YOU’RE KIDDING! NRA pushes guns on kids as young as Newtown victims in sick ‘Youth Day’
NY Daily News: The National Rifle Association capped its annual convention Sunday by hosting a “Youth Day” — enticing youngsters to attend by offering free six-month memberships.
Billed by the NRA as a family-fun outing, the event drew hundreds of kids. Some of the attendees were the age of the Newtown massacre victims, others too young to know the difference between a toy gun and a real one.
“Spend the day exploring 400,000 square feet of exhibit hall containing over 550 exhibitors from across the country. Share the excitement with spectacular displays and fun-filled events for the entire family,” the NRA wrote on its website.
The event was staged a day after the NRA welcomed its youngest lifetime member, 3-year-old Elaih Wagan, whose grandfather purchased the membership.
Activities inside Houston’s George R. Brown Convention Center prompted outrage outside. “They shouldn’t be teaching kids how to use guns. What happens when they get older? They might become like that Connecticut killer,” said Cal Castille, 24, of Houston, referring to Newtown gunman Adam Lanza.
Anti-gun protesters, reading names of gun-violence victims across the street from the convention center, said the NRA event was akin to “brainwashing these kids to love guns.”
“This is indoctrination,” said Jose Sequeiros, 67, of Houston. “These kids are too young to see that guns are wrong.” Heather Ross, 27, said organizers of the event were tone deaf, given the horrific mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in December.
“It agitates me that these people don’t think it could happen to their children,” said Ross of Austin. “This is just beyond words.”
In the convention center, pint-sized gun enthusiasts, some taught about the Second Amendment before they learned to read, perused the latest makes and models of firearms.
“I like guns because guns are fun,” said 9-year-old Kaykay Mace, who attended the NRA Youth Day with her dad, Scott, and big sister, Calla, 11. Scott Mace, 37, called the event “a fun thing to do.”
“If a child understands how to properly and safely shoot, then they become much safer,” he said. “In a bad situation, they will understand what needs to be done.”
Calla Mace said she enjoys going to gun ranges and bragged, “I’m a pretty good shot. I’ve shot a .22 rifle before and a handgun,” Calla said.
The convention floor was packed with little girls and boys with guns in their hands. One blond girl in camouflage tights and pink skirt, who appeared to be about 7, gripped an air pistol as an instructor gave her tips on her aim.
Another young girl, with help from an adult, practiced aiming a rifle nearly as tall as she was. It was only an air gun that shoots pellets, but was made to look like a menacing AR-15 assault rifle — similar to one used by Adam Lanza at Sandy Hook.
Trent Mattison, 51, of Beaumont, Tex., watched proudly as his 5-year-old son, Cooper, practiced shooting at the air-soft rifle range. “I like it because I like the smell of gunsmoke,” said Cooper.
East Orange, N.J., high school teacher Ron Fierro, 62, was volunteering at the rifle range to show kids like Cooper how to shoot properly. “I’m passing the tradition on to the next generation,” Fierro said. “Guns are tools. You have to teach kids how to use them safely. When you teach gun safety, you reduce the amount of gun accidents.”
Ray Ruley, 39, of Bay City, Tex., brought his six children and was thrilled they all received six-month free memberships in the NRA. “I believe in our Second Amendment rights and want my children to appreciate the safe handling of firearms so the next generation doesn’t easily give that freedom up,” Ruley said.
Adults as well as children learned something at the event. In a seminar, gun instructor Rob Pincus advised parents that the best place to put a home gun safe is in their children’s bedrooms.
“Here’s my position on this: If you’re worried that your kid is going to try to break into the safe that is in their bedroom, with a gun in it, you have bigger problems than home defense,” Pincus said.
Oh the horror, children learning proper firearm safety and shooting! When my soldier was on mid-deployment leave, we took my friend’s 12-year-old son to the gun range. He learned how different a real gun is from his air pistols, that’s for sure! I believe he learned more about gun safety and has an appreciation for the difference between a toy gun and a real firearm.