To give you a bit more perspective…
Like your son, I had a childhood fascination with guns and I never grew out of it.
I first became an adult gun owner in 1970. My wife and three of our four children are gun owners and all of them know how to shoot. My oldest grandson recently received his first .22 rifle.
But when our children were small we didn’t have any real guns in the house. Our kids had toy guns when they were small and later, there was a BB gun (a Daisy Red Ryder) and some airsoft guns. But my wife and I decided that until they were older, we would play it safe.
Now I am about as staunch an advocate for guns and gun rights as you’re going to find. But I don’t see anything wrong with a parent making the decision to go gun-free until their children are old enough. I also believe that only a parent can decide what age “old enough” might be.
Over time, my interest in guns changed. I became more fascinated with the thousand-year history of firearms and their technology and, later, gun laws and the politics surrounding them.
I can understand your concerns. Both sides of the current debate capitalize on tragedy and the media fans the flames to drive viewership so it’s almost impossible not to be alarmed. But I learned to research, to fact-check and to do my best to make informed decisions. If you remember the the old movie, The Wizard of Oz, I am always looking for the man behind the curtain.
If it helps, the current hysteria about gun violence is a myth. In 2014, the homicide rate fell to its lowest point since 1958. The rate of gun use in suicides has been falling; tragically, the suicide rate hasn’t.
Vermont passed a law raising the age to purchase a rifle or shotgun from 18 to 21. This was in the wake of the Parkland shooting. The AR-15 has been on the market since 1964. Nikolas Cruz is the only person under the age of 21 to use an AR-15 that they legally purchased with their own money in a mass shooting of any kind. The only other person in that age group to use a legally purchased, military-style rifle in a mass shooting was Dean Mellberg in 1994. Mellberg was an ex-airman who attacked Fairchild Air Force Base. That’s a grand total of two incidents in 54 years.
I am not saying this to change your mind. I am asking you to look for the man behind the curtain, too.
My best wishes to you and your son.