According to CNN, a 5-year-old Kentucky boy killed his 2-year-old sister with a .22 caliber rifle that was given to him on his birthday. Her grandmother was quoted as saying that it was God’s will and she guessed it was her granddaughter’s time to go. Local officials referred to the shooting as accidental. It was unclear whether charges would be filed, but sentiment appears to be against it. It appears that, at the very least, the parents should be charged with negligence.
5-Year-Olds With Guns Common in Kentucky
The article also states that giving a 5-year-old their own personal gun is very common in Kentucky. I was astounded to learn this fact. I had always considered 12 to be the average age that most parents would consider their child responsible enough for gun ownership. I am positive that it would be almost impossible to find an authority on children who would consider a 5-year-old mature enough to own a gun.
Crickett Rifles are Marketed for Children
The article states that the gun was a Crickett brand .22 caliber single-shot rifle, produced by Keystone Sporting Arms. “My First Rifle” is the marketing slogan. According to Mother Jones, their production of rifles for children has increased from 4000 in 1996 to 60,000 currently.
About 42 Different Models are Available
Bud’s Gun Shop lists about 42 different Crickett models for sale. They include three models in different shades of pink, undoubtedly to appeal to 5-year-old girls. Blue is another appropriate choice.
The company advertising blurb for the pink model touts its popularity with young girls and says “Express your personality with a Crickett Pink Laminate model rifle!” Red, white and blue models appeal to patriotism.
Households With Guns Have Dropped Drastically
The New York Times presented data from General Social Survey, a well-respected polling group. In a surprising finding, household gun ownership has declined markedly since 1970, falling from 50 percent to 35 percent. Given the recent boom in gun sales, the logical conclusion is that most new gun purchases are being made by present owners of guns, who are stockpiling guns.
People Under 30 Are Not Buying Many Guns
The largest factor in the decrease may be the age of the households. Under the age of 30, the household possession rate has dropped from 47 percent to 23 percent. The gun industry professes disbelief in the polls, but their actions belie that point of view. They are spending millions of dollars on promotion and advertising to convince the young of the pleasures of shooting. Success of that campaign is vital to ensure long-term prosperity for the gun industry. It is somehow extremely incongruous that this can be done by the promotion of guns to children who cannot legally purchase them.
Adults Who Give Young Children Guns Need Legal Liability
Also, we need stricter laws that assign legal responsibility to adults who allow 5-year-olds to own guns. Additionally, a law that sets a legal age for minors to use firearms should be considered. We do not issue driver licenses to 5-year-olds and for good reasons.
Sabrina Tavernize and Robert Gebeloff/”Share of Homes With Guns Shows 4-Decade Decline”/New York Times
Leigh Remizowski/ “5-year-old Kentucky boy fatally shoots 2-year-old sister” /CNN
Mark Follman/”Here’s How the Rifle That Just Killed a 2-Year-Old Girl is Marketed for Kids”/Mother Jones
Bud’s Gun Shop
Mike McIntire/”Selling a New Generation on Guns”/New York Times