Are you one of the parents this holiday season that purchased a pink gun for your seven year old daughter in order to kill rabbits with instead of a stuffed animal rabbit for Easter? It is hard to believe but that is exactly what is happening in America these days. It is just another chapter in the deadly and sad fascination that America has with weapons. This chapter directly involves kids. It is hard to believe that kids are allowed to purchase weapons when they’re not allowed to purchase a lottery ticket, adult magazines, condoms, cigarettes or beer. But they can buy a deadly weapon.
Despite the growing calls for stricter gun control many states these days are actually making it easier to put deadly weapons in the hands of children. Aren’t we as parents supposed to be protecting our children against anything deadly? I guess not anymore. A child’s ability to handle a weapon in a responsible way is also questionable. The American firearms industry is taking new aggressive steps to secure future customers by literally giving young kids weapons. It is a sick marketing strategy to keep their industry thriving.
It is not unusual to hear of five year old brothers shooting their toddler sisters. It is what happened in Kentucky this year. Caroline Sparks was just two years old when her brother shot her with a rifle. The coroner in Cumberland County described the death as, ”Just one of those crazy accidents!” but the fact that the little boy had a rifle was not an accident at all. It was given to him for his birthday; a kid size hunting gun called The Cricket. It is sold anywhere in advertisements as if it is the hottest toy. The TV commercials show parents giving it to the kids lovingly as their first rifle. It comes with a gun toting stuffed animal. This is no joke on Saturday Night Live, these wacko adults are serious.
It seems to be all part of a little known but aggressive campaign being waged by America’s gun industry. Meanwhile stupid parents are believing that they are teaching kids how to be responsible, yet they are irresponsible in allowing weapons to be put in the hands of their children. The plan is obviously in getting guns into the hands of future consumers as quickly as possible. They sell weapons as being something exciting, cool and fun sports. The worry is that children would be having more fun shooting at their virtual video screens then bothering with a real gun.
There is a magazine that is published called Junior Shooters that is designed not only to attract young people to the sport but through lots of advertising, endorsing all sorts of weapons for kids. Support comes from major gun manufacturers like Winchester, Rugger, Colt and Big Sauer. The industry trade group called The National Shooting Sports Foundation advertises heavily. So all you Red Necks screaming about your Second Amendment Rights in the Constitution about the right to bear arms that was written when there were little or no law men in the wild west, must realize that the big manufacturers are just using you and your children to keep their businesses afloat. Go to college and major in economics don’t buy more guns.
The publication called Junior Shooters is just a marketing tool for the gun industry putting all our children at risk. It is irresponsible and as a civilized society, controls should be put over this industry. One of the highly publicized guns featured in the magazine is the AR15 that they call the modern sporting rifle. In this world of extreme sports and violent video games, getting the attention of kids requires offering them mini machine guns. The AR 15 is the civilian version of the M16 assault weapon used in the military. To make sure little kids get hooked on guns, there are colorful rifles called The Rascal that is available in seven colors and they are more popular than ever. The bottom line is that this issue is about sales, marketing, and about finding new markets for products.
The manufacturer’s arguments for giving a child an AR 15 machine gun is that it has less recoil. No one discusses the infinite damage a rapid fired gun can do in a confused child’s hands. The association has annual meetings with gun manufacturers and the constant theme is, to find the best way to reach out to kids? They have focus groups that test children and market to them. You don’t have to be old enough to read to be old enough to shoot. Kids are out there shooting as young as four years old and at six years old someone can read to you the safety course. You don’t have to spend a lot of time in class either. They conduct safety courses at gun shops where kids can get a license the same day. The class lasts about 7 hours and does not require any live shooting.
You can hunt that very day without any instruction on the gun in terms of accuracy at target shooting. To me this all sounds like a horrible nightmare ,a spoof ,however it is reality. The kids don’t even remember the four rules of hunting like being courteous, careful and whenever the other two rules are. To me, there are two feelings that represent heaven and hell. Heaven is the feeling when your child is born and hell must be when he dies from a foolish act of violence. It has happened repeatedly in the last six months of kids learning shooting sports accidentally shooting playmates or themselves sometimes with fatal results.
Doctor Denise Doud of Kansas City sees so many children with gunshot wounds in that it has become her field of specialty. She says, safety classes do not work for one reason that kids will be kids. Children because of their stage of development are risk takers. They are impulsive and dare each other to do things. We know the brain develops sequentially and simply teaching them it doesn’t mean that they will do what they are taught. The last thing that humans develop in their brain is your preferential cortex that is the thinking part, the break of your impulsiveness. You can’t educate a teenager to be less impulsive, it comes to you naturally through maturity.
Despite that scientific fact, the gun association and gun manufacturers have been lobbying states to lower age limits and lighten hunter educational requirements and to date 35 states have done just that. I don’t like the government sticking their nose in my business either but without regulations there is chaos in society. It has not been anti gun. It is common sense. You do not put lethal weaponry in the hands of children. But in the end the lobbyist are powerful and successful in getting states to lower regulations about guns. The parents of dead children are home crying, the greedy gun companies are out there finding new markets and new customers for their guns.
A 12 year old is not old enough to drive a car or get a job but he is allowed to kill things. It is laughable if we dare to expose a kid to buy a lottery ticket but OK to kill things. At a gun show with cash that 12 year old can legally buy a shotgun quickly and easily from a private seller. Although not all states will allow a 12 year old to purchase a gun, practically all states allow kids to possess weapons when they are used for hunting or shooting sports. That is still a risk to possible accidents. Adolescence with access to guns are more than twice as likely to commit suicide. Suicide is just a long-term solution worked to quite often a short term problem that could be resolved in other ways. Shooting yourself doesn’t take as much coverage as working out a problem.
Since the beginning of 2013 there have been nine school shootings that have been carried out by kids. All of the teens had their own guns and had sport hunted before. Adam Lanza, used the AR 15, had been shooting since age five and at twenty years old he killed 20 children in a school in Newtown Connecticut. Youth hunters between the ages of six and 15 is on the rise. The gun companies are pleased because they are capturing a market as the kids grow up for many years. It is understandable that even cigarette companies are looking for new markets overseas but is any of this ethical? Is any of it moral? Any reasonable person knows that marketing to children weapons is misguided and border line insane.
It is a common sense issue. In parts of the country where there are active police forces, you don’t give kids guns. In rural areas where it is part of the culture and there is a heritage of owning guns, they think it is natural to introduce guns to the kid as early as 00000 batting called Noah or age 4. There are about 2 million kids in this country. It is sad to realize that the association headquarters are located in Newtown, Connecticut where the most recent large tragedy happened.