Friday, May 3, 2013

I am disgusted, in my sorrow

Here we have another story--there have been too many--about a little kid with unsupervised access to a firearm, doing something heedless with it, with tragic consequences. A five year old was playing with a gun, it discharged. The bullet struck his two year old sister and killed her. If the incident occurred as reported, it was entirely preventable. That is what gun safety advocates have been pointing out for years. There is no need for things like this to happen.

The horror of the incident with be with that family permanently. The effects are not limited to one broken and grieving family, however. Already, the anti-gun contingent is building up this incident as a pretext for further restrictions on us all, and is portraying youth-sized firearms and kids learning to shoot as something sinister.

We don't need further restrictions, or further calumnies against us, we need to use good sense and thus employ precautions we already know about. There is nothing so very difficult about locks or safes, close supervision of the young and indoctrination with the Four Safety Rules before the kid gets anywhere near a real gun. Try this on for size: The kid starts to shoot when he earns (closely supervised) range time by memorizing the rules and being able to recite them on demand. Failure to repeat them correctly when asked means a loss of shooting privileges until the rules are firmly in mind once again. Of course, the words by themselves are not enough; the rules must also be put into action unfailingly, by parents and children alike, as shown by things like not covering anybody with the muzzle and keeping fingers away from where they ought not be. This linking, at an early age, of gun handling with the responsibility to do it properly, will last the shooter all his life--and will save lives.

Which of the safety rules were violated, this time? Apparently, all of them. Atop that, there is the matter of proper storage and the question of whether anyone who is five years old has the sense to understand about guns and the gravity of the responsibility that comes with handling them. Gun safety is best learned in age-appropriate stages, beginning with Eddie Eagle's "Stop, don't touch."

As has often been said, the shooting tradition's future depends on the next generation. Let's give the kids an even break, with proper storage precautions and age-appropriate safety indoctrination.

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