There are guns in my house. More are locked away in a huge safe in our garage. I know how to handle guns. My son knows how to handle guns. When my daughter gets a little older, she will learn how to handle guns. Gun safety and education are common topics of conversation in our family.
But despite my comfort level with guns and my belief that, if guns are going to be in my home, my children need to be educated on their proper use and safety, I couldn’t help but raise an eyebrow when I saw these pictures of children at a survivalist training came sporting AK-47s.
The photos were taken in December during a field training exercise run by the North Florida Survival Group. The group, founded by retired police officer Jim Foster, trains adults and children in survival skills, including the handling of firearms. They are staunch defenders of our Second Amendment right to bear arms, and according to their website, their goal is to help group members “Learn how to survive any catastrophe, keep your family safe and be prepared to defend the Constitution.”
It's one thing to assemble groups like this and hold outtings for adults. But do kids, like 9-year-old Brianna (shown here carrying an AK-47 rifle) really need to attend a training camp to learn how to survive a catastrophe? How to keep their family safe? How to be prepared to defend the Constitution?
The issue of gun ownership in general is a hot topic for military families, as it was in my own household when I first got married. But reading stories about children handling AK-47s as they participate in survivalist training exercises extends that debate beyond simply owning guns as adults. We also have to consider how our beliefs will influence our children.
I think of my own son who will be turning 9 this week, the same age as gun-toting Brianna. He’s been around guns all of his life, and he probably knows more about them than most adults. But I’m glad that it was my husband who provided him with that education and not a complete stranger at a “survivalist training camp.”
Would you let your child attend a survivalist training camp like the one run by the North Florida Survival Group? How do you feel about your children handling guns? If you own guns, do you feel it's important for your children to learn the fundamentals?