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Should Children Be Taught to Use Guns?

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RICHMOND (WRIC) - A report on 20/20 called "Young Guns: A Diane Sawyer Special" took a look at several families who own guns and how they manage them around children.

Some parents believe keeping guns hidden from kids protects them while others believe that putting firearms into children's hands is part of the solution to ending shooting accidents. They say it takes away the mystery and helps diminish their curiosity.

Every third house in your neighborhood has someone with guns on average in this country.

Aidan McGann has been shooting guns for more than a year. But the 13-year-old was exposed to them way before that.

"From the age of six on to now, we have always brought out our guns, and said 'ok this is the safe way to handle them. This is what you do, this is what you don't do,'" says mother Sunny McGann, who is also an instructor at Colonial Shooting Academy in Richmond.

She says kids should be taught how to handle guns for safety reasons.

"It's a good idea for them to know what to do in a situation where they're faced with being around a gun or finding one in general."

The academy encourages parents to bring their children in and teach them to shoot.

"We feel like all children should be educated in the proper handling and the use of firearms and the proper safety procedures they should use," says General Manager Edward Coleman.

Coleman says recently they've had several parents enroll their kids in courses.

"Children as young as eight have gone through some of our classes. We've had requests for children only classes, which we're in the process of setting up."

The class would teach kids firearm safety, the differences between them and how to shoot pellet guns.

"So that they know that it is a firearm, and it has to be respected. And by being exposed to that and educated, they will not be curious and they won't handle them improperly."

This is a lesson the McGanns instilled from early on.

"Now [Aidan] feels really confident being around them in any situation," McGann says.

Both of them reiterate that it's the parents' responsibility to also keep the firearms safe. That means keeping them locked away and only accessible to adults.


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