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Buying My 5-Year-Old Her First Gun

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  • dglockster

    New Member
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    Jul 13, 2008
    Excellent article in the October 2, Dallas Morning News:

    Trey Garrison: Buying my 5-year-old her first gun
    04:22 PM CDT on Wednesday, October 1, 2008

    My little girl is growing up. That very special change is coming in her life. She is about to blossom into a new stage of maturity. As a father, I have to face facts.

    She's 5 now; it's time to buy her first gun.

    I actually picked out her first rifle back when she was just 3. It's a Remington .22-caliber rifle, just like I had when I was her age.
    Except hers is pink. And it has a Hello Kitty emblem inked on its pink butt. (Just like her mom.)

    That one awaits her being an age when she can handle it. I'm thinking 8, like I was.

    No, her "first gun" that she'll get to keep will be a plastic BB-firing Airsoft replica of a hand gun. Preferably an H&K replica, because when she's old enough, that's probably what she'll find in all the little fast-access gun safes that may be stashed around the house. Near all points of entry and common seating areas. (You never know if a burglar will clear the string of Claymore mines out front.)

    My daughter will be responsible for storing it, cleaning it and practicing the very serious rules of gun discipline I keep in the house. Which, OK, I didn't come up with, but I've lived with – like a good monk does his vows – for 30-plus years now.

    Every gun is loaded. Never point at what you don't want to destroy. Finger off the trigger. There is no such thing as a safety. Check any weapon you're handed.

    Her first training in this kind of responsibility actually started when she turned 4. You see, I keep all the various guns in the house – pistols, rifles, shotguns, carbines, muzzleloaders, recoilless – in either a full-size floor safe or the aforementioned fast-access safes.

    But in my office, I've left something on one of the bookshelves within her reach. It's a resin movie prop gun from my favorite cult sci-fi show, Firefly. Any educated adult can tell it's not real, but to a child (or TV reporter) it looks functional and deadly.

    I've drilled it into my daughter that she is never, ever to touch it. And then I do the old James Bond trick with a hair and spit.

    The hair is still there.

    With the Airsoft, she'll learn about breathing, aiming and point break. She'll learn a tool is not a talisman. Most important, she'll learn the rules and respect. You see, I understand that when she's older, she may rebel. She may not be a fan of the ballistic arts.

    But the reality is that whatever her interest, guns will be around her. Never mind our house. There's a six in 10 chance any household she visits will have a gun in it, almost anywhere in the country.

    If she grew up ignorant about guns or worse, in awe of them like they were some forbidden fruit, the world would be a much more dangerous place for her. I think it's better she not only understand that they are just tools, but that she's trained to disarm a curious kid playing with a found one. And then even fieldstrip it on the spot, rendering it safe until an adult can be found.

    In no other area of life does ignorance bestow safety. Why should this be any different?

    It's hard being a father. I face even more challenges in her coming teen years. Her first car. Her first date. Her first heartbreak. But I do have one challenge licked. The one about her Sweet 16 party.

    I know where to buy pink fittings for the Colt AR-15 she's going to get.

    Trey Garrison is a freelance writer and contributing editor for D Magazine. He can be reached through
    Texas SOT


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    May 25, 2008
    I wrote something similar in response to a story in a community paper citing American Association of Pediatrics guidelines that if you have kids you shouldn't have guns in your home and that you should query your children's playmates' parents about if they have guns in the home. I thought the author (and the AAP) totally missed their mark and wrote this response, which the very liberal paper published in toto after I shortened it to their word limit.

    I'm offering up this lengthy letter for any of you who may need material to counter the antis.

    The funny part is that they published the anti-gun story on the same page as a story about Brunetti at Camp Perry that included pics of her shooting her AR. (We were amazed that this particular paper published the pics of the teen with a rifle.)

    (Names have been changed of course.)

    The juxtaposition of the article on my daughter’s success at the National Rifle Championships and the article by (Ms. M), “Is there a gun in the house?” was an amusing dichotomy.

    (Ms. M's) article is so strewn with misconceptions that her message becomes diluted. (Ms. M) states that her grandchildren face a proliferation of guns that previous generations did not experience. This is absolutely incorrect. Many in my generation owned firearms as youths. Accidental firearm deaths are down 89 percent since 1975. Statistically, the odds of a child dying in a firearms accident are 1 in 1,000,000. Access today is much more restricted.

    The American Academy of Pediatrics recommendations (cited in Ms. M's article) are ineffective. I wouldn’t approach the National Rifle Association for recommendations on my child’s vaccine schedule, why would I rely on the AAP for recommendations on gun safety?

    The only proven method to gun-proof your child is to teach them gun safety at an early age. This will demystify guns and instill basic gun safety. If asked, “You want to see my Daddy’s gun?” the answer would be an emphatic “No!” They’ll know guns are not toys, you don’t point guns at people and if the gun comes out they leave. The only way a child can be injured by a gun is if someone points it at them and pulls the trigger.

    It is impossible to screen playmates’ parents for all potential hazards to our children’s safety. Asking parents if they own guns will be viewed as an invasion of privacy. Would you ask parents if they keep alcohol in the house or if they smoke marijuana? Are the playmates current on their vaccinations? What about access to car keys? Are first-person shooter games accessible? Psychology professor David Grossman maintains that exposure to violent video games causes significant harm and is a more accurate prediction of a child’s predisposition to violent crime than exposure to firearms.

    The AAP argument that firearms should be removed if there are children in the house is sensationalist and encourages abdication of parental responsibility. Some of the AAP recommendations suggest virtually no experience with firearms. Do (Ms. M) and the AAP have a restrictive firearm ownership agenda camouflaged under the ruse of child safety?

    The most certain method of reducing gun accidents and gun violence among youths is through gun-safety education in our schools and parental involvement in disgracing gun violence that is popularized through media and video gaming. The U.S. Department of Justice, the Centers for Disease Control and even the AAP suggest that the introduction of children into recreational shooting sports appears to reduce teenage violence.

    Sadly, too many are quick to embrace efforts to disarm. <SNIP> Let’s not be too anxious to forget our own history and right to self-defense.

    For more information on teaching gun safety to your children, contact the NRA: Eddie Eagle Safety Program (This program does not encourage gun ownership nor NRA membership.) Disclaimer: I am not an NRA member. Another useful link for parents is

    Ira Tollah
    21 August 2008

    This newspaper did allow the author to submit a rebuttal to my comments, but basically all she did was reiterate her previously unfounded emotional argument.


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    Jul 29, 2008
    My daughter picked out her first gun this year at 5 years old. She is now the proud owner of a pink cricket rifle named "Pinky". And she can recite the gun safety rules when asked. I have overheard her telling her babies about guns when playing and telling the rules to them. Of course I stood at the door with a big goofy grin.

    I take her to the range and allow her to shoot her rifle when she asks. When she is ready for a pistol there might be a pink walther p22 waiting for her, if I can justify needing a second p22.

    My sister has a 6yo daughter and I have gone over the rules with her as well, I think she spends enough time here to learn the rules on gun safety. She will never shoot as my sister is against gun ownership, but she will know not to play with guns.


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    Mar 4, 2008
    I started my girl on a 22 rifle and let her shoot from a benchrest until she completed a safety course.She now shoots a 45(age 12) and I am trying to pursuade her to shoot shotguns.She only has access to her guns at the range under strick supervision.Safety is priority one in my house, I am the only one that knows the combination to my safe and I have all the gun lock keys locked in small lockable box inside the safe.Its not that I do not trust her but accidents happen.I have heard too many horror stories of kids showing off with friends and accidentally killing themselves or others.


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    Jun 27, 2008
    Starting them out you gives them the proper education. Later they can decide for themselves if they want to continue or not, as opposed to letting the media make that decision for them.
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