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Old 05-02-2013, 09:12 AM  
gblowfish gblowfish is offline
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Kentucky Five Year Old Hunter Bags a Two Year Old

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BURKESVILLE, Ky. (AP) — As Stephanie Sparks cleaned the kitchen, her 5-year-old son, Kristian, began playing with a rifle he was given last year.

She stepped out onto the front porch, poured grease out of a frying pan for the dogs and “heard the gun go off,” a Kentucky coroner said.
Authorities said the boy had fatally shot his 2-year-old sister, Caroline, in the chest.

In rural southern Kentucky, far removed from the national debate over gun control, where some children get their first guns even before they start first grade, the accident stunned the community.

Kristian’s rifle was kept in a corner of the mobile home, and the family didn’t realize a bullet had been left in it, Cumberland County Coroner Gary White said.

“Down in Kentucky where we’re from, you know, guns are passed down from generation to generation,” White said. “You start at a young age with guns for hunting and everything.”

What is more unusual than a child having a gun, he said, is “that a kid would get shot with it.”

In this case, the rifle was made by a company that sells guns specifically for children — “My first rifle” is the slogan — in colors ranging from plain brown to hot pink to royal blue to multi-color swirls.

“It’s a normal way of life, and it’s not just rural Kentucky, it’s rural America — hunting and shooting and sport fishing. It starts at an early age,”
Cumberland County Judge Executive John Phelps said. “There’s probably not a household in this county that doesn’t have a gun.”

In Cumberland County, as elsewhere in Kentucky, local newspapers feature photos of children proudly displaying their kills, including turkey and deer. Even one of the latest reality shows on CMT, “Guntucky,” features a family-owned gun range in Kentucky. The range, Knob Creek, says on its website that it is as a safe place for youngsters to learn about firearms and offers family memberships.

Ruby Wright, who teaches hunter safety classes in Burkesville, said children younger than 9 can sit in, but they can’t get certification. She also coaches 4-H shooting sports, requiring those children to be 9 as well.

Phelps, who is much like a mayor in these parts, said it had been four or five years since there had been a shooting death in the county, which lies along the Cumberland River near the Tennessee state line.

“The whole town is heartbroken,” Phelps said of Burkesville, a farming community of 1,800 about 90 miles northeast of Nashville, Tenn. “This was a total shock. This was totally unexpected.”

Phelps said he knew the family well. He said the father, Chris Sparks, works as a logger at a mill and also shoes horses.

The family lives in a gray mobile home on a long, winding road, surrounded by rolling hills and farmland that’s been in the family since the 1930s. Toys, including a small truck and a basketball goal, were on the front porch, but no one was home Wednesday.

There’s a house across the street, but the next-closest neighbor lives over a hill.

Family friend Logan Wells said he received a frantic call telling him that the little girl was in an accident and to come quickly.

When he got to the hospital, Caroline was already dead. “She passed just when I got there,” Wells said.

White said the shooting had been ruled accidental, though a police spokesman said it was unclear whether any charges will be filed.

“I think it’s too early to say whether there will or won’t be,” Trooper Billy Gregory said.

White said the boy received the .22-caliber rifle as a gift, but it wasn’t clear who gave him the gun, which is known as a Crickett.

“It’s a little rifle for a kid. … The little boy’s used to shooting the little gun,” White said.

The company that makes the rifle, Milton, Pa.-based Keystone Sporting Arms, has a “Kids Corner” on its website with pictures of young boys and girls at shooting ranges and on bird and deer hunts. It says the company produced 60,000 Crickett and Chipmunk rifles for kids in 2008. The smaller rifles are sold with a mount to use at a shooting range.

Keystone also makes guns for adults, but most of its products are geared toward children, including books, hats and bright orange vests.

“The goal of KSA is to instill gun safety in the minds of youth shooters and encourage them to gain the knowledge and respect that hunting and shooting activities require and deserve,” the website said.

No one at the company answered the phone Wednesday.

According to the website, company founders Bill McNeal and his son Steve McNeal decided to make guns for young shooters in the mid-1990s and opened Keystone in 1996 with just four employees, producing 4,000 rifles that year. It now employs about 70 people.

It also has a long list of testimonials from parents who talk about how grateful they are to be able to go shooting with their children. All of the guns have safety locks, and some even have ones that require a key.

Police did not release the model of the rifle Kristian had.

Sharon Rengers, a longtime child advocate at Kosair Children’s Hospital in Louisville, said making and marketing weapons specifically for children was “mind-boggling.”

“It’s like, oh, my God,” she said, “we’re having a big national debate whether we want to check somebody’s background, but we’re going to offer a 4-year-old a gun and expect something good from that?”

State Rep. Robert R. Damron, a Democrat and an outspoken gun rights advocate in Kentucky, said the problem is not guns, but the parents who do not teach gun safety and responsibility.

“Why single out firearms? Why not talk about all the other things that endanger children, too?” he said. “The Second Amendment doesn’t give anybody carte blanche freedom to put children and juveniles at risk.”
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Old 05-02-2013, 10:07 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by Mr. Flopnuts View Post
I'm all for the 2nd amendment and I don't own a gun. That said, I think there should definitely be limitations on ages. 5 year old kids have no place shooting. That's ridiculous to me.
Okie Noodling Cousin’s daughters both started deer hunting at 9. They’re 12 and 11 now and together have accumulated more deer kills than I have my entire life. Seriously, they’re little deer slayers.
The problem here isn’t that the kid started shooting at 5, it’s that the parents weren’t teaching him that a gun is not a toy, he wasn’t learning any respect for it. That’s a lesson he has learned the hard way now.
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Old 05-02-2013, 10:09 AM   #17
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Feel really bad for the little girl. The parents deserve reckless endangerment charges.
Agreed.
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Old 05-02-2013, 10:12 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by blaise View Post
A 5 year old shooting isn't ridiculous if it's a gun he/she can shoot. The parents own the gun. A 5 year old can't own anything, really.

It's just an issue of responsible parenthood. A kid shouldn't have unsupervised access to a loaded firearm, whether its designed for a child or not.
I started shooting at age 7. Quite well, I might add.

When they shoot isn't really the issue. When they're left alone with a loaded rifle is the issue. I was probably 9 or 10 before I was allowed to wander the fields with my .22 unsupervised.
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Old 05-02-2013, 10:17 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by Radar Chief View Post
Okie Noodling Cousin’s daughters both started deer hunting at 9. They’re 12 and 11 now and together have accumulated more deer kills than I have my entire life. Seriously, they’re little deer slayers.
The problem here isn’t that the kid started shooting at 5, it’s that the parents weren’t teaching him that a gun is not a toy, he wasn’t learning any respect for it. That’s a lesson he has learned the hard way now.
Yeah. I was shooting by the time I was five, but it was always supervised.

As a parent, this is a heartbreaking story. My five year old is really into guns and knives because he goes to preschool with a group of kids who are really into hunting. I'm fine with that; but the other day he was playing "swords" with his brother using sticks. He got mad because his brother hit him on accident, so he freaked out, lost his temper and started waling on his brother with the stick. In watching the incident unfold and how out of control he was, I realized that if he'd had a knife, he might have pulled it out and tried to go after his brother with it. I explained that his lack of ability to control his temper is the reason he won't get a knife at this point in time.

My other son can't have one because he's careless and would hurt himself. I do let them use knives in the kitchen, though when they help cook.

Anyway, I think it's a kid by kid basis. I was very cognizant and respectful of the power of firearms at a young age, but I'm not sure my kids get it.
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Old 05-02-2013, 10:23 AM   #20
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Old 05-02-2013, 10:25 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by NewChief View Post
Yeah. I was shooting by the time I was five, but it was always supervised.

As a parent, this is a heartbreaking story. My five year old is really into guns and knives because he goes to preschool with a group of kids who are really into hunting. I'm fine with that; but the other day he was playing "swords" with his brother using sticks. He got mad because his brother hit him on accident, so he freaked out, lost his temper and started waling on his brother with the stick. In watching the incident unfold and how out of control he was, I realized that if he'd had a knife, he might have pulled it out and tried to go after his brother with it. I explained that his lack of ability to control his temper is the reason he won't get a knife at this point in time.

My other son can't have one because he's careless and would hurt himself. I do let them use knives in the kitchen, though when they help cook.

Anyway, I think it's a kid by kid basis. I was very cognizant and respectful of the power of firearms at a young age, but I'm not sure my kids get it.
quit using your brain. thought has no place in an argument like this.
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Old 05-02-2013, 10:26 AM   #22
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therefore, ban guns.
Not every story about guns is a story about taking your guns or banning guns or even passively suggesting it.

Sad deal. Shitty parents.
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Old 05-02-2013, 10:35 AM   #23
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Not every story about guns is a story about taking your guns or banning guns or even passively suggesting it.

Sad deal. Shitty parents.
Well, the fact that it was posted in DC leads me to believe it was an attempt to make a larger point. If it were just a story about a tragedy it probably would have been posted in the lounge. Clearly, it was posted with some sort of gun control theme.
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Old 05-02-2013, 10:52 AM   #24
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I started shooting at age 7. Quite well, I might add.

When they shoot isn't really the issue. When they're left alone with a loaded rifle is the issue. I was probably 9 or 10 before I was allowed to wander the fields with my .22 unsupervised.


Don't hurt you shoulder patting yourself on the back.


For me it was Red Rider at 5, high powered Pellets at 7, .22 at 10-11. If I got caught pointing a plastic toy gun at anyone my mom and dad would break their foot off in my ass.
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Old 05-02-2013, 11:03 AM   #25
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Don't hurt you shoulder patting yourself on the back.


For me it was Red Rider at 5, high powered Pellets at 7, .22 at 10-11. If I got caught pointing a plastic toy gun at anyone my mom and dad would break their foot off in my ass.
My dad handed me a .22 rifle, pointed at a squirrel in the top of a cottonwood tree and said "Shoot that squirrel." My first shot barely missed, second shot greased it.

That was 40 years ago, but I remember it like it was yesterday.
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Old 05-02-2013, 11:08 AM   #26
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Feel really bad for the little girl. The parents deserve reckless endangerment charges.
Sounds right to me.
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Old 05-02-2013, 11:20 AM   #27
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Sounds right to me.
I sometimes wonder if the state's pound of flesh is really necessary in cases like this. I mean, they lost a child, now have another child that will probably be scarred for life, and have to live forever with the guilt and shame of knowing their carelessness and stupidity caused it all.

Is it really necessary to jail and fine them, too? Isn't all that other shit bad enough? Imagine a crime bad enough where the punishment would be making one of your children kill another one of your children.

I don't think there's much chance of them being repeat offenders.
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Old 05-02-2013, 11:25 AM   #28
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Well, the fact that it was posted in DC leads me to believe it was an attempt to make a larger point. If it were just a story about a tragedy it probably would have been posted in the lounge. Clearly, it was posted with some sort of gun control theme.
ifit was posted in the lounge some idiot would have posted "ban guns" leading to the thread needing moved.
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Old 05-02-2013, 11:27 AM   #29
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ifit was posted in the lounge some idiot would have posted "ban guns" leading to the thread needing moved.
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Old 05-02-2013, 11:27 AM   #30
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ifit was posted in the lounge some idiot would have posted "ban guns" leading to the thread needing moved.
Right, so this was just posted to point out a tragedy. Not trying to make any political statement at all.

Ok.
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