INTRODUCTION

This book has not been inspired by any personal tragedy. Thankfully I have not lost a child to fi rearm violence nor as the father of two young daughters do I claim to know all that there is in the parenting realm. However my goal with this book is to inform and remind in a respectful way what is important when it comes to kids and guns.

Guns. People either love them or hate them. For some reason in our society there seems to be very little middle ground on this subject. Every person I interviewed for this book was passionate in his or her opinions about firearms and youth. I interviewed sociologists, child behaviorists, experts in youth development, doctors, nurses, police offi cers and, most importantly, parents. Some parents told stories about how firearm violence had changed their lives forever. Others had never even seen a real gun and dismissed the fact that a tragedy could ever happen to their families. Some parents were adamant about having a “no gun” policy at home. I also talked to proud parents with honor roll students who children participated in competitive rifle competitions.

All, however, all had one common bond. Not one person interviewed thought that it was acceptable for any child to be hurt with a firearm.

This book was written for all adults on both sides of the debate, with no judgment, in the hope that the subject of guns – love them or hate them – will have a part in conversations with children and youth.

There was a time when I thought it was funny to watch my three and a half year old daughter play with the garden hose in the back yard. She tried and tried to pull the nozzle’s lever only to become frustrated and turn the hose handle towards her and squeeze with her thumbs, not realizing what was about to happen. There was no time to shout and warn her from across the yard about the impending water blast. Then it happened: splash!

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