Today I took my kids to a local shooting range and they got to fire a rifle for the first time and based on their reaction afterwards, I guess Obama will soon call my kids bitter clingers to guns.
My goal was to start my kids’ introduction to firearms with a .22 caliber rifle (low recoil, not very loud and easier to hold for my son who is 9 years old) but we were told that the range was out of .22 ammo (and this was not a surprise). My kids are not ready to fire hand guns yet and the next smallest caliber rifle they had was an AR-15 that shoots .223 caliber so we decided to give it a go.
My 12 year old daughter is obviously more mature than my son and she had more than a little anxiety going into this but my son was very excited. When we were on the way to the range my son asked if we would be able to shoot machine guns (of course the answer was no….) so his eyes lit up when he saw we were going to shoot an AR-15. Since the State Run Media (SRM) vilifies this weapon, you know that the AR-15 looks a lot like a fully automatic military rifle so of course my son was jacked.
My son’s enthusiasm quickly faded once we started walking into the range and he quickly adopted the same fear that my daughter had when we walking into the store.
This is understandable. The indoor range was busy on a Saturday afternoon and the walk to our bay saw people shooting shotguns and high powered rifles that startled them even though they were wearing very good hearing protection. Four of your five senses are triggered (pardon the pun) when you are in an indoor shooting range. You smell the gun powder, you see the intimidating weapons, you hear the loud sounds and you feel the percussions of weapons fired in close proximity to you. It’s a scene that will be intimidating for any first timer, even adults, so I was not shocked to see my kids a little scared.
I tried my best to educate them for this experience and I went through the various gun safety instructions both at home and again in the range area but no words can prepare a person for the fear one feels the first time you hold a firearm.
After I showed them how to fire it and squeezed off a few rounds myself, my son volunteered to go first (well, his sister forced him to volunteer) and I put the gun in his hands for the first time. I could see the fear in his face as he realized how heavy this gun was and I waited for him to make the first move. He looked at me and said he was scared and didn’t want to do it but I reassured him my hand would always be on the barrel with his to steady the gun and that the recoil wouldn’t hurt.
He squeezed the trigger and then smiled, realizing his shoulder didn’t dislocate.
After seeing my son’s fear melt away after squeezing off a few more rounds, my daughter then felt confident enough to try it and her fear was also replaced with enjoyment.
Needless to say the next 45 minutes was pure joy as we ran through 60 rounds of ammo and after it was over the kids were wondering when we could do it again.
My daughter’s comment after the session summed up what most people feel after their first shooting experience – “It’s a lot different than in the movies.”
Amen baby girl! Movies and video games make firearms seem like toys and if you only listen to the SRM you’ll think that guns are evil. I posit that a majority of people against gun ownership and the 2nd amendment are people who have never fired a weapon. I firmly believe that if more adults would open their minds and confront their fears like my kids did today then most of the gun control BS would fade away.
Today my kids took their first step into a larger world, faced their fears and realized sometimes the threat is more terrifying than the thing itself. They learned that real guns are dangerous and that they must respect all firearms and treat them as if they are loaded. They now know that there is really no comparison between toy guns and real guns. But they also realized that, handled in the proper manner, firearms can be safe and enjoyable.
Here are a couple pictures from the session: