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Gun Safety: If you don't own a gun, have you or your kids taken a class


umsami
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  1. 1. If you do not own a gun nor have one in your home, have you taken a class in gun safety/gun basics/etc.?

    • Yes, I have.
      15
    • No, but I plan to.
      2
    • No and I do not plan to.
      42
    • Other
      10
  2. 2. If you do not own a gun nor have one in your home, have your kids taken a class in gun safety?

    • Yes they have.
      8
    • No, they haven't, but I plan to have them take one.
      4
    • No, they haven't and I do not plan for them to.
      42
    • Some kids have taken one, other kids have not.
      7
    • Other
      8


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It seems like more and more people we know own guns.  We do not.  I have never even held a gun, to be honest, nor do I desire to.  But I'm thinking it is probably a good idea to know how to handle a gun, put the safety on, whatever.  Does that seem like a good idea?  What about my kids?  Should they do some sort of safety class?  We've talked about if you see a gun, don't touch it, and tell an adult.   If so, at what ages?

Edited by umsami
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I answered your poll. Your kids, your decision. I do not trust juvenile decision making, around guns or anything else, and think gun classes offer a false sense of security. My kids know we do not own and will not touch guns. If they see one they are to leave the area/home immediately and tell an adult. That's all they need to know. ETA: My husband is required to maintain proficiency for work. All of that stays at work.

Edited by Sneezyone
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We do not own any guns, but both dh and I are (were) marksmen in the military, so yes, we've had gun safety courses. Our four older boys have shot rifles at Boy Scout camps, so they've had gun safety courses too. Our two youngest boys have not had gun safety courses.

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dh and I were pretty anti gun in our home for awhile.  I hadn't grown up with guns in the house and didn't know people who owned a gun.  When we started meeting people in our adult lives that hunted and owned guns I began to see that it would be an important skill.  We had a friend who taught the NRA beginning pistol class and we both did that.  My dad actually told me he had gotten several guns in the last decade and bought my dh one.  We go shoot at the range periodically.  I was so nervous at first, but now I enjoy it.  My son has a bb gun and has shot some others.  My dd however was scared to death at the shooting range and won't even touch her brother's bb gun.  She did say she wants to try it though.  Maybe at camp this summer.   When I took the class, I never thought I would own a gun.  But after renting at the shooting range, there were definitely some guns I didn't like.  I want to be confident to shoot my own gun and so we ended up buying one.  If you had told me 20 years ago I would own a gun I would never had believed you.  It's worth the class even if you don't plan to buy a gun.  I definitely felt safer knowing some basics.  

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I had training in the military on basic operation and shooting of the 9mm handgun, shotgun, and M-16 that are in standard use for shipboard security.

 

In boot camp, we were taught to shoot with M-16's that were scaled down to use .22 ammo.

 

I have not fired a weapon since 2002 or so.

 

The kids' firearm safety training thus far has consisted of "if you are at someone's house, and see a gun, leave it alone and tell an adult, preferably me or one of your other parents."

 

ETA I grew up with weapons in the home; my dad was a LEO. His sidearm was often left on his dresser or nightstand, loaded. We knew better than to touch it, though. That would have brought out the belt. It was 100% absolutely taboo to touch it. Unfathomable.

 

We also weren't allowed to have or play with any kind of toy guns whatsoever.

Edited by Ravin
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I'm an "other". I had a job at Canada Customs at the land border for a couple years.  This was way back before they got a new border agency and armed them. We were unarmed but had to learn the basics because we would search for, find & seize weapons. 

Honestly I never really got over the discomfort in searching a car and finding a loaded hangun under the driver's seat & then having to deal with that thing as evidence - while not shooting myself or anyone else or letting a 'bad person' get a hold of it... 

Ugh. Hated it. 


Otherwise no, no courses here. One child is not interested. One child was making noises for a while about doing a course & going to the range but that seems to have fizzled. I'm certainly not encouraging it. 

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Heck, no. My kids know that they should never touch or handle a gun. They also know to go tell an adult immediately if they see another child with a gun. 

 

I do not know anyone (aside from my crazy bil) who owns a gun, and I probably would not let my children spend time in a home if I knew or suspected that the parents owned guns. Thankfully, we live 2000 miles away from our crazy bil (who believes it is "wrong" to use gun safes or to otherwise keep guns away from children), so our kids have never been in their home.

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That's basically the purpose of Eddie Eagle, which I highly recommend. It is a simple gun safety course over a video and a few paper lessons but the message we reinforce consistently. You don't need to own guns to want your kids to be safe around them obviously.

 

We own guns and our kids learn gun safety, and both my husband and I have had professional handling and safety instruction in addition to normal shooting practice. But I do believe all children need basic instructions on what to do if they encounter a firearm in a home or being played with by other children.

 

https://eddieeagle.nra.org

 

If anyone would like the paper materials I have some extras and could send them along. Just PM me and we can discuss it further.

Edited by Arctic Mama
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Nope. We've all had very basic safety stuff when we've done target shooting at summer camps. If they want to take a class when they are adults, they can. We do talk about gun safety, of course, but I see no reason for them to know how to handle a gun because they are not part of our lives, just like they don't know how to drive a semi or shoot a missle or install a bathtub.

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I went through basic training and had to fire an M-16, I had handled a few weapons beforehand, as my stepdad and mom were avid hunters. I have never taken a civilian course. Ds is showing interest in hunting, he will be taking a hunters safety course and whatever else is necessary and/or wise. I am not anti-gun at all, and if ds gets into hunting I will fully support it but we won't have guns around for other purposes, I'm even what most would consider very liberal. :)

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We do have guns, so I am not who you are talking to. But just wanted to say that we were required to take a gun safety class when I was in high school. Ninth grade, I think. Do they not do that anymore? Did they ever do it everywhere, or perhaps just in more rural places?

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Before I vote: do you want international posters to vote in this thread? Gun culture is non-existent here, and though I'm sure there are gun safety lessons/classes SOMEWHERE around here, I've never heard of them nor do I know anyone who has made use of them. But I'm thinking you're probably looking for US-based answers on this one, not a larger internation pool given the vastly different cultures, right?

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We do not own a gun. My husband and I have taken extensive gun safety/training classes, my teen a few that were pretty basic in nature.

 

I don't find gun safety classes necessary if you don't plan on owning, shooting, or letting your kids do so.  A simple "get an authority" suffices. 

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We do own guns and dd1 has been in BB gun club at 4H for the last 2 years to learn gun safety. Dd2 has been taught to not touch them for now (she will be in BB gun club as well when she is old enough). Dh and his family (mom and dad) hunt so guns are a way to acquire food to ease finances in winter when heating costs increase.

Guns are only out when they are being used (guns being brought out in the morning, put in an out of reach of children place during lunch or being put away at the end of the day) or cleaned.

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Heck, no. My kids know that they should never touch or handle a gun. They also know to go tell an adult immediately if they see another child with a gun.

 

I do not know anyone (aside from my crazy bil) who owns a gun, and I probably would not let my children spend time in a home if I knew or suspected that the parents owned guns. Thankfully, we live 2000 miles away from our crazy bil (who believes it is "wrong" to use gun safes or to otherwise keep guns away from children), so our kids have never been in their home.

I bet there's more people that own guns than you realize.
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Alvin just did a gun safety course for 4-H. He has a BB gun (Thanks, Ram Man. 😒) and is enthusiastic about all types of weaponry. He would spend hours looking at guns, swords, canons, etc at the museums in Cleveland. He wants to learn ballistics for fun. Guns and snakes. That's my boy.

 

I took a course one summer, but have forgotten most of what I ever knew. I will read through Alvin's books as a refresher, though.

 

We have not considered getting a gun before, but due to livestock issues on our farm, it would be beneficial to keep a rifle around for quickly dispatching a severely injured animal.

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We do have guns, so I am not who you are talking to. But just wanted to say that we were required to take a gun safety class when I was in high school. Ninth grade, I think. Do they not do that anymore? Did they ever do it everywhere, or perhaps just in more rural places?

 

Must be a regional or rural thing. I don't know of any high schools that offer it, let alone require it.

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We do have guns, so I am not who you are talking to. But just wanted to say that we were required to take a gun safety class when I was in high school. Ninth grade, I think. Do they not do that anymore? Did they ever do it everywhere, or perhaps just in more rural places?

 

I grew up fairly rural - first day of deer season was an excused absence and most boys didn't show up.  But HECK no, never had a gun class.

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It is something I plan to expose the kids to in Boy and Girl Scouts (or similar programs) as teens.

 

Currently they are 6 and 8 ..... no flipping way.   I do not trust kids with guns. I do not trust kids whose parents think they respect guns with guns. Just, no.

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We have guns. They are locked up. I do not tell people that we have guns, so it's possible that someone whose parents didn't approve of guns has been at my house. But the guns were not an issue because they were locked up. If a parent asked if we had guns before sending over a kid, I would certainly tell the truth.

 

However, if you don't plan to shoot guns, I don't think there's a reason to take a course, even for adults. Guns vary so much that things learned in a brief generic course, I would think, having never taken one, would be rendered irrelevant if you were ever in an emergency situation. Best that the inexperienced adult, as well as children, leave them alone.

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It seems like more and more people we know own guns.  We do not.  I have never even held a gun, to be honest, nor do I desire to.  But I'm thinking it is probably a good idea to know how to handle a gun, put the safety on, whatever.  Does that seem like a good idea?  What about my kids?  Should they do some sort of safety class?  We've talked about if you see a gun, don't touch it, and tell an adult.   If so, at what ages?

 

I grew up down South and had a gun safety course.  We do not have a gun-based culture up here, though.  Very few people have guns and handguns are extremely rare.  I don't see any need for ds to have a gun safety course.  The liklihood of him having any interaction with any guns of any kind are slim.  It does not concern us.

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 But I'm thinking it is probably a good idea to know how to handle a gun, put the safety on, whatever.  

 

Yes, that's a good idea, BUT consider that a class may give you our your kids a dangerous overconfidence.  The best advice, for all kids and for adults who don't use guns regularly, is from Eddie Eagle: "Stop, don't touch, leave the area, tell an adult."  Drill that into your kids' heads for free.  Please do not ever try to put the safety on a strange gun you might come across.   Please tell your kids to not touch and run for help, even if they think they know how.  

 

A class is a good idea to demystify the whole thing, and get over any nervousness.  There's a good one for handguns called "First Steps" and most (all?) states offer hunters' safety classes that would address long guns. But neither is a substitute for just getting out of there.

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Nope. I grew up with guns and knew how to handle and shoot them at a young age. Dh was in the Marines but had zero experience until he joined.

 

We own no guns. Both of our kids are teenagers but one has anxiety and depression. There will be no handling of guns here because of that.

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It seems like more and more people we know own guns.  We do not.  I have never even held a gun, to be honest, nor do I desire to.  But I'm thinking it is probably a good idea to know how to handle a gun, put the safety on, whatever.  Does that seem like a good idea?  What about my kids?  Should they do some sort of safety class?  We've talked about if you see a gun, don't touch it, and tell an adult.   If so, at what ages?

With kids? No. They should simply NEVER TOUCH A GUN if they see one, unless they are with an experienced shooter/parent, at a range, with all possible safety precautions. Period. If you are anti-gun and do not anticipate owning one or shooting one, tell your kids to never touch one. 

DON'T teach them to put the safety on one - tell them not to touch it.

DON'T teach them to move it to a "safe spot" out of reach of younger children - tell them not to touch it, remove their younger sibs/whoever from the area and find a grown up.

 

Adults? I think all adults should know how to safely handle a gun - but you should never, never touch a gun that isn't yours and that you aren't familiar with. Guns have different safeties and you have no clue how safe (in working order, etc) any random gun is... so, adult or not, just don't touch it if it isn't yours. 

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I just in the last three years learned how to drive...one weapon at a time. Of all the things i hope to teach my kids, making a decent bolognese sauce is about the measure of it.

On a more serious note, I hope to take up hunting if I can find someone to teach me to ahem, field-dress... in which case we will do the training etc.

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Here are 2 rules:  The first is that one must always assume a gun is loaded. There is no such thing as an "unloaded" gun.   Many tragic accidents have occurred because someone assumed the gun was unloaded.  The second is that you never point a gun at something you are not prepared to shoot. If it is a target (paper, clay pigeon, etc.) or an animal or (worst case) a person,    you are willing to shoot at what you point the gun at. There is a photo of me, on our living room wall, in Death Valley National Park, shooting my uncles 45 automatic.  I was probably about 11 or 12 years old on that trip with them.    I was taught that after you get back from the target range, or hunting, the first thing you do is to clean your weapons.  Guns that are properly cared for will last a lifetime and more.   There are occasional horrendous tragedies, with people who own guns and their young children get ahold of them.  Guns should be kept in locked containers, that young children do not have access to.   A gun should be accessible, in case someone breaks into your house while you are in your house. 

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I plan to take a course with my kids sometime in the near future.  They are also having opportunities to learn about guns / gun safety through scouts.

 

My kids have been and will be around guns, with or without my presence.  IMO teaching gun safety is just as important as teaching kids not to play in traffic.

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And my kid has made suicidal statements.  I don't have a gun.  That doesn't mean she will never be around a gun.

 

We don't decline to teach our kids traffic safety because they might feel suicidal and run in front of a truck.

 

Teaching gun safety is one thing, having a gun your kid can access without you is another.

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And my kid has made suicidal statements.  I don't have a gun.  That doesn't mean she will never be around a gun.

 

We don't decline to teach our kids traffic safety because they might feel suicidal and run in front of a truck.

 

Teaching gun safety is one thing, having a gun your kid can access without you is another.

 

I don't agree. I've had to hospitalize a child for their depression and anxiety. I will never be the one who puts a gun in his hand. 

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I guess it depends on the age of kids. Dh is a Leo on a rapid response team so he does have guns here. They are 100% of the time on him or locked up in a safe only he can unlock.

 

Our kids have watched Eddie eagle and we just emphasize never touch a gun, leave the area, get an adult. At this age (4-10) I wouldn't want them in a class. I agree with the pp that I worry it would make them too comfortable around them. For now, I just want them to stay away from them. I think that is enough training.

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And my kid has made suicidal statements.  I don't have a gun.  That doesn't mean she will never be around a gun.

 

We don't decline to teach our kids traffic safety because they might feel suicidal and run in front of a truck.

 

Teaching gun safety is one thing, having a gun your kid can access without you is another.

 

But we do decline to teach them to drive when they are 5.  Let's say we decide to teach them driving from a theoretical aspect when they are five.  What will they do with that skill?  Drive for someone in the event someone who is driving them is incapacitated? 

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Yeah, my child who has anxiety and depression isn't driving either. He is 17. I don't trust him with that yet (he doesn't trust himself either) so why in the world would I think it's a good idea to put a gun in his hand? My job right now is working toward making him as healthy as I can mentally. He has to be alive to achieve that. Putting him behind the wheel of a car or a gun in his hand isn't the smartest thing to do at all right now to achieve that goal. 

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It is absolutely a FANTASTIC idea.  Police departments generally recommend it.  If you're in a medium size or above city, some police departments host child safety fairs every few months on a Saturday morning at a local elementary school.  You can go and take classes on things like gun safety for free, gauged to the age level.  Smaller children are told to go get an adult, adults are told more detailed information.  They also do things like take your child's fingerprints on a card they give to you, so if they ever go missing you can give the card to the police.  They also teach first aid and fire safety, things like that.

 

And yes, I think you should ASSUME that one in every five homes your child goes into has a gun, even if you're in the most liberal, gun-hating area.  And it could be as many as 8/10 in a pro-gun state.  Every child and every parent should take a safety class, even if you never want to shoot a gun.  It is a reality that is no different than not driving a car without knowing how to check the oil level.  Dirty but necessary.

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And guns aren't something I want to normalize.  I can't control what my kids do as adults and I have no desire to, but I do not want to normalize guns.  Like we are going to get cozy and friendly with them.  I don't understand the point of them other than things that aid people in killing and causing a world of hurt.  I want no part of that.  No thank you.  (Yeah yeah I know...there is sport shooting and all that.)

 

 

 

 

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But we do decline to teach them to drive when they are 5.  Let's say we decide to teach them driving from a theoretical aspect when they are five.  What will they do with that skill?  Drive for someone in the event someone who is driving them is incapacitated? 

 

Your kids know a lot about your car even if you have never let them drive it.  I'm sure you talk to them about driving strategy and safety rather often.  At least, I do so with my kids.  I'm sure they could drive it into the road right now if they tried.  I guess I could blindfold them in the car to prevent their knowing how to make a car go, but most people don't find that necessary.

 

Gun safety isn't just about do's, it's also about don'ts.  It's also about what a gun is capable of.

 

Gun safety includes being safe from a gun that is held by someone else.

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I guess what I want to understand is what is the point of a gun safety class for someone who does not have a gun? To me, if this is something you will rarely come into contact with, it is not enough to just have some class. You will forget. You won't become proficient at anything.

The point is learning to respect, and when you do get surprised with the presence of a gun, how to react.

 

My kids were 8 and 10 when idget cousin started shooting a .22 off the back deck one family gathering. They were on the side of the house heard the noise, knew what it was, and went the other way. If they hadnt been educated, they would have walked into the line of fire. If I hadnt been educated, idgit would have hurt them...instead I told him to stop firing and secure his range, then when he swung around and pointed the darn thing at me, I educated him. Coupla other instances with that fool leaving guns unattended with small children present at holiday parties.

 

Like other people, I was instructed as a kid not to touch anyone's gun, as the consequences would be severe. We lived rural, and a shotgun was what an adult used to part the curtains with when people came up to the house late at night, up to no good. Toy guns werent allowed, and one didnt point a gun at anything for fun.

Edited by Heigh Ho
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We not only own firearms (Ds' 9th birthday present was his own .22), but many in our area have them, children included. As such, even if we didn't own them, it would be very important to me that Ds knew what to do around one. We do not allow any children in our house during bear season when the bear gun is out if they are not well versed in firearms. We live in a National Forest where bears migrate and live with their young for two months of the year. Having the gun accessible and loaded is actually necessary.

 

There were no classes here. Our area has them for free. We are very good friends with the gunsmith and trainer for our local SWAT team if needed. We just do the teaching at home. My husband was raised on Langley Air Force base and is fully knowledgable enough to teach Ds.

 

Since Ds was three he has been working on how to safely remove a magazine (which a three year old has the dexterity for on most handguns), then how to hold the firearm appropriately, explain pertanent information, and take it to an adult.

 

Now that he is older, has can fully check a chamber and field strip both his rifle and the hand guns. He is not allowed to handle the larger assault rifle as it is too much even for me, though he has to watch his father and learn how to carefully disarm one if necessary.

 

General firearm knowledge we feel is important. It is one of those things that you may never need, but if you do you really need it. The consequences of not knowing are just too high.

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And guns aren't something I want to normalize. I can't control what my kids do as adults and I have no desire to, but I do not want to normalize guns. Like we are going to get cozy and friendly with them. I don't understand the point of them other than things that aid people in killing and causing a world of hurt. I want no part of that. No thank you. (Yeah yeah I know...there is sport shooting and all that.)

It is not sport shooting around here at all. My mother was adamantly anti gun. My brother couldn't even have a squirt gun. Four times in my childhood, I not only had access to, but held a gun because other kids were showing off. It doesn't matter how you feel or what happens in your house. It is naive to think your kids will never be in that situation.

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EndOfOrdinary, do you mind if I ask what type of bear? 

 

We lived in an area for 10 years with black bears. The scariest times were definitely when we saw them with their young. Most of us didn't own firearms, though. The bears didn't harm us either. 

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EndOfOrdinary, do you mind if I ask what type of bear?

 

We lived in an area for 10 years with black bears. The scariest times were definitely when we saw them with their young. Most of us didn't own firearms, though. The bears didn't harm us either.

Black bears. We live in a critical habitat corridor. They are frequent here and since we have a large, stupid dog and a child we own a bear gun. We have never had to use it, but we have had more than a few "inside only" days where Mama and Junior were sleeping on the dock without a care in the world. Our neighbor's have a picnic table that is a very fun lounge chair and prevent them from going to work at least a few times a year. The park has a large sign that says "Do not feed the bear." We knew it when we bought our house. It sounded like wonderful homeschool opportunity at the time. The bear gun was an open discussion before signed the lease to use the property. The forest service was very upfront that animals come first here, but if our child was endangered we needed the gun. There are not too many kids this far out.

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Yeah, I just don't get it. We lived in an area for 10 years with black bears. We camped and hiked in and around that same area. Honestly, the other wildlife in the area was scarier than the bears. Still, we've never owned a firearm and most of those we know didn't either. We all managed just fine though. 

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I find it really interesting that people who are routinely FOR public sex-ed, and who don't think it will teach kids to have sex, but will teach it to respect sex and the potential consequences and responsibilities of sex, are also routinely AGAINST gun safety classes with the idea that it will make kids over confident or over familiar.

 

Plenty of studies have shown this isn't the case. Gun education, like other education, can both satisfy the curiosity AND teach about the dangers in a way that sticks in kid's minds.

 

I don't think it was more than two months ago that Good Morning America put some kids in a room with a gun as a safety test.  I think it was 3 separate sections of 4-6 year olds.  Some kid found it within 2 minutes each time.  And in almost every scenario, the kids who'd been exposed to guns and gun safety stayed away, and the kids with parents that were terrified of guns went straight to the gun and started playing with it.   If the experts on GMA explain this is why every kid needs gun education, I believe them. I realize it was a small experiment with something like 50-60 kids, not a double-blind study, but it was evidence enough to me to confirm my suspicions.   It didn't matter to me, as we frequently take our kids to homes where we know the owners have guns, so safety classes are a moral imperative in my book.

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Thanks everybody.  I live in Florida.  When I first moved here about 25 years ago, I knew one person who had a gun.   These days it seems like even people I would not normally have guessed would own a gun, do.  Florida has the most concealed carry permits of any state in the union.   Nearly one in three Floridians owns a gun.   I'll probably look into a basic gun safety class, but not sure if I'll actually take it. I'm still really uneasy, but may see if I can get a friend to go with me.  (Yeah...I know....kind of wimpy.)  Two of the kids got some general gun safety stuff (I think it was Eddie the Eagle) when they were Cub Scouts.  I believe more is available with Boy Scouts, but we will just plan to keep pushing the "if you see a gun, don't touch it, tell an adult" message until that time.  May speak with whomever does my class for more recommendations. 

 

I had friends who grew up with parents who hunted.  Of everybody I knew, those kids were the least likely to casually touch a gun....perhaps because safety had been drilled into them.  I can see a lot of kids being naturally curious, and just not realizing the implications.  I can see my own kids doing that. 

 

 

Edited by umsami
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That is great for you guys. Neither of you have to get it. When the forest service of the place I live openly recommends it for my child's safety, it seems rather silly to not listen to them. As I stated, we have never had to use it. But man, to have needed to and then not had it would be a bit ridiculous. It is not that the bears scare us. We are not frolicking with them when they are a few meters from the house, but it isn't like we are poised to shoot at any moment either.

 

For two months a year one gun is not in the safe. That is the only difference that having a bear gun makes.

 

We have long distance backpacked for over a month in some of the most remote wilderness in the US. It is not fear of animals. It is realizing that those who know more than I did gave an open, concerned recommendation. We are not in an urban area. There is no ambulence here. Our dock is a helipad for life flight. You do not report sitings to anyone. There are no police. The idea is that if everything went to hell, we might be able to possibly do something.

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