Nine-year-old Aiden Roberts is a graduate from a gun safety class near Mint Hill – tailored to kids like him. “There was no other class like this,” Michael Pegram of Echo Firearm Training says. “So, I decided to come up with it.” There, the children spend four hours, both in classroom time, and shooting.
“It’s the parents’ choice of what their kids should be around,” Pegram says. “I’m just offering a class to let them learn to be safe, if they’re going to be around them.”
They work from a Nerf gun, Pegram says, to a .22, or nine-millimeter. Some students are as young as six, he says.
“A lot of times they’re not shooting a nine-millimeter,” Pegram says. “But once in a blue moon, if they know what they’re doing, and I know they can do it, we have done that.”
Pegram has had some social media feedback. “Usually there’s an extreme on either side,” he says. “People are extremely against it, or they’re extremely for it.”
WBTV asked parents about this Monday. Some sounded alarmed by the ages of the children.
“My daughter’s five years old,” dad Bryan Moore says. “And thinking of her shooting a gun, it’s kind of crazy.”
“It seems like a bad idea,” Rebekah Biercz says.
But, they also were considering the potential benefits for older kids. “If we’re going to have guns in this country, one of the things we need is really strict training classes,” Biercz says.
“On one hand, maybe it’s good to teach gun safety,” Moore says. “But then on the other hand, that would be my one concern, is it would make kids comfortable handling guns, and could lead to more accidents, possibly.”
"…to let them learn to be safe, if they’re going to be around them."— Amanda Foster WBTV (@AFosterWBTV) May 21, 2019
A firearm training instructor offers gun safety classes to kids – some as young as six.
Some say this is too young, others think it's needed. Story next at 11 on @WBTV_News. pic.twitter.com/sv4VFJeOzi
Nine-year-old Aiden says he has learned about safety, now. “If you see a gun tell your parents,” he says. “Never point a gun at people.”
Which, for Pegram, is the purpose: Taking away the unknown for kids. “And they have the knowledge to be safe when they do come across a gun,” he says.
Well, I don’t know… Really. What about you?