Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Gun Paranoia

In reading a blog recently I was disappointed to see a mother's pride over her children's response to a harmless starting gun (the barrel is blocked and cannot fire real ammunition) is "A killing gun Mom, a killing gun!"

That comment tells me that her children getting some ill-informed, biased information about a simple piece of steel and plastic (or wood) -- most likely from Mom and/or Dad. I suspect that she and/or her husband were raised in a home where guns were feared out of ignorance -- just like her own home today. I urge her, and all parents, to get some sound information about firearms and firearm safety. They should take a good gun safety class. I guarantee they'll have fun, learn to respect -- not fear guns, and they'll come away knowing that gun owners, for the most part, are the good guys.

Thanks to safety training, firearm accidents have plunged even though firearm ownership continues to grow. Safety training is for kids, too! The NRA's (National Rifle Association) Eddie Eagle program teaches kids a healthy respect for guns as do the NSSF's (National Shooting Sports Foundation) educational videos. Statistics show that children who have been given Eddie Eagle training (which does not include exposure to actual guns during the training) are significantly less likely to suffer or cause a gun shot injury than children who are taught that guns are taboo, evil, or "killing" machines. (I consider my TV far more dangerous to my grandchildren that my guns.)

Does that mother know that her children are more likely to suffer a fatal accident in almost any other sport than in the shooting sports? Does she know that children who participate in the shooting sports are more disciplined and drug-free than children in most other sports? Does she know that there are absolutely no bad adult role models in the shooting sports? (Can't say that about baseball/t-ball, can you?) Does she know that children are more likely to be seriously or fatally injured while playing soccer or while swimming? They are even more likely to die while showering or bathing after a t-ball game! Does she know that a child is more likely to drown in a five-gallon bucket than to die of an accidental gunshot?

There are over 90 million of us gun owners in the US. Forty-eight percent of homes have at least one gun -- and those guns very rarely hurt (or kill) anyone. Firearms are used defensively (usually without even firing a shot) about 2.5 million times a year in the US. While the NRA and other pro-gun organizations rely on reliable statistics from the FBI, CDC (Centers for Disease Control), and NIH (National Institute for Health), anti-gun activists like to push distorted statistics to show how dangerous "killing guns" and their owners are. For example, they claim that 13 children are killed by gunfire every day. The fact is that nearly all those 13 children are gang members killed in gang warfare -- and they count a 23-year-old gang member as a child!

Children in homes with guns where gun safety is honored are almost never hurt by a gun. Why do parents teach their children to swim? Could it be because parents are concerned about their children's safety? Could it be because swimming is a fun and healthy activity (if proper safety measures are taken)? Could it be because swimming competence opens up competitive and scholarship opportunities? Well, all those reasons also apply to the shooting sports. Please, parents, get some competent education about guns before you teach your children about guns.

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