That Special Gift
I've held off on commenting on the story of the 5-year-old who shot and killed his baby sister with his very own bb gun for several reasons. First of all, I knew that I would be waking up my libertoonian nephew who is no doubt going to give me gas on the story. But second of all, I held off because I have some conflicting views (sorta kinda) on the whole issue.
David Horsey, however, has crystallized my thinking (sorta kinda) to some extent.
This week, a 5-year-old Kentucky boy was playing with the mini-rifle he had gotten as a gift and ended up shooting and killing his 2-year-old sister. Apparently, even kindergartners have a right to keep and bear arms that shall not be infringed.
For many people, it was a revelation that there are companies that manufacture guns specifically for children. The boy in question had a Crickett rifle, a smaller version of an adult weapon designed specifically for little trigger fingers. The guns come in a variety of happy colors, including pink and even swirls.
Some people think giving guns that shoot real bullets to kids is a rather insane idea, but not folks in the gun culture, where it is perfectly normal. A state legislator in Kentucky, Rep. Robert R. Damron, insisted that the kiddie rifle was not the problem. [Emphasis added]
Now, as to my first concern: there are a lot of hunters among my family back in Wisconsin. They hunt deer, duck, quail, whatever the season calls for. And they eat what they kill. Because it's a generational thing, the kids do get guns before they're 18, but I'd like to think that the kids are also given a great deal of gun safety training, perhaps even by the NRA. I have no problem with that. So John? You can relax a little.
My second concern, however, is the fact that kids as young as 5 are being targeted with size and design and color (making it look like a toy), and that at least this gun was accessible to the 5-year-old at a time when he wasn't being monitored. What is up with that?
In California, all guns (even bb guns) must by law be locked in a gun safe or have a trigger lock in place. It's hard for me to imagine why this kind of law isn't on the books everywhere. Obviously it isn't. The combination of the two concerns was deadly in this case. The child thinks guns, all guns, are toys to be played with and so guns, all guns, can be played with. That 9mm in the drawer next to the bed to shoot intruders is just as much a plaything as the baby bb gun is.
And that is just wrong. Tragically so.