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Posted: 1/31/2006 4:14:37 PM EDT
first off this is not my story, a good friend of mine told me this, and I had him use my account to post it , I dont have any kids so I cant really speak.


heres the story,
i have three boys 5, 7, & 9. the 7 year old opened a drawer at a friends house (in the kitchen) and there it was a gun. i am a gun owner but had not to date talked to them about gun safty. the wife and i had a diference of opinion on the timming of the talk. needless to say i steped up that night and had our first talk. and it was basic to say the least. what should I teach them, and how can i instill it?

how do i handle not knowing if my son's friend's know proper firearm safety?

add the unknown third kid who wants to play. any how, what should i teach the kids to do?

chris
Link Posted: 1/31/2006 4:16:39 PM EDT
take them all out shooting.

seriously.

then they will see for themselves the potential for danger, and will treat firearms with respect.
Link Posted: 1/31/2006 4:20:41 PM EDT
+1 take them shooting. Immeaadiatly correct any unsafe behavior quickly and and seriously, without being mean.
Link Posted: 1/31/2006 4:20:47 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/31/2006 4:25:22 PM EDT by warlord]
I would give a lecture on the fact that "if they find a gun, tell an adult."

For my children I trained them to handle a gun by using an a CO2 gun at home in the back yard. We spend hours, and I teach them how to line up the sights, grip, stance etc.

EditedToAdd: I also teach to wear eye protection(which is mandatory even for an air gun), and since you are teaching them, ear protection is not necessary.
Link Posted: 1/31/2006 4:25:40 PM EDT
Teach them they are not toys... It's not Cool its simply a tool to do a job just like a table saw or a nail gun.. Take time with them make it a father son thing, make it a point to teach them NEVER to muzzle sweep ANYONE and to never ever handle a gun without checking the chamber.. Inform them this is a rite of passage a start to being responsible... After that a .22 and ALOT of ammo some fun... Lesson learned... Good handling is the start shooting skills come later
Link Posted: 1/31/2006 4:31:12 PM EDT
My 5 year old loves shooting his BB gun and a Ruger 10/22. While at the range he fired one round from my AR-15 ... he didn't like it. I then put one round in my Glock 23 ... he was a trooper ... took the single shot .. didn't even drop it ... just handed it back to me with this look of fear on his face and went back to his 10/22. He has defintely learned the power and devastation a gun can cause and it is not a toy. I let him handle my firearms when I am around ... haven't ever caught him snooping or doing anything stupid. He doesn't have to .. he knows if he want to see one of my guns he just has to ask.
Link Posted: 1/31/2006 4:31:55 PM EDT
500 round brick of .22 +1 rifle. Repeat as necessary.
Link Posted: 1/31/2006 4:34:31 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/31/2006 4:40:13 PM EDT by sirensong]
no offense, but IMO, you've waited too long, so you have some catching up to do.

take them shooting first, before showing them the guns at home. they need to get an understanding of the dangers, and nothing will teach that to a kid faster than loud noise and sharp recoil. if it were me, i'd lead off with bigger bore to make the point, then back off and take them through the fundamentals while their ears are still ringing. once the basic safety stuff is out of the way, take them through it live-fire with the .22s. that is the point where fun comes in.

a few points that are important when working with kids--

-make them understand that they aren't going to break the gun. before letting them shoot by themselves, have them handle an unloaded gun to get the feel of it. they should be cautious, but not ginger with it. for rifles, have them shoulder the gun from port arms, until they can handle it with confidence. a controlled draw with pistol does the same thing.

-explain that they have to take command of the gun, or the gun will take command of them. to quote the gunny, "move the rifle around your head, not your head around the rifle."

-let them miss a few times. a lot of people forget this and coach too quickly. allow them to work things out on their own whenever possible. some kids think a miss is a bad thing and get frustrated. hell, half the fun of shooting is hearing the bang and feeling the recoil. let them know that, as long as they are being safe, a miss is no big deal.

-have fun. make it fun for them. a kid's first time shooting is a life-changing event. you can sour a kid forever by not remembering that shooting is fun.

[ETA: as for the unknown friend, tell your kids that if anyone does something that doesn't square with your safety teaching, your kids should politely leave. to drive this point home, put a ball cap on a melon and shoot it with a hollowpoint.]

[edit2: this is directed at your buddy. i kept forgetting that it wasn't you]
Link Posted: 1/31/2006 4:41:42 PM EDT
what i have helped people do when i used to do some private lessons was to tell the to find the most boring place in the house to give the first introduction. i will give you a run down of one lady i taught to shoot.

what she did was to tell her son ( 10 YO ) to clean off the hall table, she then brought the gun out in its case, she set the case down and told her son what she had, she explained that he could see it anytime he wanted but only at that table. he could not get up with out calling her and handing it over. at that point she took it out and checked it empty ( she was a good student ) then she showed him how to check it empty and said anytime you pick a gun up you check it. she then showed him how to unload it using empties. and in the process how to load it. then she handed it over to him, he procceded to check it empty. at that point she gave him some empties to use for loading and unloading as well as dry fire. she went thru the whole check it empty again with him. he spent about 20 mins loading and unloading the empties and dry firing at the wall ( the only thing he was allowed to point it at ). after about 20 mins he was bored and asked to get up, so she cleared the pistol and took it back so he could get up.

she took him shooting about a week later so he could see it some more and try it out. about 2 months later he asked if she still had it, and if he could see it. she said yes but he knew the rules so he cleaned the table off. when it was handed to him he checked it empty and "played" with it for less than 5 mins... the whole gun thing to him was now boring and had no mystery.

now 8 years later she has never had a problem with him and the gun at all, he does go shooting with her but he is always ready to leave after a few rounds.
Link Posted: 1/31/2006 4:42:34 PM EDT
If you read some books on this subject they say to show the gun to your kid and let them know what it is. Most kids are amazed at what a gun really is. Tell your child whenever he/she has the "urge" to look at the gun to let you know and you let them handle it. Also try and teach your child how to talk to other people and firearms and firearm safety. Most child related shootings happen because the child is just curious. Also give the parents a call at his friends house and talk to the about locking up the gun in the kitchen. Worse case is that you don't let you child go to that house anymore. Hope this helps.
Link Posted: 1/31/2006 4:47:06 PM EDT

Originally Posted By COLT6721A3:
My 5 year old loves shooting his BB gun and a Ruger 10/22. While at the range he fired one round from my AR-15 ... he didn't like it. I then put one round in my Glock 23 ... he was a trooper ... took the single shot .. didn't even drop it ... just handed it back to me with this look of fear on his face and went back to his 10/22. He has defintely learned the power and devastation a gun can cause and it is not a toy. I let him handle my firearms when I am around ... haven't ever caught him snooping or doing anything stupid. He doesn't have to .. he knows if he want to see one of my guns he just has to ask.


This is exactly the way to start them out.. I started my daughter on a .22 then when she had shown she understood the basic operation of the different systems, lever action Semi-auto, revolver etc.. etc.. I took her out and let her shoot an sks I made her pay close attention to the log we shot as the log would pulse after the round struck it... She got the fact that if that was flesh the tissue damage would be astronomical.. To this date I have never found her messing with any of my ak's or ar's ... Besides now that she is 15 she has her own... Some girls get all giddy when someone says " lets go to the mall" Mine gets exited when I mention a quail hunt, varmint hunt, shooting skeet, or simply plinking I can't let her shoot with her cousins she is always asking me if she can shoot my .357 mag or my .40 cz75sa... I don't want my nephews getting discouraged.. For that matter I don't want her shooting them because I get discouraged...
Link Posted: 1/31/2006 5:00:15 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/31/2006 5:00:55 PM EDT by Greenhorn]
For god's sake, this isn't drugs or sex we're talking about! Whoever heard of giving your kid the "talk" about guns???

Take them out shooting, show them that guns are dangerous unless you handle them properly but are very fun to use when you follow the rules, and don't treat it as some magical, mythical item - treat it as any other useful but potentially dangerous tool, like a table saw or car.
Link Posted: 1/31/2006 5:02:36 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Greenhorn:
For god's sake, this isn't drugs or sex we're talking about! Whoever heard of giving your kid the "talk" about guns???

Take them out shooting, show them that guns are dangerous unless you handle them properly but are very fun to use when you follow the rules, and don't treat it as some magical, mythical item - treat it as any other useful but potentially dangerous tool, like a table saw or car.



amusingly enough, while grouwing up, i was more frightened of the table saw than of any gun.

(and the bandsaw gave me the heebie-jeebies!)
Link Posted: 1/31/2006 5:13:10 PM EDT
I had similar questions about introducing a seven year old to guns. Thank you all for the great advice.

And to Sirensong, I am a Commercial Carpenter and the really big table saws can still give me the heebee jeebies making long cuts in hardwood. Sometimes the cut-off piece between the blade and rip fence can fly back and hit you in the nards.....
Link Posted: 1/31/2006 5:14:09 PM EDT
The kids and adults I teach air rifle to are told the most important thing you can learn are the safety rules. Don't point your gun at any thing you don't want distroyied, keep your finger off the trigger and make sure of your back stop.

The finger off the trigger is a sore point for me. I had been also taught to keep it off the trigger, that seems all well and good, but NO ONE says where to put it!!!! I teach my people to put it on the side of the stock outside of the trigger guard. It HAS TO TOUCH THE STOCK, thereby sending a signal to the brain of just where the finger is. If the brain doesn't know where the finger is, eventually it will come in contact with said trigger. Bad things happen then.
Link Posted: 1/31/2006 5:16:32 PM EDT
Go to the nearest library and borrow the Eddie the Eagle tape or buy one or request a copy from the NRA.

As well as talking to them like everyone suggested.
Link Posted: 1/31/2006 5:23:34 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Greenhorn:
For god's sake, this isn't drugs or sex we're talking about! Whoever heard of giving your kid the "talk" about guns???

Take them out shooting, show them that guns are dangerous unless you handle them properly but are very fun to use when you follow the rules, and don't treat it as some magical, mythical item - treat it as any other useful but potentially dangerous tool, like a table saw or car.



Damn straight broham!
Link Posted: 1/31/2006 5:45:19 PM EDT

Originally Posted By david_g17:
take them all out shooting.

seriously.

then they will see for themselves the potential for danger, and will treat firearms with respect.




+1
Also make sure they UNDERSTAND that they are under NO circumstances try to handle ANY firearm without your supervision. I think this is KEY. Education is the best bet but make sure that they know that they can not handle it themselves. I'd be concerned as I am with even my idiot adult friends that just because they have handled a gun before they suddenly think they are a fire arms expert which we all know is a bad state of mind for new shooters.
Link Posted: 1/31/2006 7:49:37 PM EDT

Originally Posted By MrMurphy:

Also make sure they UNDERSTAND that they are under NO circumstances try to handle ANY firearm without your supervision. I think this is KEY. Education is the best bet but make sure that they know that they can not handle it themselves.



i strongly disagree with this, except perhaps for the 5-year-old. ages 7 and 9 are old enough for a father to expect some responsibility. in 1978, at age 6, i was taught to defend the house if dad wasn't around, but was told not to touch dad's guns without a damn good reason. i had my own .22 bolt gun, and i could do with that what i pleased.

strangely enough, i managed not to shoot anyone, even myself.

if you treat a kid like an idiot, he will learn to be an idiot.
Link Posted: 1/31/2006 8:00:49 PM EDT
+1 on taking them shooting...

When I was 4 or 5 (and my brother was 3 or 4) Dad took us to the range. He was a collector and had stuff laying around all over (old muskets, etc) and he/Mom knew we were going to get curious, so...

So imagine a 5 year old with a 1911A1, old USGI warhorse. Yep, that was how Dad introduced us to guns. Mom wanted us to go, so Dad could scare the crap out of us and never use 'em again.

It worked against my brother.

Not me

No, really, education is key, as is experience. Just like learning to drive, power tools, etc. Slow and easy, but give the occasional demonstration as to what DAMAGE (not fun, but damage) they can do. Like a bandsaw...doesn't take a brain surgeon to figure out what havoc ensues when the band snaps while it's running.

I'd sign up for the Eddie Eagle program the NRA does for safety; they have some great ideas about teaching kids about this stuff.

YMMV.

(Oh, and yah...safes are good. Even if you don't have the guns in there, make SURE the ammo is locked away, big-time. Or at least hidden in such a manner it'd take an operation out of Mission: Impossible to somehow combine the ammo and the firearm. Dad let me finger-fuck and play with firearms all I wanted with his supervision (I could strip an AK before I was 10), but ammo was NEVER around, ever.)

Link Posted: 1/31/2006 8:10:33 PM EDT
My father taught me about guns when I was 4 or 5. He introduced me to them by letting me help him clean the collection. He made sure I handled each gun properly and safely. It was a great responsibility for me at the time to clean the guns unattended. I was proud of doing things for dad so would always open up and handle each gun infront of him for inspection. Shooting them came soon after.

When I have kids, this is probably what I will do. Not only do you teach gun safety and operation, but also have a willing slave to clean your guns.
Link Posted: 1/31/2006 8:24:58 PM EDT
Took my son out when he was 4 or 5 with every gun in the gun cabinet -- he helped me -- and we talked about guns, what they can do -- good and bad, gun safety, practical stories of kids that got killed, hurt friends and why, etc.

Then we shot every one of them. His Mom was a little upset with the bruise that the 45-70 left but, hey, he doesn't try to go digging around in the gun cabinet. He's not curious about what is in there. He knows.

He's now 14 and has bagged several deer. He likes guns but is very balanced about them.

Every kid is different so you should tailor your approach to the personalities of each. One or more may not want anything to do with guns.

I wouldn't do them as a group. Maybe set an age. Make it a ritual.

Heck what do I know...I got lucky...so far.
Link Posted: 1/31/2006 8:40:26 PM EDT
I talked with my kids about "don't touch and tell and adult" as soon as they could talk, bought them a Red Rider and instructed them in rudimentary gun safety at 5, and took them shooting 22s (single shot rifles) at 7. I let them handle Glocks, ARs and other guns in my presence when they were 2 or 3, hopefully to reduce the fascination with forbidden fruits. For the same reason, I continue to let them handle any gun they want (unloaded and with close supervision). It is also a good opportunity to keep hectoring them about keeping the weapon pointed in a safe direction.
Link Posted: 1/31/2006 9:16:23 PM EDT
Get the Dads together with the kids...go shooting with the emphasis on safety...don't worry about hitting the targets....
Let the kids shoot as much as you can afford so they experience gun handling, chambering, safety and muzzle control...
Make sure the kids are the ones to field strip and clean the guns...
after enough rounds, the mystic will disappear.
Too many parents take 50 rounds out to the range and yell at their kid if they can't hit the target...don't worry about the target...as long as the bullet goes down range...they will learn to aim when they are comfortable with the gun and they begin to hunt...
And don't be afraid to be range master for the parents as well, reiterating safety rules and instructing about how the guns work...even if they say they know how...
Link Posted: 2/1/2006 10:35:42 AM EDT
thanks for all the great replies, My friend chris is at work ,and I am looking foward to him reading all of your input, as soon as he gets back to the shop..

good stuff...
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