Well, if you see my youngest grand-daughter holding a rifle, don't tell her you think it is cute OR improper- she will likely ask if you want to put a 5 spot on the best 5 round group. (I think the kid is saving up for an X-box or something) She turned 13 last Saturday- has been shooting with me for 3 yrs now- is an associate member of my range, and an NRA member. (In 5 more years, she will be a voter)
When I was a little kid, you got toy guns. The double holster western rig with TWO silver six shooters. My pride and joy at age 5 was a lever action (toy) that looked just like my Dad's Winchester- including chambering and ejecting rounds! By the time I was 8 I was hunting with my Dad- at 11, hunting on my own- but strict rules (stay on your own property)
I hear what you are saying, but the anti's use anything and everything- including my irresponsible acts of giving CHILDREN access to DEADLY weapons. (Guilty as charged- all 4 of our kids, and 7 of our grandkids have hung out with the old man, and learned about the safe and effective use of firearms)
I guess I really have been a bad influence on them. 3 of them use guns to make their living (SHUDDER). One son is now a retired US Marine, one a law enforcement officer, and one grandson is serving with the US Army.