Guns And Kids

Guns And Kids

Larry Pratt (Executive Director, Gun Owners of America) gives expert video advice on: How many households with children have guns?; Can guns be safe for children?; At what age should a child handle a gun? and more...

How many households with children have guns?

Well we suspect that about half of the households in the United States have firearms in them, so however many households have kids would be that number. What twenty five percent maybe?

Can guns be safe for children?

Guns can absolutely be safe for children. Guns in most homes are there with children and there's no problem whatsoever just like most homes don't have problems with children taking the keys and running off with the car. Most gun owners are very responsible people and the data bear that out and we see accidental gun deaths declining every year and the number of children who are killed by guns is a rather small number under 13 it's about less than 200 every year. Those that are quiet young are more likely to drown than they are to be killed by a gun. In fact automobiles and fires and falls are much more lethal to children, actually people of all ages.

At what age should a child handle a gun?

They should teach the child not to handle a gun, just to leave it alone. As soon as the child is capable of manipulating the gun and understands the difference between right and wrong, some time 7, 8, 9 years old. They should be shown how to use the gun and given it's proper context at that time. And I've certainly done that, and at the shooting range have seen many other families doing the same thing with their children, and in my case, with my grandchildren.

How many children die from guns?

Children under thirteen would be; accidental deaths would be something like a hundred and forty a year.

Do you feel that TV and movies glamorize guns?

There's a lot of irresponsibility glamorized in a lot of the media. And there's just a lot of misunderstanding I think that also even comes from the channel news media. I was debating, probably someone from the Brady campaign in the year 2000, and they were almost crying, they were just lamenting severely. The huge crime problem we had, murder was out of control they said. Well as a matter of fact murder had been declining throughout the 90's, it was at one of its low points in our national history. And the impression they had was clearly one from the media which understandably works on the slogan, if it bleeds it leads. But the media also usually doesn't report, little if at all on defensive gun uses. And there in I think gives the understanding that Americans have, mistakenly, that guns are a problem when in fact guns are used so many more times every year in self defense than they are in crime.

What are gun safety tips for kids?

Gun safety tips for kids are the same as they are for anybody. You only pick up a gun when you're sure that it's not loaded. And a child - anybody - has to be trained in how to examine a gun, how to manipulate a gun, to make sure that it's not loaded, because you can't tell just by looking at the outside of the gun. Then once you're sure the gun is unloaded, you can teach the child other safety tips like 'keep your finger off the trigger unless you're ready to shoot' and 'you're only ready to shoot when you're pointing it at something that you know that you should be shooting,' whether it's a target or an animal or a bad guy. And otherwise, you don't point the gun anywhere but down, and you have your finger off the trigger. By the way, those are lessons that are sometimes not taught well by some of the political police chiefs. I almost got out of my chair during a nationally televised news program when a police chief was holding guns and waving them around at chest level, and that included toward me. And if I hadn't been wired with a mike as I am now, I probably would've just jumped up. It's kind of silly that I let a wire that I could have easily broken hold me down, but that's how we don't think outside the box. But that police chief had not demonstrated at that time that those guns were empty. He just picked them up and carelessly waved them around.