We’ve discussed the importance of gun safety training for adults, especially those that choose to carry a concealed weapon. But if you’re a parent? You’re probably wondering, like many parents, when to introduce your children to firearms and gun safety.
While it will depend on your personal comfort level and the child’s maturity, there are some general suggestions for teaching children about gun safety…
6 to 10 Years Old: Supervised BB-Gun Training
Before six years old, a child may not have the maturity to understand the dangers of firearms. However, allowing a child from the ages of 6 to 10 to learn basic safety procedures with a BB gun, under meticulous supervision, is a great way to start. BB guns are not toys, but the low velocity gives kids a soft introduction to rifles.
8 to 12 Years Old is Good for Small-Caliber Training
Once the child has become comfortable and competent with a BB gun, you can move into small rifle calibers, such as .22 Short, .22 Long Rifle, or .17 HMR. These cartridges allow kids to experience shooting without heavy recoil or loud reports.
12 to 18 Years Old is Ideal for Handgun Instruction
Now that the child is experienced in safely loading, firing, and cleaning small-caliber firearms, you can move into stronger and more powerful weapons, such as medium-caliber rifles and handguns. The .223 Remington and 9mm Luger, as examples, are good choices for progressing the child’s experience.
Age is Less Important than Maturity
The above ages and progressive steps are merely suggestions. Every person is different, and you need to base your decision on the maturity and seriousness of the child. If, for example, a seven year old is extremely safe with a BB gun, you may consider moving into a small-caliber rifle. However, if a 14 year old can’t focus during safety training, it may not be wise to move into larger calibers.
Always Monitor the Child One-on-One
No matter what, always maintain one-on-one training with the child. One-on-one safety training allows you to better instruct and monitor the child, creating safer and more responsible gun owners in the future.