Some people seem to think that children and guns do not go together. Anyone who has ever watched a group of kids at play, be it cops and robbers, Army, or Cowboys and Indians (I know, not PC), knows that they will imagine a gun out of almost anything.
Teaching your child to shoot serves several purposes. It offers bonding time as a family. It teaches them early about safety and safe handling of firearms. Children who grew up with a firearm in the home, and learned from an early age how to first respect and avoid it, then as they became older how to handle it safely with supervision, are less likely to handle it out of curiosity, possibly with serious consequences.
Shooting can become a lifelong sport, it can be enjoyed by people of all shapes and sizes as well as by many people with various disabilities. You may be a sunny day plinker, a serious competitor, interested in personal defense or a hunter. All of that is OK!
Children, especially girls, can develop self esteem by mastering a sport that is challenging and often male dominated (although the ladies are closing in!). Plus, it teaches a girl about self respect when she goes to the range and drills the target. It also offers bonding and closeness with older family members. These are all important as a young woman reaches that dreaded “dating age”. She will have learned that she has value, she can take care of herself, and she is confident in her abilities. She will not be easily intimidated and will expect to be treated with the respect she deserves. Personally, I can’t think of a better reason to learn to shoot. Of course, it is followed very closely but IT’S FUN!
Many people have asked how young is too young. Only the parent can decide that, but probably 6 is a good time to start thinking about it. I’ve heard from people who started their kids with Airsoft guns, teaching them the same fundamentals and safety skills they would use later with the real thing. What a great idea!
So take your daughters, and your sons, to the range. Teach them the safe way to handle a firearm. Consider some of the NRA Youth Programs, or let them attend a formal class. Share the joy of shooting and build a bond with your family as well as teaching them safe practices.