McKenzie, the 11-year-old who can field strip and reassemble a rifle in 53 secs

This video may prove shocking if you're not accustomed to seeing children handling guns. On the American blogosphere however, 11-year-old McKenzie has attracted great admiration.

The video of an eleven-year-old girl assembling a rifle in record time is causing a stir on the web. Largely admired in the US, the video has attracted such comments as "beware terrorists", "don't break her heart or she'll murder your whole family" and "this girl is awesome". However, in places where learning to use a gun at a tender age is not exactly commonplace the video has raised concern over children's access to guns - particularly since it involves a country infamous for its school shootings. Despite 1989 Child Access Prevention laws in place in many states, nearly 12 times more under-14-year-olds die from firearms incidents in the US compared with 25 other developed countries combined [according to the anti-gun violence Brady Campaign]. Nonetheless, owning a gun is a fundamental right in the US, and protected by the Second Amendment. Our Observers explain why.

 

Eleven-year-old McKenzie's record. Posted 12 January 08 by "gixxerguy811".

"Would your child do the same?"

Blogger Robb Allen, from Tampa Florida, is currently in the process of teaching his daughters, 3 and 6, about guns.

I got it in my head that I should paint [a rifle] in some sort of girlie colours and give it to my daughters. The Hello Kitty thing has been done to death, so I'm thinking Care Bears or My Little Pony. Of course, I have a plethora of themes to choose from off [the website] Noggin. Wow Wow Wubbzy could be kind of cool.

Anyway, I was working on pulling it apart when I heard my oldest daughter yell "Daddy! I found a gun!!! I'm leaving the room!" (...) Luckily for me, it was just the gun case for the .22, but she knew enough not to get near it. (...) Though only 5, my daughter knew not to touch what she thought was a gun. The very first thing she did was tell an adult. The next thing she did was leave the room. Would your child do the same?"

"A mentality of fear and distrust, not understanding"

Ladd Everitt works for the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence.

Do we feel that 11 year-olds in this country need to be doing Tactical Response training with handguns? No. Do we feel that 11 year-olds need to know how to field strip AR-15 rifles? No. Do we feel that there are potential safety risks to having children around firearms with this type of frequency? Absolutely. Particularly when you might be building a false confidence in them that they can safely handle firearms in all situations even when an adult is not present.

I think what you are seeing here is a product of a paranoid gun culture that has begun teaching even children that they must be armed and ready at all times to defend against not only their fellow citizens, but their democratic government as well. That breeds a mentality of fear and distrust, not understanding."

"Guns were not made mysterious or glamorous [to me]"

Kent McManigal is a blogger who "loves guns, swords and knives, hiking, and primitive wilderness survival". He runs the blog Kent's "Hooligan Libertarian" Blog.

The first time I shot I was around 6 years old. My family always had guns in the house, not handguns, (...) only rifles and shotguns. I knew where they were and I knew where the ammunition was kept. (...) Guns were not made mysterious or glamorous, but were just a tool. It is my belief that the current push to "keep guns out of the hands of kids" is actually making kids more curious about guns, and less able to handle them safely.

I [take my children] out shooting with me. We go out into the back-country with several guns and "targets" (usually aluminium cans). My oldest daughter would hold and shoot a .22 revolver (with a LOT of help from me) when she was about three or four years old. Using .22 shot shells she could hit the can (just a few feet in front of her) and make it bounce. You could see the satisfaction in her eyes."

McKenzie at the shooting range

Posted 1 April 08 by "gixxerguy811".

Comments

Not a big deal

I dont see why this should be that big of a deal. I live in an area where a lot of people hunt. The adults that hunt who have children , have their children do it with them. Learning how to do something like that is a skill. I wish I knew how to strip a rifle like that.

Public Opinion in America

For those visiting this webpage, you should not think that the comments you see here are reflective of American opinion as a whole:

* 71% of Americans supported renewing the Assault Weapons Ban when it expired in September 2004: http://www.harrisinteractive.com/harris_poll/index.asp?PID=498

* 87% of Americans support closing the Gun Show Loophole, which allows firearms to be sold by private sellers without conducting background checks on purchasers: http://www.mayorsagainstillegalguns.org/downloads/pdf/polling_memo.pdf

And so on and so on...

Most Americans viewing these videos would be disturbed and appalled by what they see, and there is a broad awareness in this country that kids and guns are a toxic mix. It is also now common for parents to inquire about whether there are guns in the homes where their children play - something that was relatively unheard of just a generation ago.

PAX has put together some good data on this topic through their ASK (Asking Saves Kids) campaign:

http://www.paxusa.org/ask/index.html
http://www.paxusa.org/ask/statistics.html

So while gun rights advocates are well organized in the United States and active on the Internet (and backed by a powerful and well-funded lobby), drawing broad conclusions from a YouTube video or certain blog comments does a disservice to the millions of Americans who are concerned about gun violence and in favor of sensible laws that deny children and criminals access to firearms.

Your polls are

Your polls are meaningless....The Harris Poll of 1,018 U.S. adults surveyed by telephone by Harris Interactive® between September 9 and 13, 2004.

meaningless...The following are key findings from a national survey of 800 Americans conducted March 31 –
April 3, 2008

Fortunately, the founders of

Fortunately, the founders of America were wise enough to write The Bill of Rights, which not only protects us from over-reaching government, but from the tyranny of the majority. Rights are not subject to a vote. Even if every person in America, except for one, desired to violate the rights of the one, they have no authority to do so, no matter if they hold a vote on it or not. However, whether you have a Bill of Rights or not, everyone has the exact same rights no matter whether "your" government recognizes the rights or not.

While it may be possible that many parents now ask whether there are guns in the homes of their childrens' friends, that does not mean that it is a reasonable thing to do. There are many things, both good and ridiculous, that people do now that they didn't do a generation ago. A more productive path would be to make certain that your children understand how guns function, and can recognize unsafe gun handling when they see it. That would make them actually safe instead of simply making the anti-gun parents FEEL good.

I am not backed by any organization of any sort and I receive no pay or benefits for my activism. In fact, I support gun rights (human rights) with my time and money while getting nothing in return. Nothing that is but the satisfaction of promoting ALL rights for ALL people EVERYwhere for ALL times. Regardless if it is popular or not.

We are proud of Mackenzie

She has been trained and schooled very well and she takes pride in her ability to stripe the rifle and show how it is done. We also take pride in her skill.

I have seen her before in the videos and I appreciate the practice it takes to be that good. I know her father is very proud also. She may be an Olympic shooter if she maintains the interest and practice.

I am amazed at those who are scared of the skill with tools our children are taught. I know girls that age who fence and are very good with rapiers. The hobby is no different unless a person has irrational fear of guns.

Boy Scouts are taught be prepared and learn rifle and shotgun along with other outdoors sports. Some of these young men go into the military and serve our country because they were taught a number of skills in Boy Scouts.

"Be Prepared"

Hopefully we will have a VP who is a woman and an expert shot with a rifle. Our women as girls are taught to be strong and capable. That is equality.

Ladd Everitt

About me :

I've served as the Director of Communications of the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence since May 2006.

I also serve in a volunteer capacity with the D.C. Crisis Response Team, a group which offers comfort, support and referral services to victims and survivors of homicide in the District of Columbia.

Yeah,all those D.C gun laws got you alot of..."victims and survivors of homicide in the District of Columbia." didnt they

expect no less from those like Ladd Everitt and the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence [omitted].

Omitted

Part of this comment has been omitted as it was a personal attack and therefore not interesting to the debate. Please refrain from making personal attacks.

Yeah,the good part!

Yeah,the good part!

Be nice

While Mr. Everitt's activism is destructive and harmful, his appearance has nothing to do with it and insulting him in this way is not constructive or nice. If you disagree with the man use logic and rationality, not cheap insults.
Mr. Everitt, I apologize for my fellow freedom lovers.

Dont ever apologize for

Dont ever apologize for me,as a "freedom fighter" you should know better than to attempt to speak for anyone other than yourself

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