Someone asked me the other day if I was worried about my children being around guns. I didn’t look closely at this person, but I’m sure she was wearing sandals and a tie-dyed shirt made from natural hemp emblazoned with the “Fish are Friends; Not Food” logo.
|This column originally appeared in the May 25, 2009 issue of Gun Digest. Click here to see more of that edition.|
“That’s a bit of a silly question,” I replied. “Why on earth would I be worried about that? My youngest son is just eight and can already recite the four cardinal rules of gun safety. I trust that I have taught them well and they will use their guns properly.”
I actually thought that would cause her to have a stroke. The color drained from her face. Her eyes widened. Her mouth moved, but no sound came out. At last, she gasped, “Your children have guns of their own?”
“Yep,” I said with pride. “They each have a couple guns and I hope to get them more as soon as the budget allows.
“My only fear about my kids and guns is that they will use up all my ammo,” I continued.
That’s when the lady abruptly turned and went looking for someone else to talk to. Imagine my good fortune.
With spring in the air thoughts around the Michalowski house turn to range time. My oldest son Adam will take his hunter education class this fall; it’s a great opportunity for me to go back through the course, just as a refresher. It will be great father/son time and I’m looking forward to it.
The youngest boy turns nine this summer and already I have purchased his gift: a dandy youth model .410 shotgun, an H&R Topper that should fit him just perfectly. The downside is the gun is only a single-shot and Ethan has already come to know the joys of the semi-auto .22.
Last year I acquired a GSG-5 made by American Tactical Imports. The rifle is a very close copy of the MP-5, but built as a dedicated semi-auto .22. For pure rapid-fire shooting enjoyment, there is nothing better than the GSG-5. I used to say that about my Ruger 10/22, but the GSG-5 is even more fun. I bought the scope mount and will put a red-dot sight on the gun soon, meaning I should have no trouble using up .22 ammo from here on out.
Adam, on the other hand, has embraced my love for pistols. He specifically likes my Glock 22 with the .22 caliber conversion kit. He’s getting to be a pretty good shot. This spring we’re going to drop in on some of the local IDPA matches and see what’s going on. Maybe it’s something he’ll want to get involved in. All I can do is introduce him to the joys of shooting, insure he does it safely and correctly and see where it takes us. That’s what my dad did and I’m a better man for it.
We’ll get out on range as often as we can this summer, but there is the little issue of range time interfering with fishing time. Both boys are more than happy to catch bluegills and bass all day long, so we have to find a balance.
The point of all this is that it is incredibly important to introduce children to firearms and outdoor activities at a very young age. The younger the better. The sooner we can get kids interested the better chance we have to create life-long enthusiasts. And that’s really what the gun industry and the firearms culture in this country needs.
So take a kid shooting. Encourage your local gun club to have an event for children and moms. Introduce young people to this sport before they get sidetracked by video games, cell phones, and peer pressure. That means starting them young and starting them right. Don’t tell me you don’t have the time. If you are going to the range, take a kid.