In August 2009, Wisconsin created a Mentored Hunting program to allow children 10 years of age and older to go hunting with responsible adults. Under the program, the child and their adult mentor must stay withing reach of each other, and carry only one gun between themselves (about two dozen other states have similar hunting laws). When the program was announced critics suggested that children would die, and called the new law “irresponsible.” The statistics from the first hunting seasons are now in, and nearly 10,000 children aged 10 to 11 participated. Not a single child was shot.
This shouldn’t be surprising. Statistics show that children who are taught to shoot from a young age by responsible adults are less likely to commit a crime with a gun, or negligently shoot themselves or another person with a gun. Instead, it appears that the children who misuse guns tend to be those who find an (often illegally owned) gun laying around then play with it, not understanding the danger. Sadly, some individuals who choose to ignore these facts and push gun-ignorance upon children.