I did a bit of looking up statistics on airgun injuries, the cases looked at by the statisticians appear to focus on boys under the age of 19, who are , arguably, minors.
These statistics are often used by gun-free lobbyists to ban or restrict through legislation the use of airguns, which makes me understand their point of view to a degree.
Faced with theses arguments, it leads me to wonder from their point of view which is easier - impose legislations on airguns, or to impose legislation on parental responsibility?
I had ready (unsupervised) access to an airgun from an early age (as young as the age of 10 or 11), in a JHB suburb, I might add. My parents didn't know we had found another key to the safe, and it was this fear of being found out that kept me responsible with the use of the airgun.
What could we as enthusiasts be doing to actively encourage parental involvement and supervision that could prevent the statistics abroad from repeating themselves here?
Should it start with the industry, a governing body to which the trade subscribes, that writes a code of conduct whereby airguns are not sold to minors, and whereby the parental/guardian/repsonsible purchaser signs a pledge not to allow unsupervised access to airguns by minors as a condition of purchase? You don't read and sign the pledge,we don't sell you the airgun?
But then, myself not making a living out of selling airguns, its easy to propose this.
What do we do to get parents involved?
In my opinion the parent/guardian is directly responsible for any airgun injury inflicted by a minor on himself or anyone else by not exercising proper supervisory controls or taking precautionary measures.
In my personal case of unsupervised access, I was just lucky I did not hurt anyone.
But I know personally of 2 incidents of children being shot or shooting someone else. One of them was my wife, who was shot when she was a little girl, by the kid next door who peeped over the wall with his gun and shot her.
She's understandably not too keen on my airgun interests...