Guns and Kids, revisited

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I asked last year for opinions and practices on having guns in the home. If you haven’t seen that one, do read it; the comments are fantastic.

I grew up in a home that was very anti-hunting and somewhat anti-gun. Definitely anti-violence, that’s for sure. Owning a gun ourselves or letting the boys even approach one has been something that I wouldn’t have predicted ten years ago when we first had children.

However.

In this day and age, I have come to believe that it would be irresponsible to not train the boys in gun use. Boys who understand and respect guns are less likely to misuse them. I like the idea of teaching them definitively that guns are not toys, and we have even informed them that we’ll likely remove all of the toy guns they currently own if/when real ones are acquired.

Secondly, it’s a dangerous world we live in. Whether there are foreign or domestic attackers nearby, being armed could conceivably be a lifesaver. And third, survival skills are critical. While I would not like to go hunting myself, I know families who depend on it for food ; it’s easy to imagine a scenario in which our own family would have that need. I told the boys in no uncertain terms that if they shoot at a live creature they jolly well better be planning to eat it.

So. For all those reasons, we’ve decided that the boys are old enough to start learning about weapons and how to handle them. Each boy got an Air Soft bb gun for Christmas, which was very popular. Hubby has training in gun safety, so he’s been teaching the boys what to do: how to hold the guns, how to load and unload, how to store them. All that important gun stuff. I have declined training until better weather thankyouverymuch. It’s too cold outside!

Things have gone extremely well. The initial novelty has worn off, and the boys have been very careful with their new tools. And trust me, they’re watched very closely. The older boys have been anxious to lose some of the supervision, but we’re pretty firm in our resolve to take it slow.

We had a big snowstorm here last week, and Hubby and the boys went out to exult in the snowiness of it all (I stayed inside – see above note about temperatures) and they built the tallest snowman ever constructed here at Earnest Parenting. And then they…well, you could see the results above.

And mom, if you’re reading this, I apologize for disregarding my upbringing.

My excuse is the testosterone in which I drown daily.

Earnest Parenting: help for parents who drown in testosterone.

The editor-in-chief of Earnest Parenting, Amy is the mother of two sets of twin boys. Yes, they drive her crazy, but they also make her laugh occasionally. Amy enjoys writing, quilting, reading, and working on her burgeoning cyber empire.

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  • Mary January 6, 2009, 3:33 pm

    ROFL: Ok so I went to a mennonite college which is totally pacifist and I didn’t allow my kids to have toy guns. However, I am definitely not anti-hunting…check out my freezer. As yet another mom surrounded by testosterone I know what battles to fight. I think there are at least 3 shotguns and 2 muzzleloaders under my bed…hmmmm actually I think there are 2 cases still in front of the tv from Muzzle season.
    When the boys were young I chose to avoid the guns because I feel they are not toys and do need to be treated with respect. Our guns were always locked with child safety lock (lot of good that would do with a burglar but case in point the recent shootings by a 4 year old) They always seem to make one out of legos or sticks etc which I didn’t mind as long as they didn’t point them at each other. Each parent makes their choices in this…some for religious as in my mennonite friends from college and some from fear (that would be me as a nurse and my adversion to blood!) Anyway, I really enjoyed the picture….never would have thought of using a snowman for target practice!

    Reply
  • Jennifer D January 6, 2009, 3:57 pm

    I must have missed your post last year. This is a very good subject though. I was raised with a respect for guns, I don’t know if my dad actually had one or not, he didn’t hunt. He was in the Navy, so he was familiar with them. He talked about wanting to go hunting, but never did… Anyhow, my hubby was raised in a hunting family. They raised cows, chickens and pigs at one time for meat. They also hunted, ALL the uncles, grandparents etc, so not allowing our children to be exposed to them was not an option. Like many of your comments on your first post, we opt to teach them safety rather than avoidence. We have a locked gun cabinet, with a range of guns. I’m not to keen on them, but my hubby can tell you all about them lol. My boys of course want to be like Papa, so they enjoy watching him clean them. They’ve not actually shot them, but they have watched him practice with his be-be gun, air soft and a few others. We did get our oldest a pop gun this past summer. We are very strick on playing safely. No matter how much we try to avoid letting our youngest play guns, he like Mary said, makes guns out of everything, legos, paper, sticks you name it. It’s in their blood I guess. It’s a different world for them, it was a rare thing when I was a kid, now it’s alot more popular. It does worry me having them in the house, when the kids are older I pray we are able to keep them safe even when we are not around. I pray we have taught them well. Our kids are still young, so we are with them most of the time. We keep the ammuntion separate from the guns as well.

    Reply
  • Peter-The Masquerade Mask Man January 7, 2009, 12:19 pm

    Hey Amy, really great article. I love the fact that although you were not raised in a gun-friendly home, and of course are very anti-violence, you still see the value in teaching your children to respect guns and place them in a very strict context, which is only under supervision and handling them with care.

    I feel the exact same way about guns….have never owned one, but in today’s age of violence in movies and video games, it is good to show youngsters that guns are real, dangerous, and must be treated with the utmost caution and respect.

    Love the blog, I’ll be back!

    Reply
  • sportsbooks paypal January 8, 2009, 8:44 am

    Boy this one is really horrible pic where kids are shooting at snow man. But I think with the latest channels and magazines, this kind of mentality is bound to happen.

    So far I have given my 3 year boy only nice and good looking toy. But very soon he will get attracted towards guns and all those stuff.

    I do not know how to tackle this one. Once in three or six months I am reading in newspaper that 11 years old kid killed his friend with his father gun.

    I do not know how to keep the innocence of my kid so that he can grow sound.

    Reply
  • Amy January 8, 2009, 4:29 pm

    sportsbooks paypal, I knew when I posted the pic that some would be offended. 🙂

    I’d love to hear back from you in about 7 years as to how the whole anti-gun thing went with a boy. I didn’t want them to have guns or be anywhere near them when they were 2 and 3. But honestly, it’s almost unavoidable with boys. It’s fair to say that the majority of boys are hard-wired to be attracted to guns.

    No joke: I cut a gingerbread cookie into 4 pieces this morning and gave one each to my sons and the first thing The Mercenary said was “look, it’s a gun!”.

    Even my mother, bless her, was unable to stem the tide with my brother and he had a bb gun by the time he was 10 or 12.

    Regarding the accidental shootings perpetrated by kids: I’d love to know what percentage of them were trained to respect guns and handle them properly vs. those who were not. The informal unscientific poll I conducted convinced me that it’s sounder thinking to teach them ourselves; to build proper habits that will at least reduce the chance of accidental shootings.

    Thanks very much for the comment, and I’m not even offended that you suggested my children are not growing up sound. 😀 Differences of opinion are completely acceptable. I hope to hear from you again sometime.

    Reply
  • Bhajans January 9, 2009, 5:20 pm

    Hey Amy, really great article. I love the fact that although you were not raised in a gun-friendly home, and of course are very anti-violence, you still see the value in teaching your children to respect guns and place them in a very strict context, which is only under supervision and handling them with care.

    Reply
  • Games January 11, 2009, 10:04 pm

    that is a bad image

    Reply
  • Amy January 13, 2009, 2:25 am

    Mary, I didn’t think of the snowman/target thing either. That was completely the domain of the males in this house, lol.

    Jennifer I’m glad you’re being careful with your boys. 🙂 They can be unstoppable can’t they?

    Peter, thanks! I look forward to hearing from you again.

    Bhajans, thank you as well. Yes, we’re VERY strict about the whole thing. So far, so good.

    Games, thanks for your opinion.

    Reply
  • Bulk sms January 14, 2009, 7:32 am

    Its nice to see that you are accepting every comments with open heart.

    I like your pic, pleasing one. You raise a great issue but I think this is the mentality of boys, because I have 2 years old girl and she do not like guns at all.

    She removed guns from her toy basket with the remarks … bad things.

    Reply
  • Amy January 19, 2009, 2:32 am

    Bulk sms I am learning more and more as I age that we can disagree with one another and still co-exist. I have absolutely no problem with disagreement as long as people discuss the issue reasonably without attacking personally.

    Some folks resort to insults instead of reason and wit when they disagree and I have no respect for that.

    I’m guessing you’re right about guns being a boy thing. I certainly wasn’t attracted to them growing up. Boys however….sheesh.

    Reply
  • scoliosis information January 25, 2009, 5:52 am

    I am quite agree with you Amy. If the debate is healthy that yeah we should go for it and try to learn what others are saying.

    If they are right than we should accept it with the open arm. In that manner only we will be able to expand our selves.

    Reply
  • Sprinkler January 29, 2009, 1:45 pm

    But chances of getting fair debate is very less as everyone is trying to put their views and opinions on you by force.

    And if you want to be a global citizen than you will have to learn how to deal with them.

    It was certainly nice and informative post.

    Reply
  • Amy February 3, 2009, 11:37 pm

    Scoliosis information, very well said.

    Sprinkler I agree. By writing this post I opened things up for dissent so I expected some negative responses. No one’s forcing opinions here and it’s been a great conversation all ’round.

    Reply
  • BB Gun Boyd March 21, 2015, 5:18 pm

    An air soft BB gun would be a good start for boys. In an early age they can learn the disciplines in using a gun. So what BB gun do they have, was it the Daisy Red Ryder or something else?

    Reply
    • Amy LeForge March 22, 2015, 9:35 pm

      We use mostly Air Soft guns. The grandparents did get the older boys each a BB gun, but I’m not sure of the brand. 🙂

      Reply
  • BB Gun Boyd May 7, 2015, 9:46 am

    I agree that learning on how to properly use a gun in early age would be a great help for anyone. We all don’t know when we are going to need it for survival. What was the airsoft BB guns that you have given to your kids?

    Reply