Guns are not dangerous

Guns are not dangerous

A regular theme of my blog is hunting with Children.  I love to hunt with my children, but when I tell my non-hunting friends about my great hunting adventures with my children, they often respond in anger.  “You hunt with your children,” they ask as if I had antlers on my head.  “Isn’t that dangerous?  Are you sure you should be hunting with your children,” they’ll ask as I can see them mentally dialing social services to report my activities.  Non-hunters have many misconceptions about hunting, but they are particularly misguided in their thoughts about hunting with children.

In particular, the foremost issue most non-hunters have with the idea of hunting with children is that it is dangerous. While I have heard many arguments for why hunting with children is dangerous, the most frequently cited reason is guns.  I’ve heard from my non-hunter friends more times than I have shot deer, “guns are dangerous and children should not be exposed to them.”  I have a friend from Boston who makes this point frequently, punctuating it by telling me that he does not even allow his boys to have toy guns in the house.

Here is some news for him and people like him who were either deprived as children of a parent who knew better or who were brainwashed at some point in life by an educator or the media. Guns are not dangerous. I said it. Guns are not dangerous. Now, bullets are extremely dangerous. People are even more dangerous.  I have never heard of a gun killing anything, except maybe in times of war when they are occasionally used to bludgeon someone to death when the user has run out of dangerous bullets.  Guns do not kill people. Bullets do.

Am I arguing semantics? No. The point is this. It takes a person acting assertively and with forethought to load a bullet in a gun.  Without the intervention of a person, a gun is virtually useless without its bullets. Its certainly impossible to accidently harm someone with a gun if it is not loaded.  I have definitely never heard of an instance of accidental death by bludgeoning.

Why is this distinction so important?  Because today, specially interested people (people with agendas) have intentionally humanized guns.  They write about and speak about guns not as the inanimate objects they are but as animate.  “Guns are dangerous.”  “Guns kill people.”  These are descriptions of things people do, not things of which inanimate objects are capable.

So why are there so many accidental gun deaths?  Statistically there are not that many, but this is one point on which I agree with the specially interested. One accidental gun death is one too many.  The person who loads a gun causes and is solely responsible for whatever happens with that gun from the time it is loaded until the time it is discharged, especially accidents.

The fact of the matter is that an untrained person would have a very difficult time loading, cocking, removing the safety and firing a gun even if the gun and the appropriate caliber round were put on a table in front of them.  Even if an untrained person could manage to load and remove the safety, she would have to put a lot of thought into the process.  After all that thought, why shoot it inappropriately or leave it behind for someone else to shoot inappropriately?  Bottom line, its about the actions of people.

Guns are as dangerous as the people handling them are stupid, no more no less.  Keeping guns in the house, teaching children to use guns and hunting with children with guns is only as dangerous as the person handling the guns.

I have a ten-year old daughter who is a crack shot with a .22 and a .222 deer rifle.  My eight-year old daughter is learning her way around the .22, and my son, who is four, is starting to learn on the .22.  The first thing I’ve taught them is that people who do not use guns wisely are extremely dangerous.  I drill this into their heads every time we are around guns.  My children also know what bullets can do to a person.  Every time they help me load a deer on the four-wheeler they see first hand the damage a bullet can do. Nothing will impress upon a child the lethality of bullets like seeing the exit wound of my .264 win mag. Nozler partition.  I mean they get it.

“Oh my gosh dad. Will a bullet do that to a person,” my daughter asked me several years ago after we shot a doe together?


That is one of the biggest problems with gun knowledge today (and one of the reasons every parent should hunt with their children), kids only see guns on TV, movies and video games.  They do not see or understand the lethality from this media.  Instead, they learn that to press restart and life begins again right where they left off.  My kids know for a fact that there is no restart button.

The second lesson I’ve taught my kids is safety.  I highly recommend a gun safety course.  I use a single shot .22 when I am teaching my children to shoot.  It is much easier to manage bullets.  One potential cause for accidents can be losing count of bullets in the magazine.  Using a single shot solves this problem.  I also emphasize to my children never to point a gun anywhere but in the air or down range.  Even with toy guns, I ask my children not to point guns at each other.  But, without a doubt, the safest thing I do with my children and guns is help them become familiar with them, understand the potential lethality and learn to use them properly for their intended purpose.

So the other day my daughter came home and told me that the son of the guy from Boston, who does not even want toy guns in his house, is addicted to guns. He wants one more than anything.  His parents’ denial of even a toy gun has motivated his desire for the “forbidden fruit.”  She also informed me that he plays with Airsoft guns with the neighbor next door almost every day.  They shoot soft pellets from the most realistic toy guns ever made at each other pretending to kill one another.  I’d hate to be around that kid when he comes across his first real gun. And unfortunately one day he will.

Take care of the woods.

2 responses to this post.


    I plan on having my daughter exposed to guns from a very, very, early age, and that tends to anger a lot of people. I have written many a post on this topic, and quite frankly – although I do agree that one gun death is too many – kids are far more likely to die from drowning then from an accidental gun death. But still people have this misconception about the dangers of guns, andstill allow their kids to swim in pools, and ride in cars – which are way more dangerous than guns every thought of being.

    My daughter, and any kids I have, will be taught about guns very early. And she will know how to use one properly. And I truly believe that having her involved with guns, and especially with hunting, will prevent her from suffering from the disconnect that causes so many of the violent youth issues that we have today.

    I’m looking forward to the showing her the ropes, and I hope she has as much passion for the outdoors as I do…….and that she’s an awesome shot!


    • You are doing the right thing and I am sure she will be a great shot. Statistically you are right about swimming pools and cars. In fact, swimming pools are the most dangerous thing your kids will ever encounter in their youth. I do not know if you have read “Freakonomics,” but it is a great book by one of the country’s leading economists. His child died in a swimming pool accident and it caused him to explore the myths of “conventional wisdom.” We unfortunately are living in a time when accepting “conventional wisdom” passes for thought. It is “conventional wisdom” that guns are inherently dangerous. We can accept that or we can think about it. I, like you, chose to think. Enjoy your time in the wilderness with your daughter. That time will be the greatest memories of your life. Tell your friends about my post — maybe we can get the country to start thinking again.


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