NORTHERN ELITE FIREARMS – The entire firearm industry advocates the safety and respect of firearms amongst all people, especially to the next generation. Canadian gun owners accept it as wisdom that teaching firearms education is good for our families and communities; I continue on my own journey with my children as I teach them the value of preparedness, resourcefulness, and accomplishment that comes along with attaining a good collection of firearms and knowing how to use them to our advantage. I have come to appreciate guns for their importance as tools in delivering a vast array of experiences, entertainment, and security. Unfortunately this is a concept not easily accepted by those who are not as well-versed with firearms.
In fact, many of us have a hard time verbalizing why educating our youth about firearm safety is beneficial and necessary. And that’s entirely understandable! Most of the firearm information that we see on social media/news is largely fiction based, lacks reliable statistics, breeds fear, and focuses on negative events where a gun is used incorrectly. This has gone on for years. No wonder there are so many misconceptions. These days we look to the media as a source of information about our world but we may get too much information from biased sources. We are not focused on what’s happening in front of us.
We see a lot of negative news associated with firearms but it’s rare to see the positive things that come with gun ownership. To this end I am willing to offer five reasons why we should teach our children the value, respect, and safety that comes with learning about firearms.
1. Gun Safety
Understanding how to safely handle and shoot firearms is an essential skill for all people to learn. Let’s face it – guns are part of our society and they are not going any where. By teaching your children to properly handle a firearm, you’ll be teaching skills that encourage them to respect guns, not fear them. By allowing our children to accumulate and own this knowledge they become less driven by curiosity. If my children are exposed to a firearm, I want them to understand the steps to take to ensure there are no accidents. When taught properly and thoughtfully based on age and ability this knowledge will travel with them as they become adults and enjoy the wonderful world of the shooting sports.
2. Increased Confidence
There are endless opportunities and experiences to be discovered in the firearms industry which vary from learning and appreciating the historical significance of a Mosin-Nagant, competing in accuracy and speed shooting competitions, to learning about wild game and their patterns and habits (natural science). Taking that knowledge, applying it, and adding shooting skills creates a significant feeling of confidence where all these things must come together to get that first buck or win that provincial or national match. That amount of empowerment and accomplishment is not easily duplicated. Not only are you teaching responsible firearm use but you are teaching valuable life skills of preparation, hard work, and determination.
3. Responsibility and Discipline
Firearm education teaches respect for laws as children gain knowledge about their use and management. Taking firearms seriously and allowing our children to enjoy hobbies linked to guns, or enjoying a way of life such as hunting, establishes strength in character and will aid in creating a good citizen who will continue to pass on this heightened sense of responsibility. I will never forget watching my 5-year old son with a .22 caliber long rifle and the incredible focus it took to hit a target 15 feet away – when we heard the plink of the bullet hitting the steel the look of excitement on his face made me smile but so did watching him remain calm and follow all the instructions given to him after discharging the rifle. He kept the muzzle pointed in a safe direction and set the gun safely down before gearing up for a high five. Humans have the unique ability to completely pause between stimulus and response and, aside from instinctual behaviour, are able to control a lot of our responses to external factors. This pause can last for as long as we need it to and I believe it is imperative children are taught this concept. Teaching discipline and the benefits of using the ability to pause and think about the response can have big rewards later in life.
4. Encouraging and Modelling a Healthy Lifestyle
In my own personal experience, getting outdoors, away from the internet, and hiking through the woods in frigid weather with frost on the ground, sometimes before the sun rise, is not for the faint of heart but I do this as I learn to hunt for the healthiest source of protein for myself and my family. As children are exposed to life outdoors, or faced with any challenge that brings them outside their comfort zone, these experiences will teach them they can overcome many obstacles in life. It definitely gives a reason to get off the couch if you know that in a few months you could be on a game trail or competing in some friendly competition. The positive physical and emotional changes I have encountered in my life are very much connected to my own firearm education.
5. The Bond Between Parent and Child
There is no greater bonding experience between a parent and their child as they take on a task that is new and exciting. While learning about gun safety and increasing skills in whatever shooting sport you choose, attachment and mutual respect are the immediate rewards. Whether the time is at a range day held indoors or outside, preparing for an adventure to a cowboy action tournament, or simply sharing a glorious sunrise as you both sit in your tree stand for the first time, creating memories and traditions can be shared and explored for generations.
Both Heith and I encourage you to bring your family into our indoor gun range at Northern Elite Firearms where we would be happy to help you navigate your child on his or her first steps in becoming a truly connected and law-abiding Canadian citizen.