A 22 Gauge for a 10-year-old??


My ex-husband and I communicate pretty well. We try to keep each other informed of all extracurricular activities, grades, anything unusual going on, disruptions in the schedule, etc. We always talk before Christmas and birthdays to see what gifts the other is buying and to ensure the kids don’t get a bunch of duplicates.

J’s birthday is only one week before Christmas so we really have to be careful with duplicates for him. It also makes it hard to come up with “enough” presents at times. “A gaming chair” is what Troy told me he was getting J for his tenth birthday. But when I asked about Christmas, he kept saying he didn’t know yet. I finished my shopping and gave him the entire list so he knew what not to buy.  I also gave him the perfect idea for our 12-year-old daughter.

The kids and I wake up Christmas morning at 5:45 a.m. They excitedly open each and every gift. A is mostly enthused about her makeup bag and Twilight movies.  J was thrilled to get a bike and movie posters for his room. After a nap and a few hours of checking out their new stuff, Troy picked them up. They were excited to see that side of the family. I picked them up at 3:30 to head to my mom’s. Their smiling faces greeted me at the door. “I got a foot spa,” A said with lots of energy. I knew she’d love it. J didn’t say much. We got in the car and I asked J what he got. “A flashlight and a 22.” I couldn’t have heard him right so I asked again. “I said I got a flashlight and a 22 mom.” I then asked what a 22 is. I knew but I thought there must be something else called a 22. He’s only 10 and this was not discussed with his mother at all. No way would anyone, even his dad, buy him a 22… so I thought. “It’s a rifle mom.” I then asked if it was a real rifle. It was.

I don’t think I even blinked for five minutes. We just sat there in the car. I was in shock. I debated going back inside to ask him what he was thinking but his parents and extended family were there and I didn’t want to cause a seen.

Troy bought J a BB gun at age 7 and a bow and arrow at 8 and I thought he was too young for those but I gradually adjusted. They only use the BB gun and bow and arrow for target shooting at Troy’s grandpa’s house out in the country. And to be honest, I had a BB gun around 7- or 8-years-old. Other than that though, I was never raised around weapons of any kind. Guns scare me. You can say guns don’t kill, people do but hey, accidents happen. People wouldn’t die of gunshot wounds if the other person didn’t have a gun.

 J doesn’t want to hunt so I really don’t get the point of this at all. He told me that he is excited about the gift though and can’t wait to go target shooting.

I’m still upset and conflicted over the whole thing. Do I confront his dad? Do I forbid J from keeping the gun and shooting with anything more than a BB gun? Or do I let it go and trust that his dad will keep him safe?

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14 thoughts on “A 22 Gauge for a 10-year-old??

  1. Well, you should let Troy have it. Not only did he not discuss it with you he was clearly hiding it from you. Taking the gun away would show Troy he can’t get away with that but it sort of punishes Joe too. I think knowing how to properly handke and shoot a gun is a good skill to have. It’s also a good way to learn gun saftey. As far as him keeping it I think you have to ask yourself two questions 1. Will letting hin keep it send the wrong message to Troy? 2. Can you trust Troy to show him proper use, technique and safety?

    I have no interest in hunting but I love going to the shooting range. I feel empowered knowing my way around a gun but forget the 22, give me a glock 9!

  2. Yes. I would definitely confront the dad. Anyone with common sense should see that this is something to be discussed prior to giving this type of gift to any boy under 18 living between two hoseholds. However, not knowing the history of the family, particularly the father i cant say the father was wrong in thinking this was a good gift to give. I understand that while giving a 10-year old a shotgun can seem unacceptable it may be.perfectly acceptable to the father if he grew up with weapons in his house and received similar gifts at a similar age. I personally dont agree with it and would not give one.to.my children but that doesnt mean it is wrong to do. I can.also.understand the fascination with guns and boys shooting things and blowing things up. The father has already given it and the boy already has it. You would be perfectly within reason to take the gun away and remove it from the house completely. I do feel like this is an opportunity for everyone in your hpuse to learn something though. You cant control what other people do, only how you respond so take this as an opportunity to educate yourselves. I think it is more dangerous to be completely ignorant of guns, especially for the little ones. At targetworld they offer great gun saftey and gun education classes and even allow you to properly fire a gun. Right now the kids think the guns are like toys. But if you take them to one of these classes, they will be educated and how to properly load/unload a gun, and how to fire. While this sounds even worse.than buying a kid a gun keep in mind that the kids also learn what to look for to remain safe in case a friend of theirs ends up with a gun. They learn how to properly hold and where to point. How to make sure the chamber is empty to avoid accidents and to be aware and check that the saftey is on so their friend doesnt accidentally kill someone. They learn to respect the weapon for what it is capable of good and bad. They also have a lot of conceal and carry andself defense classes regarding guns. These all teach you that guns are not toys. I hope i addressed some of your questions and hope some of this helps.

  3. This is a tough one for me. I think I was around 11 when I went to Camp Webb and learned how to shoot a gun at the target range. And my dad hunts deer every November with his brother, so my children have seen guns in his house, albeit locked up in a case with the ammunition stored elsewhere. My dad also bought a BB gun to enjoy with my son and his other grandchildren (my son is 7 – I wasn’t totally thrilled with this, but I know my dad knows what he is doing and will make sure it’s used carefully). So it’s not that I’ve never been around guns. However, accidents do happen, and it would be devastating if my son became a statistic. I think Troy crossed a line by not discussing this with you first – does he tend to be passive aggressive? Honestly, I’d probably be pretty furious if I were in your shoes, and would let him have it (but then cool off later and come back to talk about it calmly, as is my general sequence when I get angry). I think it is totally acceptable for you to put your foot down that it not be allowed in your home if you’re not comfortable with that, and that you and Troy need to lay some groundrules together that you then discuss together with J so he knows exactly when, where, and with whom he can use the gun. Maybe you could even attend an educational session with him, so you can both feel confident that he is capable and careful?

  4. Here are comments made by friends on my Facebook page.
    Chris: That’s about the age I received my first rifle. Appropriately enough, a .22. Soon after I was building black powder rifles with my grandfather. Ive never hunted and could never kill anything, but enjoy target And skeet shooting. Ive always …thought its funny that parents will freak out about their kids shooting a gun but happily put them in a 3500 pound missile and send them down the road by themselves at 16. Guns are safe if you learn how to use them.

    Lorel: Gina, we got Pete a 20gauge shotgun along with a gun safe for Christmas. This is after he and I took an 8hr gun safety class through Campbell County in August. Pete and I had to pass a test and received his “orange” card. The class was free and very comprehensive. It was about hunting, trapping and very thorough weapon safety. We had to pass the written test and show that we could follow instructions on the range where we shot .22 rifle, 20 gauge shotgun and a bow and arrow. Pete has ignited a spark in our family to skeet shoot together. Lots of fun!!! We let Megan shoot his .410 shotgun and now she wants a .22. The worst thing you could be is scared of guns, respect them, learn about them…

  5. Gina, you are totally in your right to be upset and outraged. I would be. I wouldn’t even get a 22 for my 17 year old!! He loves to target shoot as well and guess what we got him for Christmas – a pellet gun rifle. This is enough for me.Target shooting or no, a 22 is too dangerous of a gun for a ten year to handle. It would make me wonder what else he will do without asking/talking to you about it first. I would absolutely have no qualms about putting it away until he is older. There is a reason why he didn’t tell you about and was “unsure” of what he was getting him – he already knew yoru answer. I’d confront him and make it very clear how you feel on the issue before he does something similar again without your permission.

  6. I would never buy a gift that I was “unsure” of without discussing it with his dad. The gun will never come to my home. Troy knows better. If it did, it would be dropped off where ever you can drop off guns or given to my adult cousins who hunt. I am sure the plan is to keep it at Troy’s grandpa’s – who has plenty of land for target shooting. But again, I feel like a BB gun was enough for that. I agree that he didn’t tell me because he knew I would object. Again, neither one of us grew up with guns so I really don’t know where this is coming from. Our son has so many other interests that I don’t know why he would want to encourage this. I left him a voicemail yesterday stating I wanted to discuss my concerns but he has not returned my call. I also sent a text stating that I am not comfortable with my kids using or even being around a gun of this caliber without gun safety training. He has not replied. I will see him tomorrow so it will definitely be discussed then. I will also let him know that our children should not be given any more weapons without discussing them with me first. I’ll update everyone on how this conversation goes. Thank you so much for the advice. Keep it coming!

  7. There is a big difference between a bow, pellet and BB Gun. Sometimes kids think of the BB gun as a toy via playing army. Many times the kids will play with the BB gun unloaded and pretend. Now the matter becomes how does a child transfer the “play” of the BB/Pellet to the “use” of a rifle. It was stated before there are classes, protocols and responsibilities. I doubt your son carries his BB gun down angle at all times, acts like it is ready to fire at all times. They are kids. The gift of the gun is a major commitment that requires more than just opening the present. Unless there is clear instructional and clear understanding what is now being given then its use should be seriously limited. The positive side is perhaps your son will grow up quite a bit for the desire to use this gun with respect and perhaps he becomes vastly motivated to learn and understand rifle(s). Heck he could be an exceptional marksman but one thing for sure is unless he totally respects the weapon then he cannot use the weapon. Best wishes!

  8. I started to read a few posts and had to stop so my opinion wouldn’t be jaded. I definately feel that my opinion won’t be shared, but I feel very confident as we are a ‘gun’ family. I had a gun and a membership to a shooting range prior to marrying my husband, who is a multiple gun owner. We’ve taken our kids target shooting and hunting. We live and teach gun safety. There have to be rules that are taught like brushing your teeth, so that if you grow up learning and living gun safety, it is simply second nature and respected. If you and your ex have an good relationship, but you also disagree, you should be able to come up with an understanding of your level of stress and his need to share something with his son that seems to be a part of who he is. Eventually, he’ll learn that you can’t push your hobbies on your kids, even if you do your best to share the things that give you such meaningful satisfaction. If Joey isn’t interested, he can at least learn gun safety that is just good to know. Think of it terms of Boy Scouts. He may not use all that he learns from the experience, but knowledge is good. Having said all this… we are not just gun owners, but have provided our family with a proper gun safe for the safety of everyone, because we’re not naive enough to think raising our kids with knowledge doesn’t mean they may not just get curious one day when we’re not paying attention or want to impress a friend, and then the worst case scenario becomes reality. Guns are housed seperately from ammo and keys are not where the kids are aware of. And I just have to say, because I believe so strongly, guns don’t kill people, people do. If you are the type of person to use a gun for that purpose, it’s not the guns fault, and you probably would find some other means of accomplishing your mission anyway if you’re willing to pull the trigger for that purpose. From my perspective, at least I am armed with the knowledge with how to respond and feel confident in defending my family should the need arise. We’ve been members of the NRA for nearly 20 years. Not everything they stand for is an opinion we share, but it’s better than loosing my right to bare arms.

    • Thank you so much for your input. When I say that the person wouldn’t be shot if the other person didn’t have a gun, I’m talking about accidents. You hear of accidental shootings all the time. But I realize if everyone in the home practiced gun safety, that wouldn’t happen. Unfortunately there are a lot of people who don’t. I do plan on talking to his dad about a gun case, trigger lock and a gun safety class for J, A and him. I will even go if they want… Thanks again.

  9. If he doesn’t have a gun safe, ask him to invest in a trigger lock. My husband suggests one or the other as a must in a house where there are kids.

  10. Yes, J’s dad needs to know he crossed a very serious line that you have both respected over the years. I’m glad you will be doing that. I love the suggestion by Ron about using this as an opportunity to learn… meaning that you can’t erase what has been done, or necessarily take away what was given (although technically you could) but now that he has the gun… what is the best way to proceed? A gun safety class or something similar would be good not just for J but for A too.

  11. yes you absolutely need to confront Troy. Also the gun needs to stay at Troy’s house and it needs to be kept in a safe place such as a gun cabinet that is locked. J needs to be taught gun safety and the gun should only be used while with his father watching him closely. My daughter goes target shooting with my hubby but he is right there and helps her with the gun. When they get home the gun is kept over at Rob’s where there are no children and he has a gun safe.

  12. Take the opportunity to teach him responsibility through education and experience that’s it is called patenting. Safety courses are great. Spending time together and helping your child should be the focus. Doesn’t happen enough today. Yes he should have asked you but that’s over and done with…I try to remain positive but the parent of the 17yr old who thought they were too young, I would be the poor kid still has to ride in a car seat.

  13. I want to thank everyone for the input and encourage you all to continue discussing this issue. It’s an important issue. I did just talk to J’s dad. He immediately agreed to a gun safety class and promised one would be taking before using the gun. He also promised to have discussions with the kids about gun safety on a regular basis. I also discussed this with the kids tonight and explained that a rifle is very different from a BB gun. We discussed never touching it with an adult supervision, never going shooting with people who are drinking and how accidents happen all the time. I also asked Troy to discuss these types of gifts with me in the future. Hopefully he will do so. I definitely feel a little better about the situation. So let me know your thoughts…

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