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Don't Leave It to Chance

Don't Leave It to Chance

My uncle, Taylor Wilson, was the gun guy in my family. He turned my childish inquisitiveness into what has turned out to be a lifetime of enjoying firearms and one that has been a life-saver on a few occasions. It went from serious lessons in gun safety to learning marksmanship skills that I could build on as I grew older. The children of most serious shooters become shooters themselves and the parents' sport becomes a family sport.  But you can't leave those early lessons to chance and in today's world you really don't have to.

Parental gun-safety lessons can be reinforced through outside sources. And the best place to start is through the NRA's Eddie Eagle program. Designed essentially for pre-school through 3rd grade, it teaches children what to do when they come across a gun, or are with other children when a gun is produced. The program lays the foundation for building respect for firearms. The NRA can help you locate Eddie Eagle programs that are available in your area.

And, if there isn't an Eddie Eagle program available in your immediate vicinity, you should think about starting one yourself. Grace Jahn, a high school senior in my home town, saw the need and got the training for herself. In just a few months, she has presented this important program to well over 500 kids in the rural area in which we live. You can do the same, just contact the NRA for information.

The NRA is also involved in marksmanship programs for older youth. While teaching the basics of good marksmanship, these programs are heavy on instilling gun safety in their young students. It is really the foundation for developing those techniques that build a successful hunter, a successful competitive shooter, and a responsible defensive shooter. 

In my area, the most popular youth shooting program is the one sponsored by 4-H. Kids learn the fundamentals of target shooting with their .22 rifles and compete in area matches. Trained volunteers teach the class and our local sportsman's club provides the financial backing. 

My point is that, by doing a bit of searching, you will most likely find gun-safety and shooting classes for kids that are run in a safe, responsible manner. And, if you can't, then maybe it is time for you to start one. The National Rifle Association and 4-H will help you do just that.

Children are naturally inquisitive about guns. It is up to us, as adults, to turn that inquisitiveness into a safe learning experience. And, who knows, your favorite shooting pastime may well become a family event. And that is a win-win deal if I ever heard of one!

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