Went Christmas shopping with the wife today. Mostly shopping for peripheral relatives -- my cousin's kids, nieces and nephews, my brother and sister, etc. But, we started trying to get ideas for my kids. I have a 7yo daughter, 4yo son, and 1yo son. Saw the classic Daisy BB guns at WalMart -- one in black, one in pink. I want to get one for my 7yo daughter, and nearly 5-year-old son ... even I think the one-year-old is too young.
Almost needless to say, the wife is opposed (she's such a girl) ... mostly for my son. Then again, she was fairly uncomfortable with me having guns in the house -- so I'm not sure she's the best arbiter. Still, I think it'd be good for the boy. Teach 'em responsibility and gun safety early. Plus, they're fun, and mostly harmless. I've been shot with one. Stings like hell, and it'll leave a welp ... but nobody's gonna die.
Thoughts? Is 5 too young for a BB gun?
I'd say with supervision, 5 is fine. Just don't leave it anywhere that he can get to it without your knowledge.
That's kinda what I was thinking. Keep 'em locked up. Ration ammunition. Break it over my knee if I ever see him point it at anyone. What's the worst that could happen?
I haven't used one in a while ... but, if I remember correctly, it takes a herculean feat-of-strength for a child to cock one of those things by himself. I'm not even sure he could do it unsupervised if he wanted to.
My wife agrees. She doesn't like the idea of BB guns that much, but she is okay with it as long as it is supervised and only shooting at pop cans and what not.
Locks on them are key treat them like a gun. There is a child who took his pellet or bb gun and shot it into the eye of another child he was mad and he killed her.
Teach the respect with the gun and you should be fine.
I would also add you kill it you eat it. That was the other rule that kept things from getting cruel. It ends lizard and bird hunting.
A Christmas Story
Every male child in the family has received a BB gun on his first Christmas. All of them courtesy of one of my brother-in-laws. (He's currently working his way through the grandsons & great nephews.)
Well, if you train him to handle it like a 'real' firearm like you said, keep it locked up, gun safety, all that, I think it's an excellent plan!
At five years old, he'll have a very hard time cocking it, and he'll be very impressed (and I hope just a little bit scared) of the amount of destruction it can bring.
I don't know how powerful these things are, but the best thing I've ever read to make sure a boy understands what his weapon is capable of is to shoot full beer cans. Because of the hydrodynamic pressure and the pressure the can is already under it will tear apart completely upon impact, leaving a big mess, a destroyed can and a big bang.
When I bought an air rifle for my student house (remember, Holland is not a gun country), this is how I taught my (adult) friends that "this sh*t was for real", but then again, this air rifle was definitely more powerful then this daisy gun.
Good luck and safe shooting!
I think 5 is old enough to "own" one. I would probably make him wait a few years before he can be trusted to have it alone though. Since you other firearms in the house I think the earlier you can teach him to respect firearms the better.
I like your hard rule about not pointing it at others. Not sure how'd you handle it if he starts to kill squirrels and birds for fun. Maybe make him skin, cook, and eat whatever he kills might teach him to be a bit more selective about his targets?
BBs don't hurt too bad. Never had a BB gun. I had a few pellet guns though (uses those flat-headed lead pellets that look like a lead shuttle cock instead of a round brass bb). The pellets could sting. I have a cousin who got a BB in the eye socket (just next to the eye on the nasal side). Almost lost his eye. So even BBs can be dangerous. Still, I'd rather a kid get a BB in the foot for being an idiot that a teen or adult get a bullet for learning the same lesson.