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Guns and children

At which age should a child be allowed to own a gun?

  • I don't think there should be age limits. It's the responsibility of the parents.

    Votes: 7 18.4%
  • 0-4 years

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • 5-8 years

    Votes: 1 2.6%
  • 9-12 years

    Votes: 7 18.4%
  • 13-14 years

    Votes: 3 7.9%
  • 15-16 years

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • 17-18 years

    Votes: 10 26.3%
  • 21 years

    Votes: 2 5.3%
  • Private gun ownership should not be allowed at all.

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • other (please explain)

    Votes: 8 21.1%

  • Total voters
    38

German guy

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One thing that totally amazes me about America (well, certain regions in America at least) is that guns are considered such a normal everyday tool that even children are provided with guns. The other day, I even heard that there exist certain rifle models that are designed for kids and advertized as such.

Being European, this is culturally totally alien to me. And it strikes me as completely insane, no matter how I turn it. I bet the reaction of most of my fellow countrymen is similar. When there were cases in the news about 4 or 5 year old American kids shooting their younger siblings with guns their parents had given them, that was just one big "I told you so"-moment, as horrible as these cases are. I really think the parents should go to jail for this irresponsibility.

Seriously: How can anybody give a child a gun? How stupid can one be? Guns are not for kids, period.

Or do you seriously think kids should have access to deadly weapons that can kill in an instant and are exclusively designed for that purpose, but are not responsible enough to drive before they turn 16, or to drink alcohol before they turn 18/21?! (Or to have consensual safe sex, for that matter.) That simply does not compute.

So what do you think? Which age is appropriate for kids to have access to guns?
 

VanceMack

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One thing that totally amazes me about America (well, certain regions in America at least) is that guns are considered such a normal everyday tool that even children are provided with guns. The other day, I even heard that there exist certain rifle models that are designed for kids and advertized as such.

Being European, this is culturally totally alien to me. And it strikes me as completely insane, no matter how I turn it. I bet the reaction of most of my fellow countrymen is similar. When there were cases in the news about 4 or 5 year old American kids shooting their younger siblings with guns their parents had given them, that was just one big "I told you so"-moment, as horrible as these cases are. I really think the parents should go to jail for this irresponsibility.

Seriously: How can anybody give a child a gun? How stupid can one be? Guns are not for kids, period.

Or do you seriously think kids should have access to deadly weapons that can kill in an instant and are exclusively designed for that purpose, but are not responsible enough to drive before they turn 16, or to drink alcohol before they turn 18/21?! (Or to have consensual safe sex, for that matter.) That simply does not compute.

So what do you think? Which age is appropriate for kids to have access to guns?
Ive been shooting with my kids since they were 3-4 years old. They shoot with their kids. HEck, my granddaughter has a 'bedazzled' set of ear defenders. All of my grandkids have their first gift from me...a Ruger 10/22 rifle. I buy it for them when they are babies, they get it when their parents feel they are old enough to handle them. When they are in use they are with an adult. When they arent in use they are in a gun safe. Guns have never been stigmatized in our family and have never been a big deal. My kids werent 'fascinated' by them because they were commonplace and were always treated responsibly and safely.

You use an anomaly to form an opinion? Sometimes people do stupid and reckless things. One of the things that bothers me about the rush to exploit every tragedy as an opportunity to seize other peoples guns is that we lose the opportunity to focus on some very VALUABLE lessons. Weapons safety and responsible gun ownership should be at the forefront of the discussion. Instead, people will take an incident involving a single shot pink hello kitty rifle and use that as their justification to impose assault weapons bans, magazine capacity bans, gun limits, etc.
 

americanwoman

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I think the top one sums it up, it's up to the parents to determine their child's ability to handle a firearm. Some might be ready younger than others. Definitely not the 0-4 range though, preschoolers and younger just can't handle that type of responsibility.


edit: Actually after I wrote this and read VanceMack's reply I would say that with a capable responsible adult, a younger 3-4 child could handle it. Again it goes back to the parent and how responsible they are.
 
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molten_dragon

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One thing that totally amazes me about America (well, certain regions in America at least) is that guns are considered such a normal everyday tool that even children are provided with guns. The other day, I even heard that there exist certain rifle models that are designed for kids and advertized as such.

Being European, this is culturally totally alien to me. And it strikes me as completely insane, no matter how I turn it. I bet the reaction of most of my fellow countrymen is similar. When there were cases in the news about 4 or 5 year old American kids shooting their younger siblings with guns their parents had given them, that was just one big "I told you so"-moment, as horrible as these cases are. I really think the parents should go to jail for this irresponsibility.

Seriously: How can anybody give a child a gun? How stupid can one be? Guns are not for kids, period.

Or do you seriously think kids should have access to deadly weapons that can kill in an instant and are exclusively designed for that purpose, but are not responsible enough to drive before they turn 16, or to drink alcohol before they turn 18/21?! (Or to have consensual safe sex, for that matter.) That simply does not compute.

So what do you think? Which age is appropriate for kids to have access to guns?
It's appropriate whenever the kid has proven that they are responsible enough to handle owning one. I'll probably start teaching my kids to handle a gun at 5 or 6, though only under strict supervision, and only if they are mature enough to take it seriously at that age.
 

German guy

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Ive been shooting with my kids since they were 3-4 years old. They shoot with their kids. HEck, my granddaughter has a 'bedazzled' set of ear defenders. All of my grandkids have their first gift from me...a Ruger 10/22 rifle. I buy it for them when they are babies, they get it when their parents feel they are old enough to handle them. When they are in use they are with an adult. When they arent in use they are in a gun safe. Guns have never been stigmatized in our family and have never been a big deal. My kids werent 'fascinated' by them because they were commonplace and were always treated responsibly and safely.

You use an anomaly to form an opinion? Sometimes people do stupid and reckless things. One of the things that bothers me about the rush to exploit every tragedy as an opportunity to seize other peoples guns is that we lose the opportunity to focus on some very VALUABLE lessons. Weapons safety and responsible gun ownership should be at the forefront of the discussion. Instead, people will take an incident involving a single shot pink hello kitty rifle and use that as their justification to impose assault weapons bans, magazine capacity bans, gun limits, etc.
Thanks for your view. It's an interesting perspective.

I'd just argue that the more guns you have, you will inevitably have more gun related "accidents". And the more kids you provide with guns, the more kids will die. That's simple math, unless you ignore reality.

I know back in kindergarten, we even got special low-risk scissors for kids. Normal "adult scissors" were taboo. Obviously, we have a very different background.
 

AliHajiSheik

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I don't know the correct answer as I have neither, but at what age should a child have wine or a beer? I imagine that anything that should be used responsibly requires exposure and education.
 

German guy

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I don't know the correct answer as I have neither, but at what age should a child have wine or a beer? I imagine that anything that should be used responsibly requires exposure and education.
I'd argue that cars/motorbikes and low-alcohol drinks are much less dangerous than guns and rifles, and thus the latter should not be given to kids before the former.
 

WCH

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First of all, one can't legally own a gun in this country until the age of 21.

I was introduced to firearms around the age of 5 or 6 but, only while observing adults on hunting trips. Around age nine I was allowed [on my own] to access any gun in the cabinet and was trained in care and safety of said guns. (we lived in a small town with lots of open country around)

I hate to bring this up but, Germany in particular, probably has a negative attitude about guns due to the WWs. (misuse of power, disarmament, political chaos, etc)

I would bet before those wars, it was very common for young European boys to hunt and target practice with their families. There's also a long line of fine gun makers from that region of the world.
 

VanceMack

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Thanks for your view. It's an interesting perspective.

I'd just argue that the more guns you have, you will inevitably have more gun related "accidents". And the more kids you provide with guns, the more kids will die. That's simple math, unless you ignore reality.

I know back in kindergarten, we even got special low-risk scissors for kids. Normal "adult scissors" were taboo. Obviously, we have a very different background.
Its a false analogy. You can have few guns and treat them irresponsibly and you will be far more likely to have mishaps than with an armory handled responsibly. One person that buys a handgun and rather than securing it leaves the weapon in a purse and leaves the purse where kids can get to it...thats a recipe for tragedy.

I have 4 kids. All 4 are very good shots, very comfortable with weapons, enjoy shooting sports, and understand how to safely manage firearms. The quantity of firearms is irrelevant, as is the age when they start shooting. Responsible parenting and mentoring is what is relevant.
 

Captain Adverse

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Thanks for your view. It's an interesting perspective.

I'd just argue that the more guns you have, you will inevitably have more gun related "accidents". And the more kids you provide with guns, the more kids will die. That's simple math, unless you ignore reality.

I know back in kindergarten, we even got special low-risk scissors for kids. Normal "adult scissors" were taboo. Obviously, we have a very different background.
Unfortunately, your argument applies to just about any technology that has a potential for harmful use. The more cars in use the more chance of accidents. The more toys in use the more chance of accidents. The more electrical appliances in use the more chance of accidents. On and on.

Should we therefore keep children out of cars, from using the toaster or electric fan, or playing with toys? Or should we rather act responsibly as parents and (using VanceMack's example) guide and supervise our children in their proper use with safety foremost in our minds?
 
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jimbo

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There is a difference between owning guns and having access to guns. I grew up around guns and began hunting somewhere around 8 or 9. Didn't own a gun until I was around 17 or so. At no time were gns treated as a toy or something sinister and evil,

My grandson shot his first deer at 7, but once again, guns were never treated as toys.

I have some problems with the Cricket style kids guns in that it is dificult for a very young child to understand the difference between a pink lethal weapon and a pink toy.

Today I have more problem with gun games around young kids. Shooting the bad guy only to have him pop back up sends the wrong message. We knew better.
 

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I'd argue that cars/motorbikes and low-alcohol drinks are much less dangerous than guns and rifles, and thus the latter should not be given to kids before the former.
As I said, I don't know the right answer, but I guess it depends on the context. Here Johnny, take your .44 Magnum and go out and play with your friends is different than being with your child, handing them a secured handgun on a shooting range and then supervising the handling of the weapon.

I have driven all over and I have also shot on a shooting range. I felt safer on the shooting range as the people I was around were very responsible. On the highways, eyeliner has caused more havoc.
 

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It is always interesting when Europeans scratch their heads and wonder what the deal is with Americans and guns. They will never grasp how they represent freedom to us. It is not only the freedom to stand up to a potentially out of control government but the freedom to protect yourself and feed yourself. I got my first gun around 10 years old. Some of my best memories are rabbit hunting in the desert with my dad.
 

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Deadly gun accidents involving children tend to involve children who had little to no exercise handling a gun - thus creating a curiousity about them, while not knowing how they work. Lack of knowledge can be deadly.

Your poll is "off" as you ask about "ownership" - but talk about handling/using - which is something entirely different.
 

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It's odd to me that there is this assumption that kids shooting guns does not happen in Europe. My father is originally from Ireland and he used to take me out shooting when I was a kid whenever we went back to Ireland. we'd go out with .22 rifles and shotguns (depending on what we were hunting). By the time I was 15, when we went back there I was allowed to go hunting with about 6 or 7 of my friends without any adult supervision. My brother and I were the only American kids in the group. The youngest of us was 14, the oldest was 17.

whereas back here in the States, I didn't go out shooting with my father until I was 18.

To me it seems like more of a rural vs. urban thing than a continent thing. My family is from a rural part of Ireland, so I guess it is more "normal" for kids to go out shooting there, I guess. Almost all of the guys I go hunting/shooting with here in the States are either from Ireland themselves or their parents came from Ireland (the few that aren't Irish are cops).
 

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One thing that totally amazes me about America (well, certain regions in America at least) is that guns are considered such a normal everyday tool that even children are provided with guns. The other day, I even heard that there exist certain rifle models that are designed for kids and advertized as such.

Being European, this is culturally totally alien to me. And it strikes me as completely insane, no matter how I turn it. I bet the reaction of most of my fellow countrymen is similar. When there were cases in the news about 4 or 5 year old American kids shooting their younger siblings with guns their parents had given them, that was just one big "I told you so"-moment, as horrible as these cases are. I really think the parents should go to jail for this irresponsibility.

Seriously: How can anybody give a child a gun? How stupid can one be? Guns are not for kids, period.

Or do you seriously think kids should have access to deadly weapons that can kill in an instant and are exclusively designed for that purpose, but are not responsible enough to drive before they turn 16, or to drink alcohol before they turn 18/21?! (Or to have consensual safe sex, for that matter.) That simply does not compute.

So what do you think? Which age is appropriate for kids to have access to guns?
I voted 13-14 years old. And that, in my mind, would be a hunting rifle -- maybe a shotgun. If one lives in the city, it's hard to imagine why a kid would want/need a gun. If one lives in the country? It's not hard to imagine at all. People in the "real" country, need guns in their home to protect themselves. You know the old saying? "When seconds count, the cops are only minutes away." In the country? They're 45 minutes away. Or more.

If people are going to have guns in their house for protection (or hunting...or killing a rattlesnake in the driveway, for that matter), then educating children about them is not only proper, but necessary.
 

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It is always interesting when Europeans scratch their heads and wonder what the deal is with Americans and guns. They will never grasp how they represent freedom to us. It is not only the freedom to stand up to a potentially out of control government but the freedom to protect yourself and feed yourself. I got my first gun around 10 years old. Some of my best memories are rabbit hunting in the desert with my dad.
For many Germans, cars and highways without speed limit represent freedom (there is that slogan "free driving for free citizens!") and there are many car crazy people who keep attacking the government for taxing gasoline and introducing speed limits, no matter how reasonable these restrictions are. I guess they'd also tell people they have to take their guns from their "dead cold hands". I don't understand these people either. ;)
 

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The age depends on the particular kid. I used to go hunting with my dad when I was 7 and would target shoot then as well. Gun safety was drilled into my head. Frankly, I feel more threatened by teenagers behind the wheel than teenagers behind a scope.

The vast majority of times you hear about kids accidentally killing someone with a gun, it almost always ends up being a kid who hasn't had proper safety training and hasn't spent time on the range. Usually when you hear about a kid accidentally killing someone it is usually the first time they have ever even fired a weapon.

I remember the first time I fired a rifle. It was at a deer range. My dad had set up a target and he was standing right behind me showing me how to hold the rifle properly. The kick I felt with that first shot taught me immediately that this was an object to be treated with the utmost care and respect.
 

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One thing that totally amazes me about America (well, certain regions in America at least) is that guns are considered such a normal everyday tool that even children are provided with guns. The other day, I even heard that there exist certain rifle models that are designed for kids and advertized as such.

Being European, this is culturally totally alien to me. And it strikes me as completely insane, no matter how I turn it. I bet the reaction of most of my fellow countrymen is similar. When there were cases in the news about 4 or 5 year old American kids shooting their younger siblings with guns their parents had given them, that was just one big "I told you so"-moment, as horrible as these cases are. I really think the parents should go to jail for this irresponsibility.

Seriously: How can anybody give a child a gun? How stupid can one be? Guns are not for kids, period.

Or do you seriously think kids should have access to deadly weapons that can kill in an instant and are exclusively designed for that purpose, but are not responsible enough to drive before they turn 16, or to drink alcohol before they turn 18/21?! (Or to have consensual safe sex, for that matter.) That simply does not compute.

So what do you think? Which age is appropriate for kids to have access to guns?
I can understand someone from Germany thinking our gun laws are too lax, because your guns laws are incredibly strict compared to ours, although the law here varies where you are in America. In the state of Georgia, you have to be 21 to buy a handgun, however you can possess a handgun at 18. For people under 18 handgun possession is restricted to certain activities, such as hunting or target shooting. As far as rifles and shotguns, minors can possess them. And something even people in some other American states can't believe, at 21 a person in Georgia can pay $75, get fingerprinted at the Sheriff's office, and get a criminal background check, then within a week can legally carry a handgun openly or concealed to almost anywhere (such as the grocery store or movie theater or around the neighborhood) without any training whatsoever. Crazy huh? By the way, in Germany is there still no enforced drinking age? And you have to be 18 to drive after some thorough and expensive training?
 

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It is always interesting when Europeans scratch their heads and wonder what the deal is with Americans and guns. They will never grasp how they represent freedom to us. It is not only the freedom to stand up to a potentially out of control government but the freedom to protect yourself and feed yourself. I got my first gun around 10 years old. Some of my best memories are rabbit hunting in the desert with my dad.
Keep in mind that Europe is still—and will probably always be—trapped in pretty much the same tyrannical mindset against which our forebears rebelled in order to found the United States.
 

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One thing that totally amazes me about America (well, certain regions in America at least) is that guns are considered such a normal everyday tool that even children are provided with guns. The other day, I even heard that there exist certain rifle models that are designed for kids and advertized as such.

Being European, this is culturally totally alien to me. And it strikes me as completely insane, no matter how I turn it. I bet the reaction of most of my fellow countrymen is similar. When there were cases in the news about 4 or 5 year old American kids shooting their younger siblings with guns their parents had given them, that was just one big "I told you so"-moment, as horrible as these cases are. I really think the parents should go to jail for this irresponsibility.

Seriously: How can anybody give a child a gun? How stupid can one be? Guns are not for kids, period.

Or do you seriously think kids should have access to deadly weapons that can kill in an instant and are exclusively designed for that purpose, but are not responsible enough to drive before they turn 16, or to drink alcohol before they turn 18/21?! (Or to have consensual safe sex, for that matter.) That simply does not compute.

So what do you think? Which age is appropriate for kids to have access to guns?
As a gun owner, life member of the NRA and staunch supporter of the 2A.
I really hate it when people from other nations cherry pick certian isolated insidents and claim that its a national issue or problem.
Anyone that allows a fire arm to fall in to the hands of a minor and said minor shoots anyone the owner of the gun should face prison.
I dont care if its a sister shooting a brother, you shoot your kid "accidently" or your kid shoots himself.
You own the weapon, you are the parent. Act like it.
Do you leave your car running with your 5 year old inside bouncing around?
Do you let your child play with matches?
Same concept.
And futhermore, anyones stupidity or criminal activity does not trump our 2A rights.
 

rathi

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The world is filled with dangerous objects, children shouldn't be isolated from risks, they should be properly trained how to handle them. Guns, alcohol and cars are a items that have the potential for serious harm if used improperly. While its reasonable to restrict minors from using them unsupervised, its important that they be allowed to receive education on how to handle them from their parents. Its certainly safer for a child to handle a gun with a responsible parent present teaching them gun safety compared to an "adult" who is old enough but lacks the experience to handle weapons properly. The unfortunate part in the U.S. is that you can take you kid to the range to teach them how to shoot, but its illegal in many states to have a cold beer with them afterwards.
 

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Just as Europeans are astonished by gun ownership in America, those on the American Left are embarrassed by the so called "gun culture" in America because of how Europeans view us. They want to be like Europe, and so gun control goes hand-in-hand with this objective.
 

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17-18 years seems to be the natural answer. That's when people are supposed to be mature enough to handle other serious responsibilities, like voting or marriage.

As for supervised handling of guns - why, as soon as the child is physically and mentally capable to do it.

Being able to shoot is no different from being able to swim or tell edible mushrooms from poisonous ones - a basic survival skill. And the sooner a kid has the NRA safety mantra drummed into his or her little skull - the better ("Always assume that all guns are loaded. Never point a gun at anything you are not willing to destroy", and so forth).

As far as I am concerned, this has nothing to do with some mythical cultural differences: a city-dwelling modern German is not all THAT different from his cousins in Wisconsin - or from the gun-toting Swiss, for that matter.
I think the main dividing factor is that many in Europe - for obvious historical reasons - started to believe in safety and comfort that are not of their own making. But that is a dangerous delusion. You don't make yourself safe by delegating risky activities to the powers-to-be. You make yourself safe by learning how to handle risks.

Of course, mine is a point of view of a lifetime NRA member. :shoot
 

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those on the American Left are embarrassed by the so called "gun culture" in America .
Unless, of course, they are from Vermont: Arguably, the "leftiest" state in USA - and the most "pro-gun" at the same time. That's another great thing about America: we just too big and diverse to fit any stereotypes.
 
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