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Relax…we aren’t going to buy our almost four-year-old an AR-15, so there’s no need to panic. But we live in Wyoming and I carry all the time. Not that I didn’t carry in California, but it’s easier here, so my gun is much more obvious to everyone, including my children. And my son has taken notice.

Seeing the gun on my hip all the time leaves my little man asking when he can have one. He asks my husband if he can go shooting when he leaves to sight in his hunting rifle. As his September birthday approaches we’re discussing a BB gun as a gift. He’s a little older than our daughter was when she got her BB gun, but she was more mature at the time. We wanted to ensure he’ll follow all the safety rules while shooting.

After a discussion, my husband and I decided that he’s ready and we’ll be getting him the same gun his sister has – only not in pink.

Courtesy of Sara Tipton

Most of the family who live here in Wyoming approve of this decision, however, some are worried that we might harm our son. I’m not sure how, but the more left-leaning in-laws tend to think that buying him a gun will somehow make him mentally unstable. Never mind that our daughter has had her BB gun for over a year and she not only loves shooting it, but she’s well adjusted, rides the bus to school, and is one of the most mature kids in her class.

But he’s ready. And he’s been asking. And in my very humble opinion, unless you teach your children when they ask, they will eventually teach themselves when they get in a situation where they can access unsecured gun somewhere. Talking about it and making it a family event will not only be fun, but a learning experience, too.

The most important thing is allowing him to grow up confident in the knowledge that he can handle a BB gun (or an actual gun, because he understands to never touch the trigger unless he’s going to shoot it). It’s also important to me as a gun-lover and gun rights activist that I teach my and instill my values about guns to my children, rather than allow the media or any anti-gun future friends to mold their little minds.

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  1. Well, i guess I could say, about time? My daughter is 2.5 years old, 3 in january, when I went in the store to but my 30-06, she noticed the little pink cricket .22, and looked at me and stated, “daddy, i want a pink gun.” My ffl is also a personal friend, so I asked his opinion, he asked me how she acts around my xd service .45 always on daddy’s hip, with her biggest curiousity being, is that your gun, and is it black, i made the purchase, she learned the number one rule, it’s not a toy, and only to be touched when daddy says it’s ok, she has been to the range twice with me and mommy, and even fired our .22’s, all while sitting in our laps. I will say that it will NEVER be an issue, but if she were to see an unsupervised firearm, she would not touch it, and would come running for one of us to take care of the issue, cudos to you for teaching your youth, i decided earlier with a true arm was appropriate for mine, May our next generation be able to survive for themselves when we can no longer fend for them!!

  2. Relax…we aren’t going to buy our almost four-year-old an AR-15, so there’s no need to panic.

    Why would we panic? There are still plenty of AR-15s for sale across the country.

  3. I was 4 at my first BB gun. Yep, a Daisy. I was shooting 22 rifles and pistols @ 5 and had my own single shot 22 rifle @ 7. First shotgun, a Browning A5 20 ga. @ 9 and my first pistol, a Browning Challenger @ 16. At 21 and having my own job and money, the dam broke and now, @ 64 I have three safes and still some outside stragglers. I thank my lucky stars every time I pull the trigger that I had grandparents and parents who were bent in that direction.

  4. You sound like a great and responsible parent. It is a matter of when the child shows maturity and if a parent can be there to supervise. Sounds like you and your husband will be there and raise the children correctly.

  5. Just over a year ago my wife and I were blessed with our first grandson. My daughter, grandson and I arrived home from the hospital and were expecting my wife any minute. An hour later my wife still had not arrived home and I was surprised as I figured Grandma would be in a hurry to get home and snuggle the new baby. When she finally arrived after another half hour I asked what she had been up to and she handed me a Ruger pistol case. Inside was our new grandsons first gun, a new model single six convertible. We sure are looking forward to the time he is old enough to start shooting with us. Some may consider six hours old to be too young for a first gun, but we sure don’t.

    • I am positive he will love it. My dad started me with his Daisy Red Ryder when I about 11ish. This particular Daisy still shoots and now I have introduced my grandkids to it. We did some research and found that this BB gun was made in 1945 or 1946; and did I say it still shoots? This past Christmas, I bought some new versions of this classic that are okay but don’t have the punch of the original. Miss Sara, if you can, find your little man an original Red Ryder. Yes, they are out there but will cost more than said new versions and I guarantee he will love it.

  6. Red Ryder isn’t a bad start. I got a sweet lever action C02 BB gun. Sad to say that I allowed it to rust, and it likely can’t be handed down again.

    But I’ve got a couple of Winchester 70’s, Ruger 10/22’s, stainless ARs, and other great guns to pass along, and I’ve learned the lesson to always take care of your guns before it’s too late.

    I also got the gun pretty rusty, so it was already near the end of its service life.

    If you have the cash I’d go with a Benjamin BB or pellet gun. They’re built better and could become an heirloom.

  7. I take each of my children to the range in turn as they reach age 10
    Until then they get to “help” me when I clean the guns
    I start them on the M 1 carbine
    When they can handle that they step up to an AR
    They have been taught to never pick up a gun if they find one don’t let anyone else pick it up and to call an adult
    It has gotten to the point that when I test them by leaving an unloaded gun around for them to find, they go to mom and say “make Dad stop leaving a gun to test us!”
    They know where I keep the house pistols and are fully capable of operating them if anyone needs shooting while Mom and I are out
    I will say that neither of the 2 older ones are really into shooting for fun the way Mom and I are
    There is hope for the 9 year old girl!

    • Isn’t that weird? I have 2 sons, youngest 36, and one loves to shoot and drive too fast, like his Dad, and the other can do such things but doesn’t much care, hasn’t even gotten his LTC. I don’t think I raised them different, seems like they would be more alike.

  8. married a great woman that already had a 5 year old boy at the time. For his 8th BDay I got him a Ruger 10-22. It was really mine, but I gave it to him all the same, I felt he was more than ready. The folks at Ruger are AWESOME. They sent me a left over factory wood stock after I told them my intensions to make a gift of it to my step son. They didn’t even charge for it. I traced the Daisy bb-gun stock and cut off about 4 1/2 inches and added a rubber recoil pad mostly for looks (It looks amazing BTW, if I donsayso myself). It’s awesome watching him unlearn bad FPS video game habbits at the range. Also, AR style iron sights from Brownells were pretty cheap. I learned without a scope, so I took the scope off of the .22 for use on some future project. I love teaching riflemanship to a sponge like brained child.

  9. I bought a Savage 501 I plan to gift to my kid. It’s a bolt action pistol with a red dot, a miniature rifle of sorts.

  10. Sara, You give me hope that your next generation will carry on the tradition of firearm ownership. Kudos.
    I learned to shoot around 5 yrs with a Daisy model75 Scout. It’s at least 55 yrs old and still shoots true. I also have a Daisy Eagle pump BB/Pellet that’s going on 25yrs. Scout chrono’s around 550 fps and the Eagle close to 900 fps. Both are great for kids to learn the basics. Who am I kidding? I still get a kick outta them in the backyard when I just can’t get to the range.

  11. Absolutely the right approach. I got my first gun (.410 Webley bolt-action) as a present from my grandmother, for my seventh birthday, but had been helping my dad when he went out after rabbits and so on since way before then.

    May you and yours have a long and happy shared family enjoyment of shooting.

  12. Oh man, the Red Ryder. Black Bart’s Bane is the best weapon in Fallout 3. Too bad you can only get it on the PC version what with it being cut.

  13. Relax…we aren’t going to buy our almost four-year-old an AR-15, so there’s no need to panic.

    Why would that cause me to panic? What gun you buy your almost four-year-old is your business.

  14. Late replier to this, but good call. I’m not sure my 4YO is ready for this but if yours is more power to you. I’m thinking of doing something very similar (maybe Airsoft, not sure yet) and using a 22 bullet trap I have. It should be fun!

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