Every year, nearly 3000 children and teens die from gunfire, and nearly 14,000 are injured.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

About access to guns and kids

We found this article by Sanjay Sanghoee that addresses the overall problem of kids and rifles after some recent shootings. From the article:
This week a two-year-old girl in Kentucky was accidentally shot and killed by her five-year-old brother with a Crickett, which is a 'kid's rifle.' When I saw the headlines, I thought it must have been some freak accident involving an airsoft gun, the kind which fires pellets that are not usually lethal, but I was wrong.
The Crickett, you see, is nothing like an airsoft gun but is a mini-rifle for children with a .22 caliber. Think of a pickup truck with all its trimmings but only half the size of a regular pickup truck and you get the idea behind a kid's rifle. It may be smaller but it is just as effective (or in this case, deadly).
I understand that there is a rich culture of guns in the United States and that weapons are often passed on proudly from parents to children as heirlooms. Also understandably, those parents want to teach their children how to use those guns safely and responsibly. American parents teach their children how to drive, how to court the opposite sex, even how to drink responsibly when they get older, and all of this training is crucial for a child's development.
But none of this training needs to start at the age of five, or six, or seven, or anywhere near there! 
In response to the shooting in Kentucky, Cumberland County Judge Executive John Phelps said, "It's a normal way of life, and it's not just rural Kentucky, it's rural America -- hunting and shooting and sport fishing. It starts at an early age."
It may be a way of life, but that doesn't mean it's sensible or right. I am glad that parents in rural America want to educate their children about guns so that they can grow up to be responsible gun owners, but would those same parents show their son or daughter how to drive and then let them loose on the road before they are in their mid-teens? Of course not, and that's because it's unsafe for children and it's unsafe for everyone else.
Then what exactly were the parents of a five-year-old doing buying him a .22 caliber rifle (even if it's a smaller version), and what exactly is the company who makes Cricketts, Keystone Sporting Arms, doing marketing rifles to children as if they were toys?
Every gun in the hands of a child must first pass through the hands of an adult.

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