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Teaching young boys about gun safety

To keep the scoreboard up to date, I should mention that I was married several times during Combat!’s five-year run. Jutta and I got married, though I had some reservations. I realized, as I spent more and more time at her home in Brentwood, that she was an alcoholic. In my naiveté, I thought it was I who could make the difference she needed to make her stop drinking, or at least slow down.

When I moved into her house and brought my firearms, I decided (with her acceptance) that the boys must learn immediately about gun safety. With the promise of going to the range to shoot, we all (including Jutta) had an intense training session in firearm safety:

Gun Safety Rules

Rule 1: There is no such thing as an unloaded firearm.

Rule 2: Never pick up or touch a firearm belonging to someone else without first asking permission.

Rule 3: If offered a firearm by its owner, first demand to see the action opened so that you can determine whether it is loaded before you take it in hand. If it is loaded, ask that it be disarmed before you handle it.

Rule 4: Never, ever point a gun at anyone unless you intend to use it.

A firearm is not a plaything. It’s a piece of machinery, nothing more nothing less, and it has, as does everything, its own uses. Those uses should be either as a sports piece, for hunting or target shooting, or for self-defense. There are no other acceptable uses for which it is designed, except as a tool for peace officers and soldiers. It may be admired in a collection as a piece of art, which in many cases it is, but that category is reserved mainly for the collector of fine and rare arms that are never fired.

The boys learned respect for an inanimate object. Not for what it was, but for its applications. The next thing we did was go to the range. Bobby, who was barely four years old, was shown how to fire a .22 caliber pistol. I showed him where the safety was, how to take it off when holding the pistol pointed down-range, how to put the safety back on when the magazine was empty, and to hold it above his head pointing skyward, calling "Finished!" until I stepped behind him and took it from his little hands. Steven was taught likewise. I trust I instilled something in both boys that has, and will be, of benefit throughout their lives.

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