Individuals on the extreme ends of the gun rights / gun safety spectrum are vociferously debating their side this year in the wake of what happened at Newtown, CT, and the whole thing appears to be something that is going to stay with us for a while. As parents of teens and pre-teens (yes, we are), we ask ourselves what is the right course of action when it comes to responsibly educating children and teens about guns, embracing the gun culture or avoiding it entirely.
News 12 New Jersey took a kids and firearms poll of its website readers yesterday, and I found one of the aspects of the results to be surprising. The poll was worded so that fit with this week’s New Jersey news cycle. The question is: “Should kids be allowed to handle guns?”
In case you missed it, a South Jersey family was paid a visit by the Carney’s Point Police Department and the NJ Division of Child Services after a photo of their 11 year old son posing with a 22 caliber rifle modified to look like an assault rifle was posted to Facebook.
Police in the Carney’s Point case have since stated that they will not press charges, but the issue has, at least in New Jersey, further polarized both sides in the debate that won’t go away.
What surprised me about the poll was that 25% of respondents were of the opinion that kids should never under any circumstances handle a gun. That is not a judgment, just an observation.
If you are a parent who hasn’t yet begun to discuss guns with your children, or are not sure whether to broach the subject at all, what are the key considerations? If you are part of a family that is very pro 2nd amendment, you naturally lean one way. If you are ardently anti gun, I can guess how you would have voted in the poll above. We don’t have all the answers, but we are going to attempt to take the temperature of the families in the middle ground.
If you are somewhere in the middle, come back for Part II where we interview two teens with no practical experience with and only limited knowledge of firearms.
Please comment below if you have thoughts or opinions on this issue.