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Guest Post: Guns and children……..

Guns and children

by D.

 

First and foremost I am a rabid defender of gun rights and the U.S. constitution.

I grew up around guns my whole life. Being born in Pennsylvania, I had five uncles and my father who were all deer hunters. Thirty-thirties were in abundance.

My exposure to shooting started around age 12, when my dad took me out to shoot at cans with his 30-30 as well as an old Sears .22 rifle. Needless to say, at that age, I preferred the .22. He impressed upon me the seriousness of gun ownership at that time, and it stuck.

When I was about sixteen, on a visit, I found a black powder rifle stashed in the rafters of my Grandfathers cellar. It dated from colonial times and no one in the family knew it was there, it had been lost to time. It was given to me, as the finder and only male child of the family. My dad on returning home to Florida tore it down and refurbished it as regards, working order. He found a date from the 1700s and numerous proof marks. We never fired it but it resides over the transom of my family room, a true patriot’s weapon.

Unfortunately, during most of my life, my Dad and I were not very close, but in later years when I joined the Marine Corps at 17 and went to Vietnam, he confided to my Mother that he was proud of me. All of my uncles had served in two wars and an occupation, serving in the Army and the Air Force. I was the first Marine in the family. My father was a 100% disabled veteran from WWII campaigns in; North Africa, Corsica, Sardinia, and Italy. I didn’t know it at the time, but he suffered greatly from PTSD.

Many years later I got into steel and combat shooting, quite by accident. I started the sport with a Detonics .45 and a bucketful of 6 round stainless magazines (what an ordeal of mag changes that was). Upon becoming competent with that weapon I moved on to expand my gun collection to compete in combat three gun matches.

Many of my friends expressed an interest in what I was doing and I urged them to come out and use my gear to see if it was for them. Most all of them joined the sport and shot with me, acquiring their own guns.

I became a Range Officer with IPSC and I was a bastard. When someone new came out with us, I would instruct them in detail during the hour and a half drive across the state to the range. Any one bringing a friend was responsible for their behavior, and I expected them to monitor the newbie. I had my own duties.

On the drive home I would occasionally “tear a new one” in a new shooter who had disregarded my rules and in no uncertain terms tell him he was incompetent to own a firearm and that he would never be coming out with us again. I was merciless; I had seen too many stupid, unnecessary accidents as a RO. They were not going to happen on my watch, guns really are not for everyone, just as high speed sports cars are not, some cannot properly control them.

At this time I began buying trigger locks and giving them to my friends who had children. Telling them “lock it up and put the key around your neck, the last thing in the world that I want to hear is that your kid has gotten to your gun and shot himself.” “They can figure this shit out, and will!” I was thanked for the gift and my concern.

Many Preppers have families and have also chosen to acquire firearms to protect them. As in all of your other preps, “Prepare for the worst”: your kids getting into your guns. They are smart and always learning. They are curious; they can and will figure out how to make that lump of metal into a deadly weapon. Do not underestimate them. Teach them about proper gun handling and safety at an appropriate age. Keep your long guns and ammo in a safe. Your hand guns with a trigger lock or in a secure lock box opened by your hand print or combo. You can still get at it in seconds.

Take the initiative and teach your friends with kids and guns, or do as I did and buy them locks. It is cheap peace of mind for you. Don’t ever hesitate to point out unsafe practices with others. They may get pissed, but who cares, they’ll be alive and whole to do so. If you are the expert, pass on your knowledge, you may well save some or many kids lives.   Regards, D.

 


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18 comments to Guest Post: Guns and children……..

  • Brenton Adams

    Bravo!

  • BOB

    I read a recent post on Battlefield USA, s tating that Jim Garrow,stated on the Alex Jones show, that he was told by a highly placed individual that( the admin has questioned the Marines and officers if they would fire on American citizens as part of the review for advancement.) Have you any info on this?

  • DavidO

    I highly recommend the book “Gun Proof Your Kids” by Masaad Ayoob to every parent or aunt, uncle or grandparent. “Gun Proof Your Kin(s)”, you ask, didn’t he mean “Child Proof your Guns”? No, because it isn’t possible to do so. Educating children from an early age about firearms is the only surefire way to prevent a tragedy.

    The NRA’s Eddie Eagle program does this on a very elementary level, and I certainly recommend it and believe that it should be a mandatory class at every elementary school in the U.S. After reading it I immediately saw the wisdom and logic he presented.

    I had my son at the range (backyard at the time since we lived in the country with a mountain behind us) with cotton in his ears sealed with Vaseline (as recommended by his Pediatrician) and let him press the trigger on a Ruger MkIII .22 target pistol while I held it and pointed the muzzle at the cans on the ground. I’ll never forget the grin on his face. I asked him if that was fun and he told me it was. I told him that shooting was fun as long as the safety rules were followed and told him what they were. I also told him that they were not toys but would kill and shot a gallon jug filled with red colored water to emphasize the point. He has never forgotten it and been safe around firearms.

    I removed the curiosity completely by letting him pick up and handle whatever he liked after showing him how to remove the magazine and lock the action open first after taking them out of the locker. I also showed him how to strip and clean every firearm I owned as he grew older. While it falls on all gun owners to be responsible, education is the key to preventing tragedies with kids and guns, because ignorance isn’t bliss it kills.

  • Bev

    @DavidO,

    I too raised my kids with a healthy respect for guns. Your comments are well worth noting for all gun owners!

    Bev :)

  • Pam

    I trained my children that the stove was hot by lightly touching it myself and dramatically responding to the heat. Then moving their hand close enough to feel the heat and dramatically responding as it we were in pain. Any time any one said,”Hot”, they were quick to move away. The same principle worked well with “No”. We began well prior to their first birthday and when our children did not respond correctly to the single word, a pencil smack to the hand or a flick to the ear was all the “reminder” they needed. This is the beginning of respect and self-discipline, both of which are required in responsible gun ownership and use.
    Lack of respect and self-discipline is the reason the newbies needed “to be torn anew one”. Lack of respect and self-discipline is the cause of many of society’s ills. Trigger locks are necessary and I believe lack of proper child training is the reason

  • benjammin

    I too subscribe to the notion of gun-proofing kids. Locking up firearms to keep your children safe is a sure sign of laziness. I raised two daughters in a house where guns were not under lock and key most of the time, and they knew where they were, and they never once had any inclination to even touch them without permission. That’s because I did my part and trained them from the time they were old enough to be able to get to them. I’ve since trained literally thousands of children as a Hunter safety instructor in three different states in firearms safety, and I can attest that children can be taught to leave guns alone IF the parents are responsible enough to do their job. If the parents aren’t willing to take on that responsibility, then they should strongly reconsider whether or not they should even have guns in the house.
    Gun ownership is as much a responsibility as it is a right. If you are not willing to take on the responsibility in whole, then you should consider not exercising the right at all.

  • D.

    Benjammin:
    Kudos to your stepping up to the plate and passing on your knowledge to so many. However,after a certain age of reason…I agree safes and locks are lazy. But, how do you teach a 4-6 YO to be responsible (or for that matter their parents?)
    Their DNA is ingrained to be curious and push their bounderies regardless of consequences. Risk taking is a large part of life. That is how we grow and learn. Otherwise we would all be drones. Physical security has its place. I know of an incident decades ago where a 5 YO got to a revolver in a high closet as well as seperate ammo and managed to put them together, thankfully without incident. I think relying on instruction alone below a certain age is asking for trouble. No one can know absolutely what any childs inclination is, if they are doing something they have been told not to, they are certainly not going to tell you about it, nor do it in the open. All that said, I truely feel that despite having the right, many people that I have seen who own guns, have no business having one. Regards, D.

  • Leonard

    My father–a gunsmith–had a different tactic with firearms. At the age of 5, he had me shoot (while he helped me to hold it) an antique Colt SAA in .45 Colt (rechambered at Colt’s factory). It looked almost exactly like my “Fanner 50″. It was so loud, and the recoil in my hand was so intense, that I knew I’d never again touch a real gun. He asked me what I thought, and I told him I didn’t like it. He said “Good–real guns aren’t toys…”. My first “real” gun was a .22/.410 Savage over/under received at age 11–I LIKED that one, and the collection has been growing ever since. But, during those years when I might have been too curious about guns, I had no interest at all in them, although the house was awash in them.

  • Chrisj

    @Bob, this is from Godfather Politics. It mentions your Garrow and Obama’s “litmus test.”

    http://godfatherpolitics.com/9112/obama-tailoring-military-leadership-to-only-those-who-will-shoot-fellow-americans/

  • jarhead1987

    Outstanding article!

    Semper Fi

  • benjammin

    D:

    It isn’t easy, but it can be done. For a couple hundred years guns were kept out in the open in homes across the country. They were loaded and were readily accessible, because conditions of the times dictated that the owners maintain them at the ready. Young children could get to these guns quite easily. Yet there is not a significant record of children misusing these guns despite their ease of access.

    Times change, but just as we teach young children how to talk and behave in public (responsible use of their first amendment rights), so to we should spend the same time and effort teaching them how to behave around guns. Even young children understand boundaries if they are sufficiently reinforced. My daughters understood, and it wasn’t any harder than teaching them other fundamental life principles. Even at two years old, they knew to leave the guns alone. For them, guns were simply another part of the household they were taught to leave alone.

    Curiosity can be managed, risks can be mitigated, knowledge and experience will satiate the curious and dispel the wonder of a thing even at a very young age. There are several anecdotal examples here in the comments that allude to this approach. The worst case would be to leave a child to learn through trial and error.

    So you teach a 4-6 year old by example. As others have said, take them to the range, let them see, hear, and feel what the gun does. They will get it. Take them home and have them help cleaning the guns thoroughly. They will start to see that shooting is not a game, it is a task, and the novelty will be gone. Sit them down and discuss the dangers with them. Get them to repeat it to you so you know that they know. Reinforce it often. They may lose interest altogether, but they will always know to respect it.

    One point of clarification, I don’t just leave loaded guns laying out in the open. In fact, I do have a safe for guns that are not needed for immediate self defense. However, I keep some of my guns loaded and accessible for the purposes of self defense, and I always made sure the girls knew where those guns were. They were also trained to keep that knowledge away from their friends and their friends away from those guns.

    Proper instruction provided on a regular and timely matter is never a liability. It is your first and best line of reducing these sorts of risks. I know from experience that physical security is seldom an adequate deterent for young, curious minds. The reason why is obvious, you cannot secure all the guns your kids will be exposed to, and therefore limiting access only to the guns you control is insufficient. Proper training is the only effective remedy you have, because you cannot keep your kids in the house 24/7, and you cannot be with them all the time either. If they don’t learn to respect your firearms, then they will not respect any firearm, and the consequences for that parental failure are dire.

  • benjammin

    In short, you have to rely on training your children, and it is the only thing you can rely on, because you do not have control over all the guns they may be exposed to. You only have control over how they will act around them.

  • D.

    Bejammin:
    You make some excellent points.
    I have often said that as a people I believe that we have gotten dumber over our history…but failed to apply it here. Also you are right we can not go around locking up every gun our children may come acrossed in their life, only an ingrained understanding and respect can work in the long run. Well written reply and thanks for the clarification. I must defer to your experience, the majority of my training experience is with adults. Your thoughts should be an added component (training shooters to train their children) to their firearms training as well. There is always something to learn. Regards, D.

  • Interesting take, but I really don’t associate with anyone who wouldn’t pass out gun locks to friends and offer to help educate them. That just seems like SOP. I’ve taken a few newbies out myself, and usually recruit an even more experienced person to go with us as well so they have a good and useful experience.

    Not only would there never have been an incident allowed that would have required ‘tearing them a new one’, but who does that? You also describe yourself as a ‘real bastard’ when it comes to taking newbies out. You actually sound like someone I would never want to go shooting with, especially with someone new to it. That type of attitude is going to create an adverse environment and drive the new shooter to potentially go somewhere less safe (i.e. the woods shooting at trees with nothing behind their targets instead of on a range with an instructor). So, while I realize you’re probably adding a little color to the article, and agree with the overwhelmingly positive comments above mine, my biggest takeaway from the article is that it sounds like it is describing someone I wouldn’t want around my daughter on the gun range. I want her experience to be extremely positive, educational, and effective. If she points the gun at someone accidentally, tear us both a new one, but that simply wouldn’t happen because it’s been worn into her psyche long before the first rifle was in her hands. Its far better to educate before, and keep a tight operation around them once firearms are in hands to prevent these types of situations.

    The spam question really needs to be updated. Water is not wet or dry. Assuming the water is not frozen, nor evaporated, you might stick your finger in the water, and your finger might get wet, but the water is still just water. Aside from that little issue, the question is always the same so any robot (as long as the robot didn’t realize the answer was scientifically inaccurate) could just work around it – so why have it at all?

  • Rourke

    Dark Space –

    Are you frigg’n kidding me about the SPAM question? Give me a break. It is just a means to an end.

    Holy Crap!

    Rourke

  • Very good points made here. I was raised around guns and my Daddy had more than I could count. He taught me not to touch or play with them and that they were not a toy. When I was old enough he took me hunting and showed me the proper way to use one. Later in life he got a large gun safe for his collection because my young son Jack was often over there and it was the right thing to do. My brother and I never had a question of how to be safe around guns thanks to my Dad. He passed away about a year ago and I am only grateful that he does not have to see this ongoing threat to take away our right to own a firearms.

  • D.

    I shouldn’t have to go into this…but here goes:

    I do not shoot on public ranges. I shoot on police ranges and private events. I risk my life enough on the Interstate hiways.(if you want to hear some horror stories talk to a public range RO)

    I do not train children to shoot. I am not their parent, that is YOUR responsibility.

    I shoot with professionals mainly: Fla. state shotgun champ (many years) and public Range officer, Police, Feds,” A” class shooters who have trained the sultan of Dubai security team, DOE training members. etc. I am good but the admitted lightweight in this company.

    I shoot combat courses (basically problem solving with a gun) I have also RO’ed these courses (40-50 shooters a handful of RO’s, 5-6 pistol stages and a couple each rifle and shotgun stages) Some of these courses are inherently dangerous. Incidents happen and when they do “you are done for the day”

    I can not be everywhere at all times. shit has and will continue to happen, there is NO sport that is incident free. My job is to minimize them.

    Anyone who states that “this or that would never happen with me” is living in a fantasy land. The correct way to view this is “It CAN happen with me” and keep a close watch for it.

    I have handed out very embarassing trophies for “brain farts”, at my expense, to almost every one I know. My way of saying “Pay attention” They work surprisingly well.

    BUT…the self proclaimed “Eagle Driver” that has had the simple rules of a “Cold range” explained to him in detail and then insists on playing with his gun behind the firing line is going to experience my wrath. I will not only tear him a new one but it will be bloody. I do not suffer fools, with my life or any others.

    Rant off.

    This article was my small contribution to “Gun-control”. As Jeff Cooper use to say “If there’s a gun around, I want to be in control of it.”…..D.

  • You clearly indicate in the story that you are “tearing new ones” and being a “real bastard” towards non-professional first timers, and I just don’t think that is in good form nor is it effective. If you are tearing new ones into professionals and LEOs, then you should probably edit the article – honestly if it read this way, I probably would agree with the article.

    Also, I did NOT say that “this or that will never happen”, I said a very specific incident with a very specific person would never happen, and frankly that can be said with certainty. Of course incidents happen, but you minimize incidents with folks relatively new to guns by controlling the situation.

    That was just my honest feedback from reading the article as it was written. Honestly the spam comment was intended to be a little tongue in cheek. You guys are way too sensitive if you can’t take a little criticism. Maybe I should’ve put a little smiley face or something at the end to soften the reality. ;-)