April 14, 2017 — A recent post making the rounds on Facebook asks, “Should parents be allowed to teach their children about guns?” If you’re reading this, I think it’s safe to say that you would probably answer the question with a hearty affirmative. But what troubles me about the question is the fact that someone somewhere thinks that—just maybe—it might be okay to tell parents what they can and cannot teach their children.
When it comes to guns, I have trouble wrapping my mind around the idea that it’s better for people to not understand guns than it is for them to understand. I guess in my mind, I think it’s similar to knowing how to drive a vehicle with a manual transmission. Even if you plan to never drive a car that doesn’t have an automatic transmission, what’s the harm in knowing how to operate a manual? What if there is a medical emergency and the only car available has a manual? Does the person needing a doctor just die because no one can drive him or her to the hospital? But no one asks, “Should parents be allowed to teach their children to drive stick shifts?”
If nothing else, a child who has been taught about guns will have a chance to learn basic gun safety and respect for firearms. The chances of an accident will be greatly reduced. The odds of something going wrong out of pure ignorance will shrink. Hopefully, kids who have been handed guns will have a better understanding of what guns are capable of and that, while firearms are tools capable of great harm, they are just tools and it’s the wielder that decides what to do with it.
People learn about guns, regardless of whether or not parents teach them. But those who are not formally taught will learn from television, movies, and often-hysterical talk. These people are the ones that I worry about getting their hands on firearms. They don’t know what they don’t know, and their lack of skill makes them inherently risky to themselves and others.
So, in the case of guns, there are some reasonable and clear reasons to “allow” parents to teach their kids. The larger issue of whether outside forces—such as the government, community organizations, or alarmist groups—have a say in what parents “should be allowed” to teach their children remains.
It should be obvious to nearly anyone that when someone claims justification to override parental rights regarding their children, the motivation is almost always some sort of social justice crusade. We need to “protect our kids” from this or that. We need to “educate” them on this issue or that issue. But the need is based on a desire for social engineering. It’s driven by a desire to make kids think what the group is advocating for or against.
Whatever your opinion of Betsy DeVos as Secretary of Education, it should be clear that she is not a creature of the teacher’s unions or of the upper crust educational elite. She is not a tool of the liberal agenda, however you may define that. The fact that she is so strongly opposed by the unions and the elite is actually a mark in her favor, as far as I’m concerned. Her support of educational choice is another. Whatever comes of her service in the Trump administration, I believe we can rest assured that she won’t further the downward spiral.
Should parents be allowed to teach their children about guns? Of course, they should. Parents should be allowed to teach their children almost anything. We may quibble about some extreme scenarios, but if no direct harm is being caused to others, I don’t see what right anyone has to step in. Parents are the authority here.
As far as the guns go, the more that more people know about them, the more rational our discussions about them can be. When something is unknown and mysterious, it can seem scary to the uneducated and the facts can easily be distorted by those who would infringe upon our rights.
Most gun owners can easily see through the manure being spread by the anti-gun crowd. It’s those who don’t know very much that are most easily swayed.
Parents get to decide what their children are exposed to. Personally, I hope that more parents will expose their children to firearms. The gains for public safety, personal security, and individual liberty will be enormous.