Author Topic: Help! My six year old is asking for a gun and bullets!  (Read 1698 times)

Offline lavendereagle

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Help! My six year old is asking for a gun and bullets!
« on: November 20, 2012, 08:16:20 PM »
Good Golly,

My son has asked for a gun and bullets for Christmas. He is not referring to Nerf like I was hoping. We are not familiar with guns I start taking classes in Jan. but holy macrel what do I do?

Offline 16onRockandRoll

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Re: Help! My six year old is asking for a gun and bullets!
« Reply #1 on: November 20, 2012, 08:25:18 PM »
 You know your child better than we do, But I was shooting firearms long before I was 6, it's a very personal decision.  A BB gun might be a great place to start.  I'll bet there are few of us out there that don't have some great memories of an old single-pump Daisy/Red Ryder.
"The rifle itself has no moral stature, since it has no will of its own. Naturally, it may be used by evil men for evil purposes, but there are more good men than evil, and while the latter cannot be persuaded to the path of righteousness by propaganda, they can certainly be corrected by good men with rifles."
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Offline Morning Sunshine

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Re: Help! My six year old is asking for a gun and bullets!
« Reply #2 on: November 20, 2012, 08:31:14 PM »
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Offline bdhutier

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Re: Help! My six year old is asking for a gun and bullets!
« Reply #3 on: November 20, 2012, 08:46:56 PM »
I would personally tell him to wait.  We all have to wait, it's a good lesson for him.  Let him know he's not quite old enough, and take your classes.  In a couple of months, once you're comfortable with the handling and operation of firearms and well versed in their safe use, then I'd start him off by taking him for a little range time.  Emphasize safety, and in time he will display to you whether he will be a kid who could be trusted with the responsibility of his own firearm or not (ammo stored separately, of course). 

I have both responsible, and irresponsible children.  This tells me regardless of upbringing, some people are just better, more forward-thinking decision makers than others by nature.  Only time will tell.
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Offline The Professor

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Re: Help! My six year old is asking for a gun and bullets!
« Reply #4 on: November 20, 2012, 09:26:53 PM »
LOL, I asked my father for an assault rifle at 8.  Needless to say, I didn't get it.

Ultimately, you're the parent.  You know your kid and  you know how you want him to grow up.

I will make a couple of suggestions, though, assuming you want him to be a shooter.

There are a number of competitive shooting sports that may allow him to participate.  Trust me. You show up with a young'un who wants to shoot and they'll bend over backwards to help him, and extremely safely.

I ran an tactical shooting club back in the midwest about 10 years ago.  We had a 10 year-old who really had the bug.  His parents both agreed.  We outfitted that little bugger with a Ruger pistol, belt and holster and all the safety gear.

Technically, it wasn't "legal" for the matches, but we taught him how to draw and shoot that little pistol and allowed him to shoot the courses of fire, watching him like a hawk.  He wasn't allowed to run and we didn't put any pressure on him.

The grin that was on his face makes me smile to this day. 

But, he was definitely mature and responsible enough for his age and his parents fully agreed to it.

Six is a bit young to shoot, as a general rule, but not too young to learn the rules.

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Offline Frugal Upstate

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Re: Help! My six year old is asking for a gun and bullets!
« Reply #5 on: November 20, 2012, 09:43:47 PM »
If you are not gun people and he is not currently around weapons then I would recommend starting talking to him about a few basic safety concepts/philosophy.  This is regardless of what your ultimate decision is on at what age and what type of weapon to allow him.

The three we found important in our home:

1-Guns are tools, guns are not toys.
2-You must always treat every gun you touch like it is loaded-that means you keep it pointed in a safe direction (NOT at anyone) and your finger off the trigger until ready to shoot.
3-You never point a gun at anything you don't intend to kill.  And in our house this included ALL guns-real weapons, toy ones, sticks pretending to be guns, guns made from holding up your finger.  The house rule all the kids criends had to adhere to at our place was no games where you pretend to shoot each other.  Instead you could hunt deer etc.

They can learn about shooting for self defense when they are older--I our opinion it was more important to make sure that no one was ever messing around and pointed an "unloaded" gun at someone and then accidentally shot them.  (not that it would happen at our house-but many fks have weapons in their homes)
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Offline flippydidit

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Re: Help! My six year old is asking for a gun and bullets!
« Reply #6 on: November 20, 2012, 09:52:38 PM »
I would personally tell him to wait.  We all have to wait, it's a good lesson for him.  Let him know he's not quite old enough, and take your classes.  In a couple of months, once you're comfortable with the handling and operation of firearms and well versed in their safe use, then I'd start him off by taking him for a little range time.  Emphasize safety, and in time he will display to you whether he will be a kid who could be trusted with the responsibility of his own firearm or not (ammo stored separately, of course). 

I have both responsible, and irresponsible children.  This tells me regardless of upbringing, some people are just better, more forward-thinking decision makers than others by nature.  Only time will tell.

+1 I couldn't have said it better myself.

I would add that you can never child-proof a gun.  However you CAN gun-proof a child.  Start early with safety and it is an investment that will grow.
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Offline cheryl1

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Re: Help! My six year old is asking for a gun and bullets!
« Reply #7 on: November 21, 2012, 10:16:18 AM »
Whatever you decide to do, get him some gun safety training ASAP. He's interested, and if he isn't taught to respect guns, he'll end up picking one up at a friends house. That said, we got our girls their first .22 on their fifth birthday. We went over safety with them repeatedly, to the point they can pick out safety goofs in gun magazines. They both know that mom or dad will take them out shooting whenever they want, so there is no reason for them to try it out on their own. If you feel he's not ready though, don't be afraid to make him wait another year to own his own gun. I have a 2yo boy that wants one so bad he's trying his hardest to convince everyone he'll be five on his birthday, not three:)
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Offline Shaunypoo

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Re: Help! My six year old is asking for a gun and bullets!
« Reply #8 on: November 21, 2012, 10:32:20 AM »
The first rule we taught our girls was to never ever touch a gun without permission, no matter whose it is and where you found it.  This is a way to ensure that it isn't taboo because you aren't telling them they can't touch it at all (what better way to get a young one to want something then to tell them they can't have it.)   I am going under the assumption that for the time being they won't be around guns unless you are.  Then they understand the order of things.  It is not mine, but if I ask they may let me touch it.  Then you clear the gun and let them see it, and then explain the not pointing it, etc.  of gun safety.

This also lets them know that if they find a gun on the street or somewhere unexpected, to get permission before touching it.  Mine are old enough now to understand what to do, but when they were younger the main point we taught was to not touch any gun without permission.
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Offline ncjeeper

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Offline Smurf Hunter

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Re: Help! My six year old is asking for a gun and bullets!
« Reply #10 on: November 21, 2012, 12:57:55 PM »
My oldest is almost 9.  We got him a Red Ryder for Christmas last year (2011).  He had previously shot one at Cub Scout camp, and had basic gun safety from that and us.
I got him a cheap steel target, which was great for feedback (hearing "ding"), and put the fear of God into him regarding gun safety with the BB gun.

This past year I introduced him to firing a .22 rifle.  He's actually decent and understands the very basics of marksmanship.

As proud as I am, what's funny is his aversion to toy guns.  When neighbor kids want to play with nerf guns, he doesn't even like the plastic muzzles aimed at him.
It's hard for an 8 year old to articulate, but I suspect he views "toy" guns as a waste of time when he knows I'll take him to the "real" shooting range.

Offline Garandman

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Re: Help! My six year old is asking for a gun and bullets!
« Reply #11 on: November 21, 2012, 04:21:35 PM »
Good Golly,

My son has asked for a gun and bullets for Christmas. He is not referring to Nerf like I was hoping. We are not familiar with guns I start taking classes in Jan. but holy macrel what do I do?
You say no!

First of all it's only November 21st. By Christmas he'll have changed his list 20 times.

Second, he's just too young. My son was too young at eight. He's OK now, at nine.

Finally, 7-8 year olds discover youtube and Nerf at about the same time. A pyramid of plastic cups makes a great target.




Offline backwoods_engineer

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Re: Help! My six year old is asking for a gun and bullets!
« Reply #12 on: November 22, 2012, 12:46:40 AM »
I know you said you weren't familiar with firearms, but in families that are, age 6 is a fine age to start shooting a .22 rifle.  I started shooting one with my dad at age 5.  My son and daughter began shooting them at age 4.   They are both in their teens now, and have their own firearms that they shoot with me and their mom.

We are very serious about firearm safety.  My kids quote the 4 rules back to me all the time.  They both aced our local gun range's written safety test.  If I hand one of my kids a firearm, they pull the magazine, point the gun in a safe direction, and empty the chamber.  Always.  When hunting and we're crossing a fence, we're always doing it safely.  That comes from constantly reminding them of safe handling of firearms when they were little.   So, it can start very young.

If you teach your son safety, and if you go with him to shoot, and teach him (or get him training), he won't play around with a firearm.  He will know they are to be respected, and you won't have any trouble in that way. 

Offline lavendereagle

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Re: Help! My six year old is asking for a gun and bullets!
« Reply #13 on: November 22, 2012, 05:44:40 AM »
Thank you all,

I am from a family of gun "nuts" I haven't used one in years, my husband has never used one. As my father suggested nerf, it will be. At least for now, he is painting the gun to give it a more "real" look and he has designed targets for him. 

My children are not like normal children they do not change their minds. Sigh my older children said they were going to do something or wanted it and that was it. Me on the other hand can change my mind multiple times in a minute they must take after thier father.

Offline liftsboxes

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Re: Help! My six year old is asking for a gun and bullets!
« Reply #14 on: November 22, 2012, 06:32:59 AM »
We started our girls off with Nerf, and made them handle them as if they were real.  Then we moved to a Daisey, which had too stout a lever action for them to work by themselves.  We shot a lot of cans with me working the action between every shot, which gave us repeated practice at "engage the safety, hand the Daisey to Dad, barrel always downrange, action worked, safety off, breath, aim, squeeze, repeat."  .22's were next and now they shoot well and safer than most at ages 11 and 13.










Offline FrugalFannie

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Re: Help! My six year old is asking for a gun and bullets!
« Reply #15 on: November 22, 2012, 08:14:24 AM »
I started my guy out by making him learn the Eddie Eagle Rules first and the Rules of Safe Gun Handling. Then we would practice with a toy gun. We also made a rule that his toy guns stayed in his room unless he was playing with them. If he came upon one of his toy guns in the rest of the house he was to treat them as an 'unknown' where the Eddie Eagle rules applied. We did this for months and I would randomly ask  him to recite the rules. Maybe a lttle wonky but it worked for us. We then had him enroll in a youth shooting program at our gun club. Kids are sometimes better at listening to others and having other adults (cool looking guys) repeating what Mom and Dad are saying can do a lot to reinforce things. Also, being around other kids his age has always been helpful for him. His instructors, friends of mine from the club, were impressed with how well he already knew things. It also helped my stress level that I wasn't the one handing him a gun and I think it helped him too. He's now a very responsible shooter.

Offline Bonnieblue2A

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Re: Help! My six year old is asking for a gun and bullets!
« Reply #16 on: November 29, 2012, 01:19:38 PM »
Good Golly,

My son has asked for a gun and bullets for Christmas. He is not referring to Nerf like I was hoping. We are not familiar with guns I start taking classes in Jan. but holy macrel what do I do?

First, find out what is at the bottom of the request. Why does he want one, what does he think he'll be able to do with one, etc.... . Then, start teaching the boy firearms safety rules, have him memorize them and explain them, and enforce them at all times, even with a water pistol, a banana, or his imaginary "finger gun".  Never tolerate any lapse in adherence to "the rules" with imaginary representations of firearms as you would not with a real operational firearm. If your son is old enough to ask for a firearm, he is old enough to understand that they are not toys and the consequences are deadly.

Make the gun rules in your home very strict and get yourself a good gun safe in which to keep the firearm and ammunition out of the hands of your curious son when that firearm is not on your person.

http://thefiringline.com/Misc/safetyrules.html

http://www.nrahq.org/safety/eddie/


When he gets a little older, and if the interest persists, suggest starting with 4-H shooting sports BB Gun classes and competition.
http://www.4-hshootingsports.org/Youth_Development.php


Just my $0.02, YMMV

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Offline Rock Deer

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Re: Help! My six year old is asking for a gun and bullets!
« Reply #17 on: November 29, 2012, 07:25:32 PM »
I am SO immpressed with everysingle person that posted here. SAFETY SAFETY SAFETY. I couldn't agree more. Our sons were all shooting at young ages. Now when we go to publice ranges time after time I am proud to see that our sons have better safety and situational awareness than most adults.
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Offline Kilroy

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Re: Help! My six year old is asking for a gun and bullets!
« Reply #18 on: December 09, 2012, 09:56:21 AM »
Check your local hunter safety courses.  He may be old enough to take that.  Then, 4H BB Gun training.  Your child (he or she...no matter) can grow up practicing safety in front of a training coach, while learning to compete in BB gun and perhaps later, air rifle.  I was involved with this while my daughter was growing up.

She started shooting at age five, under very controlled circumstances.  By the time she was ten, she had three pistols and three rifles.  She just got a small .38 revolver for her birthday (and she is very skilled at running it) and now has a very nice set of antler from her third deer.  She has shot everything up to and including a belt fed machine gun.  And she is still very much a girly, girl, just with some extra skill sets.

Take your time, look around and find resources to help you with this.  Ask questions, call local 4H and look for any shooting clubs who might be a resource.
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Re: Help! My six year old is asking for a gun and bullets!
« Reply #19 on: December 09, 2012, 12:08:15 PM »
Guns??

I am unable to comment DIRECTLY about guns. Instead, let me talk about knives....





I started using a butter knife in my mom's ktchen at the age of 4. Butter. Peanutbutter. Jelly. Mayonaise. I was allowed to use a butter knife to spread those things around on my bread and crackers.

I was not permitted to start handling a REAL kitchen knife until around the age of 5, and only then it had to be for something as mundane as cutting an apple, and I had to be supervised. When my mom served steak or pork chops, my older sibblings all got to have a real steak knife at their place settings, but my food was all cut up for me. I was allowed to set the table EXCEPT I was not allowed to set the steak knives down. I set down all the forks and spoons and butter knives, but the placement on the table of steak knives was forbidden of me.

When I was 6 I was finally allowed to have a real steak knife at the table for cutting my own steak. (I ocassionally got yelled at for making the whole table shake with my inexpert sawing motion. ;) ) I was also suddenly allowed to set the whole table, and then I was also allowed to clear the whole table. I was taught to walk with a knife in a safe way, walking from the table to the sink with a dirty knife so the blade (not the handle) was in my hand -- that way if I fell I wouldn't stab myself or stab someone else--worst that could happen would be I'd slice my palm. That was a very sobering reality I was taught when it was explained to me that it was "preferable" to slice my hand. That was the very first REAL instance of a "lesser of two evils" kind of tradeoff I was ever schooled in.  The gravity of stabbing myself or stabbing someone else was driven home to me when I was taught --and when I fully agreed-- that it was indeed far preferable for an accident to result in the slicing of my palm rather than in the stabbing of myself or someone else. That was one of those moments in life when I grasped onto a true measure of maturity --at the tender age of 6! Lots of little measures of maturity would get delivered to me in small increments over the years, but THAT one was one of the most serioius, I think as well as one of the earliest, and one of the most seminal in my traning to become a responsible person with a mind that always leaned toward prioritizing safety above everything else. (And I want to point out that was always a real crybaby as a kid when it came to cuts and boo-boos and running in tears to mommy for a bandaid. So I most certainly did NOT want to slice my own palm! So you better believe I was darned careful about how I carried a knife through the kitchen! And i never did have an accident with one. ;) )

At the age of 7 I was allowed to help with dinner by slicing vegetables and cutting meat.   

By the time I was 10 I was very adept with how to handle a knife in the kitchen.



So ... it comes down to a matter of degree. Slow, baby steps of cautiously introducing your kid to the realities AND SAFETY REQUIREMENTS of guns in incremental degrees.


::ETA::

Here's a podcast from 18 months ago where Jack interveiwed Chef Maribel, a professioanl chef and cooking instructor who holds cooking workshops for chidlren. During those workshops, she teaches the kids how to use real knives in the kitchen.

http://www.thesurvivalpodcast.com/episode-702-chef-maribel-the-food-diva 

.
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Offline SwitchThrottle

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Re: Help! My six year old is asking for a gun and bullets!
« Reply #20 on: December 10, 2012, 06:49:46 PM »
I started my boy off at the age of 6 with a Daisy 840.  At 350fps, it's about as tame a BB gun as you can get.  You can still bust open a can of soda or take out a window, but unless you shoot yourself point blank, it's unlikely you will break the skin.

I spent a bunch of time teaching gun safety and making sure he understood all the do's and don'ts, and could recite them before he ever got to shoot.  I trust him with the Daisy. 

He has shot my 10/22 a few times, and while he loves it, I have to admit, that it is much scarier for me.  Things happen a lot faster when he doesn't have to reload after each shot.  I don't trust him with the Ruger.