FJ In The News

February 23, 2016 - Local gun ranges offer classes specifically for kids

Read original story here: Local gun ranges offer classes specifically for kids

By Angie Ricono, KCTV 5 News Reporter

LEE'S SUMMIT, MO (KCTV) -  Dalton Wilson grips a pistol with small but steady hands.

The 10-year-old is about to take his first shot at Frontier Justice in Lee’s Summit, and it’s all in the name of gun safety.

“Pull back and let go,” says the instructor.

The gun makes a ‘click’ noise.

“You chambered it,” the instructor tells Dalton.

He pulls the trigger and shoots the gun, hitting the black on his first try and he’s pretty proud about it.

“That was fun,” says Dalton.

It was his dad’s idea to bring him here.

Darin Wilson says he brought his son to this specialized children’s class in hopes it will teach him the true firepower behind any gun.

“In real life, kids run into situations,” explains Wilson. “They need to know how to handle them in a safe manner and stay out of trouble.”

It’s the same story for Michael Melching’s 9-year-old son, Drew. It’s Drew’s first time shooting a gun too.

“It’s just for safety,” Melching explains. “He’s over at a lot of friend’s house. You just never know.”

The goal of the class it to take away the mystery of a gun by letting a child shoot it. Their mantra: Don’t make guns taboo. Learn about them.

“What’s the first thing we do as mothers when we have children around swimming?” asks Bren Brown, owner of Frontier Justice. “We drag them to swimming lessons, so they don’t drown.”

Sarah Hall, 10, admits she has a better understanding of what a gun is and what it can do.

“At first they worried me a little bit,” she says with her safety glasses and protective headphones. “But they don’t anymore.”

At Frontier Justice, kids must be 48-inches tall and a parent has to accompany them.  You can bring your own gun or rent one from the range.

Frontier Justice isn’t the only range that offers classes for kids.

KCTV5 News found a number of other ranges around the metro that offer similar events, even birthday parties. One range even uses ketchup bottles so kids understand guns do damage.

KCTV5 reached out to several organizations and police departments to see if anyone was against these types of classes. They all said that teaching kids about guns is an important safety step, and these parents are often responsible gun owners. Their problems are with the irresponsible gun owners who do not put locks on their weapons and don’t store them away from kids.

Not everyone supports this classes.

Loren Stanton with the Kansas chapter of the Brady Campaign says these classes promote a gun culture that needs to change. He says seeing small children learn to load and shoot guns is troubling.

Stanton is concerned these classes give parents a false sense of security and kids too much confidence around guns.

Our Guns in the Heartland  series continues at 10 p.m. Wednesday when we show you the high-tech ways to keep guns out of the littlest of hands. There are new tools that can protect your family and keep your firearms safe. Then join us Thursday night at 10 p.m. to find out why more women are buying guns and how they’re influencing the gun industry.

Let us know what you think. Share your thoughts on social media using the hashtag #HeartlandGuns.

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