Disturbing video shows four-year-old pumping a gun at NRA convention in Dallas
Over the weekend, the National Rifle Association (NRA) held its annual convention in Dallas, Texas. Believe it or not, Donald Trump and Mike Pence speaking wasn’t even the most appalling and gross thing that happened over the three-day event. Nope. It was this four-year-old playing with a deadly weapon while a cheerleader shrieked her encouragement that turned stomachs most.
You might recognize the name or face of Kendall Jones, a teenage Texas cheerleader known around the internet for her big game hunting accomplishments at a very young age. At 14, she became the youngest person to hunt the Africa Big 5, which means she killed a white rhino, lion, Cape buffalo, leopard, and African elephant. Animal activists are incensed by her hunting habits (and subsequent bragging/holding up of dead animals) but now, the internet has a whole new reason to find her grotesque.
Here she is at this past weekend’s NRA convention getting excited over a four-year-old boy’s extremely disturbing ability to handle a very large gun:
A scene from the @NRA annual meeting in Dallas. 5,790 American children receive medical treatment each year for a gun-related injury; 21% of those injuries are unintentional. About 1,300 children die annually from a gun-related injury in the US. #NRAAM pic.twitter.com/6ONVhlJytG
— Shannon Watts (@shannonrwatts) May 6, 2018
The child, who tells Jones his name is Maverick, pumps the gun and pulls the trigger repeatedly with a big grin on his face. At Jones’ request, he also removes and then reattaches the magazine to the weapon. She high fives the tiny tot and walks away marveling at how “adorable” his ability to pump a shotgun is.
As Shannon Watts, founder of the grassroots organization Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America points out, there’s absolutely nothing “adorable” about this video. She tweeted it to her followers saying, “A scene from the
@NRA annual meeting in Dallas. 5,790 American children receive medical treatment each year for a gun-related injury; 21% of those injuries are unintentional. About 1,300 children die annually from a gun-related injury in the US.”
Considering the hard facts and staggering statistics, no child should be anywhere near a gun let alone being allowed (and encouraged) to play with it. If it doesn’t make you physically ill to see a small child gleefully pulling a trigger then you may need to do some reflecting.
The video caused an uproar on Twitter, because seeing a child that young expertly handling a firearm is jarring, to say the least.
Sickening.— Whitney Cummings (@WhitneyCummings) May 7, 2018
My youngest is also 4 and this is horrifying. My oldest has both the Rifle and Shotgun merit badges from the Boy Scouts so I'm not coming from nowhere with this. This is really frightening.— Chris Rywalt 💬 (@ChrisRywalt) May 7, 2018
Totally developmemtally inappropriate. Those are not toys! Allowing them to play with guns is neglect & exploitation. Would you let them play with real cars? Bows and arrorws?— Mary Kay Keller, MPA, PhD, CEIM & CFLE (@DrMaryKayKeller) May 7, 2018
That's not good parenting. One, they're letting their kid mess with something like that that's on display. Two, he's showing zero respect for that firearm. Three, no one is correcting him on either behavior.— Evan Curtis (@Awetastic) May 7, 2018
The thing that gets me? Admirers and promoters of this video would be chilled to the bone by the exact same scene if the participants were in hijab and keffiyeh. https://t.co/PnAH0dCK4F
— Donna Bowman (@donnadb) May 7, 2018
The thing is, this isn’t necessarily about being anti-gun. This is about developmentally appropriate activities for a four-year-old and teaching him that guns aren’t toys. My daughter loves to cook but until she reached age 10, I didn’t allow or encourage her to be anywhere near the stove because I didn’t believe she was ready yet to handle the potential dangers of a hot oven. My eight-year-old son is obsessed with cars, but I’m certainly not letting him behind the wheel until he’s 16. A four-year-old is most definitely not prepared or old enough to understand the gravity of handling a firearm. This is gross and terrifying on every level.
My father owns several guns. Granted, I’ve never been in their physical presence because I want nothing to do with them, but he’s an actual responsible gun owner and as such, would never dream of putting one of his weapons anywhere near my children. A responsible gun owner would never let a four-year-old play with a gun let alone cheer him on as he does so. This is disgusting and appalling and beyond disturbing. If the NRA wants to promote “responsible” gun ownership, then they should be condemning this video and telling their rabid following exactly what’s wrong with it.
There’s nothing responsible about letting a preschooler play with a gun. End of story.