LITTLE ROCK (AGFC) -
In a state where hunting tradition is still strong, and where some game
populations are as high as they have been in years, any form of hunting
gear is often a welcomed gift.
tradition that still holds true for many children in Arkansas is that of
receiving a firearm for Christmas. For a youngster who has waited
patiently to reach hunting age, nothing is more exciting than that first
rifle or shotgun, proof positive that the recipient is coming of age
and that the parent or giver believes he or she is ready to accept the
responsibility of gun ownership.
Parents of a
child who receives that first firearm will want to take some simple
steps to ensure themselves that the firearm is used safely and
responsibly. Joe Huggins, hunter education coordinator for the Arkansas
Game and Fish Commission, suggested these key points:
you and your child reads and completely understands the manual supplied
by the firearm's manufacturer. The manual explains everything he or she
needs to know about the safe use, care and storage of the gun.
A responsible adult needs to be present anytime the gun is used.
child in a hunter education course as soon as possible. Contact your
local wildlife officer, a Game and Fish Commission office, or go to
to learn the date of the next available class.
letting your child enroll in Arkansas Youth Shooting Sports Program, a
4-H Shooting Sports program or a BB gun program sponsored by some area
service organizations. These programs emphasize safety and
responsibility as well as teaching marksmanship.
"Given the proper use and care, a new firearm will provide its owner decades of service and enjoyment," Huggins