questionsshould a child learn how to use a gun?



Teaching them proper handling and use provides two safety measures:
1. It eliminates the curiosity that comes with all forbidden items
2. If they stumble across a firearm, they know not to touch it without an adult around.
My 5 & 7yr old daughters will be taking the NRA firearms safety classes after their 8th birthdays, and will spend some time at the range with a 22 rifle. When they're old enough, they'll also learn to safely use both revolvers and semi-auto pistols.

A gun is simply a tool. It can be used for good or evil, and can cause severe consequences if used incorrectly.


I believe a child should learn how to use a gun. I don't have kids but my friends that own guns and do have kids all take their kids to a hunting or NRA course when they are about 8. I feel 8 is the right age, not too young but young enough to get a good start. I don't think it's whether they should use guns or not but rather what guns they should use. A child should probably only shoot rifles and shotguns. They can shoot pistols when they get older probably around 12 or 13.


Yes. So many gun injuries/fatalities (other than intentional shootings) stem from carelessness in dealing with firearms. I once heard a friend say that the kind of gun that kills people the most is the "unloaded" one, because so many people assume that the weapon's unloaded, and they wind up finding out the hard way that it isn't. By teaching proper handling and use of firearms, you learn that you're to assume that the gun is loaded at all times and not to point it at anything you're not willing to shoot, thereby eliminating the possibility of accidentally shooting yourself or someone else. In all reality, I don't think this applies to just kids either. There are plenty of adults who make these kinds of mistakes as well and should learn the proper handling and use of these weapons.


Children should be taught early to respect all firearms and treat all firearms as loaded, to avoid child firearm related accidents.

When they are old enough and responsible enough to actually handle a firearm they should be entered into a NRA approved safety course for young shooters.

Marksmanship and hunting teach skills and values that children can use in their everyday lives as they grow into adulthood.


I've owned a gun since the first day I was legally allow to own one and I've never had any problems. However, my mom and dad taught me how to shoot starting when I was about 5 or 6. I'd say that by the time I was 8 I knew exactly what not to do with a gun.

Even though we're a bunch of Montana wackos I'd like to think there was one really important thing that I learned: If you're going to pick up a gun and point it at someone you'd better have beyond a damn good reason AND be ready to accept any consequences of your actions... and only pull the trigger as a very last resort since (in either case) it might be the last time you ever do... well, anything.

Teaching kids safe handling should go hand-in-hand with teaching them the consequences of bad decisions. Kids mimic behavior (good and bad) so be a good example and they should follow. Past that I think you just have to trust that they'll make the right decisions


My father taught me to use a firearm when i was younger and I also got a lot of exposure in Boy Scouts. Although I own no firearms now, I think if done responsibly this can be a valuable lesson. Bottom line: know your child and make the decision based upon that.


If you own a firearm your children should know how to properly handle it.

This is my rifle this is my gut, this is for fighting this is for fun!


I learned how to handle a gun when I was eight, I think it is the perfect age to learn.


Don't know if another "yes" is really required but totally. If there is going to be a firearm around, they need to know to respect it. Knowing about something makes it less of an object to sneak off try to something respected... if that makes any sense :)


I think it is more important that the gun owner knows how to responsibly store and secure the weapon so that there are no accidents with the children. Whether the owner wants to teach the child to use the gun is secondary to taking precautions to prevent accidents.
Guns don't kill people, but people with inappropriate access to guns can.


I have never handled or fired a real gun, but it's something I would like to do. Mostly just to have done it and to be a little more comfortable around firearms.
I think that teaching kids to respect and correctly handle weapons is never a bad idea, especially if the child lives in a community/culture where firearms are used regularly.


Yes! I learned about guns when I was around 8 years old and I also went to the gun range with my Dad and shot some as well. At the very least you need to teach a child what it is and what it can do so they don't shoot themselves or someone else by mistake.


I love you all. I began reading the comments thinking I would be wading in hip deep among the "oh! guns KILL people and are evil" crowd. It is nice to see my level headed wooters come out in force.

The same thing can be said of knives and fire. Children should be taught to respect and properly use them as well. Both can hurt, maim and even kill if used improperly. I am so lucky that my folks had the sense to teach me what I now consider common sense things:

If you have to stand on a chair, do so with the back of the chair in front of you so you have a sturdy place to grab or lean forward if you must.

Wear long sleeves, long pants and shoes when deep frying food that splatters.

Take jewelry off when working with machinery/moving parts.

Tie back long hair when working on your car.

Don't wear flowing clothes when working with fire.

Wear shoes when mowing the lawn.

A gun is ALWAYS loaded and NEVER take aim at anything unless you intend on blasting a hole in it. NEVER.


Somebody mentioned the primary importance of storing and securing the weapons. Anyone who relies on a gunsafe or lock in place of education is kidding themselves. It's like "child-proofing". It's a dangerous misconception. You have to "child-proof" the child not the environment. Your house may be safe but the rest of the world certainly is not. We live on a farm and raised two children here. With thirty animals on the property, our eyes could not be on the children every second. There's a swift running stream, tools, chemicals, equipment...and weapons. It simply was not possible or practical to fence off the stream or lock up every single dangerous item in a place that a curious child would have no access. The best course of action was to teach the children what was dangerous to them and how to stay safe. This had the added benefit of protecting them when they were not on our property or when the were under the care of less responsible adults.


I may not have stated my position clearly. I do not intend for physical restrictions to be used in place of education, but rather in addition to it. A child who is old enough to be educated about a gun should be, however I would not advocate leaving a loaded weapon lying around casually in a house with children in it, even if they do understand gun safety. You don't know when they might bring over a curious friend or when a relative might bring over a child who is not knowledgeable.

Furthermore, there are cases of children who were literally too young to be taught gun safety (as in, their grasp of language was insufficient) who managed to kill each other or themselves*. If there are very young children in a house, there is no excuse for leaving an unsecured gun lying around, ever.

*See the news of the "Wii suicide" (as called by the media) involving a 2-year-old girl who killed herself with an unsecured loaded gun.


You need to teach a child about guns just like you need to teach children about knives or axes or cars or fire or stoves or any other potentially dangerous item or tool. Guns hold a special place in many persons' psyches but that does not mean they are any more or less dangerous than any other item on my partial list. Just because you may not want to think about it doesn't mean they're not out there and people should be properly educated about their dangers and uses.


Yes. There is no need to buy them one or to pressure them to own or carry one when they get older, but exposure is very important. Even people who dislike guns and want them to be restricted more [I'm not one of these people] should be exposed to them, because you not liking them doesn't cause them to cease to exist.


Age and behavior being a major indicator as to what degree, yes. Absolutely on what one could call the "Three-Out-of-Four-Rules," namely treating all firearms as loaded, keeping it aimed in a safe direction, and keeping the finger off the trigger. (See also: That one scene in Blue Bloods where Donnie Wahlberg's character teaches his son about guns and safe handling thereof.)

Once the child in question is older, more responsible, we could start talking about the fact that you can aim at a downrange target, that you can put your finger on the trigger once you're aimed at the target, and that you need to be sure of your target and what's beyond it.


Yes! The children that get "accidentaly killed by guns" are the ones that were not taught about guns and what they are and can do. My son as was I has been around them since the day he was borne. He never goes into the case to get one out because there is not mistery. He knows what they are and that he is allowed to use one when ever he wants. There is nothing taboo about any of my guns, and he doesn't feel like he has to sneak around. Thats how you keep your child safe.


I grew up in a very gun friendly family. we all learned at a young age, and every single member of my family has their concealed carry permit (my uncle teaches the classes so even my mom and sister have theirs) so i may be a bit biased, but here's my thoughts. a gun and a car are very similar. neither one is evil, or bad or good, they are just machines that do what the person controlling them says. both can be fun and useful, but they can both be unbelievably dangerous in the hands of someone incompetent or stupid, or simply uneducated. even if you don't own guns, or encourage your kids to shoot, you should take them to a gun safety class. you never know when they are gonna come across one at a friends house or some random place, and nobody ever suffered from a little education. you teach your kids to drive so they won't hurt themselves are others, makes sense to do the same with gun.


Without a doubt! If they understand how guns work and they understand how dangerous they are they will have a greater respect for them and wont get real guns confused with "MW3" guns.

My parents taught my brothers and I when we were about 8 years old. All of us took gun safety/training classes when we were old enough.


Absolutely. Not very young, obviously, but they should know how. Guns can be fun in the proper environment, and it's important to teach kids to respect a weapon for what it is.

I'd say learn about safety first, then take them shooting when they're old enough.


They should be taught how to safely handle and respect guns. They should only be allowed access to guns after training and under responsible adult supervision.


There should be gun safety classes in school in the same vein as there should be sex education classes. I don't want my daughter to use a gun or have sex anytime within the next 30 years but if she gets in the situation with either I want her to be educated and comfortable enough with guns or sex that she will make the best and wisest decision


@lparsons42: Proper gun storage is absolutely necessary for anyone who owns a gun, particularly if they have a child.

BUT... and this is a huge BUT.... no matter how well you secure YOUR firearms, you have absolutely no idea how well other people secure THEIR firearms.

So unless you want to never let your child be at someone else's house... I would argue that teaching them how to properly use and, most importantly respect and understand, firearms if even MORE important than securing the guns, because you can't control how other people secure their weapons or if they do at all.

Put another way... I'd rather have my child know how to swim than have to trust every person who owns a pool to have a proper fence and locked gate.


I'll toss in another YES vote.

Nothing can replace a gun safety course.

Gun ownership is a privilege any don't get to enjoy.


I don't own a gun and never took a class myself, so I see no reason to personally teach it or get my kid involved. If he wanted to get into hunting, etc, then it makes sense, but not personally for me.

just an FYI, not against guns, just don't own one.


@whitlock929: haha! just do what me and my dad and brother did. whenever my sister had a date, we'd go get about half a dozen guns, and start taking htem apart and cleaning them on the kitchen table. when the poor fool came to the door, we'd make him come in and sit down and answer questions. we'd play a game called "who can make him squirm the most". start off like "so where do you go to church" then, "so what do your parents do?" then "have you ever gotten a girl pregnant and then skipped town?" "have you ever seen a pumpkin get shot with a 12gauge?" "do you know a good place to dump a body?" and we'd just go on and on. most of hte time the guy would just kinda laugh along and had a good time with us. in all honesty it was just a joke, and they all knew it.... but the site of 2 brothers and a dad all cleaning massive guns isn't an image that you forget real quick, joke or not.


@molex: good point. also love the swimming analogy. regardless of a persons stance on firearms, we have them, they are protected by the constitution, and i dont see them going anywhere anytime soon. and once again, regardless of your stance, the reality is that they are not uncommon here in the US. so why on earth would you not educate your kids about something that is very common, and very deadly if not handled properly? you may never want your kids to ever hold a gun in their life, but i'd rather them know what to do if they find themselves in a room with one than just hope they never come across one. chances are, they will at some point


Yes. Of course. Those things that you know about and can safely handle, like guns, power tools, social networks, etc., are unlikely to get you into trouble.


My kids never had any interest in them. I have had one since before they were born, when where we live was the sticks, although now its almost midtown. The younger son had an interest in diving and spear guns as a teen, but grew out of it. Knives are another story, as three of them worked in restaurants.


Depends on the child ...and the parent.


You people make me so happy. Another absolute YES from me. For all of the reasons stated here.


It's nice to see how many pro-gun Wooters there are.. ONE downvote on this question, which is pretty amazing.

Woot's slowly been trickling out firearm related stuff.. so seeing how many of us are for it can only encourage 'em to sell increase stock in firearm stuff.


Of course they should learn to use a firearm!!
Driving is very dangerous in untrained hands, and so we teach kids how to drive a car safely. Drugs are dangerous, and yet we teach children to avoid drugs. Poisons are injurious and/or deadly, yet we teach children to avoid them and we gradually teach them how to use them safely (bleach, brake fluid, drain cleaner, insecticides, gasoline, paint remover, etc.) Firearms are dangerous in untrained hands, so it naturally follows that we should teach children safe use and handling of firearms.