Letting Kids ‘Under 10’ Hunt Is Just Asking for Trouble

shotgunWhen you were born in a small town where the first day of deer hunting season was celebrated by shutting down school so everyone can take their gun out to shoot something, it takes something major on the kids and guns front to raise your eyebrows. And the State of Michigan has mine sky high right now. They've decided to let anyone under 10 years old pick up a firearm and march off into the woods.

And by let, I mean the Wolverine State is actively encouraging more of their young whippersnappers to load up and head out. Are your eyebrows bouncing too?

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Technically, the new rule in Michigan says the new hunters should be accompanied by a licensed hunter aged 21 or older. Plus they're only supposed to head into the woods with a loaded weapon that is "sized properly to fit the physical abilities of the youth to ensure safety and responsible handling." It sounds like the folks who wrote it have good intentions.

And I really want to like this law. The country girl in me has no problem with kids hunting. I did it with my grandfather (although I was bored stiff). Plenty of kids I grew up with did it too. If you've got a responsible hunter, this law gives them the ability to gauge their own child's maturity and abilities instead of letting the state say they're only ready if they're 10 and up. Key word here, y'all: responsible!

But here's where the other half of my country upbringing comes into play, folks. It wasn't the responsible hunters we always worried about. It was the guy who hunted over the illegal bait pile, made no effort to steer clear of residential areas when he was hunting, and was generally a walking safety hazard who scared us to pieces. 

And this is where I shudder anytime I see a well-meaning but entirely too vague law. I look around on the state's website for the Mentored Youth Hunting Program, and it just says "kids 10 and under." A responsible parent sees that and says, "OK, well, my 9-year-old is mature, and I've been stressing gun safety since he could say the word." An idiot says, "Ooh, let's take the 3-year-old out with a 12 gauge!"

They're the people they write gun laws for: because the right to bear arms has to be measured by the need for safety in society. Guns are just too dangerous to be handed out willy nilly ... especially not to "kids 10 and under."

How would you write this law so it protects us from the idiots and encourages good parents to hunt with their kids? Is it even possible?

 

Image via ST33VO/Flickr

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