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Be careful when giving guns as gifts

December 11, 2009
By Kenneth Cobb

I, like my dad and his father before him, have been around guns all my life. From the time I was old enough to understand that mom and dad's word was absolute, I was taught that real guns were not toys and not for little children. We did not have any handguns in the house when I was growing up, but we did have some rifles. Dad kept one loaded for home protection, and I was sternly told never to go near them. If I had, the punishment would have been severe.

It was Christmas morning 1957 when I came down the stairs to see what was around the tree for me. I was only 13 years old, but my father thought I was mature enough to have my first gun. It was a budget-priced, .22 rimfire bolt-action sporting rifle. I was very delighted. I had done some squirrel and groundhog hunting with another .22 belonging to my older brother, but now this rifle was for me. This was back when the word "gun control" on the part of any level of government was unheard of.

Some people think a parent giving a teenager or youth a firearm of any type for Christmas is insane. Some people think we should have rigid and strict gun laws in this country. We cannot deny that some families have lost loved ones because of gun violence in the past 20 to 30 years, and all people do not grieve in the same manner.

Tom Mauser lost a son in the Columbine High School shooting in Colorado in 1999. Joe Samaha lost a pretty daughter in the Virginia Tech shooting tragedy in 2007. Both Mauser and Samaha are now active in promoting what they call "common sense gun laws" in this country. This is their way of doing something positive because of the loss of their loved ones.

Giving a minor a gun for Christmas is a personal decision on the part of the parents or guardians. A lot should depend on the age, development, mental and emotional maturity of the child. It also includes commitments on the part of the adults. This includes safe storage, gun safety, lessons and regular hands-on shooting practice. There is nothing difficult about doing this. Millions of responsible parents do this all the time. Guns are often instrumental in bringing families closer together. It helps pass on and share American traditions.

The Christmas gun sticks in the minds of just about all people as they get older. I still have mine and do not intend to give it up. It has no collector value because it has seen a lot of use over the years.

Firearms and firearm accessories make great gifts for Christmas or any other occasion. A gun is a gift that can last a lifetime and may be handed down to children and grandchildren. At the present time, I have my grandfather's shotgun and have taken a few squirrels with it. I do not plan to give this up because of the family value it holds.

A gun gift is another way of telling the receiver they have value. The giver is essentially saying they want them to be able to protect themselves, their loved ones, and of course their freedom and country.

We all know that personal firearm ownership is under attack on many fronts. This includes all levels of government, the slanted reporting from three leading news networks, even from certain employers.

If you are one of the millions of people who plan on giving a gun to someone this Christmas, make sure that it is in compliance with all local, state and federal firearms laws. Some areas have ban private-party transfer of any type of firearms. There are certain people prohibited from owning guns. If you are not sure, call and ask a local licensed firearms dealer.



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