Toddlers Killed More Americans Than Terrorists Did This Year
I realize the author intends to start a discussion on gun control from a specific point of view, but if nothing else, it raises a question for parents: when and how do you teach your children about guns? And it is not a matter of “if” but “when.” (It always has been, to be honest.)
For our first child, Luke, we decided we wouldn’t have any guns in the house, not even toys. We wouldn’t play games that included guns. We asked family members to respect this decision. Yeah, we were THOSE kind of parents. I’m so sorry.
None of it mattered. The moment he went to daycare, and went on playdates, and visited relatives and watched TV… he saw guns. And emulated them. Heros use guns. Villians use guns. The cat was out of the bag, as they say. Or maybe the gun was out of the holster. And once one child starts with the guns, the next child will be already exposed. No point in even trying to hide it.
In fairness, there are a number of positive role-model gun lovers in our family: several hunters who shoot deer for meat, and a couple of people who collect guns as a hobby. So we’ve seen everything from antique black powder rifles to modern military-grade automatics collected by servicemen. These people know how to handle a gun. And, although we don’t own any guns, both my wife and I have been to shooting ranges and are pretty good shots. (My wife is better than me, to be honest.)
Today we have an arsenal of Nerf guns, squirt guns, cap guns, laser tag guns, wooden guns (handmade by a family woodworker), and so on. Some are meant to look like actual pistols, though most of them look futuristic. A relative has a simple air rifle that Luke sometimes uses for target practice, under close adult supervision. (He also has a real bow and arrow set that he uses under similar restrictions.)
So what do we teach kids about guns? We have some rules, even for toys. You don’t point them at people. You can only aim toy guns at other people if they are also armed with a toy gun and you’re in some kind of pretend combat. And you simply DO NOT pick up a real gun, ever, EVER, without the permission and presence of an adult.
Is this enough to stop our kids from joining the list in this article? I hope so. Certainly, they won’t learn this stuff from television. We don’t have guns in the house, so things like gun safety are not a constant concern, but still…
What do you think?