CHILDREN AND GUNS
David M. Green
11/30/2010

Note:  This is not a complete reference on the subject, but rather only "part" in a series.  For more info, please be sure to check the links at the end, particularly the link to my "Gun Rights" page.

One of the arguments I hear a lot against guns are arguments dealing with children.  The argument goes something like this: "Guns in the house/church/car/etc will put your children at a greater risk for an accident."  Some folks are just repeating what they have heard about the issue from the left and really have not put any thought into it while others are just using this as a "straw man" argument to find an excuse to get rid of all guns.

Whatever the case, I believe this is one argument that needs to be addressed.  

For one thing, God is sovereign and in control of death as well as life. Nobody really dies “accidentally” as long as there is a sovereign God (see the Bible and passages such as Deuteronomy 32:39; Matthew 10:28-29).  This is an established fact in the light of God's Word that we need to realize from the start of this article.

The facts are clear, there is a higher “chance” of a child dying in a car wreck than there is in a gun “accident.” Here are some numbers which I have copied from http://www.nraila.org/issues/FactSheets/Read.aspx?ID=120:

The number of privately owned guns in the U.S. is at an all-time high, and rises by about 4.5 million per year.1 Below, statistics from 1981 forward are from the National Center for Health Statistics; those prior to 1981 are from the National Safety Council.2 NCHS annual numbers, rates, and trends of common accidents and selected other causes of death, for the U.S., each state, and the District of Columbia, are available on the NRA-ILA website in spreadsheet format.3 

The firearm accident death rate is at an all-time annual low, 0.2 per 100,000 population, down 94% since the all-time high in 1904. Since 1930, the annual number of such deaths has decreased 80%, to an all-time low, while the U.S. population has more than doubled and the number of firearms has quintupled. Among children, such deaths have decreased 90% since 1975. Today, the odds are more than a million to one, against a child in the U.S. dying in a firearm accident.

Firearms are involved in 0.5% of accidental deaths nationally, compared to motor vehicles (37%), poisoning (22%), falls (17%), suffocation (5%), drowning (2.9%), fires (2.5%), medical mistakes (1.7%), environmental factors (1.3%), and pedal cycles (0.7%). Among children: motor vehicles (41%), suffocation (21%), drowning (15%), fires (8%), pedal cycles (2%), poisoning (2%), falls (1.9%), environmental factors (1.5%), firearms (1.1%) and medical mistakes (1%).


1. See BATFE, "Annual Firearm Manufacturers and Export Reports" (www.atf.gov/firearms/stats/index.htm).

2. NCHS: http://webappa.cdc.gov/sasweb/ncipc/mortrate.html or www.wonder.cdc.gov/; NSC: www.nsc.org/.

3. See http://www.nraila.org/Issues/FactSheets/Read.aspx?ID=127.

If you have children in the home, education is the key!  I have not heard of any parent who has removed the electricity in their home because they have kids, or quit using the stove as a result of children.  No, the fact is that we teach our kids not to put their fingers in the electric plug and teach them not to touch a stove.  So it is with guns. 

And, with electricity or ovens or bathtubs, we teach them how to use them properly.   So it ought to be with guns.  Children who are brought up around guns usually grow up to be responsible gun owners themselves.  This is not crazy or ridiculous.  Notice the following from Thomas Jefferson who wrote to his fifteen year old nephew and ward Peter Carr during the summer of 1785:

"A strong body makes the mind strong. As to the species of exercises, I advise the gun. While this gives moderate 
exercise to the body, it gives boldness, enterprise and independence to the mind. Games played with the ball, and 
others of that nature, are too violent for the body and stamp no character on the mind. Let your gun therefore be your
constant companion of your walks."

Theodore Roosevelt had this to say in his Sixth Annual Message to Congress on December 6, 1906:

"The Congress has most wisely provided for a national board for the promotion of rifle practice. Excellent
results
have already come from this law, but it does not go far enough.....We should establish shooting
galleries in all the large public and military schools, should maintain national target ranges in different parts
of the country, and should in every way encourage the formation of rifle clubs throughout all parts of the land.” 


In his Seventh Annual Message, on December 3, 1907, he said the following:

"...it is unfortunately true that the great body of our citizens shoot less and  less as time goes on. 
To meet this we should  encourage rifle practice among schoolboys, and indeed among  all classes,
as well as in the military services, by every means in our power. Thus, and not otherwise, may we
be able to  assist in preserving the peace of the world. Fit to hold our  own against the strong
nations of the earth, our voice for peace  will carry to the ends of the  earth. Unprepared, and therefore
unfit, we must sit dumb and helpless to defend ourselves, protect others, or preserve peace. The first
step‑in the direction of preparation to avert war if possible, and to be fit for war if it should come,
is to teach our men to shoot.”

 There are several materials out there designed to help which I recommend:

I keep and bear arms BECAUSE I have a great duty to provide for my household, and part of that does include their protection: “But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.” (I Timothy 5:8)


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