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Handling Guns on Display at Gun Shows…

December 2, 2008 Firearms Safety, Kids and Guns No Comments

Question:  My two younger boys who are well versed in the rules of gun safety watch people handle guns at gun shows and shops.  After many gun shows, my younger one once again touched a tethered gun that I pointed out to him.  This time the vendor yelled at him, but said that as an adult, I could touch.  Was this his choice or a rule/law that we have never been called on?

Answer:  Sorry to hear about your bad experience at the gun show.  In my experience, sometimes the vendors there can be a little ‘rough around the edges’.

In terms of the law, it is not legal for anyone under the age of eighteen years to possess a handgun.  This specifically refers to the gun being owned by them or under their exclusive control.  It would not generally refer to a tethered gun at a gun store or gun show.

Most vendors do not want children handling the guns for a combination of safety, liability and product preservation issues.  Unfortunately, many kids DO NOT understand safe gun handling and don’t differentiate between a firearm and a toy.  You’ll find that in most gun stores, the sales people won’t even get the handgun out of the case for anyone under 21 since they can’t legally sell them a handgun.  The mindset is ‘why waste my time’.  I would suggest that the same kind of mindset is probably at work at the gun shows as well.

I suspect the vendor in question could have handled this situation a little better and made it a more positive experience for your son.  Make sure that he understands that it is more about the mindset of the seller vs. anything he did…

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