Sunday, September 9, 2012

Pre-teens with guns

"I will try to do my best to flush the image of a pre-teen looking down a scope of a rifle."

On August 30th, the New Brunswick government announced that it has lowered the minimum age for hunting small game to twelve years old. Ironically, the same news day, the Canadian Pediatric Society is calling for a ban on children operating All-Terrain Vehicles. Oh the irony.

“On Thursday, Natural Resources Minister Bruce Northrup said the lower age was supported by the majority of those who had provided input.”

We are now changing laws and government policies on “those who provided input”? For what it’s worth, I provided no input, nor was aware that there was input to be had.

The call for banning children’s ATV use, is from the Canadian Pediatric Society. I cannot help but have a bit more trust in the studies and results of a communities of Pediatric Physicians than “those who provided input” on the firearm age reduction.

I wonder, what (if asked) what the Pediatric Society would recommend on the allowing pre-teens to legally carry and shoot firearms. I am sure studies, but more so common sense, says that this is a bad idea.

In discussion with a friend on the irony of these two news stories on the same day, he succinctly summed it up (although harshly) at least kids on ATV can only kill or injure themselves.

I cannot clear my head (obviously) of the decision to drop the firearm age was based on “those who provided input”, but ridiculously was also based on the fact that other provinces have already done so. I have flashbacks to my mother pointing a chastising finger at me and asking “so if your friends jumped off a bridge, you would do so also?”…. My mother should have been a politician; maybe she would have been able to nix this new government policy that now has preteens and others in danger of gunshot wounds or worse, deaths.

“It also brings New Brunswick in line with most other provinces that already have a minimum hunting age of 12 or younger, he said.

Nova Scotia, Quebec, Prince Edward Island, Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta allow youths over the age of 12 to hunt small game when accompanied by an adult.

In British Columbia, the legal age to hunt with an adult is 10-years-old, while in Newfoundland and Labrador, a person must be at least 16 to obtain a permit”

I resist the urge to rant on the fact that BC allows 10 year olds to wander the woods with lethal weapons. Maybe that will be for another blog, and thank god for the Newfies.. at least one province has a morsel of common sense.

Our twelve year old population cannot get into certain movies, cannot buy or rent violent video games, are a year away from driving a car (which graduated drivers license laws strictly prohibit their ability to drive after midnight until 18 years old), are not legally allowed to babysit. They cannot even get off at a different bus stop on their way home from school without a written permission from their parents.

BUT, what a relief that this list of limitations these children must endure, no longer includes the ability to walk through woods, and fire deadly weapons. I am glad those “who provided input” now allow them that freedom.

Yes, the new policy does require that they are accompanied by an adult.. I will resist further comment on that, but I find very little comfort on that limitation.

It is law to wear a bike helmet, ATV age limits are being re-evaluated.. I will focus on these efforts to keep our children safe. I will try to do my best to flush the image of a pre-teen looking down a scope of a rifle.. and I may stay out of the woods.

Sure a twelve year old can be armed now.. but thankfully we no longer have to worry about the true danger to our children.. lawn darts are banned from all ages! We have a wise government.