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Letter: TV show used the wrong technique for gun lesson

In “How to keep kids safe from guns” (Monitor Forum, Feb. 22), Dr. Patricia Edwards draws the conclusion that we cannot “teach” children to be safe around firearms based on a 20/20 segment that showed 10-year-olds mishandling a firearm after being instructed by a teacher and shown a safety video.

When I was growing up, my father kept a loaded shotgun in the closet at all times, yet my siblings and I never once even considered touching this firearm. Why did I behave differently than the children in the 20/20 episode? My father spent many hours with me instilling in me a respect for firearms. My father taught me how to safely handle a firearm and ended every lesson with his motto: “There is no such thing as an accident with a firearm.”

What the 20/20 segment shows is that they used the wrong technique to teach firearm safety. The best person to teach a child how to behave around firearms is a parent. My son is 8 years old, and I guarantee he would have behaved differently than the 10-year-olds in the 20/20 segment. Since he was 6, I have taught him about firearm safety. Each November I take him out “hunting” with an unloaded BB gun, which he doesn’t know is unloaded, and he handles the BB gun with the respect due a firearm. I have never once observed him handle the BB gun in an unsafe manner even when I walk out of his sight.

Based on my childhood and how I am raising my son, I would argue we can teach children to be safe around firearms, but it takes a committed parent, not a video.



Legacy Comments2

Ditto. "Video" tutorials are no substitute for hands on experience under the competent supervision of an adult. Heck, if they were, then we'd be pushing kids to play all those violent 1st person shooter games! Oh wait . . . the video game industry is already doing that.

Absolutely agree. First hand knowledge is always better than simply watching a video. I've written before how having a kid merely handle a real gun to see what it feels like compared to a toy is a very valuable lesson. On the other hand, keeping kids away from guns, hoping they never come in contact with one, is like sticking one's head in the sand. Knowledge is good. Ignorance is ......

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