Children and Guns—Part 1

This is part of a four-part blog series addressing Children and Guns.  Part I – want to ensure your kid never commits a crime?  Give him a gun.  Part II addresses myths of gun safety – what you must know in order to truly protect your children.  Part III  addresses when it is safe to educate your child on firearms.  Part IV explores what’s really responsible for the death of our nation’s children.  If you enjoy what you read, please comment and share on your blog or Twitter.  Thank you. 

I have been shooting firearms for about 8 years now.  As a woman who’s convinced this is the best method of self-defense, I regularly communicate with other women on this topic and frequently hear 3 primary reasons why women are fearful of owning a firearm.  The most common reason is the safety of their children.  Rather than seeing a firearm as a method of defending their children, they see it as a willful danger that they bring TO their children.  Rather than simply telling them that such wasn’t the case and they were simply falling for the mainstream media story of the day, I decided to do some very, very specific research on what really happens in this nation when it comes to children being around guns.  Frankly, my research astounded even me.  So much so that while I intended to write one article about it, I realized that there was far too much information to cover in just one.  So I’m breaking it up into a 4 part series as follows:

Part I—Want to Ensure Your Kid Never Commits a Gun Crime?  GIVE Him a Gun.

Part II—The Myth of Gun Safety.  What you must know in order to truly protect your children.

Part III—When is it Safe to Educate Your Children on Guns?

Part IV—What’s Really Responsible for the Deaths of Our Nation’s Children?

Part I—Ensure your child never commits a gun crime by actually giving him a gun?  Sounds crazy, but it’s true.  Of course you would NEVER hear the media spout off such a statement, but in a GOVERNMENT study conducted by the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Juvenile and Delinquency Prevention revealed the following bit of valuable information. 

Fact: Children who get guns from their parents don’t commit gun
(0 percent) while children who get guns illegally are quite
likely to do so
(21 percent).

Fact: Children who get guns from parents are less likely to commit
any kind of street crime (14 percent) than children who have no gun
in the house (24 percent) – and are dramatically less likely to do so
than children who acquire an illegal gun (74 percent.)

Fact: Children who get guns from parents are less likely to use
banned drugs (13 percent) than children who get illegal guns
(41 percent.)

Fact: Boys who own legal firearms have much lower rates of
delinquency and drug use (than boys who own illegal guns) and are
even slightly less delinquent than non-owners of guns.

This study covered a period of 3 years (1993-1995).

When you take the mystery out of a gun, you take the
mischief out of the child. 

Presenting a firearm in an appropriate manner, as a tool of critical
self-defense, along with the appropriate safety rules, means that
you don’t have to worry so much about your life being turned upside
down by your child living a life of a gang-banger criminal.  Why?  
Legal gun owners tend to take their right of owning a gun very
seriously.  As such, they do not want to do anything that will
compromise that right.  They are typically a very law-abiding people. 
Bringing your child into that culture will enable them to associate
with other like-minded, law-abiding people that you can count on
being an example to them even when you’re not around.  
Now, let’s talk about the other aspect of gun ownership… a sound
knowledge of appropriate safety rules.  Whether your child has a
gun or not, this should be taught to them ad nauseam until they
truly get it.  Every single “accidental shooting” that has EVER
occurred has done so as a result of a violation of one of these gun
safety rules. 

First rule: Always keep your firearm pointed in a safe direction. 

Second Rule: Always keep your finger off the trigger until you are ready to shoot

Third Rule:
Always treat a firearm as if it is loaded

Fourth Rule:
Always protect your firearm from unauthorized use. 

Learn for yourself and teach these rules to the children in your life
to ensure their safety and to foster a respect for firearms.  It is also
important that you teach these rules in this particular order as well. 
One leads to the other.  

Stay tuned for Children and Guns – Part II.  
Copyright 2009 Kellene Bishop. All rights reserved.
You are welcome to repost this information so long as it is credited to Kellene Bishop.  

31 Responses

  1. Excellent article. This information is out there, but the media never covers guns, and specifically children and guns, in a positive light.

  2. Thanks for your feedback, Jennifer. Yes, this information is readily available to all, however, I believe today’s media lacks moxie and bravery. Take Care and be safe!

  3. My parents were so anti-gun a plastic Beretta squirt-gun I got as a party-favor from a friend’s Birthday was taken away. Later I “had to” sneak-buy a cap-gun myself – my own money. It was an ideology-thing, and being Educators they *always* knew best (and still do, nothing can be said to them) – but Grandpa was a hunter and so was Uncle, and another Cousin was a Cop.

  4. Great article… well worth passing around to some of my friends who don’t see eye to eye with me on fire arm ownership.

    I have a question or item of concern though, I always heard the 4th rule as “Be aware of your target and what is behind it” and beleive it’s pretty important and should be included… Maybe your list needs 5 rules.


    • Actually, the “4th rule” you’re referring to is what the NRA teaches in terms of firearm USE and STORAGE, as oppossed to firearm SAFETY. These are two very different categories. Safety relates to possession of a firearm, whereas the other 7 rules the NRA teach, which includes the “Know your target and what is beyond” (rule #1 of firearm use) relate to the use of the firearm. I personally believe the two categories should be taught to children seperately.
      Other “use” rules from the NRA are 2- Know how to use the gun safely. 3- Be sure the gun is safe to operate. 4- Use only the correct ammunition for the gun. 5- Wear eye and ear protection as appropriate. 6- Never use alcohol or drugs before or while shooting. and 7- Store guns so they are not accessible to unauthorized persons. In my NON-NRA classes, I always teach the 7th one along with the first three because I feel strongly that it relates to the ownership safety rules of having a firearm.
      Glad you enjoyed the article thus far.

  5. Great article. Can you also add a link to the referenced Government Study?

  6. This is an excellent item.

    Thanks for putting it up.

    We’re dealing with an issue concerning our lad and someone at his school having a differing opinion.

    Sadly that “difference” has caused a flap in the way that they handled him.

  7. Nightmare,

    Nine years isn’t old enough for your son to have an opinion difference than yours is it?

    This is about you and the school.

    Leave your son out of it.

    • Cliff, consider the premise of free agency, which is an unalienable right–not a privelege. Can you definitively determine at what age a child has the ability to make their own decisions? While I do not agree with your comment, I have approved it to be posted in order to remind me why I do what I do. If we are to teach children right from wrong and expect them to make decisions, then we are hypocritical if we do not expect them to actually make decisions. If you know anything about kids, then you know that they are quite particular about what they will and won’t wear–especially to school. I perfectly understand why the father in this case was upset. Guns are not created to “shoot at people.” They are created to protect and preserve life. They are a more accurate symbol of the protection of our freedoms in this country than even the flag or the eagle in my opinion. Unfortunately, there is opposition in all things. And while some may hold the ability to defend one’s self as sacred and undeniable, there are many who would view that exact same symbol solely with those who would steal such freedoms from us.

  8. Dustin, some of the best (and sometimes only) research I can obtain on guns does not come from the internet, rather from hard copy items at the library or from the various offices. However, there are several others on the internet that have used the same reference. It is also located in John Lott’s book “More Guns, Less Crime” and his other book “The Bias Against Guns.” If this is something that interests you, I highly recommend reading both. They are a great treasure map for me to find “real” studies that the masses don’t typically want published on the WWW. (natch, eh?)

  9. cgnightmare,
    Your comment concerns me greatly. While homosexual relations, birth control, and other moral issues are forcibly taught as “fact” in our school systems, it’s frightening that one of the very rights that enables individuals to do teach ignorant, morally offensive, and ridiculous topics is permitted primarily as the result of the 2nd Amendment, which enforces the other rights our Constitution outlines for us i.e. freedom of speech. How ironic, eh?

  10. Wow, that is some awesome information, Kellene. I will definitely be writing a post referring back to this once my computer is back up and running again – thanks for bringing it to everyone’s attention. This kind of thing definitely deserves to be propagated and disseminated as far and as wide as humanly possible, if only to try and stem the continuing tide of misinformation, misdirection, and general-purpose idiocy surrounding firearms.

  11. It’s interesting that my wife’s oldest boy is a shooter. Her other son, grew up around firearms and can shoot, yet has no interest otherwise in firearms.

    It’s their choices they made as adults. They were brought up around them and turned out be pretty good kids in the scheme of things.

    Our nine year-old, can go shooting with us if he wants. There has been quite a few times that the wife and I have been out back plinking and invited him to shoot as well. He chose to do other things instead of doing any shooting. Life is about choices. No?

    He will likely grow up and never own a firearm of his own. My father taught me some about firearms and I chose what I chose. We have firearms in the house and he will be and is educated about them.

    The “taboo” and “boogeyman” mentality about firearms is a problem. Firearms cannot be uninvented and will always be around. Education is key about anything and everything so that a person can form an educated opinion and make an educated decision about them. Heck, I remember some of the older schools being constructed with an indoor range in the basement and used by students bringing their .22’s to school. Air, Army and Sea Cadets in Canada used to do smallbore shooting as part of their activities. It has died off in recent years as the anti-gun mentality has seeped into those programs and has generally been hijacked into a social club for teens.

    If I recall correctly the Dominion Marksmmen Program in Canada after World War 2 was a key factor in that “basement ranges” program. It was similar to (much smaller scale)the US Civilian Marksmanship Program.

    The Second Amendment being a right that is as intertwined with the others as the are with it. Folks that are bent on taking one right and then expect all the other rights to still stand are mistaken. Everyone has inalienable rights (even though some people seem to be in denial) and no one person or agent of government has the right or ability to easily take those away if everyone exercises and protects those rights jealously.

    Education and knowledge are key. Thanks for taking the time to gather and share the information you have collected.

  12. You have an amazingly focused and passionate blog. Kudos to you for writing and supporting what you believe!


  13. Tune in tomorrow morning 3/31/09 for Part II!

  14. I just bought my 3 year old a gun. True story.
    He won’t get it until he is 16, and has a license.
    He will be taught to use it, and taught firearms saety before he does.
    But if he is going to grow up around guns, and he will, then they need to be “ordinary”.
    I grew up with a hunting family, and was often sent out alone at eight to shoot rabbits.
    My wife comes from a non-shooting family, but has learnt, and wants the same for all our kids.
    Great article, thanks.

  15. That’s my daughter with the pink carbine, but she’s asked to update it with metallic blue to contrast with the pink.

    Of course I shall indulge her.

    My wife’s is in the process of becoming purple with gray snakeskin.

    My son is getting a yellow and black Bumblebee (Transformer) carbine.

    It’s all about freedom of choice:)

  16. One thing I would like to point out, for the sake of pedanticism (new word?) – 0% does not mean “never”. Statistically speaking, things with a 0% probability of occurring happen all the time – for instance, your car’s tires each have a 0% chance of stopping at any given point around their circumference, and yet they always seem to do so (there are an infinite number of points around the circumference of a circle, and any number divided by infinity is more-or-less zero…).

    So, while 0% is damned low, saying “X will ensure Y will never happen given this 0% historical probability” is a little misleading.


  17. Not quite. There’s a 0% chance of me winning the lottery, or getting struck by lightning this year.

    The latter is 0% because it’s so remote as to be effectively 0. The former IS 0, because I’ve never bought a ticket.

  18. Linoge,
    Thanks for the feedback.
    Without debating whether or not 0% does or does not mean “never,” your analogy is flawed.
    If a tire never intersected the ground at more than 1 single point, then your analogy might have merit.
    However, no tire in reality ever intersects the ground at only one point. (go look at your tire and notice that it is not round, but has a deformation where it meets the ground). Because of this phenomenon, it will always intersect the ground at more than one point, measurable in inches or fractions thereof. When it becomes measurable, such as in this case, there become a finite number of places on the tire that can stop on the ground. Ergo, it will never be a 0% chance which nullifies your analogy.
    How’s that for boring? 🙂

  19. […] Children and Guns – Part 1 […]

  20. Good article.

    Can you link to the study? I’d like to present this to my wife, and she’s a librarian, she will want to review and assess any cited sources, or she’ll ignore everything cited as unverifiable.

    • Great. Then as a librarian she will have the exact same access to the info that I did. I found it in hard copy form in the library. 🙂 Not on the internet 🙂 Which is why I cited the source of the study in the article. Good luck!

  21. Ah, good to know, thanks for letting me know it’s in Hardcopy

  22. Ok. All well and good. But your facts do not establish cause and effect, but only a correlation. I would suspect that the type of parents who would give their child a gun are also the type of parents that would teach teach the child right from wrong and about personal responsibility.

    Your simplistic statement completely bypasses this (much more important, imo) aspect of the parents involvement with their children. And giving a child a gun WITHOUT the accompanying moral instruction is a recipie for disaster.

    Granted that I believe that all children /should/ be trained to use and respect firearms … but let us not overstep ourselves with our assertions.

    • Simplistic is the key word here, Richard. This is a blog, and not a book. Were it a book I would certainly be willing to write about and explore the accompanying acts of parents in alignment with the statistics found in this study.

  23. Personal responsibility in life is something that seems to have been removed from the learning process in this day and age.I think kids that have the respect and knowledge of how a firearm works and what they are capeable of are what we want in society.

  24. Hmm…however, I do recall the kid who shut up the school in WA state was given a gun by his liberal parents, to “teach him responsibility.”

    This was a kid who already had issues up to and including torturing animals.

    Also, I suspect that most parents who give their kids guns are responsible and interactive. Not only do they give the gun, they give attention, training and respect.

  25. […] posts on the matter of women with guns, and did a four part series on children & firearms  [ 1 ] [ 2 ] [ 3 ] [ 4 […]

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