I was the mother, who swore my kids would never play with guns. I told relatives not to buy even play guns. I admonished the kids when they turned Legos or sticks into guns. I drilled into their heads that guns were bad. Then DS was involved in Cub Scouts. Cub Scouts allows / encourages shooting with bb guns. I was horrified and scared when my husband told me that there would be shooting at summer camp. I made my husband promise that he would take extra care of DS and watch extra carefully when they were at the range. DS came home from that camping trip ecstatic. The range master was impressed with his accuracy. DS had posted 5 shots within the size of a dime. He had qualified as a sharp shooter. This should have been a sign of what was to come. DS was very proud of this and wanted to do more, so we found a range that practiced competitive shooting. This was not a fluke. DS moved up a 22 long rifle and DD wanted to try too. I sat through their safety class with them to see how they were instructed. I cannot voice how nervous I was about this. I had been taught to fear guns. Perhaps what I should have been taught was to fear people who use guns unsafely or with the intent to do harm. Perhaps it would have made more sense to have gun safety classes vs. telling us to never touch them.
Anyway, flash forward DS has now made the alternate spot on the State rifle team two years running and both children have gotten their hunting licenses. DD has even passed the bow course. The rifle sports and hunting opportunities have allowed for great family bonding, incredible self-control, a growth in self-esteem, and patience. If I had known what this sport would bring to our family, I would have brought the kids to the range instead of being so scared.
Having this knowledge also may have saved my children's life when they, along with a friend, found a gun in the woods. All the kids had experience with guns and knew the power they held, they were not curious, and were aware of mis-fires etc. They did not touch the gun, but immediately came to get adults to handle the situation. I'm not sure that their reaction would have been the same had they not experienced the power of a gun and knew they could use a real one the next time they were at the range. In fact, there have been studies showing that children that have been told not to touch guns, will; so if you think your warnings will save your children, you may want to think again.