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Nielz 06-17-2008 04:49 PM

Guns- how old?
Hello all,

There's no easy answer to this subject.

My son is 17 - and is seriously interested in guns. I've let him go his own way, within reason, but sometimes he can be a little irresponsible.

I can't lay down the law to him a his age, or can I? I'm 38, and my Dad was very strict with me. Joel is his own person. I'm just concerned about his excessive interest. He doesn't own a gun, but is always borrowing them.

He's not a wild kid, but I still think it's young.


danny 06-17-2008 07:03 PM

Take him to the range. Even if you have no interest, do so and you'll have some father/son time which is very important.
This will also give you the opportunity to encourage safe handling.

chorst294 06-17-2008 07:17 PM

I agree, I would take him to the range and make sure he acknowledges all the safetly rules and is able to safely operate the firearms he currently uses. I would also have a sit down chat with him and make sure he understands that guns are not toys, and make sure he's aware of the consequences of unsafe or irresponsible behavior with them. If he doesn't seem interested in listening, I'd seriously consider limiting his contact with firearms.

Dillinger 06-17-2008 07:40 PM

There was a similar thread awhile back concerning what was your first gun and how old were you when you got it. A lot of the responses were from life long shooters that had started at an early age. I started shooting beer cans with a BB Gun when I was like 4 or 5, but under constant supervision.

I think, at 17, it would be a good time to embrace your son's interest because the more it's a "forbidden fruit" the more it is going to appeal to him. If you make him responsible for not only the shooting, the fun part, but also the buying the weapon, buying the ammo, the safe gun handling, and all the cleaning up afterwards, you might see a different level of interest emerge. Everyone loves to go shooting, not everyone wants to fund it & clean up afterwards. ;)

If he is serious, and he is exposed to the correct way to own, maintain and handle a firearm, then you are much better off then him getting ideas from the lastest blockbuster to hit the theaters. :D


bkt 06-17-2008 07:51 PM

Let me add my voice to the chorus and suggest you help your son develop the interest.

Certainly, you must lay down the law with regard to firearm safety. Have him take a look at this page for an example of someone who knew gun safety, broke the rules and now regrets doing so. (It's a little graphic, but not too bad.)

My son is 14 and several years ago we took the mystery out of firearms. He enjoys shooting, but he certainly doesn't seek out guns around the house and mess with them precisely because they were never "forbidden"; they're just another item in the house.

What kinds of firearms does your son enjoy?

Dillinger 06-17-2008 08:04 PM


Originally Posted by bkt (Post 28225)
Have him take a look at this page for an example of someone who knew gun safety, broke the rules and now regrets doing so.

That's one of the best, and self deprecating while making a point, examples I have ever seen. Really good point that is made on that page. Everyone, no matter how old, young, or experienced should read that and take note.

You are never more at risk than when you are comfortable and complacent when it comes to weapons handling....


Kestral 06-17-2008 09:05 PM

Guns How old reply
Have heard but not confirmed that some Chinese school children aged 8 years are issued with air rifles.They are taught how to use them responsibly,and anyone who misbehaves is demoted in class with severe loss of face.Wonder if it would work in the western world.

ScottG 06-17-2008 10:36 PM


Originally Posted by Nielz (Post 28204)
Hello all,

My son is 17 - and is seriously interested in guns. I've let him go his own way, within reason, but sometimes he can be a little irresponsible.


Well, what exactly do you mean by this? Irresponsible in general life issues or in gun issues? Staying out late or playing with guns as if a toy?

I take it that you don't really have any of your own. Does your son borrow guns from his friends or neighbors and either shoots without proper safety procedures or do you mean he leaves them laying around where anyone can access them once he's done with them? Just impress on him the dangers of reckless gun use and also remind him that at his age he should understand he is responsible for his own actions. As a (legally almost) adult, it's his own self that will be held to standards and the consequences will fall on him if he is careless with firearms.

You didn't indicate whether you have any guns, I assumed you don't because you said Joel borrows guns. If you aren't averse to guns, I also recommend some father son time at the range. If he sees you being responsible and giving firearms respect, he may do the same. Besides, it's fun!

I also wonder what you consider excessive interest in guns? Does he talk about them all the time? Does he read gun magazines and does he research guns on the internet? In my opinion it's a gray area as to what constitutes "excessive" interest. Some people think any interest is excessive because they are scared of guns. Collecting different types of guns or a large number of guns is not excessive to me. A well rounded collection could consist of many guns. Some used for training, some used for self defense and some used for protection during disasters, and some just for historical interest.

What I would be concerned about is if he was interested in guns because of what they can do. If someone is using gun ownership to boost self esteem, or to be a "big man" or to intimidate people, then I would consider limiting access to guns. Guns are tools and bad people can use them as well as good people. Spend time with your son, find out what his motivation is. If it's just because it's something he would enjoy for recreation, join in. If it's not, then take charge of the situation and let him know what guns are for and what they are not. Good luck.

matt g 06-17-2008 10:39 PM

My dad introduced us to firearms when I was 5 and my brother 3. He drilled safety into our heads from day one. 17 might be a little old, actually, to introduce a child to firearms, especially if he has proven himself to be irresponsible.

My best advice is to get him enrolled in a state Hunter Safety course to start with, then get him into some NRA firearms safety and use classes.

CARNUT1100 06-17-2008 11:46 PM

Definitely get down the range with him, and ask the range officer to go over safety rules, and give you both a lesson on safety etc.
Take the mystery out, and you may find his interest vanishes, or it mighit grow into a long and rewarding lifelong hobby and sport.
Shooting is fun, but it can also be hard work to improve yourself, and it can be expensive.
It can also be very rewarding.

If you ignore it, he will be getting hi information from someone else which could be a very bad thing.
Get him taught properly to start with and give him a good base to work from in the future if he decided to pursue it as a sport.

I was taught firearm safety from the age of 3 and it is second nature to me, but if you come to it late hten you really need some good instruction.
17 is not too old at all, if he is taught properly. I have introduces several older people to shooting, a few of which have stayed in the shooting sport, other have drifted away, but at least they now know safe firearm handling.

Give it a go. You might enjoy it too.

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