There’s a lot of conversation about kids and guns nowadays. It didn’t used to be like that. When I was in junior high, the hunter safety program was part of my physical education class. We shot shotguns on the baseball field, loaded shotgun ammunition, and shot air rifles in the gym. Never did anyone worry about a mass shooting at our school, and when I got into high school, we left our guns in our cars so we could hunt as soon as class let out.
Here’s the thing: When I was growing up, kids learned about guns. They learned the dangers associated with firearms, they learned firearms safety, and they were better for it. Firearms accidents involving kids used to be a rare occurrence. Today, with parents who are afraid of guns and kids who have never been exposed to them, guns are mysterious and alluring. Kids need firearms training just like they need to learn not to drink gasoline and not to touch a wood stove.
Parents who shoot can provide this training, but take it from a father of four: the best firearms training you can provide your kids is administered by someone else. There’s a complicated interpersonal dynamic between parents and children that hinders firearms education. I’m not saying you shouldn’t take your kids shooting, or even teach them to shoot. What I am saying is they deserve the best training you can give them, and I can think of no better place for this than Gunsite Academy.
Jeff Cooper founded Gunsite Academy, originally known as the American Pistol Institute, in 1976. Cooper was a former Marine, a very skilled firearms instructor, and a gun writer. He’s the one responsible for our four basic firearm safety rules.
- All guns are always loaded.
- Never let the muzzle cover anything which you are not willing to destroy.
- Keep your finger off the trigger until your sights are on the target.
- Always be sure of your target.
Gunsite Academy now teaches exceptional courses on handguns, rifles and shotguns, and they have recently added a youth version of their world renowned 250 Pistol Course.
I’ve attended Gunsite Academy for multiple courses, with many weapon systems, and when my son turned 16 I figured it was time he received the best firearms training available. I wanted him to learn how to be safe with firearms, how to shoot effectively, and ultimately, I wanted him to know how to defend him and our family with a firearm if needed.
He spent one week of his summer vacation in Paulden, Arizona, taking the adult version of the 250 Pistol Course. In the end, he outshot all the older students in the class, but most importantly he told me that graduating the class and winning the shoot-off gave him more confidence than anything he’d ever done in his life. Coming from a high school sports star with near perfect grades, that’s saying a lot!
Maybe you need to send your kid to Gunsite Academy for their summer camp next year. It would make a great Christmas present, and gift certificates are available!
Images by Richard Mann