If You Buy It, They Will Shoot

Editor's Shot with Gun Digest the Magazine editor Kevin Michalowski
I really like guns.

And, much to the dismay of the liberal establishment, I’m teaching my kids to like them as well. That’s what a good parent should do… annoy liberals.

But more importantly, a good parent should introduce his or her children to lifelong activities and show those children the fun that can be had away from a computer terminal or video game console.

I say shooting, hunting, fishing, hiking, camping, trapping and paddle-sports all are great options instead of video games, Facebook and texting the kid across the street.
But how do you get kids going down the right road? Well, that’s easy, you start them on the right road and take them back to that road often, on their terms, to insure they are having fun.

A day at the range should not be a mini boot camp for a young shooter. Yes, safety rules are important and should not be overlooked, but you can’t be too rigid in the structure of the outing. As far as possible, let kids be kids. My two boys, ages 13 and nine, spend as much time running down range picking up clay targets as they do shooting when we take out the shotguns. They have a ball and in the end, they remember what a good time they had. Consider the alternative: We spend three hours at the range with me telling them, “Watch your foot position. Head down on the stock. Follow through.”

This column appeared in the August 2, 2010 issue of Gun Digest the Magazine. Click Here to subscribe.

That would be boring, frustrating and leave the kids thinking “trapshooting is no fun.”

The way I do it, if my kids hit six targets and pick up 19 clay birds that fell in the grass, they remember having a perfect 25-for-25 outing. And they are excited about shooting.

The same is true for hunting trips. I don’t expect to kill anything when I’m hunting with my kids. I expect them to have a ball in the woods. We might flush a few birds, but it is more important to explore, have a blast and eat snacks so all their memories of hunting are good ones.

Also, there is no better way to inspire a youngster to become a shooter than to buy that kid a gun. I’ve never seen the light shine brighter in my kids’ eyes than when they are opening a new gun that is the right size, caliber and style for a young shooter.

Additionally, having a gun teaches the child responsibility and shows that you believe in their ability. Gun ownership builds self-respect.

So, if you are a parent or grandparent, buy that young person a gun and a membership to the gun club. Go to the range with no plan other than to have fun and enforce the safety rules. If the child wants to dig in the berm for fired bullets, so be it. Give them a few minutes to dig if it is safe to do so. What will it hurt?

The tide is turning and more and more American are realizing that gun rights and the gun culture are things to be embraced. We need to keep the drive alive. Now is the time to push ahead and encourage the next generation of gun owners.

All they need is a gun, a place to shoot and a guiding hand. You have all three of those things. So share them.

Good Shooting,
Kevin Michalowski