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From: John De Armond
Newsgroups: rec.guns
Subject: Re: Home defense recommendations
Keywords: safety
Date: 4 Mar 89 00:33:20 GMT

In article <> (Don Million) writes:

>In article <> mal@pbhyf.PacBell.COM (Martin A.
>Lodahl) writes:
>> The "bang-bang" games irk me no end...
>I used to feel this way, but now I'm not so sure.  The thing is,
>when I was a kid I played all kinds of "bang-bang" games.  Cops
>and robbers, cowboys and indians, all kinds of stuff.
> [stuff deleted]
>was.  I knew the difference between "play" shooting and REAL
>shooting.  I think most kids know the difference, especially
>those who've SEEN real shooting.
>I guess what I'm saying is that if you take your kid hunting with
>you, and let them see what a gun really does, you probably don't
>have to worry too much about them playing "bang-bang" games.

I'll echo that sentiment.  Growing up, our house had a loaded handgun
in almost every room.  My father was involved in putting some very
important and very bad people in jail.  Yet my brother and I never
even once touched a gun in that house!!!  It is ALL in the training.
My father's training had 3 parts:

1.	The rules must be absolutely black and white - In our case,
	we were absolutely forbidden to touch any gun that my father
	or mother did not personally hand us.  This was clear even
	to a 6 year old.  If the gun did not come from mom or dad
	and I touched it, I'd get my ass beaten!

2.	Start gun training at a very early age.  I can remember getting
	my first .22 rifle on my 6th birthday.  Training had already
	commenced but by 6 I knew all the basic gun handling rules.
	Checking for an empty chamber and the like.

3.	Make supervised gun handling available to children any time
	the ask.  My dad would stop just about anything he was doing
	to answer a request from one of us boys to handle a gun.  In
	turn, we knew that we'd never be turned down and so were not
	afraid to ask.  He would unload the gun and clear it and hand
	it to us expecting us to do the same routine over again.  He'd
	occasionally leave a training round in the chamber to see how
	we handled it.  There was never any yelling or arm waving if we
	made mistakes - only reasoned correction.

Perhaps my father, being a career soldier until getting shot in WWII, was
exceptional but these steps seem simple enough that one should never hear
of kids killing others with guns.  Too bad society seems to pick on
inanimate objects as an excuse for poor dicipline and education.


From: John De Armond
Subject: Re: Children and toy guns...
Organization: Dixie Communications Public Access.  The Mouth of the South. (David Steckler) writes:

#My wife is a 2nd grade teacher at a rural school. Apparently, last weekend
#some kids (aged 5, 7, and 8) "accidently" broke one of the school's windows
#year old) was brandishing a toy cap gun. According to the cop, he came within
#1/4 second of shooting when the boy turned and (unknowingly) pointed the gun
#at the cop. Self-restraint on the officer's part, however, saved the boy's

Self-restraint?  The cop puts himself in a situation where he has to make
a split-second decision regarding whether a child is going to shoot
him with a toy gun and it is called "restraint?"  I call it a
combination of recklessly triggerhappy and luck.  There is something
tragically wrong with the way we're allowing cops to operate when
they are trained to react like this.  There was once a time where cops
were expected to put their lives on the line to protect those of
civilians instead of coming within 250 milliseconds of gunning down
a child.

#I've already decided that my (future) children will not own toy guns that
#look anything like real guns. There are guns and there are toys and they
#are separate things. I would never dream of telling anyone how to raise their
#kids (especially since I'm not a parent yet), but I just thought I'd relate
#this story as food for thought.

Gee, I carried a real gun as a play pistol as a child and nothing seems
to have gone wrong.  It was a naval arms black powder revolver.
I even wore this gun in my REAL holster to school where the teachers
thought it was pretty neat.  This was a suburban school in
Chattanooga, TN, btw, not some backwater.

Best thing you could do for your future kid would be to get him toy
guns and teach him proper handling techniques.  My father trained me from
as far back as I can remember the difference between real and play guns.
By the time I was in the 2nd grade, I was an accomplished shooter and had
my own .22 rifle.  My brother and I and the rest of the kids in the
neighborhood played cowboys and indians and Army and somehow we managed
to distinguish the difference between snapping toy caps and snapping the
real things.  I find it somewhat insulting to the child to suggest he/she
is not intelligent enough to be taught the difference.


From: John De Armond
Subject: Re: Gunfire and the Unborn Child
Organization: Dixie Communications Public Access.  The Mouth of the South.

#}I was wondering:  Can the sound of gunfire, particularly in an enclosed
#}area, have any bad effects on an unborn child?

#All the indoor ranges around here specifically bar pregnant women from the
#firing line area.  That's probably just lawyer repellent, but if your
#ranges have similar policies you may not have the option.

Lawyer repellant.

#Fluids transmit sound well.  I'd worry about the child's ears, if nothing

I just marvel at this and other like comments regarding sound and babies.
Doesn't anyone consider basic physics anyone?  The water/air interface is
a TERRIBLE conductor of sound.  If it were otherwise:

*	Sonar wouldn't need to be underwater
*	We wouldn't need eardrums.
*	We'd be able to submerse ourselves in, say, a swimming pool and
	still be able to hear what is going on topside.

Think about it people.  Underwater one can hear NOTHING except conducted sound.
Do an experiment.  Jump in the pool, make sure your ears are full of water
and have someone shoot a gun above the water.  You won't hear it.

This is too bad in a way.  If parents took the little kiddie-to-be to the
range and he could hear the blast, by the time he was born he'd probably
have already mastered his flinch!


From: John De Armond
Subject: Re: When to tell kids about guns in house
Organization: Dixie Communications Public Access.  The Mouth of the South.

sticha@blazer9.Berkeley.EDU (David A. Sticha) writes:

#Is there a chance that one of the kids will do something stupid while I or
#my wife are away? Of course, just as one of them might get into household
#chemicals, fall down the stairs or play with matches. I treat firearms the
#same as any other daily danger they face: I tell them the truth, give them
#a set of rules which I constantly reinforce, and don't let situations occur
#where one screw up means injury or death.

#One of my proudest moments came when the 5 year old asked to pick up a pistol
#I had on my desk. When I gave the go ahead, he hesitated a moment, then asked
#if I would "make it safe" for him by dropping the magazine and racking the
#slide. At that moment I could have burst with pride.

Thank you, Dave for posting my exact thoughts.  I've sat here in cringed
at the various posts I've seen in these posts.  I, like you, was raised
in a house where guns were just another gadget laying around.  My father
was involved in work that attracted the attention of the wrong sort of
folks.  As a result, loaded guns were in almost every room of the house.
Not on some high shelf, secreted away with all manner of locks, but in
plain view.  My father taught us from before I can even remember about
gun safety.  We (my brother and I) KNEW NEVER to touch one of Dad's guns
without permission under penalty of death-by-belt.  On the other hand,
Dad completely demystified guns for us by letting us play with a gun
any time we asked.  *SHOOTING* and not the enabling implement was
what fascinated us as kids.

All you folks who are secreting your firearms away, consider what you
are doing.  You are making it a forbidden fruit and just like the first
forbidden fruit, it MUST be sampled just because it exists and is
normally out of reach.  Ask yourselves, why are machine guns of so
much fascination to adult shooters?  Simply because, rightly or wrongly,
the guv'mt has made them forbidden fruit.  This is particularly evident
to me, having owned a MAC-10 in the past.  Initially it was a thrill
to obliterate various targets with magazine-long rattles of fire.
But after owning it a bit, it simply became a drag that made me spend
hours on the reloading bench.

It is the SAME situation with ordinary guns and kids.  If there is something
in your house you won't show your kids, they WILL eventually find it and
will play with it without the benefit of proper training.  Gun safes are just
a crutch.  The very first time you forget to lock it, that'll be the time
the kids decide to check it out.  Or worse, figure out how to open it.
I did exactly that with my father's combination-locked tool cabinet and
was not caught until the day I took dad's lawnmower apart :-)  This is
the perfect example.  Tools were off-limits in our house.  Therefore
I did whatever was necessary to gain access to the forbidden cabinets.
Expect your kids to do no less.


From: (Norman F. Johnson)
Newsgroups: rec.guns
Subject: Re: Kids and guns
Date: 23 Jun 1994 19:37:16 -0400

# Our first child is due to arrive in early May.  Yesterday, my 
# wife thrust this 'article' on me, saying that she is in constant 
# worry that our new child will get injured or killed with one of 
# my guns.  I know this has been gone through before, but I would 
# love for one of the real, true experts on guns and kids (those 
# that have actually had real experiences and successes) to address 
# this issue.  I would also like to know of the realistic precau-
# tions one should take at the various stages of development of the 
# child, i.e. infant, toddler, young child, etc., etc.  Thanks.

I wrote this a few years ago -- perhaps it will help:

Each man must decide for himself if the presence of a firearm is 
worth the risk when he has children around.  This is my approach 
and experience:

I will state that I firmly believe that if a gun is to be 
depended on for the defense of family and self, the most 
important consideration after making sure that the gun is 
dependable is that it be IMMEDIATELY accessible.  This infers 
that it is LOADED.  The miserable maggots that prey on innocents 
today are the most cowardly creatures that crawl God's good earth 
and will strike only when they are sure that one's defenses are 
down.  Those of you who hunt can better understand.  How many 
birds or deer have you missed because that gun was not ready; the 
safety was on, your heavy clothing preluded your getting the gun 
on target quickly, the chamber was not loaded, etc.?

The readiness of the defense firearm, with it's inherent hazard 
or even danger to children (and the MANY stupid adults we must 
contend with) is apparent.  I claim that one can hold the risk 
down to merely a hazard to which even well trained and 
responsible people subject themselves when they  use guns (or 
drive a car, etc.) and eliminate the danger by training, coupled 
with other well practiced disciplines.

My approach was to start each of my five children with a BB gun 
at the age of four.  The cheapest little Daisy was used (model 
105) and the kids all loved it.  At five years of age they were 
all introduced to both the Crossman air rifle and a cut down .22.  
During this period I made constant practice to make myself 
immediately available if any one of the children wanted to look 
at one of the many guns that they knew I possessed.  This 
included the occasions that one of them would bring Johnny or 
Mary from next door to see a gun.  I did not make an exception to 
this practice no matter how busy I was or what I was doing.  
Rarely did one of them fail to satisfy his curiosity in a few 
minutes. Satiating their curiosity in that manner effectively 
precluded any of them sneaking in to play with a gun.

If I handed them a firearm to examine without opening the action, 
and they did not refuse to accept it without my doing so, I made 
them think that all hell's fury was upon them.  When I asked them 
if that particular gun was loaded and they did not respond with 
"Of course, all guns are loaded and should be treated as such" 
hell struck again.  Each was taught that if he saw a gun laying 
ANYWHERE to tell an adult and not to touch it unless (as they got 
older) they were familiar with that PARTICULAR gun.  

To test this last bit of theory, I would occasionally lay a 
pellet pistol on the dining room table, and from an inconspicuous 
position watch for the reaction from the kids.  I was encouraged 
when, at five years of age my most spastic spied the pistol, 
walked around the table twice while pondering the gun, then came 
flying through the house yelling "Dad, there's a gun on the 

Each child was presented with his own .22 rifle at 7 years of age 
with the understanding that it would be handled in Dad's presence 
only until they were old enough to show the responsibility needed 
to go it alone.

During these years, thanks be to God, I had no scary occurrences.

As for general discipline, I make a practice of putting the 
chosen gun in a bedside pouch each day as it gets dark, (the flap 
fits between the mattress and the box springs) and lock it up in 
an out of sight area of the garage each morning when I first go 
out the front door.  This last is done so that I will never have 
to come home to face my own gun.  If someone is to be in the house 
all day, the gun remains in it's bedside pouch.  We have a rule 
that no one outside the immediate family is allowed to enter our 
bedroom without express permission.  

The neighborhood kids are trained by me that no one is allowed 
inside our garage until he "gets older" because there are 
dangerous tools there.  At the risk of having irate parents angry 
with me I have, on occasion, impressed upon their fannys or a 
twisted ear, that I am quite serious when I speak.  Parents have 
not ever objected.  It turns out that the grumpiest guy in the 
neighborhood is the one that they come to with broken toys, 
smashed up bikes, etc., as they get older.  My Dad did the same 
thing and he was also the man who could fix anything.  

My kids now range from 22 to 29 with no fear of firearms and 
having suffered no unfortunate -- or even unpleasant experiences.  

My 29 year old daughter can outshoot at least 90% of our police 
altho she has no particular interest in firearms other than to 
show she cannot be outdone by mere males.  The battle of the 
sexes is still healthy and active in our family.  Great fun!  She 
is still trying to muscle in on our yearly "men only" high Sierra 
hunting trip.

By coincidence, my oldest daughter and I 
were discussing this method of gun proofing children.  She pointed 
out that it was successful because my wife and I insisted on 
absolute obedience from our children - that those who are not 
obedient may not benefit from, but rather become victims of, the 
above approach.  If you are in control of your children the above 
approach is probably a good one - if they are in control of you, 
gun problems are down in the noise.  

# But, what did you do until your children reached 
# the age of four?  This is the immediate (in six months...until at least 1995) 
# problem I am faced with.  
The reason I started the children at four years of age was                   
because that was the age where each began to show interest in                   
"real guns".  Up until that time the two boys had their own toy                 
guns and the three girls had virtually no interest until then.                  
Since the attention span of young children is short, training
sessions were short and any sign of boredom or restlessness       
signaled to me to end the session.                                
I have seen much expounding, here, of teaching children not to    
point toy guns at anyone for fear they might do the same with the 
real thing.  This is a waste of time.  They will point toy guns   
at their little friends anyway.  My experience (myself and with   
my five children) is that the two are very clearly differentiated 
in their little minds and that there is no confusion as to which  
is real and which is toy.  When children play cowboys and Indians 
- or war, they do not associate "bang, bang, you're dead" with    
death, but rather with the simple game that it is.  The only      
lesson that I attempted to instill was that they must care for    
their toy guns just as they would any other possession.  It was   
the beginning of learning to keep track of, keep clean, and keep  
maintained all of the possessions that came from God thru their   
As was my father, I was a stern disciplinarian, but have always   
believed that there are enough things that one must get after     
kids about without wasting time on imaginary troubles.  My five   
are shining examples that this philosophy really works.           

Expect a lot but LET THEM SET THEIR OWN TACK.  You will never be 
God Bless!                                                       

# I couldn't agree more that children of all ages need to learn to 
# respect, and then appreciation, of powerful and dangerous tools; 
# whether those tools are the table saw in the garage or the 
# shotgun in the field.  Incidentally, I've begun working with my 
# 5 year old concerning power tools.  He had been fearful at 
# first.  Now he has a well tempered respect.  He isn't allowed 
# to plug 'anything' in, and lets me know if I forget to put a 
# tool away.   Just a week ago I let him run the small orbital 
# sander.  He helped my finish his bunk bed.  He has more fun 
# helping me in the garage than when I play with him.  > > > > 


When my boys first showed more than a passing interest in tools 
(about 5) and "building things" I built them a small but very 
substantial workbench complete with their own set of hand tools.  
The tools were not cheap kid stuff and the boys were expected to 
use them as taught, keep them clean, oiled and stowed where they 
belonged when not in use.  They were not allowed, at that age, to 
use Dad's tools.  

They did not seem to have a problem with understanding that the 
power tools were hazardous and would have to wait a few years to 
use the table and radial arm saws.  It made a very pointed lesson 
for the boys when, right in front of them, I proceeded to cut off 
the end of my index finger.  They were more fascinated by all the 
blood flying around than the potential lesson.
They were introduced to power sanders and a small reciprocating 
saw to be operated only in the presence of Dad as soon as they 
showed interest.  

My wife and I had the practice of not pushing them in any 
specific direction, except to obtain a broad (classical) 
education.  We encouraged them in the paths that they choose and 
so far it has worked very well.  The basis for our success was 
making them keenly aware of what life (God) was all about, 
insistence on strict self discipline, then at the proper time 
turning them loose to make their own mistakes.  We have not been 

# What would you recommend for a child's (12 yrs) first rifle?  It would be 
# used primarily for target practice, though it may eventually be used for 
# varmints (she might not).  Anyway, what do you think?  We are planning to 
# take a gun safety class and 4-H has some projects as well.  Thanks.

Having gone through this routine with five of my own, I would 
advise you that the most important thing to realize is that the 
little ones are VERY weak when compared to the strength of a man.  
It is very important that you get a gun that is as light as 
possible or the child will lose interest quickly because it is 
too exhausting for her to hold the gun up.  This came home to me 
when my youngest started to shoot.  I went to considerable 
trouble to drastically cut down the stock and shorten the barrel 
to 16" on an old .22 marlin that I had.

Even though he was larger and stronger (what father would claim 
otherwise) than average, Mike found the gun to be uncomfortably 
heavy to use for long.  That remaining barrel that now looked 
like a bull barrel was just too heavy hanging out there beyond 
the stock forend.  The same was true with the other four 

I have, for many years, been convinced that the gun companies 
that put out what they call "youth models" employ designers that 
have no children.  They simply cut a couple of inches off the 
stock and MAYBE a couple inches off of the barrel and, viola, a 
"youth model".

A truely useful little rifle for child training is the Chipmonk, 
a little single shot that is really scaled to the small child.  
It is the only one I know of that is on the market that REALLY 
fits kids.

There seems to be no way to buy a rifle for a child that is 
likely to be used later in life (other than as a novelty).  It 
will, however, always be a special rifle to that child.  

Give that little shooter a hug from me!

God Bless!


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