Parents: Do you know where your children are?
And what they're doing?
by B.B. Pelletier
Today, I'll finish the discussion of children and airguns.
Children often have poor judgement. In fact, one of the principal duties of raising a child is to protect them while their judgement matures. If a child shows curiosity about guns, the safest solution is to educate them in gun safety. Obviously, the education must change as the child matures. Very young children should not be allowed to hold guns of any kind without 100 percent continuous adult supervision. The NRA Eddie Eagle program teaches all young children to simply walk out of any room if they see a gun in it. As the child matures, they are given more responsibility after they demonstrate they can handle it. But not all children mature! In fact, this is the crux of the problem.
Age doesn't guaranty maturity
There are parents and grandparents with poor judgement, too. Being lax about their own responsibilities, they feel strongly that their children should be left to their own devices, as well. However, when something bad comes their way they are the ones who scream loudest, "No fair!" These people are a major cause for the type of society we live in. They don't want to be responsible, so laws are made to protect everyone from their actions, and they are the first to cry whenever they get bit by the consequences.
No room for a mistake!
There are no second chances anymore. If someone violates school policy by taking a non-firearm gun on school property, the school will prevail. If someone brandishes an airgun in a public place, the police have the right to respond - often with deadly force. Yes, there will be an inquest into the officer's actions, but the child who was shot will still be dead regardless of the outcome.
I live in a state where concealed carry is widespread. When I go to a gun show, the police have a booth outside the show where all the carry guns are unloaded, inspected and disabled with a cable tie while the owner is in the show. But, they still permit the guns to be carried into the show! The same station serves those who want to take in guns that aren't concealed - the guys who walk around with signs they have guns for sale. That is the responsible side of law enforcement. And, we haven't had any shooting incidents at gun shows in recent memory. In sharp contrast, there have been "accidents" at gun shows in states that have very restrictive gun laws.
However, when I go to the courthouse in my town, a sign on the front door tells everyone who is not law enforcement to disarm before entering the building. Some commercial businesses like banks have the same sign. And, our schools have the same zero-tolerance policy about guns that you'll find almost everywhere in the U.S.
But children don't have good judgement, yet. They may not obey their school's policy, even though they know it well. So, parents must protect their children from indiscretions by controlling the BB guns, airsoft guns, knives, bows, etc., they let their kids have. It's the parent who must exercise good judgement, and they must educate their kids to understand the consequences of bad judgement. That's the really hard part, but also the most necessary, because sooner or later kids will begin trying things on their own. If they're educated in gun safety, they'll know instinctively that they shouldn't brandish an airsoft gun in public.
Bottom line? No one can show a gun in public without risking dire consequences. Children have no experience to gauge how bad things can get - nor do they appreciate finality. When the game is really over, there's no coming back. Friends who died in car accidents in high school are still dead fifty years later. So we don't "teach" children by letting them figure things out on their own if there are severe risks involved. Putting it bluntly, parents need to keep the gun secured - whatever it takes. No excuses!