NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The shooting of a 2-year-old girl by her 5-year-old brother in Kentucky has placed the spotlight on smaller guns that are designed and marketed for children.
As CBS 2 investigative reporter Tamara Leitner explained, the guns are easily accessible online and in major stores.
A 30-second commercial that advertises the smaller guns meant for kids manufactured by Crickett, called “My First Rifle” is now part of a larger debate on whether these guns should be accessible to kids at all.
This issue is in the spotlight because Kristian Sparks, 5, of Cumberland County, Ky., accidentally shot and killed his sister Caroline, 2, with a .22 caliber rifle — the same one featured in the ad. The guns come in a range of colors and are meant specifically for children.
But federal firearms licensee Mark Tumminello said, “These firearms are actually not meant to be owned by children.”
Gun enthusiasts and dealers such as Tumminello argue it’s all about adult supervision.
“When a parent purchases a firearm, it’s like leaving the keys to your car with the kid. It’s like leaving a kitchen knife, leaving your kid unattended in the ocean or a pool,” he said. “It’s the parents’ responsibility.”
But others believe children should not be shooting guns at all — regardless of who is watching them.
“We should not be putting guns in the hands of kids so young,” said clinical psychologist Dr. Jeffrey Gardere.
Gardere said children are not equipped emotionally or mentally to handle a gun.
“They have issues with impulse control. They have problems controlling their anger at times. They just don’t have that maturity, and therefore, that could be something that could be a weapon of destruction later on,” Gardere said.
These smaller guns for kids are available in mainstream stores like Walmart and Cabela’s. In New York City, you need a permit to purchase one of the firearms, but in other parts of the state, you just have to be 18.
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