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In the aftermath of the recent Lake District spree killing, gun-hating Britain is in the grips of . . . more gun hating. “Police have awarded a shotgun licence to a child aged just ten, it has emerged,” The Daily Mail reports. “The unnamed youngster is thought to be one of the youngest ever given permission to use a weapon. Astonishingly, it was one of nearly 50 firearms licences awarded to under 18s by one police force, Bedfordshire Constabulary, last year. Campaigners against gun crime accused the force of handing out the licences ‘like Smarties’.” Smarties are a bit like Skittles; during my eighteen years in the UK no one ever handed me a single God damn Smartie. Ahem. And now for something completely predictable: a handbagging from Lucy Cope, founder of Mothers Against Guns . . .

‘There is no way in any shape or form should a 10-year-old boy have a shotgun – it is horrendous.

‘Police should hang their heads in shame. The gun must be taken away and licence revoked right now.

‘I’d like to speak to that boy’s mother and father and police officer who thought it was a good idea. What were they thinking?

‘The days when young boys play Cowboys and Indians are over. Young people are dying on the street because of guns every day.

‘Police are recklessly handing gun licences out like Smarties and it is morally wrong.’

OK, it’s safe to come out now. Provided the gun is pointed in a safe direction.

Robert Gray, campaigns director at the Countryside Alliance, said: ‘That child won’t be able to use the firearm unless they are with a responsible adult.

‘There is a world of difference between people having legally held guns and illegal gun crime, a point which is acknowledged by the police and government. [ED: when did they do that then?]

‘We do not have a problem with this at all. If taught in a responsible and controlled environment shooting teaches them things like patience, responsibility and various other skills.’

Skills like marksmanship and efficient reloading—which might come in handy should they turn pyscho or turn to a life of gun crime. Hey, if I don’t say it . . .

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  1. Under supervision, I shot a .44 magnum about age 10, as well as a 12-gauge shotgun. About age 10-12, I had permission to use the shotgun on my own on the tree-killing rabbit in the yard if I saw it, which one day I did.

    Many years later, I still haven't turned into a hardened criminal. Quite the opposite. I think being taught about guns and things also taught me responsibility overall. Pretty much any time you can have parents supervise something new their kids are learning, it's probably a good thing.

    How many gun thugs and hoodlums out there might have turned out differently if their parents had taught them proper gun use and responsibility instead of them learning it on the street?

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