It is a fact, youth that are brought up not to respect firearms and not trained when the time comes in their use will become adults that are less likely to be gun owners in the future. With that in mind, let us talk about how to your Hi Points as they involve your kids.

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How old is too young?

This question is up to the parent or guardian of the youth in question. Only they know the level of emotional maturity of that child. I have met some eight year olds that are squared away than some 18 year olds, so it is impossible to give one-age-fits all guideline.

In my spare time, I have volunteered with the Boy Scouts to teach rifle and shotgun courses for merit badges and find that many grade school aged youth, with the proper encouragement and safety guidelines, can become very good sports shooters when properly supervised. Likewise, I also volunteer with the state conservation agency in my region and they have a policy for conducting the live-fire portion of hunter's safety education classes for those 10-years of age of older.

Further, check your state and local laws. Some states mandate that youth cannot shoot a firearm under a certain age. For instance in Iowa, children under 14 cannot legally fire a pistol. With that being said, always abide by those local regs.

It's a good idea, (not to mention no to low cost) to have your interested youth attend an area hunter's safety class and/or Boy or Girl Scouts or 4H shooting courses in your area to reinforce the foundations of their firearms education.

Food for thought.

Here is a squared away young Hi Point shooter with a C380

About the only thing I see wrong with the video is that the youth doesn't have eye protection and that on his first time shooting the pistol, it should have been loaded with just one round. Further, its wise to start youth off with a reduced caliber rimfire firearm or an air gun of some sort before graduating to a centerfire. Then, before going hot, be sure to walk the youth through the live weapon on a safe range with dry firing technique long before its ever loaded.

However, this may not have been his first time so I digress...

For those youth old enough to walk and talk but not at the age that you want to take them to the range, I recommend the tenents of the National Rifle Association's Eddie Eagle Program. This four step, 9-word mantra can save lives.

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2.Don't Touch.
3.Leave the Area.
4.Tell an Adult

For more information about that program and get a free sample kit, the NRA has this to say: Simply call the Eddie eagle program at (800) 231-0752 or email [email protected] to request a sample kit. Each kit includes a copy of the student workbook and sticker for your child along with program statistics, a description of material, an order form, and the Parent's Guide to Gun Safety.

For those headed to the range...

Safety first

For everyone who ever touches a gun, ages 0-120, there are some basic rules to follow to keep everyone safe.

These 'golden four' safety rules, if followed 100 percent, will eliminate all but the most freak of accidents with firearms no matter if they are on the range, in the home, or elsewhere.

1. Treat every firearm as if it's loaded. This means anything you would do with the gun while unloaded, is the same thing you would do with it ready to fire. I can personally tell you of two negligent discharges I witnessed with people when people who knew better pulled the trigger on a gun they just 'knew' was unloaded.

2. Never point a firearm at anything that you do not intend to destroy. This includes any and all horseplay with firearms-- especially if you forget rule number one above. This translates into the concept of proper muzzle-control. Remember, the only things that are cleared to point a firearm at is a target, berm, or threat. Moreover, even with that, keep in mind all of the other rules.

3. Always be sure of your target and what is beyond it or behind it. Bullets are funny things. Even low-powered rimfire ammo can travel significant distances and penetrate walls, doors, etc. Keep this in mind even in self-defense instances.

4. Keep your finger off the trigger until you are on target. Ah trigger discipline, or commonly just called TD. It's pretty hard for a firearm to just suddenly go off unless the trigger is pulled back successfully. If your trigger finger is aligned down the side of the trigger well, or better, down the side of the slide, until you are ready to fire, the less likely you are to shoot yourself in the leg or accidentally wing an innocent bystander. "Booger hook off the bang switch!"

Be sure that both eye and ear protection are mandatory.

Oh yeah, and keep any of your firearms not currently in use properly secured.

Why get kids involved in the shooting sports?

If you abandon your kids to the internet and the cable-TV machine, the amount of information just two or three clicks away can get them in incredible danger. Be involved. Be a part of your kid's life. Teach them a set of values that you hold dear and explain to them their importance. Guns are tools, not something inherently good or evil. It is how they use them and how they think of them that matters. Teach your kids that if they find a gun, don't fool with it and get an adult. If they want a gun, take them to a shooting range or hunting.

With a little luck and some good firearms safety education, we can all be in a better world. For the lack of a parent teaching right and wrong, we can lose it.

Be safe out there.