As hard as it may be to believe, at least one gun maker seems to be specifically marketing some of its wares to kids. Namely, Keystone Sporting Arms. The company got some unwelcome attention on Tuesday when a Kentucky toddler accidentally killed his sister.
The gun was small and light, the training wheels of firearms. The .22-caliber, single-shot Crickett rifle turned deadly on Tuesday, officials in Kentucky said, when a 5-year-old Cumberland County boy shot and killed his 2-year-old sister in what the coroner described to a local paper as “just one of those crazy accidents.”Apparently the backlash is coming and coming fast. Crickett's Website is currently disabled (it redirects to a Red Hat placeholder page), and Chipmunk appears to have deleted the pictures from its "Kids Corner" section where kids could pose with their guns. But to give you an idea of how Keystone was marketing its goods, check out this video on Crickett's YouTube channel:
The toddler was shot when the boy was playing with the rifle, as Kentucky state police said in a statement. The gun, a type of rifle made specifically for kids, had been given to the boy as a gift last year and kept in a corner, and the family did not realize a shell was in the chamber, Cumberland County Coroner Gary White told the Lexington Herald-Leader.
The Crickett is one of two lines of .22-caliber rifles for kids manufactured by the Pennsylvania-based Keystone Sporting Arms. The company acquired the maker of the similar Chipmunk rifle in 2007, a purchase that positioned the company as “the leading rifle supplier in the youth market,” according to the company’s website.
I'm all for teaching kids about gun safety. But trying to specifically tailor guns to children just sounds wrong. And in the aftermath of 24 kids being shot to pieces in Newtown, it's just plain crazy. You can teach kids how to handle a gun without specifically marketing a gun to them.
Josh Sugarmann of the Violence Policy Center has studied this trend, and says that the gun makers are going the same route as many other industries in marketing their products to kids.
Yet despite the availability of triggers for tiny fingers, gun makers and marketers are hesitant to actually spell out what age a child should be before handling his or her first firearm, said Sugarmann. Crickett's website, for instance, makes no references to appropriate age ranges for their child-sized weapons.One would think it shouldn't have to take someone dying to make a gun maker realize that as well. Even allowing for the fact that Keystone is (by the looks of it) privately owned, one would have thought that maybe, just maybe some kids are just too young to have their own gun.
“There’s a recognition that the majority of the American public has concerns about putting guns in the hands of children,” he said.