This is a very personal subject and one with a wide degree of varying opinions on the matter. To be as unbiased on the matter as possible, I must say that we have a free country and those that do not want to have guns in any way, shape, or form in their home have that right. I respect those that choose to exercise that right. I am one of those that feels as if guns are not a problematic issue and therefore I have them in my home and have trained my children in a certain manner because of this. I will approach this subject from that point of view.
I discussed this with a child psychologist friend of mine many years ago when my kids were little. I grew up like many did with guns in the home and had no issues as all. I think that we need to approach the subject of guns as being tools. My psychologist friend’s perspective is that we as humans have a built in desire to use tools, that is how we have become an advanced species. Therefore, for most children there is a built-in interest with guns. Much like anything that we tell children not to touch, if we continually tell them not to touch a gun, they eventually will do so. They will do so without our knowledge. The way to combat this is to take the mystique out of the gun itself. Up until the age of 6 or so, children do not have much understanding of what life and death is about. Particularly, they do not grasp the permanence of death. Therefore, using a gun to kill someone, does not have much significance. Therefore, up to that point you must never allow guns to be something that children should have any access to. They must be locked away in a safe and/or have a lock on the weapon itself.
After that point you can begin taking the mystique away. The first way to do this is for the child to assist you with cleaning a weapon. Break it down into the various parts and let the child see and feel those parts. This helps to take the inquisitive nature away from the weapon itself. During this time it must be emphasized that these are not toys and are dangerous. Once a child is of age to shoot weapons, I recommend you take them to the range and allow them to do it. DO NOT put a large caliber weapon in their hand. I started my children off with nerf guns, then bb guns, then 22LR. In this manner they learned the appropriate gun safety, which includes more than just shooting. It also included cleaning, shooting and storing during travel and once home. In this manner a child can learn these all-important basics without a danger to themselves or others. Once a child demonstrates proficiency with safety, that is when they can “graduate” to a real gun. Again, I chose a BB gun for that purpose.
Once a child demonstrates a level of proficiency there. I HIGHLY recommend you have them shoot a target such as a water balloon, fruit, or similar. The reason is an opportunity to learn a very valuable lesson. Have the child shoot the object, then ask them to put it back together again. Obviously the task is impossible. This is a great way for them to learn that weapons have destructive power. That if you shoot a person, you cannot simply put them back together again. This is a lesson that must be taught before children can continue to grow and learn about guns.
These are some basic ideas what your kids need to know about guns, if they are going to be around them