My son will be three in September. Recently, he’s been asking about my gun. “Where is Mommy’s gun”? and “I like Mommy’s gun” and “Can I shoot Mommy’s gun?” While I’ve already taught him about gun safety – and continue to do so at every opportunity – I figured it’s time to begin more advanced firearms eduction. Shooting Mommy’s gun? No. We start at the very beginning. I decided it was time for him to help clean my concealed carry gun . . .
No one freak out! I removed the magazine and cleared my Springfield XD .4o S&W sub-compact. The ammo was nowhere near the gun where we were working on the floor. M’kay?
As I got out the tackle box containing my gun accessories and cleaning supplies, I could tell he was excited. He was jumping around like he was about to wrestle puppies. I explained that we still don’t touch Mommy’s gun unless I say we can and waited for him to calm down. I broke down the Springfield amongst an assortment of “ooooos” and “ahhhhhs.”
Once I had the gun in pieces, I knew which one he’d notice first. He didn’t disappoint. “Oh! Mommy look! A spring! A spring!” The excitement made me smile. I dipped a toothbrush in Hoppe’s #9 and told him to brush the spring like he brushes his teeth. As I watched the grime come off the spring in his hands I knew I was creating a future gun owner.
“Mommy this is a good smell!” he pronounced. Yes, son, it is. My father used Hoppe’s when he first revealed the guts of a gun when I was a little girl. To this day, I can’t clean a gun without Hoppe’s, nor would I. It smells like “gun” to me; bringing back those irreplaceable feelings of parental camaraderie.
Once we got the spring cleaned, we moved onto the bore. This was my son’s favorite part. I explained the function of the bore and handed him a bore snake. “A ‘nake! A ‘nake!” he said, repeatedly. I applied a few drops of Hoppe’s to the snake, sat back and watched him pull it through the barrel, making sure he put it through the right end. He couldn’t stop. He kept smiling and kept asking me “this end, Mommy?” and “I’m cleaning Mommy’s gun!”
There are lots of times in parent’s life when you know something special is happening. When your child is learning a new life skill, or experiencing the simple joy of living in the moment. Like when my daughter fired her BB gun for the first time. Or when my three-year-old’s tiny hands slid down the oiled barrel of my gun next to mine, entranced by the mystery of its solidity, strength and power. Equipping our children with the firearms knowledge and skills they need to protect themselves and their children from harm is our job. But more than that, it’s our pleasure. And, sometimes, theirs.