Do children need pink and blue guns?

Another senseless gun death, but we encourage small children to own and shoot guns. Photo: A little girl carrying her pink Crickett on her back AP photo

WASHINGTON, May 2, 2013 — Nothing like the death of still another child to focus the mind and clear out the cobwebs of distortions thrown up by the anti-gun control forces.

The story itself is heartbreaking. A five-year-old Kentucky boy accidently shot his two-year-old sister to death with a .22 caliber rifle he had received as a birthday present last year. It was a Crickett rifle, especially made for kids.

The county coroner Gary White told the local paper that the gun was kept in the corner of a room and the family didn’t realize there was a bullet in it. The toddler died from a single gunshot wound to her chest. The mother was outside on the front porch at the time of the shooting.

Carrier for Crickett’s My First Rifle AP photo

The Crickett is marketed as “My First Rifle,” coming in a variety of colors, including blue and pink and even a camouflage pink. It is manufactured by Keystone Sporting Arms LLC, based in Milton, Pa.

The rifle is touted on the company’s website as “just the right size for my 5- and  7- year-olds. They are awesome and couldn’t be happier.” The company brags it sold 60,000 Cricketts and its cousin the Chipmunk in 2008, the last year sales figures are listed.

If you visit the Crickett website, you can see pictures of young children with their guns as well as testimonials.

Sort of heart stopping to read and digest.

A Pink Gun in the Hands of A Little Girl

Then watch one of the many videos posted in Crickett Corner. This one from the Haus of Guns shows a very little and very adorable girl with her dad showing off her first gun and how easy it is for her to shoot. It needs no further comment. Just watch it for yourself.

And there is even a magazine devoted to young shooters called Junior Shooters Magazine, which celebrates kids and their guns.

While our hearts go out to the parents of the children in the Kentucky accident, we still must ask ourselves, Why? Why do kids need guns? And especially why do small children need guns?

Red States Call the Shots

Basic, non-threatening gun control legislation such as background checks got defeated by Red state Democrats and Republican senators, even though poll after poll shows the country does want background checks on gun buyers.

And where are those Red states located? Primarily in the South and the West, where a culture of guns thrive. They are also more rural and less populated states than states with big cities and suburbs, where people and their local government work to keep guns out of the hands of young people and children as much as possible.

But in Red states, guns are “passed down from generation to generation,” as Kentucky coroner White put it. “You start at a young age with guns for hunting and everything,” such as target practice.

Sounds innocuous enough, until you read the statistics, the most recent collated by the Children’s Defense Fund for 2008 and 2009:

Total firearm fatalities for children 18 and younger: 5,740

Total firearm fatalities for children ten and younger: 299

Most people would say those statistics are the result of life on the urban streets and the result of gang and drug violence. However, most of the children killed, 3,003 of them, were white and not victims of urban violence.

And the total number of non-lethal firearm injuries for those two years alone was 34,387, with 847 children under 10 being wounded.

Guns Don’t Kill People?

The gun advocates will say that the Crickett should have been locked away. True enough, but that is not enough. Why encourage children to own guns in the first place? Sure, they can take gun safety courses and this Crickett .22 even had the safety lock on, but there was still an unknown bullet left in the gun and the little boy obviously was not observing Rule Number 1: don’t aim a gun, even an unloaded one, at other people, much less your sister.

But kids are kids. We could probably teach children to drive a car if the pedals were adjusted and they sat on a pillow, but we don’t. A car can be a deadly weapon when the wrong hands are on the steering wheel. A gun in the wrong hands can be even deadlier.

You can already hear the apologists for unrestricted access to guns: Guns don’t kill people, people kill people.

Right you are. Guns in the hands of a mentally unstable person took the lives of the children at Sandy Hook Elementary School. A gun in the hand of a five-year-old took the life of his little sister.

When will our elected leaders listen to Americans and begin serious work on gun control bills from background checks to banning assault weapons. And how about not allowing small children to own guns?

And just for the record, for those of you keeping track: 70 children have been shot to death this year since Sandy Hook.

To contact Catherine Poe, see above. Her work appears in Ad Lib at the Communities @ WashingtonTimes.com. She can also be heard on Democrats for America’s Future. She is also a contributor to broadcast, print and online media.


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Catherine Poe

Catherine was named one of the top Progressives in Maryland along with Senator Barbara Mikulski and Congresswoman Donna Edwards. She has been a guest of President Obama in the Rose Garden.

As past president of Long Island NOW, she worked to reform women's prisons in New York, open the construction trades to women, change laws to safeguard battered women, and protect the rights of rape victims. 

Long active in Democratic politics, she served as the presidentof the Talbot Democrats in Maryland for six years and fought to getthe Health Care Reform bill passed.

Catherine has been published in a diverse range of newspapers and magazines, including Newsday, Star Democrat, Rocky Mountain News, Yellowstone News, and the Massachusetts Review.

If Catherine has learned anything over the years it is that progressive change does not come easily, but in baby steps. 

Contact Catherine Poe

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