Let me be controversial for a moment. Guns will hold no mystery to my children. In this world of nay-sayers, gun banners, and non-informed gun haters, such a statement is bound to raise questions as to my values and questions as my ability to properly raise my children. For those who automatically think I am a bad father for teaching my 2 year old how to properly handle a firearm, I have this simple response. Naivety is not a defense or a strategy.
I find it humorous in the political atmosphere where education on everything from sex to diversity is touted as the cure all that shooting and firearms education is considered taboo. It seems when it comes to firearms, some parents are content to say “they are bad” and then consider the matter closed. This is can be a tragic error in the development of a young mind. Curiosity is always present and is a profoundly driving force which is not easily satisfied or appeased. The curiosity for education on firearms is also not so easily swept aside. By not taking the initiative to educate, we as parents have in essence allowed a clean slate for anyone else to fill the knowledge vacuum we have created in the of our children. The education on firearms occurs whether we choose to be involved or not. Television portrays firearms almost hourly and as a matter of observation, hardly ever in compliance with safe handling techniques and rarely ever with the ramifications of improperly using a firearm. Video games are also streaming the use of guns into the minds of our children at the speed of Broadband. As the games become more violent they create a perception and glory of firearms which can only be counteracted by the proper education. Saying “NO” is not enough.
I have owned, shot, and hunted with firearms since I was 5 years old, learning my safe handling practices and proper firearms use from the biggest influences in my life, my parents. I have taken guns to school with me which remained safely in my car awaiting my arrival and consequent start of the evening hunts for pheasant, chucker, and Hungarian partridge. I never opened fire on my school mates, committed murder, or began having psychopathic fantasies because of it. I did however see plenty of other kids who had not received the proper training handling guns in a most reckless manner and it was only due to the proper instruction I received from my parents that I was able to recognize the danger and correct it or leave the area.
Sam is 2 years old this year and into everything. I have my guns secured in a vault and lock box and take care to make sure they are secured. I have already begun his training on firearms, teaching him not handle firearms at this point in time. He does have a small training rifle which I have introduced him to and will begin the proper handling techniques soon. My girls are still infants and Daddy could not resist buying them a pair of Cricket 22 Youth rifles with Pink Stocks. They will also receive the proper instruction when the time is right. I do not intend by any means to try and shelter my kids from perceived dangers but to educate them about the responsibilities involved with firearms in an effort to help them avoid the dangers of irresponsible gun ownership and us. I also intend for it to be some of the best times my family and I can share together.
Kelsey Hilderbrand is an avid shooter, hunter, collector, outdoor writer, and founder of High Mountain Hunting Supply