My First Rifle

posted at 12:31 pm on May 5, 2013 by Jazz Shaw

In the wake of a couple of truly tragic stories involving accidental shootings involving children, the media response was sadly predictable. The usual list of suspects lined up quickly to point out how utterly evil and insane people must be to allow children to have access to firearms. In response to this, Matt Lewis has done all of us a favor and penned a very personal editorial about his own family and his first rifle. It’s something which I find very inspirational, and I wish everyone would join in and publish their own stories along these lines. I plan to do the same thing here, but first a quick look at how Matt introduces his tale.

The other week, I wrote about how newsrooms could benefit from having a few Christians hanging around. I was making a case for diversity (even if some observers didn’t see it that way).

Additionally, I would like to make another modest request: Newsrooms should also hire a few journalists who aren’t effete liberal p*ssies.

Matt provides a helpful example from Twitter of the out of touch journalists in question, featuring a long time favorite here at Hot Air.

If “gun culture” means giving guns to children,
we need to talk about gun culture.
nbcnews.com/video/all-in-/…
— Christopher Hayes (@chrislhayes) May 3, 2013

Be sure to read Matt’s story. As to mine, it’s probably not all that different.

Like many of us, I’ve had a number of guns over the years, but I have never forgotten my first one. I was eleven years old, (a date I had to go back to check) and surprisingly, it didn’t come from my father, though he was very much involved. My first rifle was given to me by my Uncle Russell, and it was a Remington Arms .22 caliber long rifle. I’m positive that it was manufactured back in the 20′s or 30′s as it had been in Russell’s family for a very long time before it was passed on to me. (I would like to add a shout out here for the venerable Remington Arms company in Ilion, New York. That rifle is still in service, now owned by one of my nephews and it still works just fine nearly 100 years after it was made. That’s quality workmanship right there, folks.)

I will note at this point that the picture on the front page for this story is of Matt and his father, not me. When preparing to do this piece I went back and looked through a couple of family photo albums and was sad to realize that we don’t seem to have a single picture of me with that rifle. We have some of me with a variety of others, including a 30:06, a 12 gauge shotgun and a .45 handgun, but none with that .22. I feel sort of bad about that.

As I was saying, during the summer when I was eleven years old I was sent for a one week visit with my Uncle Russell and Aunt Rose at their strawberry farm. On the first day there, Russell brought out his special present which, unbeknownst to me, he had arranged with my father. It was a beautiful thing, and having been badgering my father for a couple of years about getting a hunting rifle of my own, I was over the moon with happiness. The .22 was a bolt action model with a six round, spring loaded magazine which fed into the chamber from the bottom. I quickly figured out that you could get seven rounds if you filled the magazine and put one in the chamber, but this frequently caused the first round to jam, so I didn’t do it often. And, wonder of wonders, Russel had affixed a 3X scope to it! My older brother’s first rifle was a single shot model, and he would later express jealousy over how much better mine was to my great delight.

Russel took me out to his fields that first day with some paper targets set up and taught me how to safely handle it, load it and fire it. I used up a full box of ammo on that first day, and once we got the scope sighted in I was hitting a lot more than I missed by the time we were done. That evening I stared at it all through dinner and even wanted to take it to bed with me. (Hey… I never claimed to be a particularly bright child.) Russel informed me that guns needed to stay in their own gun rack at night, not in bed, and it was put away unloaded. I was never shown where he kept his ammo.

At the end of the week, Russel drove me home where we were greeted by my father. He made a great show of pretending to know nothing of this exchange, taking the rifle, removing the magazine, opening the bolt action, (ensuring it was unloaded) examining the stock and looking down the barrel “to make sure it was straight.” He pronounced it a fine weapon and thanked Russel for his generosity and made sure I had thanked him appropriately as well.

From then on, when not in use, the rifle stayed propped up in the corner of the dining room along with my father’s collection of long guns. I saved up money I earned from working at my grandfather’s farm to buy a soft leather case for it, just like the ones holding my dad’s guns. Dad had some more upstairs which were rarely brought out, including a German military rifle he took off a dead soldier in France.

He set up a place where my brother and I could practice shooting, but we always had to go to him to ask for ammo, which he kept locked up in a chest in my parent’s bedroom. My dad was big on rules, and if he ever saw you pointing a gun at or near a person, the dog, or anything you didn’t intend to shoot, he would blister your backside so you only did it once. Guns were only to be carried pointed at the ground or straight up in the air. (I know that’s not generally approved, but my dad had his own ways.)

Later, when I’d proven that I could handle it responsibly, I was allowed to go hunting in the fields and up at my Uncle Bernie’s. Bernie had several hundred acres of undeveloped land which was crawling with whitetail deer, wild turkeys, rabbits and many other things that wound up on our dinner table. My grandfather also instituted a policy where he would pay a quarter for any woodchuck that was shot in his garden. Of course, I immediately began bringing in woodchucks from across half the county to get those quarters. I’m pretty sure gramps knew that, but he gave me the quarter anyway.

I moved on from that rifle later, particularly after I turned 15 and was allowed to go deer hunting, acquiring a 30:30 rifle and a 16 gauge shotgun of my own. But I never, ever forgot that first rifle and I treasured it for years before passing it on to my nephew. And for the record, no… I did not do a damn background check on my nephew.

For all you out there railing about how criminal it is for parents to “expose” their children to weapons, that’s the story of My First Rifle. I invite everyone out there with a news site, a blog, or just access to comments sections to share their own stories.


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You were 11 when you got your first gun. This child who killed his sister was only 5. There is a big difference in those ages. No 5 year old needs to have a gun. They are not mature enough to handle the idea that a gun can take a life. They are still more into fantasy worlds, playing with toy soldiers and just picking them back up after they were ‘killed’ to play again. He won’t be able to pick his sister back up and will think about killing her the rest of his life.

My husband owns guns, but I would never have allowed my son to handle a gun at such a young age. Never.

TeaTrekkie on May 5, 2013 at 12:41 PM

What a great picture! It really does speak 1,000 words.

VegasRick on May 5, 2013 at 12:42 PM

Read that yesterday, it was nice. Even the crack about the glasses.

My dad said I couldn’t have my own rifle until I was twelve. He got me a nice Marlin model 60 on my twelfth birthday that I still own.

I bought an AR-15 on my eighteenth birthday and a Beretta model 76 on my twenty first. I still have those too.

I only ever shot one person, and he deserved it.

cozmo on May 5, 2013 at 12:44 PM

No comment, except to say I look forward to reading others comments.

fourdeucer on May 5, 2013 at 12:45 PM

My husband owns guns, but I would never have allowed my son to handle a gun at such a young age. Never.

TeaTrekkie on May 5, 2013 at 12:41 PM

What a kid isn’t allowed to touch, makes it even more desirable. The kid should not have had that gun unsupervised, and not around his little sister.

cozmo on May 5, 2013 at 12:47 PM

I was given a Winchester model 67 22LR, single shot bolt action boy’s rifle for my 7th b-day. I was not allowed to load or shoot it without supervision until I was 12. I did know where the ammo was, but believe me, it never occurred to me to disobey that rule. The potential consequences were too horrible to contemplate. By age 12 I had proven skill and demonstrated responsibility, and I was allowed to hunt squirrels and rabbits unsupervised. No tragedies resulted, except from the standpoint of squirrels and rabbits.

I gave the rifle to my nephew on his 7th b-day.

novaculus on May 5, 2013 at 12:55 PM

You were 11 when you got your first gun. This child who killed his sister was only 5. There is a big difference in those ages. No 5 year old needs to have a gun. They are not mature enough to handle the idea that a gun can take a life. They are still more into fantasy worlds, playing with toy soldiers and just picking them back up after they were ‘killed’ to play again. He won’t be able to pick his sister back up and will think about killing her the rest of his life.

My husband owns guns, but I would never have allowed my son to handle a gun at such a young age. Never.

TeaTrekkie on May 5, 2013 at 12:41 PM

My husband owned a gun at five. His father took him to safety classes. He never had it unsupervised and it was locked up when he wasn’t using it. Their family were avid hunters. He spent 21 year in the military. He is also one of the most gentlest men I know.

A children that age should never had access to a gun unsupervised. As for when a child starts with guns; I believe that is up to the parents.

melle1228 on May 5, 2013 at 12:59 PM

A good testimonial for sure, and Many of us grew up using rifles or various calibers. I enjoyed hunting pheasant and grouse, while collecting asparagus when I was young.

The greater point is the Second Amendment has nothing to do with hunting, as far as the Constitution is concerned every form of hunting could be banned, along with fishing and a myriad of other sports.

The Second Amendment confirms the individual’s supremacy over governments and our responsibility to defend ourselves and communities. If you read the founding father’s writings, the Second Amendment came about because the British would confiscate guns foremost in the effort to quell the uprisings leading up to the revolution.

The Second Amendment is not a right, it is a responsibility, which is why it cannot be infringed. Rights are granted by governments, the the freedom and responsibility to defend yourself and your community is naturally inherent. This is well understood by politicians which is why it is a continuing battle to wrest control away from the individual, and confer dependence on the government. Of all of the Bill of Rights, the only amendment that actually recognizes true freedom is the Second Amendment.

Rode Werk on May 5, 2013 at 12:59 PM

My First Rifle

…Ralphy?

KOOLAID2 on May 5, 2013 at 1:02 PM

TeaTrekkie on May 5, 2013 at 12:41 PM

Five is quite young, but that wasn’t the problem here. The problem was negligence, violating the most basic rules of gun safety by failing to unload the rifle and store it safely.

novaculus on May 5, 2013 at 1:02 PM

…Ralphy?

KOOLAID2 on May 5, 2013 at 1:02 PM

“you’ll shoot your eye out”.

VegasRick on May 5, 2013 at 1:06 PM

The problem was negligence, violating the most basic rules of gun safety by failing to unload the rifle and store it safely.

novaculus on May 5, 2013 at 1:02 PM

Exactly, and this isn’t just a gun problem. Think of all the child pool drownings we have a year..

melle1228 on May 5, 2013 at 1:06 PM

My first rifle was given to me by my Uncle Russell, and it was a Remington Arms .22 caliber long rifle.

Likewise, my Uncle Bo gave me his Remington .22 when I was 10. At the tender age of 18, he was pulling dog tags at Normandy 2 weeks after the invasion. When I was 14, I carried a Hitler youth .22 on a yellow school bus and walked down the hall at my Jr. High with it slung over my shoulder. I presented the gun and his story at WWII show and tell. He had to bayonet a 15 year old and took the rifle, and said it was the hardest thing he did in the war. No one said a thing about the gun. I grew up in a small town where everyone had a gun rack in their pick up truck. Uncle Bo went on to serve in Korea, and guarded the Pentagon during the 60′s unrest. He later gave me his 8mm Mauser 1942 G33/40 Nazi mountaineer troop rifle, which I built a new stock for and replaced the windage sights with Williams open sights. It is a great close quarter deer rifle. When I was 12, I was allowed to rabbit hunt with a 12 gauge pump on my own. My friends and I were all taught gun safety and hunted frequently with our fathers. My two younger brothers and I are Eagle Scouts. My now times have changed.

My son now has the Remington along with shotguns and pistols and is a responsible hunter. Having said all that, Although I have to agree with TeaTrekkie that a five year old has no business with a real gun, I totally disagree with the Lib fantasy that drawing a picture of a gun fosters violence and gets you suspended from school.

Jocundus on May 5, 2013 at 1:13 PM

Mine was a Winchester model 67 .22 single shot that came down from grandfather to father to me ….still have it

Aggie95 on May 5, 2013 at 1:18 PM

Wonder how the schools will deal with the kids who say that they got a rifle/gun from their parents for a bd gift? Will the school call the cops/haul them to jail/expel the kids/make the parents go to mental health for their actions? It sure wouldn’t surprise me the way schools are dealing with those ‘nasty’ guns?
L

letget on May 5, 2013 at 1:24 PM

Do water pistols count?

2 years old.

When I was about 6, my dad opened up a gunshop in our house.
jt was my job to keep the inventory clean. Best chore I had.

I guess I was around 8 when I inherited a 20ga. Fox Sterlingworth double. Firtst new gun was a Winchester 9422 for Christmas around the same age.

Litany of bb and pellet guns from around 5-6.

I grew up a bit sooner than my friends. At 10, I had my own chainsaw and 12lb splitting maul too.

OT: Talledaga!!! Boogity!

wolly4321 on May 5, 2013 at 1:25 PM

For my 12th birthday I talked my dad, an army officer, into going 50/50 with me to buy a Remington 510T: it cost $40 before tax.
I went through several gun-safety and dry-fire exercises with him before our first trip to a nearby indoor range. Then we went outdoors at Ft. Niagara, where there were good places to shoot. We moved to Ft. Rucker, Alabama, where there were remote streams out in the woods where I learned to shoot at moving targets. Dad would go upstream and toss in things that would float, and I would shoot them as they moved past me. Dad then let me buy a Mossberg 12 gauge pump, which held three shells, which I used to go hunting with other boys and their dads. My dad was not a hunter. Occasionally a neighbor officer, without kids, a serious WW II vet, took me hunting with him. Dad then started taking me to the pistol range with him, when he practiced with his 45, and he taught me how to handle that incredibly, to me, heavy handgun.
Through the years at home I had both the 22 and the 12 guage in my room, with ammo for both.

GaltBlvnAtty on May 5, 2013 at 1:32 PM

My son now has the Remington along with shotguns and pistols and is a responsible hunter. Having said all that, Although I have to agree with TeaTrekkie that a five year old has no business with a real gun, I totally disagree with the Lib fantasy that drawing a picture of a gun fosters violence and gets you suspended from school.

Jocundus on May 5, 2013 at 1:13 PM

It depends on the context. In south central, guns are symbols of gang violence and murder, not weekend hunting trips with grandpa. You also have the culture backgrounds of the teachers to consider. For example, Jewish culture simply doesn’t embrace weapons outside the military. In larger school districts that bring together urban and suburban and even rural populations, it’s hard to set boundaries that respect the white conservative brand of recreational gun culture while keeping gang culture repressed.
.
Schools need to embrace kids from families that cherish guns and help them appreciate the intellectual world and help them understand the skills and knowledge so important for both national and personal success in the global economy.

bayam on May 5, 2013 at 1:40 PM

If you tell a 5 yr old that he can never ever touch a fork the first thing they will do when they get a chance is to touch the fork. It is in their nature to go for the forbidden fruit. If you let them handle (supervised) weapons at an early age the draw is somewhat mitigated.

lakeman on May 5, 2013 at 1:43 PM

…I’ve been drinking already?…that little kid is holding a double barrel rifle?

KOOLAID2 on May 5, 2013 at 1:49 PM

Exactly, and this isn’t just a gun problem. Think of all the child pool drownings we have a year..

melle1228 on May 5, 2013 at 1:06 PM

or alcohol…or parent’s prescription meds….or taking dad’s car for a joyride…but hey, legislating behavior is all they know, otherwise personal responsibility would be involved….

hillsoftx on May 5, 2013 at 1:57 PM

Why is Franco Harris in that picture?

msupertas on May 5, 2013 at 2:11 PM

Bolt action 30-30 Savage my step father (Father) gave me to deer hunt when I was 14. Still have that gun.

hawkdriver on May 5, 2013 at 2:20 PM

Schools need to embrace kids from families that cherish guns and help them appreciate the intellectual world

So “cherish guns” = can’t “appreciate the intellectual world”?

GFY, you arrogant little turd.

novaculus on May 5, 2013 at 2:34 PM

novaculus on May 5, 2013 at 2:34 PM

Of all the stupid that little beta spewed, this is the part that got to you?

cozmo on May 5, 2013 at 2:38 PM

Why is Franco Harris in that picture?

msupertas on May 5, 2013 at 2:11 PM

I was going to say Hyde from ‘That ’70s Show.’

James on May 5, 2013 at 2:51 PM

Here’s what my then 15 year old son wrote to the editors of a gun magazine in the mid 1980′s, pardon me if I paraphrase……..

‘Kids are naturally curious. If you think you’ve hidden things in the house, they’ve probably already found them. My Dad introduced me to guns when I was 8. I went to the range with him and learned how to operate a weapon and use it safely. I know it’s not a toy. I know what it can do. If you’ve got guns in the house, take the time to explain to your kids what they are and what they can do. Remove the curiosity factor.’

When the grandsons showed an interest, I took them to the range. Each now owns a bolt action .22, a lever action Henry .22, and a .30 M1 carbine. The weapons are kept locked up when not in use.

And for those liberals out there, no, they’re not being trained as “killers”. Just as your daughters aren’t being trained to be whores when they’re shown how to put on makeup.

GarandFan on May 5, 2013 at 3:07 PM

Slightly OT, but in the spirit. Enjoy. Glenn Becks NRA Convention speech.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Wv602QUpZc&feature=youtube_gdata_player

wolly4321 on May 5, 2013 at 3:22 PM

cozmo on May 5, 2013 at 2:38 PM

My general rule is to ignore the trolls. In any case, they usually get their far ration of sh!t.

But if and when I feel like it, I let them have it. In this case I didn’t think the nasty bigotry should pass without response.

novaculus on May 5, 2013 at 3:26 PM

First gun I owned was the Remington 1100 LT 20 gauge my mom gave me after I turned 21. I’d just decided hunting wasn’t evil and might even be kind of fun. I had wonderful times hunting dove and scaled quail with my late granny and aunt, as well as other relatives and friends. I’ve used it for Ladies Skeet League at the neighborhood gun club in more recent years.

Daddy taught us all to shoot with the family Nylon 66 when we were little squirts. Later he showed us how to shoot his Walther .380.

Dad gave all of his grandchildren shotguns at birth. He gave our son a 12 ga. Beretta o/u which my husband and I have used much more than he has.

Of course, all of these firearms were lost in a series of tragic watercraft accidents.

juliesa on May 5, 2013 at 3:46 PM

When I was 14, I carried a Hitler youth .22 on a yellow school bus and walked down the hall at my Jr. High with it slung over my shoulder. I presented the gun and his story at WWII show and tell.

My now times have changed.

Jocundus on May 5, 2013 at 1:13 PM

I love these gun bequest stories. My nephew was 10 when his father (my brother) died, but had already learned to shoot from him and my other older brother. When he turned 18 last year, my surviving brother and I blindfolded him and drove him over to the local gun store to have him pick out the deer rifle of his choice. The look on his face was priceless. When he turns 21, I plan to give him my uncle’s Polish Radom 9mm that was a “parting gift” in Bastogne.
And when he turns 25, he’ll get my late father’s boyhood shotgun.

And you’re right, sadly, times have changed, for the worse.

TxAnn56 on May 5, 2013 at 3:46 PM

Of course, all of these firearms were lost in a series of tragic watercraft accidents.

juliesa on May 5, 2013 at 3:46 PM

jsa – alas all of mine were victims of Hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Ike. Swept out into the gulf like flotsam.

TxAnn56 on May 5, 2013 at 3:48 PM

Bolt action 30-30 Savage my step father (Father) gave me to deer hunt when I was 14. Still have that gun.

hawkdriver on May 5, 2013 at 2:20 PM

Surprised no one slapped that comment. I still have that rifle.

hawkdriver on May 5, 2013 at 3:49 PM

I don’t remember how old I was Daddy when showed all us kids how to shoot the .22, but I’m sure it was before I learned to drive, which was at age 11. My brother learned to drive at the same time, and he was age 9.

juliesa on May 5, 2013 at 3:52 PM

In larger school districts that bring together urban and suburban and even rural populations, it’s hard to set boundaries that respect the white conservative brand of recreational gun culture while keeping gang culture repressed.

bayam on May 5, 2013 at 1:40 PM

Some of my black friends have some explaining to do. I was not aware they were not part of the recreational gun culture.

If I can’t get a satisfactory answer from them, can you supply me with a facility where they need to turn their family firearms in?

Dude, do you ever read what you write?

hawkdriver on May 5, 2013 at 3:53 PM

help them understand the skills and knowledge so important for both national and personal success in the global economy.

Like signing up for obamaphones, food stamps, housing assistance, school food programs, welfare payments, social security disability, medicaid, etc…

tom daschle concerned on May 5, 2013 at 3:58 PM

Schools need to embrace kids from families that cherish guns and help them appreciate the intellectual world and help them understand the skills and knowledge so important for both national and personal success in the global economy.

bayam on May 5, 2013 at 1:40 PM

.
How in the HANG can we interpret that any other way, than:

“kids from families that cherish guns, don’t get enough intellectual stimulation”

? ? ? ? ? ? ?
.
Or:

“Kids from families that cherish guns, do NOT understand the skills and knowledge so important for both national and personal success in the global economy.”

? ? ? ? ?
.
Do you have any more ‘intelligence insulting’ condescension ?

listens2glenn on May 5, 2013 at 4:08 PM

it’s hard to set boundaries that respect the white conservative brand of recreational gun culture while keeping gang culture repressed.
.
Schools need to embrace kids from families that cherish guns and help them appreciate the intellectual world and help them understand the skills and knowledge so important for both national and personal success in the global economy.

bayam on May 5, 2013 at 1:40 PM

Is it difficult for you to post nonsense or does it come easy? Between the “bat ninja” from a few days ago to this, you show yourself to be quite the prize.

As for setting boundaries accounting for legal and responsible gun ownership compared to gang ownership, yeah, that would be very difficult for libs with shit for brains

arnold ziffel on May 5, 2013 at 4:12 PM

I made my first pipe bomb when I was 11. I was so proud. Then it went off in my face because I had no initiator device. Just a firecracker fuse and a cigarette lighter. And the fuse was too damn short. But I don’t blame pipe bombs. I blame my dad for not being there to guide me in the proper procedures for making a pipe bomb safely. I wish I had a dad like Jazz, someone to show me how to handle low-explosives. Because the best time to teach someone that, is when they are young, before they lose their hearing.

God bless America. And remember, even if you don’t own a gun, Jesus still loves you.

keep the change on May 5, 2013 at 4:35 PM

The trolls sure are scared to death of law abiding gun owners. I wonder why.

CurtZHP on May 5, 2013 at 4:46 PM

I made my first pipe bomb when I was 11. I was so proud. Then it went off in my face because I had no initiator device. Just a firecracker fuse and a cigarette lighter. And the fuse was too damn short. But I don’t blame pipe bombs. I blame my dad for not being there to guide me in the proper procedures for making a pipe bomb safely. I wish I had a dad like Jazz, someone to show me how to handle low-explosives. Because the best time to teach someone that, is when they are young, before they lose their hearing.
God bless America. And remember, even if you don’t own a gun, Jesus still loves you.
keep the change on May 5, 2013 at 4:35 PM

Keep trying those pipe bombs, I’m sure it’ll work eventually.

nobar on May 5, 2013 at 4:46 PM

^^^ jackass.

wolly4321 on May 5, 2013 at 4:46 PM

Not you Kurt. The one above yours.

wolly4321 on May 5, 2013 at 4:48 PM

I made my first pipe bomb when I was 11. I was so proud. Then it went off in my face because I had no initiator device. Just a firecracker fuse and a cigarette lighter. And the fuse was too damn short. But I don’t blame pipe bombs. I blame my dad for not being there to guide me in the proper procedures for making a pipe bomb safely. I wish I had a dad like Jazz, someone to show me how to handle low-explosives. Because the best time to teach someone that, is when they are young, before they lose their hearing.

God bless America. And remember, even if you don’t own a gun, Jesus still loves you.

keep the change on May 5, 2013 at 4:35 PM

Yeah I am really not sure Jesus loves you.. Just sayin..

melle1228 on May 5, 2013 at 5:11 PM

Kids need to be taught to respect the weapon. Guns are not toys and should not be treated as such. I don’t care how old you are, if you don’t respect the weapon you are not mature enough to handle it.

Sadly, this plays into the media’s narrative about hating guns and not about irresponsible parenting.

nazo311 on May 5, 2013 at 5:23 PM

I made my first pipe bomb when I was 11. I was so proud. Then it went off in my face because I had no initiator device. Just a firecracker fuse and a cigarette lighter. And the fuse was too damn short. But I don’t blame pipe bombs. I blame my dad for not being there to guide me in the proper procedures for making a pipe bomb safely. I wish I had a dad like Jazz, someone to show me how to handle low-explosives. Because the best time to teach someone that, is when they are young, before they lose their hearing.
God bless America. And remember, even if you don’t own a gun, Jesus still loves you.

keep the change on May 5, 2013 at 4:35 PM

.
Your pipe bomb experience may not have been the best analogy, but your point is “dead-nuts right-on.”

Children who learn VOCATIONAL SKILLS from their PARENTS … are way ahead of everyone else.

My entire childhood I wanted to interact with grown-ups doing vocational related activities, but I was not allowed.
They always ‘shooed’ me away with some such statement, like: “We don’t have time to fool with you kids, now go run and play.”

That grieved me as a youngster, but I couldn’t explain why.
But in the last seven or so years, I’ve come to understand exactly why.
I saw it as clear as anything I’ve ever seen, during my time working around the Amishers. In an Amish household, children are very much allowed to watch things closely, and they start as young as they can walk. When children start learning from adult family member at that age (when the kids really want to get involved), they’re easier to teach. When they become adolescents, they don’t begin whining and complaining when requested to perform some duty or chore around the house. By age 18, they’re REALLY ready for REAL life.

listens2glenn on May 5, 2013 at 5:25 PM

My first rifle was a bolt action Winchester .22lr given to me by my father when I was 11. We built a small range with a more than adequate backstop and he taught me range and gun safety each step along the way. At first he supervised my shooting then he let me shoot alone, always reminding me of safety.

But the best thing he did was this: I loved to go walking in the woods. He would hand me the old Stevens .410 shotgun and two shells to take with me. He would say, “See if you can bring both shells back.” He meant: See if you can resist the temptation to blast something because you can. I knew he would be pleased if I succeeded and less pleased if I failed and the few times I did he kidded me a bit, that is all. So, I tried not to shoot without thinking it through carefully. He never commented much, he let the entire struggle take place inside my head. I learned self control.

One day, many years later, I faced a situation, very close to life and death, shoot or don’t shoot. If I started shooting I would most likely survive then have to deal with all of the consequences. The wise thing to do was not shoot and back away quickly and work toward a better situation where I didn’t have to start shooting. What do you think I did?

SurferDoc on May 5, 2013 at 5:44 PM

What a kid isn’t allowed to touch, makes it even more desirable. ….

cozmo on May 5, 2013 at 12:47 PM

Slightly o/t, but to that ^ point.

While hubby had guns, when our son was 5, he wasn’t yet introduced to them.

But, hubby had some other things lying around the house our son wasn’t supposed to ‘touch,’ namely Playboy magazines.

One day, he was “on the potty” with the door open, I walk by, and what do I see? There he is, pants pulled down little hands holding an upside-down Playboy magazine. I snapped a pic of it before he noticed me with that frown-face (the one where he knew he was ‘caught’.)

On topic, hubby and I eventually taught him about gun safety. Oddly enough, he was never that interested in becoming a gun owner himself. Now, his hobby is auto racing–so a whole other set of safety issues. He’s in his 14th year of that particular hobby, so far, so good :)

jersey taxpayer on May 5, 2013 at 6:02 PM

Fab read on debating gun control, link is from Ace’s

excerpt:

Gun people don’t trust anti-gun people because they completely ignore the fact that true conservatism is about, in part, the preservation of traditions and long-standing principles. We don’t trust anti-gunners because the American Revolution was kicked off by an attempt at gun control when the British marched to Concord to seize the colonists’ muskets and powder. Since the shot heard ‘round the world was fired on Lexington Green, the possession of a firearm has been the mark and symbol of a citizen, distinguishing them from a subject of a monarchy or tyrannical government. We don’t trust anti-gunners because they prefer the post-modern world where anything means anything, and they therefore don’t understand the power of or need for the preservation of traditions — or at least, ones of which they don’t personally approve.

tom daschle concerned on May 5, 2013 at 6:03 PM

When you become a Boy Scout the first Merit Badge you go for is usually Firemanship. It involves a visit to a fire station and a few questions. Easy. Me, I was different. My first Merit Badge was Marksmanship. At 7 I was setting up rubber army men in my basement with a backstop of old newspapers and my trusty Daisy BB gun was my tool. Those indoor lessons led to a love of what the responsibility that went with a firearm meant. At 9 I graduated to a pump stroke pellet gun. More power for hunting those frogs in the swamp near my boyhood home with my buddies. Come to think of it none of us ever shot a neighbors cat or dog. We learned respect. At 10 I got a single shot 22 caliber bolt action rifle. That respect carries on to this day with a plethora of firearms including several legal Class III (full auto) firearms. When my boys were 8 and 10 they learned properly and learned the respect that goes with the responsibility. The older one, now a Major (Airborne) in the US Army carries on. The younger one and I had a successul hog hunt recently. None of us are shooting up a school or Post Office or movie theatre.
I would venture to say that criminals didn’t get that kind up upbringing, an upbringing that comes not just with respect for firearms but for people. Criminals will never obey the law and if the Government disarms those of us who are law abiding we are in big trouble. If anything the Government should allow us an easier time to protect ourselves against the criminal element.

Art on May 5, 2013 at 6:12 PM

I got a picture of my dad and uncle when they were eleven and twelve, my dad holding a 25-20 and my uncle with a .30-06. They’re standing next to three hanging deer they used the rifles on. This was in the mid thirties when hunting wasn’t just a sport, it was needed for survival. These rifles weren’t toys to those kids, they were an essential tool and they better damn well know how to us them. My dad’s gone now so I don’t know when he started shooting, but to be proficient enough at eleven with a 25-20 to be taking down deer I assume he started damn young.

lowandslow on May 5, 2013 at 7:40 PM

I was introduced to firearms at age 3. Spent my childhood practicing proper gun safety w/ my toy guns. Since my family was vehemently ANTI-Hunting(If my husband had been into hunting-there would’ve never been a first date…with me anyway)I first went to the range w/ my dad when I was 17. I finally bought my first firearm at 42. Spawn was introduced to firearms at roughly the same age that I had been introduced. Went through the Eddie the Eagle program as a grade schooler, and got his first rifle for his HA graduation last year.

annoyinglittletwerp on May 5, 2013 at 7:41 PM

HA graduation

annoyinglittletwerp on May 5, 2013 at 7:41 PM

?

cozmo on May 5, 2013 at 7:45 PM

keep the change on May 5, 2013 at 4:35 PM
\

I’m Jewish. Jesus nothin’. It’s ‘Guns and Moses’ all the way, Baby!

annoyinglittletwerp on May 5, 2013 at 7:45 PM

cozmo on May 5, 2013 at 7:45 PM
Long day.
HS graduation.

annoyinglittletwerp on May 5, 2013 at 7:46 PM

annoyinglittletwerp on May 5, 2013 at 7:45 PM

That one is a moron unworthy of any response that does not contain ridicule or contempt.

I doubt he would know how to make a pipe bomb and if one did blow up in his face without major injury, he is as useless with explosives as he is commenting on air races/shows.

cozmo on May 5, 2013 at 7:49 PM

The first time I fired a rifle I was 9yrs old. I went to a summer camp in North Carolina and it was just one of the activities that we got to do. One day it was swimming, the next day it was sailing, the next arts and crafts, the next shooting. They had a firing range with maybe 30 22cal rifles. We had to lay on our stomach and shoot at targets, I guess so that it was difficult to point the rifle anywhere but down range from your stomach. It was supervised but we didn’t take turns. Everyone shot at once down range for a certain amount of time. I couldn’t hit the target but I figured out later that the reason was because the sight was way off, I guess because 9yr olds had been shooting those guns for 10yrs.

Dollayo on May 6, 2013 at 7:39 AM

I had a shotgun when I was 15. Not 5.

Pest on May 6, 2013 at 8:28 AM

The kid should not have had that gun unsupervised, and not around his little sister.

cozmo on May 5, 2013 at 12:47 PM

Not only should it have been supervised, but it should have been unloaded, as well.

I tend to agree that most 5yos shouldn’t be handling anything bigger than a BB gun (and I would probably insist that be an AirSoft), but the problem with the referenced tragedy was the parents 1) not understanding their own child’s maturity and 2) not being smart enough to handle the weapon safely.

it’s hard to set boundaries that respect the white conservative brand of recreational gun culture while keeping gang culture repressed.

bayam on May 5, 2013 at 1:40 PM

Racist much?

Schools need to embrace kids from families that cherish guns and help them appreciate the intellectual world and help them understand the skills and knowledge so important for both national and personal success in the global economy.

bayam on May 5, 2013 at 1:40 PM

So…. gun owners can’t be intellectuals? Wow, you’re batting 1.000 today on the offensive BS scale.

If I can’t get a satisfactory answer from them, can you supply me with a facility where they need to turn their family firearms in?

hawkdriver on May 5, 2013 at 3:53 PM

Dude, they can keep them. They just have to learn to shoot holding the gun sideways and while wearing “colors”. Then they will fit into bayam’s paradigm.

keep the change on May 5, 2013 at 4:35 PM

Your father was Bill Ayers? That explains a lot.

I’m Jewish. Jesus nothin’. It’s ‘Guns and Moses’ all the way, Baby!

annoyinglittletwerp on May 5, 2013 at 7:45 PM

LOL

GWB on May 6, 2013 at 9:55 AM

Not counting BB guns, my first was a Marlin .22 bolt action with a 7 round magazine and a scope, then a .410 shotgun a short time later. I think I was about 12 or 13 at the time. My parents got the Marlin for me to shoot the woodchucks eating up our garden. Unfortunately, my parents sold it in a yard sale while I was at the Academy – figuring I wouldn’t need it in the military.

dentarthurdent on May 6, 2013 at 10:51 AM

Just a quick reply about young children being told ‘no, you can’t have that until you are older’ and how many here feel that those children will then be more curious and drawn to the prohibited object resulting in injury…or something. That’s like saying that when a child is told to not drive a car until they are mature enough and physically able to handle said car, then that child will have a running fantasy about taking the family vehicle out for a spin. I don’t see that happening.

As for this case being about negligence, of course, that bullet should not have been in the gun. I get that. And the kid’s parents are the real issue here. But then again, if they hadn’t gotten such a young kid a weapon AND left it loaded, then well, his sister would be alive today. Mistakes happen and in this case, a deadly mistake that will haunt this family for a long time.

TeaTrekkie on May 6, 2013 at 10:55 AM

TeaTrekkie on May 6, 2013 at 10:55 AM

Some people just shouldn’t have guns. I am NOT in favor of the government controlling it – but there are people who really are too stupid to have them. I saw one at the shooting range a week ago. He was supposedly teaching his kid (8 or so) and a friend how to handle guns, but they waved the guns around like they had no
concept of basic gun safety and handling rules. Range Safety finally kicked them out after they flagged the firing line the 4th time (not soon enough for my taste).

dentarthurdent on May 6, 2013 at 11:15 AM

But then again, if they hadn’t gotten such a young kid a weapon AND left it loaded, then well, his sister would be alive today. Mistakes happen…
TeaTrekkie on May 6, 2013 at 10:55 AM

Mistakes don’t happen on their own; they are the result of choices made and actions taken.
The stricken phrase represents a “mistake” to some and a reasonable choice to others (see the above comments, which were all very interesting examples of the latter); that it was left loaded was unquestionably a mistake.

AesopFan on May 6, 2013 at 11:24 AM

Not a personal story, but one that makes me laugh even today.
A friend had two sons and a much younger daughter. After he had a serious heart attack, he decided to divide up his large collection of antique and hunting guns (all kinds of makes and models) between the two boys. When the daughter (not yet in high school) complained, he promised her that, if he lived, she could have anything he acquired from that point on.
To date, he is still hale and hearty, and her collection is bigger than both her brothers’.

AesopFan on May 6, 2013 at 11:28 AM

NRA Stand and Fight: Universal Registration
http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=hKq3967hUgU

On January 30, 2013, Sen. Chuck Schumer promised that universal background checks wouldn’t create a gun registry. Yet just 13 days later, as Schumer was discussing gun control proposals, he stated, “the one which I’ve been pushing, which is universal registration.” It couldn’t be any clearer — when a politician says “universal background checks,” what they actually mean is “universal registration.”

Colbyjack on May 7, 2013 at 2:28 PM