Ready, aim, fire: Kids at shooting ranges trigger controversy

The United States is known for the freedoms granted every day. One such freedom is the Second Amendment which is, ”The right to bear arms.” One dilemma that goes along with this freedom is that there’s no age limit on shooting guns, and some people believe shooting guns as a child is putting them on a bad path.

I believe that as long as the parent has good intentions and knows safety rules of a using firearm, that it’s actually a good thing for the child.

Exercising the Second Amendment along with one’s children has been a long debated issue. On social media and in real life, children of all ages can be seen shooting guns. With recent school shootings by young adults, such as in Parkland, Florida, people in the United States are wondering if this is contributing or lessening the odds of these situations where kids are committing these violent crimes.

Personally, I have gone to shooting ranges and handled guns as young as 8 and doing it has never negatively affected me. Instead, these experiences have given me the realization of how dangerous firearms can be and how to handle them properly in cases of defense.

Senior Savannah Byas has also been around guns since an early age. She confirmed that shooting taught her, “the extent of power guns hold.” Guns are not toys, so it’s important for people to educate themselves about them by using them when they’re not in a serious situation.

There are a few reasons kids can shoot so young. According to lawcenter.org, federal law prohibits children under 18 years of age from purchasing guns, but as far as operating them, it’s a whole different story. For children under the supervision of their parents, there is no regulation pertaining to what they can and can’t shoot. At that point, it’s up to either the parents or staff at a shooting range to determine what’s fit for a child to handle.

Some may wonder how a parent or staff member may keep these children safe when handling a firearm, while also teaching them positive lessons about the guns themselves. Within the past month, Shoot Point Blank shooting range opened on Orange Road. The company has measures in place to ensure children’s safety and limit accidents, according to shift leader Linnea Birchmeier.

Their safety measures include staff members speaking to the parent and child about safety rules. If the child is young and/or the parent is new to shooting, a staff member may accompany them to help out. They also always have someone on duty watching and communicating with radios if intervention becomes necessary.

All in all, children shooting is productive as long as it’s handled and executed the correct way. Shooting doesn’t just teach people how to handle a weapon but also valuable lessons in life. According to Birchmeier, it teaches what any athletic endeavor does. Discipline, focus, responsibility, among others.

It’s important to see the positive uses of guns, as well as recognizing the dangers they have to help the future of the Second Amendment.

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