I’d Rather My Girls Go To A Gun Range Than A Salon For Birthday Parties

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My colleague Lindsay Cross just wrote a piece headlined “Sorry, We Won’t Be Attending Your Kiddie Birthday Party At The Gun Range.” In it, she explains that a family friendly firing range in Texas will host birthday parties for kids as young as eight years old.

She doesn’t want her daughter to handle a gun ever so even if she were invited to such a party, she wouldn’t let her attend. I’m on the other side — I’d much prefer my children get invited to gun range birthday parties (er, when they’re a bit older) than what’s currently happening: lots of invitations for manicures and pedicures at salons.

I’m not a big fan of guns. I’ve been thinking recently about getting one but I don’t have one currently. I used to live in Washington, D.C. Until quite recently when the Supreme Court found its ban on guns to be unconstitutional, the only people who had guns in the nation’s capital were the people who were using them to commit robberies and assaults. We’ve moved to a state that has a more gun-positive culture. When I read the story of a young mother protecting her 3-month-old baby by shooting armed intruders to her home, I reconsidered my previous position.

I used to think that I didn’t want a gun because I didn’t think I could ever shoot anybody. But now that I’m a mother, I’m thinking about it. It’s one of my jobs to defend and protect my children and there are various security and weapons things I’m looking into.

But even when I was a kid, I was taught gun safety. And that was from a very young age. My parents explained to us, repeatedly, how serious guns were and how dangerous they could be. They taught us how to fire it and repeatedly explained the circumstances under which it might be fired. I grew up in rural areas and everyone I knew had a gun. Most of that was for hunting but it was also for shooting varmint and self-defense. The kids who did go hunting began hunting at young ages and they were taught how to handle guns safely. I never knew of anyone having any problem with gun safety and I knew more than a few success stories of kids handling guns.

So if my children were invited to a party at a gun range, I know a little bit about how it would go. They would receive lessons in gun safety and they would get to learn how to fire a weapon. I think that’s a much more useful skill than learning how to paint one’s nails.

If my children had a choice, there’s no question they’d prefer the mani-pedi. My daughter recently attended a birthday party for her friend at a salon and got her nails painted. She floated around with her painted nails for a solid week. She felt special. She felt pretty. She had good times with her friends. And she also developed an obsession for nail painting. I catch her “painting” her nails with markers or sneaking my make-up and applying it.

I’d kind of love it if, when she’s a bit older, she learned something about guns — not just how to be safe around them but also how to use them safely. Or, at least, I don’t think it would be a bad thing if she did.

I don’t want my daughter wearing makeup or firing weapons unsupervised until she’s older. I understand that she’ll play act toward one or the other or both before she’s an adult. It’s my job to teach her how to do those things wisely and well. And if a salon party or firing range party are part of her education process, I’m fine with that.

No matter what, though, we can all agree that either mani-pedi parties or firing range parties are better than Chuck E. Cheese, right?

(Photo: Jorge R. Gonzalez/Shutterstock)