No kids for me, but I am an active uncle of a 5 year old girl.
Her father (my brother) and I taught her about firearms when she was three. She knows the four rules by hear, as well as Eddie Eagles rules. She has never actually fired or held an assembled gun, but she knows to never pick one up until either myself or my brother gives an OK.
One time her father, myself, and her stopped by a gun store and she actually called out an employee for not checking/clearing the gun before handing it over the counter... made us both very proud.
My 3 year old knows about my guns. Iv thought him they are dangerous and he knows the only time he can see them is if I'm with him. He fgoes shooting with me almost every time.
He isn't big enough to shoot but ill hold it and he pulls the trigger. Or when we are shooting skeet his favorite thing to do is pull the string when we say pull. U want to get faster at reloading and shooting let a 3 year old with A.D.D be the one in charge of launching the birdies lol.
My theory is I'm taking the curiosity out of it, if he knows what they are handles and shoots when I'm with him hopefully he will have less desire to try to get a hold of them if I'm not around.
Iv tested him a few times by putting out my carry gun near his toy guns, unloaded of course. Every time he has come running to me "hey you left your really big boy gun out, can you please get it so I can play with my big boy guns." So far its working.
Guess ill add to this. I've got a 16 YO son, 10 YO daughter (seems like she is 14-15 lol) and a 14 month daughter. My son has been to the range and Is pretty good. But the really curious on is my 10 YO. I just got back from deployment and finally got my carry gun (going to the range when it opens today!!!). Now for a bit of background. My wife does not like guns. She is warming to them. But it's a slow process. She did not want my daughter seeing the real gun untill she had a better understanding of them. So we got two cheap air soft pistols so I could quiz her (and shoot cans and targets in the garage (those little plastic BB's are everywhere!!!)
I'm happy to say the kids know all the major components of a handgun. And the safety rules. I finally let my 10 year old hold my carry gun. And her comment was WOW that's heavy. I want to take the curiosity out of it. So I told her as long as its JUST us at home. If she wants to see it all she has to do is ask. Both my wife and I have been drilling her that NO ONE should know about it. We just say so the bad guys never know.
I will give my wife ALOT OF CREDIT. she wants me to get a .22 soon so I can take them to the range (I think that's so she can get a break. Cause it's just been her for 6 months with the kids).
FYI I do have a safe and I keep the air soft pistols in there too. Trying to reinforce the safety aspect with the kids.
Also if u want to get a trigger broken in let ur kids go hog wild doing dry fire.
We'll off to the range for the initial first shot of my carry gun!!! My son wants to go back tomorrow when her is out of school to try it too. And this is a good reward for doing good in school. They do well they get to go shoot
Disclaimer: I had my first .22 before 1st grade. There were always loaded firearms in easy reach in my home -- growing up; raising my kids; when the grand-kids visit now. As, I am publicly active in VCDL, NRA, etc.it is hard to be outed when you are out -- so I don't care if a granddaughter ask publicly about a gun. I carry discreetly. I am do concealing the fact.
I see the words like "Discuss", "teach", "about" etc as meaning different things at different ages.
I'll second Eddie Eagle done low key, repetitively and in small parts at first. (Not just talk. Show and tell. Later deactivated handgun in the toybox, to be found and discusses -- it and who did what and why, what should have been done, etc. why.
As they are ready discuss what is age appropriate.
As time goes on advance to shooting sports.
National 4-H Shooting Sports -- Kids 'n' Guns: National 4-H Shooting Sports Committee
Youth Shooting Sports Alliance - Home -- Youth Shooting Sports Alliance
NRA Youth Programs -- NRA Youth Programs
http://www.nssf.org/lit/ParentsGuide10.pdf -- NSSF - National Shooting Sports Foundation
Jr. Shooting Sports | PA American Legion --The American Legion Junior Shooting Sports Program
Enjoy them. They grow up too fast.
I agree with using the NRA's Eddie the Eagle materials. I used those with my kids. I also agree with the comments about satisfying kid's curiosity. If you take the time to have these discussions with them, let them see and hold an unloaded gun, and when appropriate take them shooting, should they ever come across a gun anywhere (friends and relatives homes, for example) they will be much better prepared to handle the situation. I really like the Eddie the Eagle rules for kids. If you find a gun, don't touch, leave the area, and tell an adult. And, like someone else mentioned, this should be repeated over and over.