Don't be surprised, Three was a time when handling a firearm and marksmanship was a valuable asset. In the 1960's i went to high school in New York City (Brooklyn to be exact) they had a range in the basement of the school. The Rifle team (.22) was a promoted sporting event.
My second daughter is three and will be shooting this summer, for the first time. Both have GREAT trigger control. My daughter would never grab a gun, look down the barrel, and pull the trigger, just as they wouldn't hit themselves in the face with a hammer. It's just another tool to them.
I just recently started her out by giving her a toy gun and teaching her that she is not allowed to touch the trigger, or point it at ANYBODY. Now, when I randomly put it in her hands, she points it to the sky and says, "daddy can I try now". When I say yes, she points the gun away, at the floor, and pulls the trigger. Unless I put it in her hands, she knows not to touch it. When I deem her old enough to understand the difference between a toy and real gun, she can play with toy guns.
All it takes is a little discipline in the form of talking, some loving words, and I believe all children could learn to respect em. It's when you try to pretend they aren't real, when children pick one up at a friends house, wonders what's in the hole, what the lever does, and accidents happen. Hell, a child will cut his/her self if they never see a knife and pick one up for the first time. Burn themselves on heaters, eat ants, brother's sister in law's kid was playing with a tampon, .... Just words of love and a bit of information keeps kids from accidents. Guns are no different from heaters, ants, or tampons.
This Is So Stupid And Uncalled For Teaching Kids About Guns So Early in Their Live's. That's Why Kids Do What They Do Shooting And Killing Children In Schools. Guns Are Obsessive, They Have The Power To Change A Person's Attitude And Behavior.
I agree, and am not sure what side you're on, but that's why I teach my kids not to play with ANY gun, till I am absolutely sure, with out a doubt that they know the difference. It's why my three year old is not allowed to touch my ten year old's pink, clear water gun unless I give permission. I never thought this way till I we got the Ruger SR22 and I realized, "damn, that looks like a toy". Even though my ten year old knows, all she has is that water gun she's used once or twice, and a bubble gun she hasn't used in a year. I figure if they're educated on the use and purpose of tools, they aren't interested in them, unless they need to use a tool for it's intended purpose.