I'd seen the headlines, but just read the story within the hour. I simply don't understand why people would give a child that young a real rifle instead of an air rifle.
I'm not a parent, but is a 5 year old even capable of comprehending that a gun can kill people? Or of what death is?
There's some sort of irony at work here. In the 50s and 60s, I had cap pistols. Cowboys and Indians were all over TV. There were even some guns that shot plastic "bullets" like the Mattel Fanner 50 revolver. Then after the assassinations of JFK, RFK, and MLK, safety groups got involved and such toys were virtually eliminated. So now they give kids barely old enough to wipe their own asses real guns.
I agree wholeheartedly with you. I can't see any good reason for any gun aficionado parent to entrust their child with a semi or fully automatic weapon. And frankly, I don't think any kid under 13 should be allowed to use a firearm. There's just no sense in it, because they inherently don't have the maturity (there may be few exceptions, but tough luck--wait your turn to grow up). Sure, let them fire BB guns to develop the skills up until they reach teenage years THEN introduce them to basic firearms. Creating a "child weapon" is just horrifically irresponsible. I imagine some NRA lobbyist must have proclaimed "a child should be able to defend himself against an oppressive government!" and irresponsible politicians went along with it.