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Massad Ayoob on Guns

Want to Comment on a blog post? Look for and click on the blue No Comments or # Comments at the end of each post.



Massad Ayoob

KIDS AND GUNS – FROM A DIFFERENT ANGLE

Friday, July 6th, 2012

News comes from Phoenix of a fourteen-year old boy who protected his younger siblings with a shotgun, shooting a home invader to a stop and leaving the man seriously wounded.  It looks as if the authorities are handling it well. http://ktar.com/22/1555146/Teenager-shot-suspect-in-home-invasion

 

The “other side” dances in the blood of every horror story in which an irresponsible youth gets hold of a gun and tragedy ensues.  However, incidents like the one in Phoenix have also happened before, and doubtless will again.

 

I had a loaded Colt in the desk drawer of my bedroom from age twelve on, and at the same age started carrying concealed when I worked in my father’s jewelry store.  It’s about the individual kid, and that kid’s responsibility level.

 

A loaded gun where a responsible young person can reach it to protect home and family when the resident adults aren’t there to do it … what’s your take on the topic?

40 Responses to “KIDS AND GUNS – FROM A DIFFERENT ANGLE”

  1. David H. Says:

    I had a loaded rifle in my room starting at 12. Again, it depends on the child, but the idea self-defense is for adults only is foolish.

  2. Jay21TCB Says:

    I agree with your brief statements above with one disclaimer….HARDEST decision i ever have had as a parent. My oldest boy is 12 and I am unwilling to give him full access to firearms yet, i hope that there will be a time i “know” he is ready. For now we will continue to train and learn together.

    The boy who defended his family deserves a medal!

  3. Dave-- VA Says:

    My father taught my siblings & me to shoot when we were very young. He always kept two loaded handguns in an unlocked drawer in the master bedroom when we were growing up. We knew where they were & how to shoot them, because they were what we practiced with when he took us shooting.

    The rule was that we were not allowed to touch them or to play with them without his permission, but that he would take them out & show them to us whenever we would ask him to. It never occurred to us to break that rule because we could satisfy our curiosity under his supervision whenever we wanted to & also because we knew we’d get a good whipping if we ever did violate his trust (even though whippings were very rare in our house). However, there is no question that in an emergency, we could have retrieved the guns to defend ourselves, although home invasions were almost unheard of back then.

    When I was around 10 or 12 years old, I was given a 7-shot magazine fed bolt action .22LR rifle for Christmas & from that point on I was allowed to keep it loaded in my bedroom closet. So did my brothers with their .22′s & when we were in our late teens, we gradually acquired our own centerfire rifles & pistols. In all the time that we were growing up, none of us ever mishandled or misused those firearms in any way.

    Apparently, a lot has changed in our society now. Whippings, voluntary obedience, discipline, teaching personal responsibility, & common sense are almost unheard of now & have been replaced by a large number of irresponsible, disobedient, untrustworthy children; mandatory trigger locks, firearms lock boxes, onerous gun laws, mass murders & home invasions. I may be getting old, but I think I know from personal experience what the problem is & what to do about it.

    Although it may be advisable to lock most of your firearms in a gun safe to protect them from theft & catastrophe, it shouldn’t be necessary to lock them all up to keep your children from misusing them, if you educate & raise your children (& grandchildren) properly.

  4. John Clancy Says:

    At 7 years old my son could completely disassemble, clean and assemble a 1911. At 12 I gave him his first 1911 which was kept in the gun safe (ok, I would let him keep it out some – a lot, always cleaning it). At 15 he was responsible enough to have the gun safe combination. Graduated High School on a Thursday and entered the Marines on Monday. Served as a SAW Gunner with a Security Force Company and later with 3/5 Marines. After the Marines I gave him a Wilson and a Ed Brown – he earned them in my book. He, his wife and 12 yr old son and 14 yr old daughter are avid shooters. Some kids are responsible. I know that your kids (Massad) grew up with guns.

    When I read the story of this 14 yr old my first though was what a Hero. Sheepdog – future military and or LEO.

    I didn’t get my first gun until after my service in the Army. Frankly I don’t think I was ready for gun ownership until after the Army. As a youth I was always in trouble.

  5. Kelley in Charlotte Says:

    Thanks for the post Mas, great comments guys. One of the concerns that I have with arming my children is that the armed teen then becomes a priority target for the invader. I am not sure how to incorporate this factor into our family plans for such an event. Any thoughts would be appreciated.

  6. SW1775 Says:

    Agree w/Mas and Dave–VA! Good post. Thank you!

  7. Tim from CO Says:

    Can’t recall when I first started shooting maybe 6 or 7 years old. By the time I was 12, I had access to several loaded handguns. Part of the reason was, my parents had their own business in a not-so-nice part of town and I was Plan B.

    At 12, my gun-handling was good enough. I knew they weren’t toys, I knew not to point them at people unless it was an “emergency”, and if I had to point it at someone, I’d better use the sights. Although no one gave me a good definition of an “emergency”. Back then, I probably would have gone for the gun if my family or myself was in physical danger. Thankfully, I shot enough to learn how to clear most malfunctions too.

    On the note of “safe-storage” laws. Especially during late night close up, the gun was locked up in its case, in a bag I carried, with the key tied to my hand. Slow access but better than nothing. Would have been a lot more useful carried in a holster…

    Think by 14-15, I had access to the gun safe as well. It was nice to know, if I needed to I could grab a shotgun or rifle from there. In addition to my mom’s .38 in her room, dad’s USP in his, or the 686 in my room. Quite comforting as a youngster home alone, especially when you knew a medical examiner and a criminal investigator that both loved to share stories with everyone…

  8. Doc Martin Says:

    Unfortunately, for every success story, there are plenty of news stories fanning the flames in the opposite direction such as what we are dealing with around here right now:

    http://missoulian.com/news/state-and-regional/year-old-boy-shot-near-billings-dog-park-by-/article_aaffb82a-c71d-11e1-a884-0019bb2963f4.html

    I never remember a time growing up where our guns were locked up. But I also don’t remember ever eating a steady diet of violent media, bad parenting, general disrespect for the law, and rampant disfunctional role models.

    In the Billings case linked above, my guess is it was more of a guns-as-toys issue than deliberate violence, but that the shooter abandoned the victim is most worrisome. That to me indicates a serious shortcoming even for an 8 year old.

  9. Larry Says:

    Dad had a 12-gauge double barrel coach gun in his closet and a 9mm Colt 1911 in his dresser. We knew not to mess with either of them. In our late elementary school years, he helped us buy a .22 caliber bolt action Marlin rifle. I’m looking forward to the day when I can teach my girls (now five years old) how to handle a gun. Education takes the mystery out of things. It’s a lack of education and “forbidden fruit” that leads to trouble.

  10. RabidAlien Says:

    Totally agree with all of the above. There were never any guns in our house growing up (Mom freaked at toy guns, thinking they were going to be a bad influence…go figger…both her sons joined the military and are now avid shooters). I always wondered what would happen if someone were to break in. In our house now, my rifles are displayed on the wall, not locked up, and our 3.5-year-old daughter knows where they are and that if she wants to “hold gun?” all she has to do is ask. Handguns are kept on top of a high dresser, out of her reach for now, but she knows they’re there and again all she has to do is ask. We’ve left one sitting out (unloaded), and she expressed interest (“oooh, dats daddy’s gun?”) but doesn’t run around playing with it. We’re slowly starting to trust her more and more. We’re planning on picking up a cheap airsoft handgun to leave around for her to find, as a test, plus it’ll work to help teach her the 4-Rules.

    Kids owning or having access to guns….if there’s a chance that a kid may be assaulted or attacked, then by all means they deserve the chance to be able to defend themselves. Adults can’t be around all the time, especially as the kids get older and into the teen years. If I can’t be there to shelter my daughter 24/7, I’m gonna darn well make sure she can do it herself. As for the young man in Phoenix, he deserves a medal for what he did. At the very least, he shouldn’t have to pay a range fee at any local ranges for a very long time. He stood up and protected his younger siblings (something many adults today wouldn’t/couldn’t do), and took down a criminal who has preyed on others, saving uncounted numbers of future victims.

  11. Andy Says:

    I wasn’t given “business-only” access to the family guns until after I earned/was gifted my first gun (a 12-gauge Mossberg 500) at age 12. As far as I knew, all the guns stayed in the locked safe with only 2 or 3 of them loaded for home defense. I was eventually allowed to keep guns and ammo in my closet but it never occurred to me to load any of them for potential self-defense purposes until much later…good thing they were never needed for that!

    I still remember the first night I “went off on my own” after college; there was a loaded Springfield 1911 sitting on the night stand at the Motel 6 I stayed at on the way to my first job, in Texas.

    Within the last few years I was able to convince my dad to keep at least one loaded gun outside the safe in a discreet location so he can acquire it quickly in a defense scenario. He lives in Arizona but for some reason is not interested in open/concealed carrying…

    …anyway, I completely support kids of any age using any tool- up to and including guns- to responsibly protect themselves and their homes.

    I just remembered that you wrote an article about Lance Thomas a few years back! Were you motivated to do that review in particular because of his profession, or were you attracted to the story primarily because of the self-defense aspects of it? Just curious. =)

  12. Matt Says:

    Issue is PARENTING. Do individual parents actually want to parent their own kids any more?

  13. Roger in NC Says:

    The linked article states that the boy used a handgun to take down the invader, which would actually be even more impressive than using a shotgun. In either event, the youngster did well. We cannot be sure but would like to believe that his parent(s) also did well in teaching him proper and responsible gun handling.

  14. Paladin Says:

    As has been stated here, it depends on the child. My Dad kept his shotguns and hunting rifles along with the ammo in the hall closet when we were growing up and I knew where they were, and how to load and shoot them. I would have never thought to bother them without permission but knew how to use them in case of emergency. After my folks divorced, I knew where my mom’s loaded 32 Colt auto and Colt Python were stored, and in fact maintained them for her. Again I would never have thought about playing with them, but knew how to use them in case of emergency.

    If you teach the kids properly and they have a good attitude and proper respect for authority I have no problem with a responsible minor having access to loaded firearms. As I have stated before, when it goes sideways are you really going to have time to retrieve the gun from one place, the ammo from another, then load the mag or cylinder before the bad guys get to you or your loved ones? I prefer not to take that chance.

  15. Bill Hoppe Says:

    I’m 62 now and had access to my 22 bolt action at 12 when dad said so. When he worked out of town I was given permission to use in emergencies as determined by mom. I always took that responsibility seriously. Depends if you raise your kids or just hatch them.

  16. RichNH Says:

    I regard firearms as tools, just like cars. I didn’t let my children have the keys to the cars on their key ring when they were kids and I didn’t let them have guns in their rooms either. But they were raised knowing how to shoot and I also showed them how to operate the cars long before they could get a license to drive. I kept my pistol(s) available for home defense (such as on top of the fridge during the day) and they knew where they were. They knew they needed to leave them alone just like they knew they needed to leave the cars alone, but they also knew that in an emergency the tools they needed were available. If they wanted to look at them and handle them they only had to ask. they were never refused.

    Children, almost by definition, are immature. That’s what makes them children. While a given child can be more mature than others (even some adults) they are still immature by adult standards. That’s why my children were not allowed to have firearms in their rooms. Maturity is a gradually obtained quality and needs a lot of tending over the years on the road to adulthood. Now that my children are adults they are free to make their own decisions regarding firearms, and cars. It was the road I chose for them, others choose their own roads.

    As far as the boy in the news story, a classic case of success. I do hope that, at such an age, someone is watching over him because (I assume) being involved in any shooting is traumatic at best.

  17. Bill H Says:

    My sons name was Adrian.
    I taught my three boys gun saftey at young ages. They all became proficient handlers of rifles and pistols. They knew the potential. There was no warning. My youngest son, who would have been fifteen this month, took his own life with a .38 spl on May 17 of this year. He was a happy, productive and seemingly very stable boy..… A girl broke his heart. He made a decision.
    How could we have foreseen this?
    We will suffer for the rest of our lives.
    Food for thought.

  18. Bruce Luedeman Says:

    My 14 yr old son is allowed to carry at home when parents are not home. He is very mature, will have his Eagle Scout badge next year, and is intuitively gun safe. I started him off with a Cricket .22 rifle when he was six. As he grew up we had fun with air soft pistol target practice and some age appropriate defensive drills. My now 18 year old daughter went through the same process and she also carries at home when I’m not. She is applying to med school next Fall. She will apply for her CCW when she is 21 years old; we both wish it could be sooner.

  19. ralph Says:

    I think every kid and every situation is different. As a parent, you have to know your child and what they are ready for.

    Something that I think parents might overlook is who else might have access to your child’s firearm? For example, my 9 year old is very responsible and could be trusted with a 22 in his closet. But, his 4 year old brother is not ready for it yet. They share a bedroom. Hence no rifle in the closet.

    How about the only child. No pesky younger siblings to worry about. But what about house guests? Will you, or him or her, make sure to watch any visiting playmates?

    This is a timely posting Mr Ayoob. My wife and I are dealing with this now in our home. We live in rural southern Arizona with 5 little kids. You can imagine firearm protocol is a frequent discussion in our house.

  20. Charlie D. Says:

    My 15 year old son and 18 year old daughter both shoot. My son has the greater interest and when I go for training he is always with me. So I know how he is with firearms from watching him like a hawk. I trust him with my life, and more so than half the characters who have infiltrated our gun club where we shoot… Half the customers at my favorite gun store wave muzzles around proclaiming all the while how the gun is not loaded, even though they did not verify that when they pulled out the weapon. My son has never done anything unsafe with a firearm. He carries in the house all the time and I’m glad he does.. I am proud of him and hope to bring him to your class when you are here in New Hampshire this summer…

  21. Frederick Says:

    Bought my first gun(with my own earned money)at 14. Didn’t keep it loaded because I shot every round I could get my hands on.
    Didn’t lock my guns when my kids were little. But, they knew what would happen if I found out they’d touched them without my permission.
    I believe the biggest problem with kids is no respect. They don’t respect anything or anyone. Not all kids , of course, but a lot of ‘em.
    Just my opinion!

  22. Uncle Dave Says:

    Kids can learn the mechanics of both the gun and gun handling, before they are ready to deal with the “ethical” issues the gun also presents. Our culture seems to want to keep kids from “growing up” by not taking responceablity for thier actions. As Matt points out, more and more “parenting” is being farmed out, compounding the problem. I watch my nephew who while smart as a whip, has poor ethical judgement. He is getting old enought and physicaly formed enought to shoot, but he may not be responceable enought when he is 21.

    I watch over optomistic parents put guns into the hands of kids who are not physicaly formed. The result is alot of bad habits that stay with the kid for life. There is no real hurry.

  23. .45StayAlive Says:

    Hi Mas,

    Haven’t written a comment for a while on any of your blogs, but rest assured, I read them all. And I’m currently reading “The Truth About Self Protection” for the second time. Unfortunately, I am able to read my copy of your book at this time only because my neighbors and good friends just returned it to me claiming they just “don’t have time right now” to read it. I loaned it, along with Cooper’s “Principles of Personal Defense” to them because they are in the process of purchasing a firearm for home defense. Like most city folk, they are relatively clueless about the details they need to be knowledgeable about if and when they bring a gun into their home. I won’t go into specifics, but let’s just say that as nice and likeable as they are, they could be “Poster People” for the typical (ignorant) views and opinions of the general public. The proverbial “I want a shotgun so I don’t have to aim” is just one of the things they’ve communicated to me…

    I’ve tried and for their sake (and possibly mine and my loved ones), I’ll keep trying.

    On to the subject at hand:

    I agree wholeheartedly with yours and others’ opinion that “it depends on the child”. In theory at least, no one should know a youth’s abilities and level of responsibility better than his or her parents. So I think the decision of when to allow firearm access should be made solely by the parents. Unfortunately, I think in most parts of the country now, the “Nanny State” feels it’s better equipped to make these decisions then mere parents, and rather onerous laws are past that leave the parents of minors in legal jeopardy if they make the decision that their children are ready and able to defend themselves with a firearm.

    But for the same reason I still carry in the few places I “legally” can’t, I’d rather risk the comparatively minor penalties of the justice system to the ultimate penalty that can happen when a good person is attacked and killed by a bad person. And in the case of one’s children, even for responsible parents living in places such as California or Chicago, IF they allow their responsible children access to home defense firearms, and IF somehow the authorities find this out (perhaps because said children are still breathing the next day after a home invasion where the invader no longer is), I believe it will be the PARENTS, not the children that the Nanny State chooses to punish, yes? So to me, it is a no-brainer. Any parent who feels his or her children are responsible enough to use a firearm should provide that child with access to firearms without regard for any bad laws that would suggest otherwise. For loving, caring parents who would give their lives to protect their children, fear of prosecution (or rather, persecution) from a government for taking care that their children can protect themselves should be a relatively easy fear to deal with.

    Sincerely,

    .45StayAlive

  24. Wolvie Says:

    Mas,

    I think you have a typo in your post.

    You mention “shotgun”, but all accounts from the news state that the young man used a “handgun”.

  25. Mick Says:

    @ Bill H.– My sincere condolences. Whatever the cause or means, the loss of one’s child is brutal; as an ER nurse I see it, thankfully haven’t felt it. You’ll be in my prayers tonight.
    My father greased and locked away the only house gun, a Winchester Model 74, .22 Short, when the ’68 gun laws hit. He wasn’t playing the State of Illinois’ game of FOID. I was 11, and he’d taught my 13 yr. old brother and I how to shoot by then. I did a little shooting in Boy Scouts at summer camps, not much. My fire got lit as an adult of 25. My wife and I had our first son when I was nearly 30; by age 6 he was plinking with a .22 rifle, and managed anything else I handed him as he grew older. There was always a .38 on top of our refrigerator, one at the bedside, and a 20 ga. Youth model shotgun to fit most of the family. I, too, trusted my kids as they’d helped me tear down all types of guns from day one, and they could shoot whenever they asked if weather and time made sense. Never an incident, always where I left it, and two of the three are serious shooters, one a GM2 covering drugs and terror threats in the Navy. I shot PPC pretty seriously for 8-9 yrs; he’s put a lot more ammo downrange than I! The third is a vocalist with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, lost his interest; his choice, he’s a grown man.

  26. Old Fezzywig Says:

    I see two issues here. One is kids and guns, the other is kids left alone. I am OK with responsible parents who teach their children gun safety. I am not OK with leaving children alone. Have you ever noticed that when bad things happen to children, the parents are almost never present? Kid falls in swimming pool, gets kidnapped, gets raped, gets mugged or gets bullied; the kid is always alone when these things happen. I do not have children, but if I did, they would never be out of my sight or that of my wife. We would homeschool. If I took my daughter to the mall, when she went to the ladies’ room I would be right outside there waiting to hear her scream for my help. Also, growing up, my friends and I were frequently on our own. Sometimes we behaved ourselves, and sometimes we did not, because we knew we were not being watched. Just my two cents.

  27. Mas Says:

    Bill H, profound thanks for sharing your story, and deepest condolences from this end. You’ve articulated why this is such a thorny issue.

    Thanks to those who caught the error in my post; it was first passed on to me as a shotgun incident, and I glossed right over the news account’s mention that it was a handgun. Mea Culpa.

  28. Kentucky Kid Says:

    For many years I ran our club’s annual “kid firearms safety clinic” and our junior rifle club.

    I can state without hesitation that it ENTIRELY depends on the individual kid. Many are ready to understand the concept of responsibility involved and the technical aspects of firearms at age eight . . . many are not even close to being ready at age fifteen, or older.

    And, sadly, many parents are not the best judge of their child’s maturity. We had to “excuse” several kids from the programs over the heated objections of their parents, but did so for the well-being of everyone concerned. No room for doubt in this matter.

    JMHO

  29. Robert Barras Says:

    I was raised in a house full of guns. I was taught gun saftey from an ealry age. I recieved my first bb gun @ age 6, and was practicing w/ my dad’s .22 @ that age. I cleaned and handled guns all my life, but KNEW better than to consider them a toy. I recieved my first gun @ age 12, a .410 single shot and was able to hunt alone. my children were all raised w/ guns in the gun cabinet and on the nightstand, most of them loaded, but being raised shooting, and seeing the results from hunting, they quickly realized that shooting something wasn’t like the video game, there was no reset button to take it back. My stepson came to me @ age 14, I took him hunting with me and shot a rabbit, one shot clean kill, that we then had for supper. He looked sick to his stomach, he was a wannabe gangster, shooting a pistol held flat ect. After that hunting trip, he became a proficient shot, enjoying a round of calys, and you should have seen his chest poke out when he killed HIS first rabbit, he no longer see’s guns in the same light as before, and I am not afraid of him handling them. Education IS the key.

  30. Matt, another Says:

    I raised two duaghters. When they were responsible enough to stay home alone, or watch a younger sibling then they were generally responsible enough to have access to firearms. They both grew up knowing that if a guns was not in the safe, it was loaded and ready for use.

    When my youngest at 16 started to house sit for her granparents a town away, she would take at least one firearm with her. Carried discretely, never had issues. Now, as a young mother she carries discretely all the time.

  31. Drake Says:

    As has been said above, it depends on the kid. Heck, I’m still just short of being able to “legally” buy a gun, but the three rifles in my room tell the entire story. I know tons of 8-year olds who could be trusted with a .22, because they realize it’s not a toy. However, I have a younger cousin who’s fascinated with my guns, but I wouldn’t trust him with a BB gun (or any kind of projectile weapon). To him, they’re all cool-looking toys. Needless to say, all the real weapons are stashed well out of his reach when he visits.

  32. Bill Meinhardt Says:

    The Gang Bangers have guns at the age of twelve with no training and no social responcibility.

    My Grandson is sixteen years old. He is an honor student and has been an avid sportsman since he was about eleven years of age.

    I have bird hunted with him and taught him hunter safety.

    His dad is a Fireman and he and his mother are alone at night when his father is on shift.

    He has access to his 20 gage and I have started teaching him point shooting with his fathers 38 spec revolver.

    I have showed him how to take a barricaded position in his home with his mother and taught him to allow an intruder to come to him.

    I have no doubts as to his ability to defend himself and his mother.

    Would I want him to carry at 16 , absolutly not but being able to act at home is a reasonable expectation for this particular kid.

  33. Roger in Wales Says:

    I learned to shoot aged 8. I used to accompany my father to competitions at Bisley in England for many years. Uk laws then did not require all guns to be locked away but ours were though all of us knew where the key was. The gun laws in the UK have got harsher and harsher over the years but gun crime still increases. At some point some halfwit in power will realise that criminals don’t actually obey the law so you can legislate all you like but it will have very little effect. As others on here have said the key is upbringing. I trust my sons out on our land with their shotguns and rifles. They are responsible and well trained. There are however many 30 year olds I wouldn’t trust with an air rifle, simply because they are not responsible enough.

  34. ohiotrooper Says:

    From the first autum in Ohio that my Dad took me hunting, I was 11, I knew where the Sweet 16 Ithaca and Winchester Mod 12 (both loaded) were hidden. My Dad traveled about one week per month with AT&T, and trusted me at that age to use my judgement and marksmanship to protect my Mom and sister. It was always instilled in me “What good is an unloaded gun? It is like a hammer with broken handle.”

    Best regards and God Bless America.

  35. ohiotrooper Says:

    @Kelley in Charlotte,
    Kelley, It is not so much a fact of “arming” ourKidd’ss, but training them in firearmsafetyy and appropriate use for selfdefensee, like in the case of home invasions. NC, likeOhioo, has a “Castle Doctrine” to protect innocent citizens..potential victims of violent crimes, who use deadly force against deadly force. I do not know the ages of your children or their maturity level,howeverr, most youngsters 12 and above can be trained to use a shot-gun GAa) to stop an intruder who is kicking in thefrontt door. I may be off-base and if I am, Iapologizee. Check -out you state’s gun-rights web-site GRNC.org for contact info and a list of certified instructors.

    Best regards,

  36. Doug In Denver Says:

    My now 12 yr old grandson T lived with us for his first 6.5 yrs & learned about guns and gun safety early on from his uncle & I. He knows where my house gun is stashed and where my carry gun is if it is not on me. About a month ago he was in my neighbors garage while he was cleaning his 22 auto. He cleared the gun and handed it to T to look at. Pointing it in a safe direction T cleared the gun also, checked it out & handed it back in a safe manner to my duly impressed neighbor. I’m proud of my grandson and trust him but reinforce safety and responsibility at every opportunity.

  37. Kevin Wilmeth Says:

    Bill H, thank you for sharing your story. With two daughters of my own (ages 3 and 1), I wince at the very thought…I can hardly imagine a worse nightmare for a parent. Please believe me when I say my heart goes out to you.

    I cannot begrudge others their considered decisions, but for me, I know what I must do. My girls will learn how to safely run pistol, revolver, rifle and shotgun, and by “safely run” let’s just say I am not talking about simple recitation of rules on a square range in clear sunshine. (Whether or not they are interested in pursuing further excellence is not my call, but they will know how to do it.) After that, it’s a question of when their minds are ready; when that happens I simply must hand over the keys to the kingdom. I may or may not be “ready” for it, but if there is any hope of fostering truly independent sovereigns, I’ve got to let go. The fear will be there, I know it will–there was a time in my own life when I was literally at center-span on the Golden Gate Bridge, with intention–but in fear nobody is free.

    When the time comes, I do hope I’m up to the task.

  38. minerran Says:

    My “take” on this is that only the most mature, well trained and reliable kids should be given such access. You must be 100% sure as a parent that your kid WILL NOT go for the gun unless its a life threatening situation. I’m not sure how to determine if a child can do this. Know that you will be held accountable since giving a minor child unsupervised access to a firearm is a crime in many if not all states.

    I personally think there are probably better ways to manage their protection than giving them access to a firearm while you are away, but everybody has a unique situation and I’m not here to judge anyone.

    I carry a pistol myself here in South Florida and even though I’ve read all the books I can find including “in the gravest extreme” by Maas, I am still not 100% clear in some situations if a shooting would be justified in the eyes of the law. The Zimmerman case is a perfect example. It become even more complicated in the case of your kid doing it.

  39. Dandyone Says:

    I agree that the decision hinges on the maturity of the child.

    I trust my kid. She’s not old enough to have such responsibilities yet, but she will be soon enough.

    I can’t vouch for any of her friends, though. And as she gets older and more independent, she’ll be able to have them over without my pre-knowledge.

    So, in our case, she won’t have a pistol in her desk drawer or a shotgun under her bed… but she will be programmed into my gun safe.

  40. Tiffany trifanoff Says:

    My daughter is 16 I want to teach her myself to shoot I can’t afford to pay for a lesson . I own a 380 . Any tips for me . Tiffany

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