with free samples...

In the spirt of full disclosure...

1.) I own several weapons, both handguns and long guns
2.) I am a proud member of the NRA
3.) I am NOT in favor of gun control (natch)
posted by gunr at 3:58 PM on February 28, 2001


Welcome to the fold gunr. Good to know I can bring out the lurkers.

My own full disclosure:

1) As stated above, I own a long gun and a handgun
2) I am a proud member of the NRA
3) I am in favor of gun control (in some form, but not as it is today)
posted by OneBallJay at 4:08 PM on February 28, 2001


I don't own any guns and generally disapprove of modifying the behavior of people who have not proved themselves to be dangerous. Still these days, I toy with the idea of trading the right to bear arms with the right to freely assemble. How bout it kids? I'll give up one of my rights, if you give up one of yours. Most people probably assemble as often as I shoot anyway.
posted by thirteen at 4:18 PM on February 28, 2001


FWIW, the right to assemble and the right to bear arms are rights inalienable to BOTH of us, and neither of us has the right to give either of those rights away.

Although that "freedom of speech" thing is getting a little out-of-hand ;-P
posted by gunr at 6:07 PM on February 28, 2001


I am not a member of the NRA, nor do I own any guns. I also know very little about guns.

However, I am against gun control. I firmly believe that removing guns from the hands of ordinary citizens is bad, bad, bad. I am completely baffled when ordinarily intelligent and sensible people try to argue that getting rid of guns is a good idea. I'm also stunned at the amount of senseless ridicule that is thrown at the NRA.

It is unfortunate that the desire to get rid of guns has become a boilerplate part of liberal politics these days. Say you're against gun control in the company of liberals, and you will instantly be labeled a "gun nut", a Republican, and often times a lot of other really nasty things -- up to and including a Nazi (interestingly, the Nazis were in favor of gun control). I'm a liberal but I'm against gun control, and I think quite a few other liberals are too, but are afraid to admit it. That needs to change.


Of course, guns are not toys. Kids should be taught not to play with them. However, that is the responsibility of parents. Society should not have to render itself defenseless just so parents won't have to teach their kids. I'm not saying all parents should own guns and take their kids out to shooting ranges; just that they should inform their children that guns are powerful weapons, and should be treated with respect and caution.
posted by Potsy at 7:37 PM on February 28, 2001



Excellent outlook, Potsy.

It's people who think that
As far as I'm concerned, every child should learn the basics (stop! - don't touch - leave the area - tell an adult) young.
is excellent 'gun education' that scare the dog crap out of me.

That will *not* teach a kid what guns are all about. Shooting squirrels in the woods with a .22, now, that's another matter entirely. Take your kid out to pop rodents, and you are in little to no danger that they will ever shoot a gun at a person.

Unless they're being attacked, or they're psychotic.
posted by baylink at 8:06 PM on February 28, 2001


I guess if we're doing the full disclosure thing I should add...

1) I own 2 handguns and 2 long guns
2) I am a member of the NRA, though not as proud about it as I used to be
3) I'm not in favor of gun control, but then, I'm an anarchist

Baylink, note that I said the basics should be taught young. By which I meant, as soon as they're old enough to comprehend. As far as I'm concerned, those basics are to prevent senseless injuries and deaths from playing with guns when they're too young to really know how to use them.

The rest of the basics (ie, all guns are always loaded, don't point a gun at anything you don't want to shoot, etc.) and marksmanship come a little older. I expect to be teaching ours to shoot targets and rodents by the time they're ten, if not earlier.
posted by ffmike at 8:50 PM on February 28, 2001


Of course children are drawn to guns...and anything else that they do not know much about. It's called curiosity. I think the current statistics on accidental firearms related deaths show that we need some form of education for children and adults. We need to show our children that it is not a toy and adults how to protect their children.
Most of these deaths come from the children of adults who view firearms as a method of self-defense. Grow-up. This is not the old west. There are a myriad of non-lethal devices out there that can provide self-defense.
In my own case, I spent time in the military handling many weapons with live ammo in the chamber. Now, I am afraid to handle any gun with live ammo because I know the damage which can be inflicted with it.
posted by ttrendel at 10:04 PM on February 28, 2001


I love how no one has even raised the possibility that the problem is guns being left around kids.

I grew up denied access to toy guns, and ended up buying a real one as soon as I turned 18 just because I was unbearably curious.

I find it hard to believe that an adult would run out and buy a real gun because he was deprived of the toy variety a decade earlier. The mind boggles at what you might have done at age 18 if you were denied breastfeeding as an infant.

Take your kid out to pop rodents, and you are in little to no danger that they will ever shoot a gun at a person.

Yeah, there's no better way to teach your children the sanctity of life than to cap the neighborhood squirrels. How do you teach them not to rape?



posted by rcade at 10:46 PM on February 28, 2001


Side note: What's up with MeFi's formatting? I honestly didn't mean for my post to have so much whitespace (or bluespace, as the case may be). Apparently, MeFi converts blank lines in your post text to <BR> tags. That, combined with my <P> tags created all that extra space. Sorry all ... I wasn't doing it on purpose to give my post added weight or anything, really.
posted by Potsy at 11:34 PM on February 28, 2001


Rape and killing people are two different things and a reason why rape isn't a crime punishable by death. But that's an argument that would be impossible to have here. it'd be a big shouting match, of course...

I've been firing and learning to respect guns since an early age, although our family doesn't own more than a couple of rifles and a couple of pistols. We only use them for target shooting at an approved range. I know how to shoot, reload and clean our guns. Once I learned to respect guns as instruments of DEATH, I never played with toy guns anymore and I never wanted to join the military. I cannot watch war movies, since the violence makes me physically ill. But if it ever came down to it, I would shoot another human if he/she threatened the lives of my family or myself. No question. Once where I was living, an inmate escpaed and was running around the town surounding the prison. Our family felt safe, since we always followed good safety precautions. But we knew that if that crazed criminal came to our house, we were proficient enough to shoot him without hurting ourselves. That feeling of dread and sickening terror turned into a sense of preparedness and vigilance.

Money and politics and Democrats can't change that feeling.

Criminals that commit crimes will do them with anything they can get their hands on. Murder is in the mind, not the gun. people STILL can't realize it.
posted by Capn_Stuby at 12:23 AM on March 1, 2001


My biological father forbade me to have toy guns, or pretend to shoot things with sticks, or point at people and say "BANG!"

He also showed me how to load a shotgun, and he taught me how to fire a .22 (at cans) and he shot squirrels from our back porch (which, erg, we would eat but he was from West Virginia so I forgive him). When I was older, I had a BB gun. I was allowed to shoot targets until my heart was content and I was under no circumstances allowed to shoot anything alive (unless, I assume, I intended to eat it).

As a result, I was taught two very important lessons as a child:

*Guns are dangerous. They should be respected and not trifled with, but with proper safety precautions they are handy and can be fun.

*Shooting people, or even pretending to, is bad, because as my mother used to repeat to me like a mantra, "People are for loving."

These lessons were reinforced later in life when my stepfather, NRA member and vocal opponent of gun control, showed me how to clean, load, and fire a hand gun.

I don't own a gun now, and if I have children, I would not keep guns in the house (Just me. I was an unreasonably well behaved child, but I wouldn't expect to get so lucky with my own offspring). However, I wouldn't let them have toy guns, hoping to instill the same lesson that was instilled in me: Hurting people, or even pretending to, is not okay. And I will likely take them to a firing range or home to my stepfather so they too can understand the reality of guns, and their power for destruction.

Respect for life + (Understanding of the real power of guns + Precautionary measures, i.e. don't keep loaded guns in the silverware drawer) = Gun Safety

Of course, I was a lucky child with intelligent, broad minded parents. (Minus the whole eating squirrels thing, of course.)
posted by jennyb at 7:47 AM on March 1, 2001


I was just kidding about trading rights, and I kind of regretted posting it. I think it frames everything differently if those making what I believe to be unreasonable requests were given the chance to pay for it with something they (presumably) hold dear. We can all race to the bottom.

Some Chicago alderman have a good chance of getting the Chicago handgun ban repealed. As the law never kept anybody who wanted a gun from getting one, I think it is a good thing.
posted by thirteen at 7:53 AM on March 1, 2001


To those of you NRA members who oppose gun control, do you really oppose all forms of gun control? Should the sale of handguns be completely unregulated?

One of my favorite comic books, Frank Miller's Hard Boiled had guns in vending machines. Is this what the NRA wants?

I think banning guns in the United States in unworkable. Clearly, people will have access to guns no matter what the law says. But I don't think any asshole with a couple hundred bucks to spare has the right to own an assault rifle. If you really don't think guns kill people, look at murder rates in countries where guns aren't freely available. It's a heck of a lot harder to kill with a katana than it is with a Saturday night special.
posted by Loudmax at 8:00 AM on March 1, 2001


I say you have the right to own whatever you can afford. Owning an object does not hurt anyone. Hitting them in the head with it may.
posted by sonofsamiam at 8:14 AM on March 1, 2001


Let's spend some time parsing, shall we?

One of my favorite comic books, Frank Miller's Hard Boiled had guns in vending machines. Is this what the NRA wants? Hmm, comparing realty to comic books, not a good start...

But I don't think any asshole with a couple hundred bucks to spare has the right to own an assault rifle. Despite your assertion, any asshole DOES have the right (it is in the Constitution, look it up) provided that they are not a felon or mentally unstable. The last time that I looked, "asshole" was not a valid reason to deny a permit (although in MA, it is, but that is another story). Plus, an Assault RIFLE is a fully automatic and THOSE have been heavily federally regulated since 1934. An Assault WEAPON is nothing more than a semi-automatic rifle (exactly the same as a hunting rifle; minus the wood stocks).

If you really don't think guns kill people, look at murder rates in countries where guns aren't freely available. Yes, let's, shall we? Let's look at jolly old England where there rates of violent crime have DOUBLED since the imposition of a complete gun ban. Even their own Olympic pistol team had to leave the country to practice. The "guns kill people" canard is so tired, you need some new material.

It's a heck of a lot harder to kill with a katana than it is with a Saturday night special. It is also a heck of a lot easier to kill with a car, does that mean that cars should be banned too? And what *is* a "Saturday Night Special" anyway? Wait, let me guess. You don't really know, do you. Just another liberal parrot.
posted by gunr at 8:16 AM on March 1, 2001


rcade: I find it hard to believe that an adult would run out and buy a real gun because he was deprived of the toy variety a decade earlier. The mind boggles at what you might have done at age 18 if you were denied breastfeeding as an infant.

Are you suggesting that I was an adult at the arbitrary age of 18? I may have felt that way at the time, but looking back I certainly wasn't. And, as you're suggesting, the T&A was readily available for purchase, too, if that's what I had wanted (thank goodness I had an alternate supply).

The point I was making was that nobody had ever told me/taught me why it was that I couldn't play with guns. I totally agree that toy guns are some of the worst possible things for our society. My mom simply said I couldn't have the same toys my friends had. I realized that they could kill from watching the news, but from watching 'entertainment' tv/movies I saw that if you're a good guy, guns won't kill you. My friends and I didn't want to play 'news,' we wanted to play G.I. Joe, where there was lots of gunfire and nobody got hurt (except for poor Duke, sniff, sniff). Not until I took my .308 out and shot at some rotten melons did I realize how much power guns held, and learned to respect it. Then I went hunting with some friends, and learned about the sanctity of life by ending some of it - that was one of the three worst experiences of my life, and I'll never do it again (it made me a vegetarian for a while).

And as I prepare to move into the parenthood stage of my life, I don't plan on allowing my children to have toy guns. But I do intend to let them shoot my real ones in a safe environment so that they are demystified. I don't want them to go out and buy one as soon as the law allows without knowing the first thing about what they're doing, because I went through that and I feel there's a better way.

By the way, "Saturday Night Special" = what used to be called a 'niggertown saturday night special' (you'll have to scroll down to find it). The only practical self-defense most poor afro-americans could afford back when there were a lot more hate crimes and less attention was paid to them.
posted by OneBallJay at 8:48 AM on March 1, 2001


This whole experiment seems retarded, of course the kids played with the gun as if it were a toy, they had been told by adults whom they trust that these were all toys and could be played with. The real experiment would have been to have lectured the kids about the dangerous gun and then seen if they had picked it up. Who pays for these kind of things!

However, I think gun owning is a pointless outdated idea and should be red taped out of existence.


posted by zeoslap at 10:11 AM on March 1, 2001


Speaking as someone who has never owned a gun (even a toy one) and has no desire to ever do so, there's one item mentioned repeatedly in this thread that I do not understand at all. Why is it necessary to learn how to use a gun in order to appreciate their true power? Since I've never fired a gun, does this mean I'm unable to properly respect a firearm's potency? I don't get it.
posted by Aaaugh! at 11:37 AM on March 1, 2001


I agree Aaaugh!, you don't necessarily have to show a kid a gun to let them know that it's dangerous. As I said, I don't think every parent should do target practice with their kids -- but perhaps a one-time demonstration will do a better job of driving the point home than a lecture. Sure, it's not the only way, nor is it absolutely necessary, but it might be the most effective.
posted by Potsy at 12:34 PM on March 1, 2001


Apologies to ffmike; I obviously overreacted to the way you phrased what you said; you don't seem like a screaming lunatic at all. :-)

Sorry it took me so long to get back on this, too; I rediscovered Usenet a couple weeks back, for those who've wondered why I wasn't around to piss everyone off. :-)
posted by baylink at 8:42 PM on March 1, 2001


Well, whoever gunr is, I agree with him/her.

However, I think gun owning is a pointless outdated idea and should be red taped out of existence.

Hmm...I'll agree to that when you or someone else comes up with a way for us to all become bulletproof, since the only people with guns will be the actual criminals. Or were you being sarcastic? I really can't tell.

But I don't think any asshole with a couple hundred bucks to spare has the right to own an assault rifle. As gunr said, yes they do. And I personally don't think any asshole has the right to tell me I am not allowed to protect myself.

The children were told specifically that the gun was a toy. And notice that the article doesn't mention how often they played with the Play-Doh or other real toys. The article was written solely for the purpose of scaring people. Which it should. It should scare them into teaching their kids about right and wrong as well as about the reality of guns.
posted by crushed at 4:49 AM on March 2, 2001


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