Introduction 

The husband of Jamie Lynn recently shared a picture of his daughter, Maddie, who is of 10 years of age, holding a hunting rifle in response to Louisiana’s dove hunting season. This post sparked controversy, as fans were quick to either voice their support or criticism of the parents’ decision to have their daughter partake in such an event at this young of an age. To stem from this, it is not surprising to see children in possession of such a weapon, as guns are becoming common in certain parts of society, specifically states of the US whose gun laws are lenient. However, children should not be taught to kill at such a young age; logically, this encouragement would only result in familiarity with guns when a child becomes older, and with the amount of mass shootings happening in the recent year, children should not be given the opportunity to handle such a powerful weapon. 

Response To The Post

In response to the picture, there were fans who were quick to “like” it and express their approval, but to focus on the negativity, certain fans were adamant in criticizing Jamie Watson’s parenting techniques. Because Maddie’s mother, Jamie Lynn, rose to fame on the popular children’s television show, Zoey 101, the post reached a number of fans, who may also be intrigued with the family because not only is Maddie’s mother famous, but her aunt is Britney Spears. To quote, a fan left a response emphasizing how “teaching kids to kill when there is absolutely no need [to] seems very, very wrong.” With such a large fan base, it is no surprise that many fans would comment their opinions on the picture, and to agree with the majority, children should not be taught such skills at such a young age. Instilling an instinct to hunt in a child will cause the younger generation to become more familiar with the idea of killing for sport, encouraging favoritism of guns or weapons. 

Current Gun Laws In Place

In the state of Louisiana, where Maddie was pictured with a hunting rifle, children under the age of 16 may “hunt without a certificate if they are accompanied by one adult 18 years of age or older,” given that the adult “has certification, a valid hunting license, or proof of completion of a hunter safety course.” Though adults hunting must have licenses and such, the thought that children may hunt if they are accompanied with an adult is appalling. The lax criteria for children to hunt allows for more kids to be exposed to weapons and learn how to handle them. To compare, a child with a driver’s permit may drive if they are supervised by an adult over 21 years of age, but a child can shoot a gun in the presence of someone only 18 years or older. This emphasizes how accessible guns have become, and by allowing children to become familiar with this weapon, it only teaches them that using lethal weapons is the norm.

Repercussions 

In Arizona, Vincent Romero and Timothy Romans were murdered by “Romero’s 8-year-old son using a rifle”, similar to “the one that Romero had used to teach his son to hunt” animals. This tragic story is a perfect example of the consequences of teaching your children to hunt at such a young age. Around 41% of children hunt thirty or more days a year, and 37.5% of weapons used in school shootings come from a shooter’s home. When children are given the opportunity to fire a weapon, they have yet to “grasp the consequences of the deed;” essentially, they are unable to understand the extent of their actions, and instead are encouraged to kill living things. To go against this, advocates of guns have adamantly stated that it would be acceptable for a “well-instructed child” to hunt, but statistically, 46% of murderers had “killed animals” in their adolescence “before killing humans.” School shooters almost always have hunted under hunting licenses or had been familiar with guns prior to their rampage, emphasizing the possible repercussions that could come with children in possession of weapons.

The Marysville-Pilchuck High School shooting in 2014 was orchestrated by Jaylen Fryberg, who had been familiar with guns because on his 14th birthday, he was gifted one. Almost every scenario in which a student murdered others using a gun happened because they were familiar with the weapon and provided access to it by their parents, who had done so to teach their children to hunt. In essence, school shootings can be better prevented against if youth are not allowed to possess firearms or taught to hunt at such young ages. 

Solutions

As of now, a person simply needs a hunting license in most states to hunt, emphasizing how easy it is to legally expose children to the practice of hunting. By allowing children to familiarize themselves with such weapons during hunting, the possibility of school shootings is apparent, as children who know how to handle guns may be inclined to use them more often and in ways that could potentially harm others. These laws should seek to protect against mass shootings, and begin thoroughly assessing those who wish to obtain a hunting license, or purchase guns. Buying a gun should be a thorough process, one that does not simply allow for someone to just buy a gun without any requirements. At the very least, guns should not be possessed by children of younger than 21 years; if youth are not yet trusted to drink alcohol in the US, how can they be trusted to possess a weapon? 

Image Attribute: Pixabay

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and/or student and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of United 4 Social Change Inc., its board members, or officers.
Previous post
Keeping America Safe Or Keeping America Segregated?
Next post
Permit Patty & BBQ Becky: Using 911 As A Racial Scare Tactic