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Free Minds & Free Markets

My Kid Packs Heat

I taught my 10-year-old to shoot a gun. You should too.

There is no greater joy than seeing the wide-eyed look of wonder in a child's face the first time he's successfully shredded a target with a full magazine of hot lead death from a rifle.

My wife and I always intended to teach our son Anthony to shoot. It's a good skill for anybody to add to his personal quiver. If you can shoot, you have a means for putting food on the table in tough times. If you can shoot, you can defend yourself against dangerous animals (javelina and coyote wander our rural Arizona neighborhood, while mountain lion and bear frequent some of our favorite hiking trails) and malicious assailants (if he runs into a gang of tax collectors, is he supposed to beat them with his shoe?). Shooting encourages concentration and develops hand-eye coordination—and enables bonding with friends who have similar interests.

Photo by J.D. TucillePhoto by J.D. TucilleThose friends might include other kids his age in our boomstick-friendly region—but they could also include the nonagenarian rancher and former cop who took a shine to Anthony at a gun show. He'd flown his private plane to town to man his table, but was a bit downcast that his doctor was no longer willing to perform the medical assessment required for him to maintain a pilot's license.

"Maybe I'll just fly anyway," he said. "At my age, what are they going to do to me?"

We saw value in the self-confidence and personal responsibility Anthony would gain from learning to engage in the sport safely. We'd seen him grow and mature through five years (and counting) of Tae Kwon Do and were certain he'd benefit just as much from discovering how to properly handle guns.

But I had told him we'd wait until he wanted to learn, and for years he'd shown little interest.

Then in June 2015 I had a fairly serious health scare. Suddenly, it seemed that I might have a limited window of opportunity to transmit my hard-acquired knowledge and skillset—such as it is—to my pre-adolescent kid. So I started pushing to get him ready for life. In between seemingly endless bouts of medical tests, I taught him to bore holes in wood with an eggbeater drill and to drive screws and nails. I shared with him my wisdom (or lack thereof) and insights into the world. I showed him how to do some basic repairs and passed along the secrets of making a campfire.

"I know what you're doing," Wendy, my wife, said to me one day when she had me cornered. "You think you're going to die."

"Maybe," I responded.

As it turned out, I was fine after a period of recovery, and even better after the end of all that damned poking and prodding. But my come-alongs had had an effect. Of his own accord, 10-year-old Anthony announced that he was ready.

"Dad, if it's OK, I'd really like to go out shooting some time."

We made a family outing of it. We loaded the car up with a .22 rifle, reactive targets, a cardboard box for affixing the same, and plenty of ammo. Then we headed for an old sandpit in the desert that's commonly used for exactly this activity.

Anthony already knew the four basic safety rules, which we'd run through with his Nerf revolver:

The gun is always loaded (that is, you assume so).

Never point the gun at something you are not prepared to destroy.

Always be sure of your target and what's behind it.

Keep your finger off the trigger until your sights are on the target.

Admittedly, not everybody thinks children should learn to shoot. The usual control freaks not only oppose gun ownership but think that, despite the spectacular failure of Prohibition and the war on drugs, they've hit on the one activity that enthusiasts will happily surrender when threatened with sufficiently gruesome legal penalties. In addition, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) insists, "The absence of guns from children's homes and communities is the most reliable and effective measure to prevent firearm-related injuries in children and adolescents"—as if risks exist unbalanced by benefits.

Photo Credit: J.D. Tuccille

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  • Fist of Etiquette||

    But wouldn't it have been just as satisfying, Tuccille, bonding with your son over a gender-neutral activity like baking things or scouring social media for hate speech? Just make sure he knows that head shots are required if hard times turns out to be the zombie apocalypse.

    Good to read you're on the mend.

  • DaveSs||

    Shooting sports are gender neutral

  • ||

    How barbaric this article. Doesn't the author know there's much hard work to be done? Teach your kids to be feminists. It is said:

    "There's a lot of hard work to do and the first part is recognizing it," Trudeau said.
    Trudeau then said that his wife, Sophie, had pulled him aside a few months ago and told him that it was great he was telling their daughter that she is equal to boys, but he also had to stress his attitudes to their two sons. so they "grow up to be a feminist, just like Dad."

    "...We shouldn't be afraid of the word feminist. Men and women should use it to describe themselves any time they want." And with that, the audience started to cheer."

  • John Titor||

    In the far future of the Ruined Wasteland, my children will eat Trudeau's children for sustenance.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    So I shouldn't be afraid to label myself a feminist no matter what misogyny is currently coming out of my mouth?

  • LarryA||

    The shooting range version of your post is shorter:
    "Learn to shoot like a girl, if you're good enough."

    When I have a couple in a Texas license to carry class, about 80% of the time she outshoots him.

  • Playa Manhattan.||

    "Son, whatever you do, don't go to a website called reason.com"

  • ||

    Of course, this means your son will defy you and come anyway.

    Well played.

  • John Titor||

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Tuccille, we need more parents like you. Teaching your child to be skilled in something that can get his family through lean times, if necessary. Plus, just having a bit of confidence to protect himself and others goes a long way.

  • Lachowsky||

    Last Christmas I gave my 4 year a daisy bbgun. Out of everything he recieved, he was the most happy when he opened it. It's been almost a year now and he had just about wore it out. He shoots it almost every day. I spent a lot of time teaching the 4 rules when he first recieved it. He (a four year old) took those lessons to heart enough that I have been letting him go outside and shoot unsupervised for 6 or 7 months now.

  • ||

    You'll shoot your eye out!

  • geo1113||

  • The Elite Elite||

    Better be careful. Now that you've announced to the world you let your child fire a gun, some statist neighbor will look for any reason to call CPS on you to take your child away from such a "dangerous" environment.

  • Don'tTreadOnMeChipper||

    Took my 11 year old to shoot clays last month. I will never forget the smile on his face when he busted his first target....and then 17 out of the next 20. I'm sure that after he told his friends and school and they their parents that we will now be shunned, but fuck them.

  • ||

    Also, keep him away from cops.

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    In Arizona they would probably just shake his hand and invite the family out for some frosty chocolate milkshakes.

  • C. S. P. Schofield||

    And this is a major reason to teach your children to shoot. How else are they to deal with government parasites?

  • You ARE a Prog (MJG)||

    *faints dead away*

  • ||

    When I was 10 my grandfather gave me my first rifle. Most of my 10 year old friends also had rifles. I actually started shooting when I was 7. When I was growing up I knew or heard about plenty of kids getting seriously injured or even killed, but mostly car or motor bike accidents, drownings, etc. Never knew or heard about even one kid or teen who was injured or killed with a gun. My take, guns are safer than automobiles and motor bikes, and rivers, ponds, and lakes. So why again should be ban guns?

  • geo1113||

    Columbine, Sandy Hook, Virginia Tech, Ohio State...wait, Ohio State was a knife....BAN KNIVES!!!

  • Deep Lurker||

    You joke, but look at the UK's insane anti-knife laws, with the Usual Progressive Suspects here looking upon them and wishing they could do the same thing. And in New York City and in California, they're deliberately trying to force people out of their cars by screwing with the roads. (hat tip https://pjmedia.com/instapundit/250856/)

    Or - remember when the idea of bans and punitive taxes on sugary soft drinks were considered absurd exaggerations, and people who seriously worried about such things were dismissed as tin-foil-hat paranoids?

  • Longtobefree||

    Absolutely! My research has found that cars are used for 93.846% of all crime getaways.
    Not to mention the boost to the progressive fantasy of everyone having to use public transportation, so it will finally be self supporting and not burn up tax dollars.
    Think of it! reducing crime and balancing the budget in one fell swoop!
    (You might have an issue banning white men, they are mentioned somewhere in that old document that gets in the way of progress, but cars definitely are not)

  • Lachowsky||

    "My take, guns are safer than automobiles and motor bikes, and rivers, ponds, and lakes."

    1. All guns are always loaded.
    2. Never let the muzzle cover anything you are not willing to destroy.
    3. Keep your finger off the trigger until your sights are on the target.
    4. Be sure of your target and what is beyond it

    I was taught these four rules from a very young age. If you follow them, them your quote is correct.

  • ||

    ... and what is beyond it

    A background check that gun owners can get behind.

  • Nunya||

    It's just "common sense"....

  • Francisco d'Anconia||

    I had a neighbor "accidentally" shoot himself while "cleaning" his rifle. He was a known idiot and it surprised no one. Nature's attempt at chlorinating the gene pool. He lived.

  • Francisco d'Anconia||

    He was 13 or 14.

  • Tundra||

    Impressive. Handguns I guess I can see, but shooting yourself with a long gun takes a special moron.

  • Francisco d'Anconia||

    My dad had previously taken his rifle from him on at least two occasions, while deer hunting, for unsafe practices.

  • DEG||

    My dad was eight or nine when he bought his first rifle from a sporting goods store in Centre City, Philly. His older brother, who was 12 or 13 at the time, was with him. No other folks with them. No background checks. No licenses required. Cash and carry.

    My dad and his older brother carried the rifles openly through the city from the sporting goods store to the train station. The only person that said anything was an older guy that thought it was a little unseemly for two boys to be carrying rifles openly through the city and on the train. Did this old guy call the cops? No. He offered them some newspaper and helped them wrap the rifles up the newspaper.

    Times have changed. Try that today.

  • DEG||

    Hyperion, how is your wife's trip to Berlin going?

  • ||

    I get to see this a lot with the scouts in my troop. I also get to see a lot of parents have conniption fits over their kid getting close to a gun, since of course the only possible outcome is that it jumps off the table by itself and fires right into their kid's face (after of course killing a half dozen other children randomly).

    The kids' enjoyment mostly offsets the parents' pissiness.

  • Ken Shultz||

    You're statistically more likely to shoot yourself or a family member than to shoot a deer--and knowing that is what being a progressive is all about.

  • Lachowsky||

    Statistically speaking, I have shot dozens of deer and never shot myself or a family member. Something about lies, damn lies, and statistics.

  • Ken Shultz||

    Well, you're obviously not a progressive.

    If you were more educated, you'd believe in statistics instead of being deceived by your own lying eyes.

  • american socialist||

    That's not really a statistic. That's making an argument from an anecdote-- something gun nutters do, like, every five seconds... probably more often than when someone blows their dick off by forgetting to take the safety off.

  • Mike Schmidt||

    For someone who supposedly learned to shoot at 6 years old, you sure seem to have trouble understanding how a firearm works.

    If someone blew his dick off, then he forgot to turn the safety ON not OFF.

  • american socialist||

    You got me. I'm a lapsed Baptist and gun nutter and am apathetic about both. This happened when I learned about serious drugs.

  • John Titor||

    "I'm an idiot and a compulsive liar, why don't you believe me?"

  • DEG||

    He says the "right" things, so that's why we should believe him.

    Damn, how did I type that with a straight face?

  • Mike Schmidt||

    I'm a lapsed Baptist and gun nutter and am apathetic about both.

    Oh really? Well, I'm sorry. I thought you were just a fucking idiot.

  • Sevo||

    Fuck off, asswipe.

  • Ceci n'est pas un woodchipper||

    ...probably more often than when someone blows their dick off by forgetting to take the safety off.

    Please give us your valuable and informed opinion about gun policy. Obviously you know exactly what you're talking about and aren't just spouting off some idiotic talking points. I'm sure you have actually seen at least one firearm in your life.

  • american socialist||

    With regard to gun control laws, I think local communities should have the right to compose policy as they see fit. I'm apathetic about whether guns should be legal and agnostic about whether gun control laws reduce gun deaths (I think the preponderance of the evidence is that strict and comprehensive gun control laws do, in fact, reduce gun deaths.)

    The problem I have is when gun nutters come into communities that clearly do not want gun stores down the street and wave the 2nd amendment around and threaten to sue. That's why I'm for getting rid of this relic of jurisprudence from 18th century slavers and letting local communities decide what they'd like to do with people who sell guns to gangbangers.

  • Playa Manhattan.||

    I feel the same way about slavery. Let the local communities decide.

  • deepspeed||

    I've noticed that amsoc uses the word "community" incessantly, but never mentions the words "rights" or "private property". I'm sure that's just an oversight on my part though.

  • Agammamon||

    If people do not want a 'gun store' - fuck 'em. Those people dream themselves to be your master.

    If people do not want guns - don't buy them. Don't buy them and there won't be any gun stores.

  • DaveSs||

    That's an easy way to fuck with people who are in no way violating any other person's rights.

    I used to live around the Chicago area.
    There were a handful of cities that used to do exactly what you wished they would do...extreme prohibition, and over the years they ruined the lives of numerous travelers.

    Problem is (apart from the fact that such laws violate fundamental liberties), it is impossible for anyone to be knowledgeable with the laws of every town or city they pass through, and for that matter, even if one was aware of such a prohibition, the borders of cities in urban areas are not at all obvious, even to the residents. So it ends up being quite easy for a person to put themselves in legal jeopardy without their knowing it.

    Given your proclivity towards authoritarianism it seems putting people in cages for pretend offenses doesn't bother you one bit.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    And the Constitution makes all those laws irrelevant, or should.

    Until we stand up for zero laws on citizen owned weapons, these politicians will keep trying to whittle away at the 2nd.

  • DaveSs||

    That's an easy way to fuck with people who are in no way violating any other person's rights.

    I used to live around the Chicago area.
    There were a handful of cities that used to do exactly what you wished they would do...extreme prohibition, and over the years they ruined the lives of numerous travelers.

    Problem is (apart from the fact that such laws violate fundamental liberties), it is impossible for anyone to be knowledgeable with the laws of every town or city they pass through, and for that matter, even if one was aware of such a prohibition, the borders of cities in urban areas are not at all obvious, even to the residents. So it ends up being quite easy for a person to put themselves in legal jeopardy without their knowing it.

    Given your proclivity towards authoritarianism it seems putting people in cages for pretend offenses doesn't bother you one bit.

  • Foo_dd||

    the most common deception of gun control freaks is to insert the qualifier "gun" deaths. the preponderance of evidence shows that the most restrictive gun control policies MIGHT have a small impact on the number of gun deaths... but have ZERO impact on the total number of murders or suicides. one question gun control proponents can never answer, "why is death by a gun worse than any other death?" by focusing on the instrument, you deliberately fail to look at the underlying causes. you don't save anyone's life.... you just make it harder for them to die in one specific way. (Japan has almost no guns... still has like 6X the suicide rate)

    as for the local community deciding... that is exactly how the free market works. if the local community does not want any gun shops.... then the gun shops would have no customers. (the "who sell to gang bangers," is a complete load of BS... because gang bangers don't pass background checks... and hence, are not the ones buying them at those gun-shops)

  • {|}===[|}:;:;:;:;:;:;:>||

    Now that Japanese imperialist Capitalist oppression and the nation-wide resistance to it have pushed our labouring people into the arena of war, Communists should prove themselves the most politically conscious leaders in this war. Every Communist must grasp the truth, "Political power grows out of the barrel of a gun." Our principle is that the Party commands the gun, and the gun must never be allowed to command the Party. Yet, having guns, we can create Party organizations, as witness the powerful Party organizations which the Eighth Route American Army has created in northern China the West. We can also create cadres, create schools, create culture, create mass movements. Everything in Yenan New York has been created by having guns. All things grow out of the barrel of a gun.

  • Entropy Drehmaschine Void||

    Shows just how much you know, you fucking progtard idiot.

    Nobody blows anything "off by forgetting to take the safety off."

  • Set Us Up The Chipper||

    Heh, heh, that was priceless. What a fucking retard. He knows guns have safeties but doesn't quite know what it is. I'm thinking he believes that gun safeties are just are better in run defense but cover quite as well as gun corner backs?

  • american socialist||

    Football and baseball both suck. When my Dad used to take me you could hang out with actual normal working-class people that were into such things. Now it's full of boring corporate types on expense accounts. I've given it up permanently and now spend that freed up time learning about the wonders of Ayn Rand's economic philosophy from all you good people. Much more rewarding.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    So what you're trying to say is that Chien-Ming Wang and Daisuke Matsuzaka brought way too many chinks and gooks into the bleachers.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    You should see the lefty heads explode, when I explain that I have a pistol with no "safety".

    BOOM!!!!

  • R C Dean||

    There's over 5mm deer shot every year, so color me skeptical.

  • Ken Shultz||

    And how many of them are shot by progressives?

    Almost none of them!

    Because progressives are educated and smart, and they know that you're statistically more likely to shoot yourself or a family member than to shoot a deer.

    Everyone--and I mean every. single. one. of commenters at Salon--knows that. And if you don't know that, then you must not be a progressive because knowing that you're likely to shoot yourself is what being a progressive is all about!

  • Wasteland Wanderer||

    5mm

    That's a really tiny deer.

  • Foo_dd||

    i've seen some bad lies from progressives... but that is pretty bad. there are 6 million deer killed per year... so where are you getting this nonsense? is there some imaginary statistic for deer killed with a handgun?

  • The Hyperbole||

    I taught my 10-year-old to shoot a gun. You should too.

    Why should I? He's your kid and you already did.

  • A Thinking Mind||

    Literal Lol. Nice one.

  • The Fusionist||

    So this is the Reason equivalent of Sweeps Week, isn't it?

    How about "My gay pot orgy in Mexico City"?

  • Lord Rollingpin||

    ENB is penning that article right now!

  • american socialist||

    "If you can shoot, you have a means for putting food on the table in tough time"

    I learned to shoot a gun in the hills of Appalachia when I was six, but it's important to realize that times have changed and that if you want to put food on the table during tough times it's probably more beneficial for you to teach your kids that you can have a full meal on sample day at Costco or how to download the Groupon app.

  • Ken Shultz||

    "I learned to shoot a gun in the hills of Appalachia when I was six"

    No one believes you.

  • american socialist||

    No, for realz. My grandpa was a war veteran and had his collection of guns over my grandmother's sewing machine.

  • Playa Manhattan.||

    A war veteran... From one of those wars.

  • american socialist||

    WW2. The one you maybe could make a case for. I'm pretty sure grandpa felt the same way I do about the wars that followed.

  • Ron||

    My grandmother kept a gun in the sewing machine. Still not sure why but after she passed my mother kept calling me to retrieve guns from unusual locations

  • Hank Phillips||

    You never know.... maybe his/er National Socialist parents taught him Hitlerjugend waffen tradecraft so he could hunt selfish but unarmed jewish plutocrats.

  • Ken Shultz||

    Born on a mountain top in Tennessee
    Greenest state in the land of the free
    Lived in the woods so he knew every tree
    Killed him a b'ar when he was only three!

    American . . . American Socialist--King of the Wild Frontier!

    LOL

    Bullshit.

  • Mike Schmidt||

    or how to download the Groupon app.

    True liberal freeloader. Don't have enough money for food, but still have a smartphone with internet access!

  • NoDakMat||

    +1 Obamaphone

  • Ceci n'est pas un woodchipper||

    It's important to remember that when people like amsoc want to seize the property of "the rich" in order to end poverty they're talking about the kind of poverty your average college student experiences, not actual poverty. And when they say "the rich", they just mean everyone with as much or more money as they think their parents have. IOW, you're gonna get soaked so that they can order pizza on their cell phones.

  • Mike Schmidt||

    +$15/hr "living" wage

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    Fact, almost everyone currently making 15 dollars or more an hour is alive. Can the same said for people who make less?

  • A Thinking Mind||

    My grandmother has no income at all, and she is dead. You may have a point.

  • Nunya||

    Sounds like your definition of hard times is having to put the Prius in neutral while gently applying the brake because you don't have quite enough gas to get there without hyper, hyper miling.

  • Ceci n'est pas un woodchipper||

    Wait, so when you were six years old growing up in a shack in Kentucky as the poor spawn of an itinerant trapper and Indian agent knowing how to shoot a gun was a relevant life skill, but now that you troll Internet forums in a Starbucks it's a relic of long forgotten times best left to the past? How the fuck old are you?

  • american socialist||

    "troll Internet forums in a Starbucks"

    Most of the time it's on the can.

  • Threedoor||

    At the Bux.

  • Entropy Drehmaschine Void||

    2chili-

    You used pleasure and master n the same sentence about shooting.

    These euphemisms are off the chain!

  • Tundra||

    Trap shooting is one of the fastest growing sports in Minnesota. For both boys and girls. I was chatting recently with a mom who grew up in India and was absolutely terrified of guns. Of course, she married a Minnesota boy and bred another. So, guns.

    Her son joined the trap team and she told me how at first she was nervous about being around all these armed kids. Until she watched their discipline and flat-out joy. Now, a couple years in, she loves the sport and is learning herself.

    My kid shoots better than I do. My daughter recently expressed an interest, as well, so we will be starting shortly.

    Oh, and this:

    To quote my pediatrician wife, "The American Academy of Pediatrics can kiss my ass."

    is why I still maintain that you are a lucky bastard, Tucille. Glad you're better. Now come back full time to this rag, please.

  • DEG||

    is why I still maintain that you are a lucky bastard, Tucille. Glad you're better. Now come back full time to this rag, please.

    Seconded.

  • Ceci n'est pas un woodchipper||

    Good on you, 2Chili, I plan to teach my daughter about guns as soon as she's old enough. I'll get flack from the wife, but too bad.

    Last time I brought it up we'd both been a few cocktails in. Long story short, she basically said that since guns are weapons and weapons are used to injure or kill, enjoying target shooting is morally identical to enjoying murder. This from an otherwise kind, intelligent, wonderful woman whose father lives in rural east Texas and shoots targets with his AR in the backyard. I basically just told her that she was either fucking with me, in which case there was no point to continuing the discussion, or she genuinely believed what she said, in which case she was beyond my ability to help her. Then I made another martini and ordered an 80% lower.

  • A Thinking Mind||

    Enjoying baseball means swinging a bat, and since blunt objects are often used in murders, enjoying baseball is exactly the same as enjoying murder. This is why Cubs' fans are such assholes.

  • Francisco d'Anconia||

    Shooting encourages concentration and develops hand-eye coordination—and enables bonding with friends who have similar interests.

    And teaches responsibility.

    Few people become responsible individuals until they are trusted with an opportunity to rise to the occasion.

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    As someone who does not know how to shoot, I ain't teaching my kid to shoot, he will have too mich leverage over me then. Too much power.

    This could be a libertarian metaphor, but it's just sad reality.

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    Yeah, hopefully. I used to do archery back in Boy Scouts and that was fun. Hopefully can pick this up too soon.

  • SupportYourRights||

    My Dad started with me at four years of age in 1962 and when you do that it becomes second nature in regard to safety and skill. Not too long ago they used to have .22 rifle teams in many high schools. That seems so long ago now. It also teaches your children respect for life and many other positive social behaviors.

  • ||

    My father learned to shoot while his father desgined and built the Jean Lefitte bridge. I was 5 years old the first time I fired a gun. I learned to shoot on the banks of the gila river in southern arizona. My son was 4 years old when he learned to shoot and by 12 he could out shoot most grown men.

    I cant understand how anyone could hate their own children enough to not teach them to defend themselves.

  • AlmightyJB||

    Glad to hear about the improvement in your health J.D. You're a good dad, your son will always have those skills and will always remember the times you spent together.

  • ||

    Good grief I'm smashed on a saturday morning.

    Hey Too Chilly, email me and I will ship your kid a couple thousand rounds of 22s.

  • Mike Schmidt||

    Good grief I'm smashed on a saturday morning.

    You are living the good life. I endeavor to join you presently.

  • dchang0||

    Re: "as if risks exist unbalanced by benefits."

    As long as the gun control freaks refuse to count the number of lives saved by guns, they will always be lying when they say guns are a public health problem.

    That would be like counting only the number of times acetominophen has killed (hundreds yearly), willfully ignoring the people it's helped (millions or billions yearly), and insisting on labeling it a poison.

  • Cdr Lytton||

    There's a big sign next the hotel here in Boston from some gun control group claiming their not anti-gun and gun laws save lives. Dishonest lying fucksticks.

  • FrankHerbert||

    shot my first firearm at age 8, grew up with full access to plenty of weapons. first lessons learned were SAFETY, SAFETY, SAFETY. next lessons learned were shooting.

    pass it on to your kids, they'll remember it.

  • Akira||

    "SAFETY, SAFETY, SAFETY"

    Absolutely. Teaching kids to respect guns is crucial.

    Anti-gun parents never mention gun safety; they just tell their kids that guns are evil and to never go near them. You don't have to be a child psychologist to know that this just makes the kid seek out the taboo and explore it alone.

    Spending range time with an experienced gun user is the best way for kids to learn the fun, responsibilities, and possible dangers of guns. Making guns a taboo will just lead to the kid fucking around with a gun when he gets his hands on one for the first time.

  • DblEagle||

    JD is absolutely correct about teaching youth to shoot. It teaches responsibility and valuable life skills.
    I shot my first .22 at eight in the AZ desert. As part of the safety brief my dad had me shoot a metal 1 gallon gas can full of water. The size of the exit point taught me forever the power of even a small caliber weapon.

    Shot my first dove in 7th grade and first Coues Whitetail in 8th grade and my 8th grade graduation present was a .270. I still hunt and shoot to this day 50 years later.

    As a parent I first took my daughter small game hunting (walk along) when she was in kindergarten and taught her to shoot the same year. Son was the same a year later. They both shot and hunted as teens. I look forward to taking the grand kids out in a few years.

    JD- Keep healing and return soon!

  • The Late P Brooks||

    "The absence of guns elephants from children's homes and communities is the most reliable and effective measure to prevent firearm elephant-related injuries in children and adolescents"

  • Wolf 359||

    Not a gun person, but if my kid ever wants to learn from people I trust, more power to him.

    I'm more interested in learning archery, one of those old fashioned recurve bows. That could be practical for hunting, though not much for self defense.

  • dchang0||

    Oh, I don't know if any criminal is crazy enough to take on someone armed with a bow.

    The same goes for cops--most bows are powerful enough to pierce soft body armor and possibly even rifle plates.

  • Wolf 359||

    Not a gun person, but if my kid ever wants to learn from people I trust, more power to him.

    I'm more interested in learning archery, one of those old fashioned recurve bows. That could be practical for hunting, though not much for self defense.

  • Wolf 359||

    My first squirrel! I'm so proud.

  • ace_m82||

    Don't need a gun to bag a squirrel here...

  • Akira||

    "The absence of guns from children's homes and communities is the most reliable and effective measure to prevent firearm-related injuries in children and adolescents"

    And the absence of ANYTHING from children's homes and communities is the most reliable and effective measure to prevent injuries related to the aforementioned thing.

    Plus, "the absence of guns from homes and communities"... Well, that's the tricky part, isn't it? As if they can just pass some law that will result in all guns disappearing overnight.

  • Hank Phillips||

    Especially filthy lucre! Draining that stuff away from households impressionable children and into the coffers of sensitive, concerned and aware political altruists could go a long way toward keeping the spectre of plutocracy from indoctrinating our children. Thank Allah for Marx and Engels, Bellamy, London and Howells!

  • SIV||

    Reason needs a little more of these "good news" stories (and A LOT LESS shilling for the establishment "governing class"). J.D.'s heartwarming piece is a bit of Backwoods Home-style for the cosmopolitan set.

  • Hank Phillips||

    After the Korean war EVERY 9-year-old in Texas knew how to clean and operate a firearm. Scratch that... every male child outside of the communist counties of Upton, Zavala, ValVerde, Webb, Terry, Sterling, Starr, Refugio, Presidio, Reeves, Kleberg, Jim Hogg, Jim Wells, Kenedy, Brooks, Dimmit and Duval.

  • LapsedLiberal||

    I love guns, shooting and hunting as much as the next guy (and more than most) but I can never get over people who claim they need to protect themselves from coyotes (or javelinas). These animals are as dangerous to people as dickie birds - zero, none, zip, nada. Mountain lions and black bears are also trivial threats to humans. If you need coyotes as an excuse to go around with a gun, you better move to Detroit or Baltimore, where there is something more dangerous than your fantasies to worry about.

  • LapsedLiberal||

    I love guns, shooting and hunting as much as the next guy (and more than most) but I can never get over people who claim they need to protect themselves from coyotes (or javelinas). These animals are as dangerous to people as dickie birds - zero, none, zip, nada. Mountain lions and black bears are also trivial threats to humans. If you need coyotes as an excuse to go around with a gun, you better move to Detroit or Baltimore, where there is something more dangerous than your fantasies to worry about.

  • texexpatriate||

    That Ruger 10-.22 rifle in the picture is a neat little rifle, but is hardly "packing heat."

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