Recently, I received a response to this blog from a woman who identified herself as Dotti Workman.
Here’s what she said:
“Jack. My son was swimming in the back yard while visiting my sister in TN. The boy next door was shooting and my son turned his head to look and was struck in the eye. What I see as a problem is not enough warnings or accountability. I think it starts with the Mfg’s and dealers. Ex: I called Walmart and said “My 8 yr old son wants a BB gun, what do you recommend?” The sales clerk said “Well you can start him off with a Daisy but he will want something more powerful pretty quickly” No warnings at all. I went to the store and you can buy them right off the shelf. The only warning is on the box saying “This is not a Toy” As a parent I had no idea that at 250 fps they can penetrate skin, at 400 fps it can crack bone. There is a little girl right a few months ago shot in the eye and can no longer, walk, talk or feed herself. Kids get guns they think are toys and like to aim them at each other and shoot. 30,000 children per year are admitted to the ER with these injuries. And I use BB gun, because I’m not familiar with the difference. I’m trying to get my voice out there to push for stiffer warnings and penalties, even to the parents. The little girl I was referring to was in her grandmothers house with lots of people around and her cousin pulled it out of the closet. If they are suppose to be treated like handguns then why aren’t they sold like them. What suggestions for change do you suggest.
Also, not sure exactly what gun it was. it’s still under investigation. I was told it was a Crossman. It was a pump gun. I’m also not sure what it fired. BB’s, Pelletts. I don’t know. And I really don’t understand the comment of the other Blogger who said “If her son truly is Blinded” That is not something any parent would want to lie about.”
Well, Dotti, I have several reactions to your comments.
The first is that it is always a tragedy when someone is hurt unintentionally with an airgun. My sympathy goes out to those who are injured.
You say, “What I see as a problem is not enough warnings or accountability.”
When it comes to warnings, I disagree with you. On a recent trip to a large discount store, I checked out the packaging for one of the most popular airguns sold today. Prominently displayed on the box is the following:
“WARNING. Not a toy. Adult supervision required. Misuse or careless use may cause serious injury or death. May be dangers up to 500 yards (457mM).
Important: This airgun is intended for those 16 years of age and older.
You and others with you should always wear shooting glasses to protect your eyes.
Read all instructions before using. Buyer and user have the duty to obey all laws about the use and ownership of this airgun.”
Further, the opening section of the manual contains six separate boldly highlighted warning blocks, and the ninth section of the manual contains a 15-point safety review, all in red type.
Virtually every airgun box I saw at the discount store had warning and age-appropriateness information on the outside of the package. So, honestly, I don’t see lack of warnings as a problem.
But when it comes to accountability, I agree with you. That accountability, however, doesn’t fall on the manufacturers and the dealers. It falls instead on the shooter and (in the case of underage shooters) the shooter’s parents.
Here’s why: Rule One of gun safety is this – never, ever, point your gun at anything you don’t want to see a hole in. The responsibility of where the gun is pointing falls on the shooter. Parental supervision is mandatory for younger shooters, but if a parent is not 100% certain that his or her child – regardless of age – will observe Rule One at all times, then that parent needs to supervise the shooting. By supervise, I mean the parent has to stand close enough to re-direct the muzzle of the gun to a safe direction if that becomes necessary.
So, Dotti, if it was your son that was injured by the boy shooting next door while you were visiting your sister in TN, you need to have a chat with the parents of that boy and ask them why they were not supervising their son.
I suggest you check out: http://www.airgunsofarizona.com/blog/2008/11/word-to-parents-about-airgun-safety.html and http://www.airgunsofarizona.com/blog/2008/05/just-who-is-this-guy-anyway-and-some.html
Til next time, aim true and shoot straight.
- Jock Elliott