Saturday, April 26, 2008

Children & weapons

I'm not condoning, nor am I endorsing, children using guns or knives. I can almost guarantee, though, that at some point in their life they will encounter or use one or both. As such, I'm one of those that will encourage my children to learn how to use them properly and safely.

Toward this end, I took the Cub Scout Shooting course today so that I can help the boys learn how to shoot BBs, use slingshots and do archery. For the most part, it was very straight forward. How to set up a course, what safety rules the BSA insists on, what rules you should also consider for your course. The class was varied, with male and female leaders, those that have hunting/shooting experience and those that don't. I'm one of those with just enough exposure to be able to help the boys hold the guns properly, how to hold the bow, etc.

During the course of the class, I found out (this is known to the rest of my family, but was news to me) that to hunt in Georgia not only do you have to have a hunting license but you must attend a hunting safety course. The rest of the laws about guns vary wildly depending on the area you live in. For example, in Kennesaw it is law that heads of households must own guns and ammunition. On the other hand, in Warner Robins it's illegal to have a BB gun.

The main thing about these laws that everyone that hunts agreed on is that it is very STRICTLY enforced. Game wardens can and will arrest you, fine you, take your gun and your car for breaking those laws. If you don't have your hunting license AND your safety card, you will be arrested. If you hunt from the road, you will be arrested.

Now all of these laws and enforcement can only go so far. To help my kids out, I want them to know how to use guns properly. They were learning to shoot a slingshot properly today. They've worked on using a pocket knife for carving. This won't stop accidents, nor will it stop crime. It will, though, give me a measure of confidence when it comes to my kids and knowing they have a GOOD clue and that the rules that go with them are there for a reason.

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