SYRACUSE, UTAH — A 17-year-old shot and wounded an intruder and his own mother after the intruder broke in and threatened them. Both the intruder and mother were taken to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries related to the gunshot wounds.
I’d love to say something different but I just got done reviewing a story about a 19-year-old in Detroit shooting two cops through a door because he was nervous. According to the Salt Lake Tribune, this 17-year-old produced a handgun to deal with a threat. Unfortunately, he didn’t know enough about handguns to handle himself well.
Teenagers defending the household — that’s where we’re at. If you remember the story from just outside Tulsa, Oklahoma, you’d recall there was a 19-year-old who successfully defended his parents’ home with an AR-15.
Teenagers can defend their homes.
We don’t all have the perfect, idyllic upbringing. Sometimes there isn’t a man or woman in the house who has a background in firearms. Sometimes that history is skewed heavily. And now there’s a teenager who is put into the position where he has to make adult decisions quickly.
…And sometimes he messes it all up.
I know that will be an unpopular opinion that will sit poorly with a lot of our reading audience but I’m going out on a limb. If you’re old enough to use a gun, you’re old enough to take accountability and responsibility for what happens with it. I’m willing to give that without a second thought.
However, we’re likely dealing with a lot of factors left out of this story. The position of the mother, the position of the intruder, and the experience of the shooter.
As an adult of 21 years or greater, it’s absolutely nothing for me to go to a range and get some experience target shooting. I can take my Glock 19 and, on any given Saturday, happily plink targets.
As a 17 year old without parental or guardian supervision, there’s not a whole lot of opportunities to do that.
Let’s ask ourselves why?
Wouldn’t it be great if there were opportunities in high school for students to take an active role in learning about firearms and their usage?
Firearms education. It’s something that ought to be mandatory alongside home economics, shop, and balancing a check book. We send children out into this world without the basic skills they need to protect themselves and keep their books in order. And now we’re expecting them to succeed when placed in a life or death situation?
Sure enough, an 18-year-old Marine would surely know how to shoot a rifle with staggering precision. However, that same 18-year-old subtracted from that essential training would likely have a hard time telling you how to properly ensure that rifle was loaded.
Is this something that makes teenagers safer?
I’d argue not.
And as we see more teenagers being placed in life-or-death situations, we’ll constantly be forced to re-evaluate what it means to be a law-abiding, responsible gun owner.