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What age is too young to train to fire a gun?

edited September 2015 in Gun Control Debates Posts: 22
I've lived in the south my entire life. My family has lived in the south since they arrived on a boat. My dad had us train to handle a gun as soon as we were comfortable enough to ask and learn. My parents were gone one night. My 4 year old brother, 8 year old me, 12 year old sister, and 14 year old were home alone in a pretty rural area. The doors were locked and us 2 younger children were in bed. My sisters heard someone trying to force the front door open. My sister yelled out, "who is it?", but they didn't respond. He continued to try to force the door, so my 14 year old sister, who had been trained to shoot a gun, went into my dad's room and got his .45. (I don't know where he had it hidden because I wasn't trained on it). She pointed the gun at the door and pulled the trigger. No one tried to open the door again. They were too scared to go outside and look. The 4 of us sat in the living room to wait for my parents to get home. (Nothing will wake the young ones like a gun shot). When they got home, there was no one outside and no blood. Obviously my sister had missed him. Mom and Dad called the police. And their only input was, if this happens again, make sure you drag the body into the house. Its illegal to shoot them if they are outside.

How do you believe that situation should have been handled? Do you think we would have been better off if my sister didn't know how to use a gun? What is an acceptable alternative in that situation, to my sister being trained and having access to the gun?


  • Posts: 7
    What a brave sister you have! Whoever was at the door might otherwise have got in and caused you harm. I think it was a plus that your sister knew how to use a gun as it saved the situation. All the same she was still too young to legally use a gun. Tricky. 
  • Posts: 8
    Yeah, that's one of those tricky situations which you can't possibly predict that defies common opinion. It's especially strange that the person heard her voice - or probably did, anyway - yet kept trying to get in, which suggests to me that they knew there were only children in the house. 

    Obviously kids should be capable of defending themselves when there's no one around, but training a child to use a firearm brings its own risks. The only opinion I can formulate is one of location - the more remote your house, the more advisable it is to have firearm training at a younger age. Urban areas are more likely to have alternate options for alerting a grown-up.
  • The guy who was trying to get in knew exactly who was in there. I was young enough that its all one big mystery to me, so I can't tell you why he was doing this... but my sister caught some guy in the yard a few feet back from their window. My mom and my sister turned around to look out the window and his face was right there, at night, peeping on us. He also, on occasion, paced up and down our porch, and in the middle of the night, once, someone caught our back porch on fire. And me my mom and my siblings got home one night while my dad was gone, and a neighbors dog who adopted my family went total nuts when started to walk in the house. He even growled at mom, trying to get her to stay away from the house. We went to get my dad. When we got home, someone had been in the house going through mom and dad's drawers. The next day our dog was dead, and dad said the way he was vomiting and behaving that he was probably poisoned.

    Like I said, though, I was too young to put all these things together to form a story that makes sense. But whoever it was, assuming it was all the same guy, always knew when my dad wasn't home. he probably had no idea what was coming when he tried to get in the house that night.  lol

    But when he turned the door knob that night, I knew we did NOT want him to get in. I didn't know what he would do, and of course we never found out. But we were all terrified.

    And if you're wondering, "why would her parents leave them there alone, after all these hings started happening?". The answer is: I have no freakin' clue.
  • That was an emergency and we are not supposed to live in such societies where anything can happen at any time. We must live comfortably by knowing that we are aways safe. Children are not good in judging, therefore they are not supposed to be exposed to guns. We have emergency numbers that children can call in case of an emergency.

  • Posts: 22
    As long as we perpetuate systems that deprive some and overly award others, we are creating a world where those who have too little will inevitably be in a struggle for their lives. That being said, I don't personally believe you are ever too young to learn anything, as long as the training can be done in a proper manner. When you know you live in an area where "bad things" are a constant, then being prepared and teaching your young to always be prepared is something that must be taught as early as possible.
  • My father taught us how to use guns when I was young.  I was about 5 for 6 when I learned how to use one.  I'm not saying that's for everyone.  He taught us to respect guns.  That is an important part of gun education that I think most people overlook.  They assume that it's automatic knowledge.

  • It's an individual thing. If the kid is mature enough and can handle instruction and teaching in such a matter, then they ought to learn how in case an intruder comes to your home and the kid is alone.
  • Posts: 234
    I agree it is not really a age thing it is more a maturity call,all children don't mature at the same rate.If they are old enough and mature enough to be home alone than they should know how to defend them self's.That also means properly trained.
  • I think that the age that is too young to train is whatever age the child is when he or she cannot grasp the concept of how dangerous guns are. Gun safety should be the very first lesson, and if they don't pass that level, they cannot move on to level 2.
  • Posts: 21
    I think it is best to wait till a kid understands just what a gun is and the fact that it's not a toy.  Even if a kid doesn't want to learn how to use it, this is still a conversation that a parent needs to have with the kid if they have a gun in the home.  Guns are weapons and kids need to be made aware of that.  I know someone who works in the school system who told me about a situation of a kid bringing a loaded gun to school. Not only were cops called out but so were the parents.  The thing that floored this person was the parents acted like the kid did nothing wrong and didn't even act like the matter should be dealt with.  Because of the parent's less than responsible behavior the kid was expelled and not allowed back into that school again.  I guess what I mean by telling that story is the parents have a responsibility to teach their kids the right way use of a gun and how not to use it. 
  • Posts: 49
    I started learning to shoot at 4. My kids and grandkids all started between 4 and 8, other than my grandkids who are still under 4.  It depends on the kid and is a decision of the parents, not the state. 
  • No age is too young, as long as they are ready. My father taught me to shoot guns at a young age, but it wasn't until I had been tagging along on a few hunting trips when he let me help him sight in a rifle one year. I must have been 7 or 8. Since then I have passed a hunter's safety course, and four other gun safety classes through my local police department. 

    Your story is quite riveting, and is one the few talked about scenarios where guns CAN help people. Gun safety education is vital to the proper use of guns. I was taught the most basic of all things when using guns (it is literally burnt into my brain), always treat a gun as if it's loaded! With this one rule, many many accidents could be prevented. 
  • I feel as if it depends on the kid, the parents and the family. If a child is mature enough to learn, be safe and follow all rules then they may be old enough to learn. They need to understand in what situations they would need to use a gun.
    On the other hand, If you have any concerns about the child then they are not ready to learn. Don't take chances, If you have any doubts at all then wait.
  • While it turned out well, I would add this, of course train the children that are old enough to use guns safely, try to have an adult present as much as possible, teach all kids to first call 911 if something strange happens as well as calling a parent or other relative.

    Train everyone never to blindly shoot through a door at anyone !

    Shooting and then dragging someone inside is a major crime ! and also very dangerous !

    Have a safe zone behind the person with a gun, that person should have cover, a nice cement block planter can stop bullets, is very cheap to make and can save lives.

    Always wait for an attacker to break in and enter into the home before shooting, never announce you have a gun, keep it concealed somewhat until ready to shoot.

    Don't wander around looking for a criminal or home invader, stay put in one place !

    Don't go outside with a gun or without a gun looking for a criminal, stay inside after calling 911, and wait for the Police, or the home invader if he chooses to break in.

    If the Police arrive, leave the gun inside thr home in a drawer or other safe place and ehen the Police ask for it, tell them where it us and let them get it.
  • Wow very interesting story. Your sister learnt to shoot a gun by age 12 while I got my first phone when I was 17. My father would never let me go near a gun at that age. I am 19 and still do not know how to use one.

    I also see that being taught to use the gun came in handy and protected all of you. In my view 12 years is a good age to learn to use a gun. Basically you start becoming more of an adult at this age and it is easy to learn at this age also.
    When one grows older the ability to learn new things is reduced so better work with a child when still young.
  • Hozyboy, you should take classes at your local range, you do not have to buy a gun or own one, but you should learn.
  • This just depends on how mature they are because every kid is different. I think a great age would be around 10 yrs old the child and you see him/her showing great responsibility then they may be ready to began training. I think you should just keep an eye on your child. and see what they should do.
  • Teaching very young children to shoot a gun can be a tricky affair. We should not put that burden of responsibility on a small child. I have seen instances where 6-year-olds were thought to shoot. We must understand that not many children would be able to always maintain the level of discipline that is required to operate this weapon. At the development stage, children are prone to accidents and indiscretions, therefore, I would not agree to any child below 12 years old being exposed to the handling of guns.
  • I am pretty shocked by the story and also the replies, but I agree with explorerx7. Just in the past two days a 4 year old shot his mum in the back and a two year old blow shot himself in the head with a gun that should not have been available to them. I can appreciate being rural that this is quite normal, but you have no idea who was at the door and it could have been someone looking for help!  guns just seem to teach people that life is cheap and people are expendable.

    A better way would be to invest in better security, camera's, a dog etc to scare someone away and not leave young children at home. At the very least a phone call should have been made to the police and parents when someone was at the door and the person scared away. Why always shoot first ?

    Scientific studies show that you are more likely to be shot if you have a gun in the house than not having one. Teach children how to play with toys not leathal weapons, that's why the world is so screwed up!

  • Posts: 17
    I started shooting a air rifle at a young age. The understanding of a rifle was more of a game back then, but I think as a little kid, we all most have a understanding of the dangers of handling a lethal weapon. They teach us about drug and alcohol in school, guns is not too far away.

    I shot my first high powered rifle when I was physically capable of handling the kick of the gun after firing. I don't think a 6 year old could do it, but I was 12 at the time. I could understand how to properly hold it and reload. From there I learned how to hunt and provide for my family. Not all teachings of guns were meant to be malicious.
  • I was trained to fire a gun at about 6 years old. With that privilege came an understanding that guns aren't toys. I think depending on maturity level and the child's understanding of the weapon, age of training is the parent's choice. Guns, especially for children raised on a farm or out in the country aren't just for protection from other human beings when needed. At times it's necessary to protect animals from coyote and other pests. I don't think there is necessarily a right or wrong age.
  • Posts: 5
    The alternative which was more reasonable was to dial 911 and put it on speaker, hopefully whoever was at the door would go away, however shooting a gun that way, might've saved you that day. I believe that 14 is an accurate age for someone to know how to handle a gun for their own safety, however one mustn't be taught if he/she's younger than 12 or so, as someone must realize what harm can a fire arm do before he/she learns who to handle it.
  • I think the LilAnn's sister was right on the money, and I fully agree with the parents having trained her.  Also, it's good to know that LilAnn did not know the location of the location of the gun, because the parents had not yet provided training.

    Having the ability to defend one's home is critical, and as long as parents make sure the children are properly trained and have the emotional maturity to handle a gun, I don't think there should be an absolute age for everyone concerning a minimum age for gun training.
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