Kids and Guns

The anti-gun movement wasted no time exploiting the tragic situation in Arizona that caused the shooting death of a firearms instructor by a 9 year old girl.

There were many mistakes made by the instructor that lead to his death.

Equally tragic, is the psychological impact that little girl will have to deal with for the rest of her life. It is a tragedy that could have been prevented and never should have happened.

Still, I am an avid supporter of exposing young people to shooting sports and firearms under strict supervision and with proper training. After the horrific images from the Arizona situation, I wanted today to share many positive images of young people with firearms, many, I have trained, along with their families.

(I will be posting those pics throughout this article.)

I have trained hundreds of young people across this country. In almost every state where I have taught classes, there is at least one or two students under the age of 18 in my class.

As a certified firearms instructor and owner of an indoor shooting range, I am daily asked by parents these questions: “How do we handle the issue of firearms in the home with our kids?” “Should we hide them from the kids?” “Should we teach our kids gun safety and how to use the guns in our home?” “Should we let our kids shoot guns?”

Also, on a daily basis, parents bring their kids to my range and want to know: “Do we have age restrictions for shooting or do we allow young people to take our classes or private instruction?”

I always tell parents that they know their kids better than anyone else. They have to make the personal decision, based on a child’s maturity, what level of exposure and experience they want that child to have with firearms.

We do not advise a parent on what is best for THEIR kids unless they have asked us to spend time with that child and train that child, first. We do, however, decide who is and is not allowed to handle firearms at our range.

Just because a parent decides he wants his kid to shoot a gun here does not mean I will allow it at my range.

I make the assessment on an individual basis after spending some time talking with the parent and working with the child with an air soft pistol first to make sure the child/teen demonstrates a genuine interest in learning gun safety handling skills, proper grip, stance, and range safety rules, BEFORE I take the young person in to the range to proceed with a real firearm under the supervision of parents and a certified instructor.

We have a lot of kids and families shooting at our range. Most of the time, we allow children to shoot at The Gun Cave, as long as they are closely supervised by a parent and a certified instructor or Range Safety Officer. The caliber of firearm we allow young people to shoot is also restricted to a .22 for new shooters. No fully automatic weapons, period for minors.

I have allowed teens to shoot higher caliber weapons when they have demonstrated the gun safety handling skills and ability to handle the recoil of the firearm under the strict supervision of well trained, certified instructors and parents.

If a parent decides to allow their kids to handle and shoot firearms, the most important advise I can offer is to make sure YOU, as parents are well trained and tactically confident in your gun handling skills. Too many adults have very bad habits with firearms that will be passed on to their kids if THEY choose to train them rather than hire a professional.

In addition to the risk they pose to themselves, they also present a safety risk to other shooters in the range who may be shooting near them.

An adult passing on poor gun handling skills is extremely irresponsible and could jeopardize the lives of your kids as well as anyone in their presence when handling guns.

The job of a Range Safety Officer is to stay alert to all that is happening on a range, make sure all shooters are abiding by the range safety rules, and stop people from making deadly mistakes.

My range has been in business over 10 years.

We have a 100 percent accident free record.

In addition, I have taught thousands of students across the country and the accident record for my classes is 100 percent accident free. I believe there is no such thing as an accidental shooting. Accidental shootings are caused by negligent gun handling. Those are negligent discharges caused by the negligence of the gun handler or instructor who is in charge of the new shooter.

For parents who want to expose their kids to firearms, I strongly encourage hiring an instructor that you have carefully vetted.

The instructor in Nevada clearly was not prepared to teach a young girl. Handing your kid over to an irresponsible instructor can be a grave mistake.

So, how do you “vet” an instructor?

I would want to know how many minors they have trained. I would also expect an instructor to spend a significant amount of time with your child in a classroom setting, using a gun that is modified (no firing pin) or an air soft pistol (since they are modeled in many ways like real firearms).

I use the air soft pistols and work well over an hour just teaching kids gun safety handling skills and grip/stance, sight alignment, range safety. This gives me the opportunity to catch mistakes and problems in gun handling BEFORE putting a real gun in their hands.

I also teach kids how to load and unload as well as deal with jams, mis-fires, hang-fires, stove pipes and other issues they might confront when handling semi-autos.

This ground work is time consuming but essential in laying a solid foundation for a pleasant first time experience and for building future marksmanship skills.

Proper training and supervision is essential to making this a safe and enjoyable experience for young people.

I personally love to see families come in to my range for firearms instruction. When everyone learns the right way, together, it can be very beneficial, quality family time, that could actually save lives in the future.

2.5 million times last year, law abiding citizens used firearms in self defense and SAVED LIVES. In a number of those instances, that person who grabbed a gun in self defense, was a pre-teen or teen who was home alone and the victim of a home invasion or other life threatening crime.

Thank God the parents of those young people, took the time to teach their kids gun safety handling and the skills they needed to save their lives.

In response to the tragic story and the horrific video of the 9 year old girl shooting the instructor in Nevada, I wanted to post some images of positive shooting experiences with young people who were properly trained and supervised in our range.

Here are some photos of the young people who have taken our classes or private instruction with us, some took classes with their families, and learned the skills necessary to handle firearms safely. Jillian is 14 years old… her father sent her and her mother for a full day of training with us. Her father wanted Jillian and her mom to know how to confidently handle all of the firearms he has in the home. Both are now confidently, safely handling a variety of firearms.

(for all of the anti-gun fools out there who think this is a full auto firearm, IT IS NOT.. This is my personal AR 15 semi-auto)

This is Jeb Burnett. His parents own fully automatic firearms. He has been around guns and rifles his entire life. He parents taught him gun safety handling skills at an early age. He is an amazing shooter.

Meet the Ross family. This mother and father wanted their girls to be properly trained and know how to use the family gun if necessary in order to save their lives. 

Now, about the UZI….

Some anti-gun groups have also used this story to once again call for a ban on full auto firearms. Of course the ragging on the UZI was rampant.

The firearm is not the problem.

It is the weapon handler.

The UZI is an amazing battle tested weapon that will perform under the most adverse conditions. That’s why I love them! You can always count on the UZI… check out this video… muddy water… dirt/mud… then… solid performance..


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