The [Violence Policy Center] report, called “Start Them Young” and issued on Thursday by the Violence Policy Center, lists a variety of firearms meant at least partly for children. It mentions the Crickett rifle, a gun made for children by the company Keystone Sporting Arms. Keystone’s website and some of its merchandise bear the image of “Davey Crickett,” a gun-wielding cartoon insect. The company sells Davey Crickett hats, dog tags and pins, as well as a Davey Crickett Beanie Baby, listed as “not for children under three years of age.”
Keystone’s website also sells books featuring “Little Jake,” a boy who uses his gun to bring down a bear and save an African village from a marauding elephant. The publisher of the books says Little Jake is actually older than he looks: “Little Jake is a fictional character in his late teens. While small in stature so that young children may relate to him, Little Jake is old enough to hunt and fish safely on his own without adult supervision.”
And yet some of the comments people are leaving are very revealing that this type of marketing is no big deal:
Back in the 50s, my brothers and I were taught to shoot starting with when we were in early elementary school or before. We learned gun safety, gun maintenance, and how to shoot.
My brother in law is a Marine, Lt. Col., and he takes my niece and nephew, 12 and 8, hunting with him. He as about as responsible as they come. I’m sure there are many like him. He grew up hunting and wants to pass it on to his children.
I have never seen any literature from the NRA advising kids have free access to firearms. I’m a.o.k. with an 11 year old having a modest bb gun.
If you want to see glorification of guns look to Liberal Hollywood.
If you want to know who funds the “big corporate evil gun makers” look at your own 1040.
This might be news to the average NYT reader, but some of us can think for ourselves. I learned to shoot in Boy Scouts. Responsible adult instructors drilled safety into us every day at the range. I went on to become a competitive target shooter, collector of antique firearms and hunter safety instructor.
I taught both of my children to shoot using the same methods when they were old enough. After they learned the basics of safe handling with a BB gun, they graduated to a single shot .22. I purchased a rifle specifically designed for children- smaller dimensions, lighter weight than the standard adult model. It’s safer, you know- they can hold it and control it much better than a larger, heavier rifle. Both children (now grown and expert marksmen) liked having a rifle which was clearly “theirs,” in that it was obviously tailored for their size, not their Dad’s. And they took pride that their father kept it locked in the same gun safe as his own “grown-up” firearms.
Firearms manufacturers make rifles in smaller sizes, because that’s what we adult shooters ask them to do. No gun company ad got my kids interested in the shooting sports. Watching their Dad is what got them interested. We’re all college graduates with a few doctorates thrown in. We’re not “gun nuts” and we’re not interested in “freedum.” We vote Democratic, including Obama (2x). So save the name calling for….well just drop it altogether. Clear thinking people should aspire to better than that
The gun industry markets to the parents, the average kid isn’t reading Guns & Ammo, he’s reading Archie, Mad Magazine, or playing with his phone. Even if we ran ads on kids’ media, we’d be wasting our time because you have to be 18 to buy a rifle or a shotgun, 21 to buy a handgun.