I had to chime in on children and guns. What Big John said is absolutely correct–some of the problem is the mystique that surrounds guns because of people’s “We gotta lock them away and keep them out of sight” attitude. The other problem that leads to this is people’s tendancy to have kids but then totally reject that they then have a responsiblity to raise them.
As a child, I had access to guns and ammunition at will. Never shot anybody. Never thought of guns of anything that was off limits, so I didn’t really think about them at all. I was taught by my Dad how to use a gun safely–not a police officer or any other government official and a hell of lot more qualified than most. At my high school in Alabama (in the '80s), it was common during the fall/winter for teenagers like myself to have a gun in a window rack in their truck parked in the lot. Sure there were conflicts and we had fights from time to time, but nobody ever got shot. (Eventually the school adopted a policy of no guns in vehicles, which only served to make us have to go home before hunting.)
My children have been exposed to guns their whole lives and pay little attention to them. Hell, they would rather plunder in my tool chest than gun cabinet (Oh shit! I don’t have a license for my nail gun!). My 12 year old son has his own shotgun and knows how to use it safely. I have no concerns that in 4 to 6 years he will go on some sort of a rampage (at least not with a gun).
The problem with kids and guns today is the parenting (or lack thereof), not the guns or access to them. Obviously, a five year old shouldn’t be allowed to play with a gun or have access to guns and ammo, but I don’t consider a 15 year old exactly a kid in all respects. Does anybody honestly think that a teenager could not find a way to gain access to a gun locker if he wanted to bad enough? Would I want guns in vehicles at schools today–hell no, because my kids will be one of the few that were brought up with any knowledge that didn’t come from television (where, by the way, the news media irrespsonsibly glorifieds the school shooters). So many kids are raised in multiple housholds or without both parents and with changing or non-existent rules that they never develop a respect for any kind of authority.
Our society has come to the point that individuals will not accept responsbility for anything. Unfortunately, in the absence of consistent parenting, this is what our children are being taught from birth. Hell, like telling a lie too many times, most people actually believe that they are not responsible for their own actions. Blame it on somebody else. It is especiallly convenient when you can blame it on an inanimate object like a gun. (Kind of ironic that a gun is the most efficient form of defense men have, but it can’t defend itself against these false allegations.)
It was also mentioned here that people feel like gun violence is less likely to happen in their suburban neighborhoods than in the low income inner city areas, after which their were discussion over this being a racial issue. Look, read the paper, look at crime statistics in any part of this country, go down there yourself and spend a Saturday night sitting in a dark place listening for gun fire. If you don’t accept this as fact then you are experiencing a similar denial to what I was talking about above and you should seek professional help. (It’s a coincidence, I’m sure, but these areas statistically have a less stable family structure and consequently inferior parenting.)
Looking back over this, I realize that I’m rambling a bit, but I hope my point is somewhat clear. Flame away, because I’m right.