Daily Mail reports:
A video of a dad teaching his four-year-old daughter how to shoot a rifle has started a heated debate about whether she was too young to be taught how to shoot.
Buck Holly, a custom gun builder in southwest Florida, posted the video of his daddy-daughter time at the shooting range to Facebook on December 3.
The video shows Holly holding his daughter Noah’s gun on a shooting rest as she fires four shots.
As the little girl expertly loads the rifle, aims and shoots, her dad is by her side – cheering her on.
‘Oh! Three for three!’ he says after her third successful shot. Noah barely has time to high-five her dad before she’s onto the next shot.
She shakes her head ‘yes’ and beams when her dad asks her if she’s going for another shot.
At the end of the video, Noah looks visibly disappointed when she sees that she’s out of ammo.
While there’s no federal or state law mandating at what age a child can shoot a gun, commenters had passionate opinion for and against letting a child as young as Noah fire a rifle after Holly posted the video online.
‘I’m all for teaching kids to be safe with guns and to know how to behave around them, but if they’re too young to eve hold the gun properly then they’re too young to shoot it in my opinion,’ a commenter named Daina Souter wrote. ‘Yes, he’s teaching her the right things, but if something goes wrong and the gun kicks or misfires and she’s not holding it right because she’s so small…’
Most of the commenters were in support of Holly though, saying that teaching children how to properly and safely use guns at a young age will stop accidents from happening later on.
‘The earlier you teach the better off they’ll be hunting or taking down someone threatening others’ safety,’ another commenter named Nick Combs wrote. ‘Stop being closed minded and open your eyes. Now she won’t go grab her daddy’s pistol and wonder what it is. She’ll see it and think, “No, no, Not when Daddy isn’t around.” Unlike a WONDERING kid that age not knowing what it is.’
In an interview with DailyMail.com, Holly defended his decision to teach his little girl to shoot.
‘I would invite each and every one of [my critics] to come to the range with me and my family and participate in it. See how things really happen. They got to see a 30 second snippet of a little girl shooting. What they don’t see is the preparation that goes into it. They don’t see her asking and begging for more ammo. So I would tell my critics, feel free to criticize me. That’s our lifestyle. But before you criticize, come and try it and experience it for yourself,’ Holly said.
Holly went on to explain that he’s always present when his daughter is shooting and that she’s ‘years away’ from carrying a gun by herself on family hunting trips. Holly himself grew up hunting in Alaska and Minnesota, where he was raised, and says his parents started teaching him to shoot around the same age.
When asked what the most rewarding part of showing his daughter how to shoot is, he said it’s to see how happy it makes her.
‘It’s the same reason for her as everyone else – the smile on their face when you put them behind a gun and they hit what they’re aiming at. You saw her in the video. She is tickled pink,’ he said.
He also explained the reward system he has in place to insure that his daughter doesn’t touch a gun without his permission.
‘She knows to stay away from firearms and weapons. Anytime she’s in the shop or the house and she sees something out that shouldn’t be there, she gets a jelly bean for telling me about it. So you couldn’t pay her to touch a gun,’ he said.
Some of the critics online specifically pointed to the many accidents that end in children being hospitalized or even killed after finding and playing with their parents’ guns every year.
To these critics, Holly said that exposing his daughter to guns at an earlier age actually makes her less likely to become another statistic.
‘I think it’s important to teach our kids to do something other than the regimented soccer and baseball. Getting them outside to experience other things makes them a more rounded person. A far as firearms go, I’m a huge advocate to exposing kids, younger people, to firearms. If you take the curiosity factor out of it, people will be a lot better and safer.
‘In the vast majority of situations where a child is hurt, it’s because a group of them got together, found a firearm and were super curious. So they’re going to sneak around and play with it. But if you expose them at a young age to things are dangerous…they are less prone to accidents as they grow up,’ he said.
Research does back up the fact that most accidental shootings involving a child gunman happen with a gun that was not properly locked up. According to Everytown for Gun Safety, a gun control lobby, 70 per cent of these types of shootings could be prevented if the gun in question had been safely locked away.
The Holly family owns a gun shop in La Belle, Florida called C&H Precision Weapons and shoots at a range in Lakeport.
In online comments, Holly said that when he took his little daughter to see Santa this year, she told him she wanted ammo for Christmas.