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 met my girlfriend when her daughter was 5. Not my daughter, but she's my little girl, and the apple of my eye. I got her a crossman pump air rifle for Christmas at 7 years old. The rifle resides in the gun safe, right next to my AR-15. She must obey every rule applicable to a firearm when we target practice. She is doing quite well, but doesn't yet have what it takes to use it unsupervised. That being said, I've seen "adults" who I feel are not responsible enough to own a BB gun. I think it depends on the kid's ability to listen to, and follow, direction. If the children listen well, and do what they're told, I think a BB gun is a great gift. I'm using ours as a tool to teach gun safety, and the fundamentals of marksmanship. My little girl also know that if she's curious about any of my firearms, she only has to ask and I will show her. I believe outright prohibition of arms from kids, will just fuel curiosity, and lead to them trying to sneak a peek. I have an old bolt action .22 I plan on rebuilding for when she get a few more years under her belt, and used her interest as something of an excuse to start building a custom Mauser for when she's old enough to join me hunting. I do plan on doing extensive "testing" of her Mauser lol.
8 is a good age. I got my first gun (a .410 shotgun, I think) when I was 8 or 10.
When my oldest son was 5 he received a Red Rider for Christmas. Eventually I trusted him enough to go outside by himself but this was after years of supervised shooting and endless reminders of the consequences. To this day he has not let me down and he knows the 4 gun safety rules. My youngest son now 6 will be getting a pump BB/pellet gun this year with a scope. The youngest is already proficient with the Red Rider and can also be trusted outside by himself. Of course the get checked on frequently while shooting but I have yet to find them doing something they are not supposed to do. I do recommend treating it like a firearm to learn safety.
A BB gun is a good way to teach/test gun safety. What my dad did with me (I was 5) was took me shooting with a BB gun by a pond and treated the BB gun like a 100% real gun. As a 5 year old I took it very seriously and 20 years later am still very safe when firing/being around guns.
The main difference between my dad's technique and the gift idea is that with the gift approach, then the "ownership" is with the child which says to the child, "This is something that kids can have." This may take away from their respect for the gun.
It is tempting to gift it since it's a moment the child may remember for the rest of their lives, but my experience stayed with me and holds a special place in my heart.
My child owns a BB gun that we gave him for Christmas but it stays in my closet. He also owns an Xbox and video games that stay upstairs in the game room. My child also knows that he needs permission from the wife or I before he can play with either of those things. Being a parent and treating children like they are child and not a fellow adult solves a lot of problems. He my own the gun but we as parents control what he is allowed to do.
In our house five is the age we take them out for the first time and start shooting with .22s, they are just hill hunting but it is familiarization. This creates trust with both parents and children, they will fell more confident in themselves for doing something that "Grown ups" do, and most importantly this will remove the most dangerous aspect of firearms which is the NOVELTY of them. Children grow up seeing their parents using a knife to cook with and never really play with them, they realize the purpose and use for them. With firearms if they are kept hidden and locked away they will become the forbidden fruit and curiosity coupled with unfamiliarity is a recipe for disaster. We have 6 kids, the youngest is currently 6 and shooting is a family activity, wife packs the lunch and pack the guns.
We ended up delaying the BB gun until Birthdays in March. It actually wasn't really a safety concern -- the wife came around on that -- we just spent the budget elsewhere.
Plus, the only weapons I have are handguns, so I wanted to wait until I got a rifle to go shoot with them with a more similar gun. I'm in the market for an AR15 in the next month or two anyway -- gotta buy it before Feinstein's assault weapons ban passes, if it does.