Thursday, September 29, 2011

How Does a Gun Control Advocate Teach His Kid About Guns?

Written by Mikeb and first posted on The Truth About Guns.

In my little town about 30 miles outside of Rome there was a carnival. They were celebrating the patron saint or some political holiday, but it was just like what you have in the States. There were kiosks with ring-toss games, dart throwing, a merry-go-round, bumper cars, all the usual. I was walking through the place holding my 7-year-old boy’s hand when we looked to the left and both of us saw the shooting gallery. Alessio practically let out a yelp for joy, pulling me by the hand in that direction . . .

I considered the next move on my part. Pulling him away from the evil guns might make them even more attractive, although that seemed unlikely given the level of his enthusiasm. Now, a little background is that he’d had almost no exposure to toy guns and none at all to real guns.I never prohibited them in our house but we never bought any either. Some of his little friends have surely had them and he’s seen some on TV, although he’s not too into that, so the exposure was about as minimal as it could be. For a kid with so little experience with guns to be as excited as he was to get his hands on one, shocked me a little or more than a little.

As we approached the booth, I saw a rifle on one side and a handgun, like a 9mm on the other. They were attached to something with cables. They were both very realistic looking, as it turned out, airsoft guns with the CO-2 cartridge that shoot those yellow plastic pellets a little bigger than a BB. At least that’s what I figured they were.

Alessio unhesitatingly picked up the handgun, immediately putting his finger on the trigger. I’m laughing right now recalling my reaction. I wondered, where in the hell did he learn that from, is it innate?

I quickly took control of the gun which he had pulled back close to his chest aiming at the ceiling at about a 45 degree angle. I thought, kind-of laughing to myself at the absurdity of it, OK now is the moment to teach him some gun safety. I’m flexible, right?

I showed him how to take his finger off the trigger and extend it along the gun outside the trigger guard, and I told him never point the gun at anything but the target. I repeated those two points, released my grip on the gun and told him to go ahead.

He fired three or four shots holding the gun back almost to his chest when I said wait a minute and physically extended his arm for him. I placed his left hand on the gun to steady it and told him to continue. From there he hit the targets, soda cans they were, with almost every pellet and won a prize.

Reflecting back on it, I’ve had a few thoughts . . .

The plastic pellets actually put holes in the coke cans after enough hits. How dangerous those air soft guns are, and how realistic looking. They need to be controlled exactly like real firearms. That was one thought. The other was about my boy and how can I best teach him to not get hurt with guns in the future, and I mean get hurt in the widest possible sense. Obviously, never addressing the subject and hoping it never comes up won’t get it. We live in the real world and he’s definitely going to run into guns throughout his growing-up life.

The truth is I’m at a loss. I don’t have a clear plan on how to teach him the things he needs to know without increasing the mystique and fascination and attraction that are inherent in the using of guns. What do you think? Any ideas? I don’t necessarily want him to be a gun control enthusiast when he grows up, which is what I consider myself, but I certainly wouldn’t want him to be enthusiastic in the other direction.

What's your opinion?  Please leave a comment.


  1. I think your son is going to be alright simply because he is not living in the gun-heavy culture of the overly politicized 21st century United States. Isn't the prevailing attitude towards guns a little bit more sane in Europe? Racism and xenophobia have reared their ugly heads, but I still don't see the KKK connection to guns happening across the pond.

    My Dad never taught me anything about guns. The basic idea is that you can either just point one at somebody and threaten or kill them, or if you want to get fancy, you can have a shootout. Is there something else I need to know?

    Mom and Dad said I could have a cap gun. Once those first five rolls of caps were gone, it was up to me to go to the toy store and buy more caps. I was more into Matchbox cars. I wanted a BB gun and a slingshot. Simple answer. No.

    But it wasn't my Dad that taught me to hate guns. It was drive-by shootings in my own city. Funerals for the innocent bystanders, the babies sometimes, or even the gangbangers themselves. The pastors seeking to console. The mothers crying their eyes out. The pain of losing family, community.

  2. I think the US tends to worship guns in a religious manner, giving them mythic qualities that they don't possess. Add in that the Second Amendment lends itself to misinterpretation when it is taken out of its historic context. The rest of the British world is aware of the militia with its duties, yet the US has separated the two parts.

    This is depite two warnings from that period, one coming from someone who was involved in the Constitutional process:

    It cannot be presumed that any clause in the constitution is intended to be without effect;--Marbury v. Madison, 5 U.S. 137 (1803).

    Do not separate text from historical background. If you do, you will have perverted and subverted the Constitution, which can only end in a distorted, bastardized form of illegitimate government.–James Madison

  3. Your son is going to grow up to be a pussy if you treat him like one. It's a gun, not a cobra. Guide him in the right way to handle any tool and he will be fine.

  4. Juan looks like a pussy to me. And he's a "gun expert."

    Of course, all gunloons believe owning a gun=gun expert.

  5. Lécher is to lick in French.

    But a Luchador is a Mexican wrestler.

    But this one is just a Wannabe one.

    One who displays machismo, but lacks the cojones to help a woman in distress.

  6. Juan, where did "treating him like a pussy" come into it? Did I treat the gun like a "cobra?"