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You want me to trade this for a NERF  gun (courtesy

The didn’t invent anti-gun animus, but they’ve pretty much perfected the art, editorializing against gun rights in The Land of Lincoln with Bloombergian self-righteous fervor. Gun right advocates are routinely portrayed as “extremists.” Pro-gun control extremists advocates get a disproportionate amount of ink. Only not so much in How to Shoot a Gun If You’re A Kid. Author Peter Nickeas plays it straight, chronicling a beginner’s shooting class for kids at GAT Guns in East Dundee, Illinois. It’s only when we get to the end of the article that Nickeas or, more likely his editor, felt compelled to introduce “balance” to the piece . . .

While safety is always good to teach, Dr. Louis St. Petery still has concerns about such classes.

“For the younger age groups, I think it’s inappropriate,” said St. Petery, a pediatric cardiologist from Tallahassee, Fla. and a strong advocate for gun safety in homes with children.

“I don’t think a 7-year-old can shoot a gun any better than they can drive a car,” said St. Petery, who raised three children with a gun in the home. “When you get into the teens, and they’re going to go hunting with parents, you want to get them trained in the use of a firearm.

“You’re into an age of reason where you can do that,” he said. “But it sounds to me like the younger age group is inappropriate.”

Sounds to me like Dr. Petery was not witness to the class in question. Or any gun safety class for that matter.(Facts, who needs ’em?) Nickeas ends the article with a vignette of pride and satisfaction at a job well done. Oh wait . . .

During the class, a 7-year-old girl fired two shots with instructor Inzerello’s hand over hers before he stopped her. The child looked unsure of herself.  There were a few tears, but she didn’t break down.

Inzerello tried to console as well as explain.  “It’s physical, it’s not mental,” he said. “Good job. You hit a bulls-eye.”

What, she didn’t break down and cry at the ballistic task forced I say, I say forced on her by gun-crazed parents? Thank God an understanding extremist instructor was there to console her.

I know: baby steps. Winning? Right?

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  1. Guess we shouldn’t let kids attend religious services until they’re teenagers. Wouldn’t want them exposed to anything when they can’t reason.

    • Well, the little girl has smaller hands and better eyes than you, most likely, so I’d guess “YES”.

      In all seriousness, as someone who’s done a lot of ‘smithing on (and cursing at) mine recently, it’s not THAT hard; it’s that there’s more stuff compressed into a smaller space, and that the action operates differently, than most any other guns we’re used to. Work with it enough, and it gets easier (but note the differences, subtle but critical, between the 22/45 and the “regular” models). Unfortunately, mine didn’t get easy for me until after I lost the detent for the bolt catch lever, upon taking it out to install something that I later learned didn’t even require me to take it out (Volquartsen, your instructions suck!), and learned Ruger wants you to buy the whole lever just to get that detent. The good news is that I machined my own detent out of a titanium AR takedown pin detent, shortened it in the process, and actually made mine easier to use.

  2. I know a seven-year-old who enjoys shooting, and even has her own rifle (ping Savage Rascal .22LR).

    Though, I would recommend using rifles with this age group. Teaching muzzle discipline and safe handling is much easier – as well as the actual aiming and firing being easier.

    • Chip, I agree wholeheartedly. That was the way I was taught and the way I taught my children. It’s a lot harder to reverse the business end of a rifle than it is a pistol.

      • I concur. Always started them out on a Ruger Charger. Still technically a hand gun, but they were laying on their belly using the bipod. It looked cool and wasn’t intimidating. When the mag runs dry, the girls are dropping the mag and stuffing more rounds in while the boys are still talking about how cool it was…

  3. My first, and most memorable, shooting experience was at age 8 with my Dad. Winter time in Southampton, NY at our beach house. Little Peconic Bay was completely frozen over. We sat on the sea wall and he spent time teaching me the safety basics. He loaded the Marlin 80DL with one round and that was the beginning of my shooting experience. Funny, though I enjoyed shooting so much, that the memory most engrained in my mind wasn’t the cold fingers, or the rush of that first trigger pull, or just the very special time with my Dad. It was, and still is to this day, the smell of Hoppes No. 9.

    • +1000 I was about seven or eight, just old enough to hold his old.22, when my dad took me shooting for the first time. It was a major life experience and something I remember with clarity to this day. I still have the nickel I hit with that old .22.

  4. “I don’t think a 7-year-old can shoot a gun any better than they can drive a car,”

    My father was driving at the age of 8. Don’t know whether he frightened the horses.

    Obviously, whether a new driver or new shooter is 7 – 17 or 77, we coach them like mother hens until they demonstrate that they have a measure of capacity; then, we back-off gradually.

    • When I went to Albania last year I noticed many kids driving, sure not on main highways, but on your typical roads. They did a great job, it’s just that in America everyone is so scared of everything, it seems, though it is mainly leftists. Kids of around 7-9 have all the motor and mental abilities to handle a vehicle. Sure since they are inexperienced it’s better they stay on side roads, but if you teach them to drive that early, then the epidemic of poor teen drivers would cease to exist. We need to stop relying on the state to teach our kids everything. They teach them poorly and use their mistakes to justify an even bigger existence.

    • Yep. I wasn’t big enough to drive a car at eight, but I was riding minibikes and driving go carts at high rates of speed at eight, safely and without injuring myself or any one else.

      I got my first gun, a .22lr, a winchester pump at 11 after I showed that I could shoot my dad’s gun responsibly. I had been shooting my BB and pellet guns in a responsible manner for the years prior.

  5. Picked up a P22 back in the day due to its size, proportions, and ergonomics to fit a small hand (of my at the time 6YO). Waited till my other son was 8 as he was not as mature as my older son had been at 6.

    At 12 my eldest now knows range safety and arms handling better than most adults that show up at the range. It is both a bit humorous, as well as pride-generating, to let him show other adults how to perform clearing exercises/drills.

    • I watched with pride when my 9 year old son showed his mom how to properly hold her new handgun. 😉

      It took a couple years to win her over, but my boy has been shooting since he was 7.

    • Let’s keep the Feds out of it. We don’t neeed another alphabet agency with a SWAT team shooting dogs.

  6. And many kids cry the first time they swim, or if you were like me, you cried because the sensation of sand on your feet freaked you out the first time you went on the beach. I expect articles chronicling those horrors as well.

    No, no parent should force their kid to shoot, but it’s perfectly fine if the kid tries, gets a little scared from the noise and maybe tears up. You console them, help them to handle it, and it’s a great lesson. Sadly today people are so scared of other people’s thoughts they need safe-rooms for college aged students, so it is to be expected that in a few generations America would get invaded and steamrolled by China or Russia if we left America in the hands of today’s liberals.

    • I disagree… Annoy the crap out of them with it. Eliminate the taboo curiosity in the extreem. Hammer them with the safety rules until they can’t repeat them without rolling their eyes. “Aw crap, not shooting stuff again. We did this last weekend!” Then smile and enjoy as the make fun of the anti-gun BS in the news because they already know better than so-called “adults” promoting gun control. They know it so well it makes them whine…

  7. Before I moved away from the old neighborhood, I was “the cool dad.” Every wekend, every kid for about 1/4 mile would be over at my place shooting the Ruger Chargers, and maybe, something more… A 7 year old with a 1911 is pretty neat, too. “Sir” and “Thank You” were heard without so much as suggesting the terms be used. Parents, amazed that their kids behaved so properly, can’t get that from them at home… It may be cliche, but with great power comes great responsibility. Put a gun in their hand and it’s almost like magic… All the BS just disappears. Maybe me not being ac rappy parent myself kinda applied as well… But, I’m pretty sure it was mostly the guns… “You just don’t dick around with guns.” Treat them as equals, don’t have a “kid voice” to patronize them…

  8. Funny, I learned how to shoot, first a BB gun and then a .22 rifle when I was almost six. I learned to respect firearms as tools and as sporting good and never ever once in my life had a problem with them. Same went for my brothers and cousins. Maybe if kids learn at a young age they learn to not solve their problems with a gun.

  9. Honestly don’t remember when I learned to shoot. But was already a crack shot when I got my first rifle at age ten. (12 gauge at twelve) Had already owned BB and pellet guns for years We had a .22 rifle range in the basement! It was a family activity and I had two younger sisters.

    I had free access to my guns and would roam the community and surrounding area with them. The ONLY firearms related incident I ever had was when I shot a songbird for no justifiable reason. Starlings, sparrows, and pigeons were pest control. Rabbits and pheasants were food. Songbirds added beauty and music to the world. My shame and remorse were immediate. Took me longer to learn ethics than safety or skill.

  10. So because a CARDIOLOGIST hsa a gun in his home, we should take serious his opinions on child psychology and motor skills development? Big freaking whoop! I’m starting my 6 year old daughter out on a high quality 6mm metal, gas powered blowback airsoft pistol to teach fundimental safety and weapons mechanics before going to actual firearms. So far, so good.

    If only people would not out-right ignore the logic focused areas of their brains in favor of the “emotions” and “feelings” portions…. Sigh.

  11. The reason the typical douche libs get so freaked out over kids shooting guns, is they know that there isn’t a single one of them that can raise a functional, moral, child with impulse control, to save their lives. They know they suck at it and want the world sanitized to make up for their shit parenting skills.

  12. My kids were shooting at 5 years old in Illinois. It’s only north of I-80 and East of I-39, or really I-355 where this stupidity is pervasive.

  13. My girls got started shooting at 8 and 10 respectively, with a Chipmunk .22. They’d had firearms safety training long before that.

  14. I took my 8 year old grandson out for a range romp yesterday. My son and I added a 5th to the
    Cooper 4 rules, that being, do not touch a gun unless one of the adults hands it to him.

    A scoped Marlin 795 was his favorite, but tried his hand at a couple of the other .22LR’s we brought with.

    He had a strong desire to fire his Uncle’s KSG, but that was not to be. This was not his first outing,
    nor will it be his last, as he loves it…

  15. You guys had a banner of Chicago on fakebook…yep East Dundee is a waysfrom Chiraq…Very good range & gun shop where I bought a magazine over 3 years ago. Gat supports 2A & NRA too. I live 60 miles away so I don’t frequent it. Also no Cook Co. tax or BS. Highly recommended.

  16. I had a great time watching my 13 year old daughter show her grandmother how to work my Ruger 22/45. My father and I just stood there and watched as my daughter taught my mom how to use the gun. Granted I did not get back into shooting until recently and did not introduce my youngest to firearms until she was 12. I am so glad I forced her to go the first time so now we have some great father daughter time. Funny thing is, she is now into ballet and guns, while my oldest daughter (20), who is less of a girly girl has no interest in shooting at all.

  17. First firearm I shot was a Remington model 742 in 6mm Remington. Age of 7. I was addicted to firearms ever since.

  18. I love the gat guns youth handgun class, took my 12 year old niece, my 9yr old daughter and her cousin is next. My son may not be ready for it yet though. Now both my niece and daughter get mad when i don’t take them with me to the range. My daughter even picked out a sig sauer mosquito in pink as her handgun and cricket match 22 as her rifle.

  19. No shortage of kids 7 and younger doing amazing things on bicycles, motorcycles karts or other physical activities like martial arts. Guess introducing them to things like that when they are younger couldn’t possibly make them better and more responsible when they get older whether it be guns or cars. Better their first experience behind the wheel to be on a public road in a 3000lb + car and first time with a gun to be with their friends dads gun that they took from the sock drawer, because nothing bad ever comes from inexperienced kids with curiosity. Yes all kids should be relegated to finger painting until, they are deemed old enough by the state then they can have at it.

  20. I’ll bet the good Dr. would shudder to think of how many rounds the majority of us fired before the age of 10. How DID we manage not to just kill everybody? In my best Church Lady voice: “Hmmmm. Could it beeeeeeee…SAFE-TY?”

  21. So, I’m going to guess that St. Petery would frown on the AR I built for my 9 yo grand daughter to use. She loves the pink Ergo furniture. BTW she’s a Blue Belt 2 stripes in Tae Kwon Dow, working on Blue-Brown.


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