Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Yes, there are hunting weapons designed for small people--including children...

I learned to shoot with one in the Boy Scouts at age eleven.

Now, of course, it has become a major political issue in light of the recent killing of a pregnant woman, allegedly by her 11-year-old stepson-to-be.

From Alphecca:

Advocacy groups often make themselves look ridiculous by going to extremes in what they criticize. PETA is a perfect example. The Brady Bunch is another.

What has the Brady Bunch (with the help of ABC News) pissing their collective pants right now is that some firearm manufacturers offer smaller versions of their rifles and shotguns.

Let me set the stage. There was a tragic story of an 11-year-old boy killing his father’s girlfriend last week. Understand that this post is not intended to make light of that.

What I AM ridiculing is the reaction by Paul Helmke of the Brady Bunch upon learning that the boy used a youth-sized shotgun he’d gotten as a Christmas gift. From ABC News:

“To specifically market a gun designed for a kid is outrageous,” said Paul Helmke, president of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, a gun control group. “To have a gun specially designed for junior, we’re talking about a lethal weapon here, you’re not talking about a toy anymore.”

No. Guns are not toys. Neither are hunting knives, power tools, kiddie ATVs, and hundreds of other items that parents sometime choose to purchase for their children as they are growing up, hopefully to teach responsibility.

That this time there was mental illness, parental irresponsibility, or any other of a number of factors involved is not an excuse to demand (as will be demanded) that a practice that has literally helped millions of children throughout American history become responsible handlers and owners of firearms be made illegal.


Anonymous said...

At that age, I wasn't mentally or physically able to handle a real gun, as I would imagine most children aren't.

However, I did start learning gun handling and safety at the age of 10 through the use of pellet and BB guns. They are much safer than a even a "childrens' shotgun" and they do not hinder gun education due to their being non-deadly.

I'm sorry, but as mcuh as I am for gun rights, marketing deadly weapons to children is completely unnecessary.

a most peculiar nature said...

Brown got the youth-size shotgun as a Christmas present and used it to win a turkey shoot on Valentine's Day, police said.

There is nothing wrong with that. What IS wrong is that apparently the father did not teach the responsibility along with the sport, and failed to have the gun properly secured.

City Upon The Hill said...

I learned to shoot at boy scout camp on a little Marlin .22 rifle and I am grateful to the wizened old man that taught me how to use it.

Steven H. Newton said...

Mostly what that says to me is that you weren't raised in the country. I was fired a shotgun for the first time around 9, and was raised around hunting weapons. Started shooting for real at eleven. Had to know how to break down and clean the weapon and store it correctly before I was allowed to shoot it.

You may not have been ready, but that was a call for your parents to make, not me, and not the government.

Anonymous said...

That's quite speculative, Steve. I grew up in the middle of the Jersey pines with enough room to shoot in my back yard. When we got to the heavy stuff, we went out to the landfill at Mt. Misery. Not sure what being a country boy has to do with it.

My dad and I both made that call when we thought it was time, but the thing is, it could have been the wrong call, as it could have been with you. Real child-size guns are completely unnecessary for learning gun safety or target practise, and anyone old enough to hunt is old enough for a normal gun.

So, what is the benefit to risk ratio when something provides no benefit at all? Should a business be market bayonets for these weapons? Should they non-alcoholic beer to children?

There comes a point where the risk of people making the wrong decision completely outweighs the benefit of the option being provided. I'm not not necessarily saying that government should have more responsibility then a parent to regulate children's access to this kind of thing, but I will say that businesses should show a little bit of responsible thinking before offering real guns for kids.

Steven H. Newton said...

Here's what I think you're missing: gun manufacturers didn't start marketing firearms for kids last year, last decade, or even last century: they have been producing such weapons since the 1800s.

It is a traditional and very tiny part of any gun manufacturer's line.

As for your assertion that anyone old enough to hunt is old enough to use a full-size rifle or shotgun, it's simply not true. This issue is not age, it's size.

There comes a point where the risk of people making the wrong decision completely outweighs the benefit of the option being provided.

On the basis of one case, Joe? Think about it: if you have never known, over the past two decades, that such weapons existed, what does that tell you about how often they have figured into crimes or accidents? Anti-gun organizations have made a fetish of insuring that we know all about the kinds of guns involved in such incidents. The text of the Brady statement indicates that despite all their supposed research in this area they didn't actually know such weapons existed.

As for no benefit--that's debatable on more levels than one.