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Keep Kids Away From Hunting Rifles

Written by PETA | November 11, 2008
forestwildlife / CC

Murder is frightening business, but it is even more chilling perhaps when the crime is allegedly committed by a child who is not even old enough to grasp the consequences of the deed. Vincent Romero and Timothy Romans of Arizona were reportedly killed by Romero’s 8-year-old son using a rifle much like the one that Romero had used to teach his son to hunt other living beings.

In a time like this, the community should take action. No child should be encouraged to be callous by being taught to kill, nor should children be instructed in the use of firearms, which enable them to wound, maim, and destroy. We have written to Gov. Janet Napolitano of Arizona asking her to ban children under the age of 18 from hunting. It makes them insensitive, damages the ecosystem, and causes the clear danger of familiarizing a child with gun use.

Though some firearms advocates protest that it is fine for a well-instructed child to wield a deadly weapon for the purpose of killing birds and deer, for instance, that is not the case. All school shooters had previously hunted and used guns. The FBI has found through interviews that 36 percent of murderers had tortured or killed animals before killing humans, and 46 percent had done so in adolescence.

We are asking Gov. Napolitano and the community to avoid “sticking to their guns,” and to take this tragedy as a wake-up call. We can keep adults and children safe and healthy by not teaching kids to take “taking a life” lightly. You can read our letter to the Gov. Napolitano here.

Written by Sean Conner

Commenting is closed.
  • concerned gramma holly willet says:

    My daughter and son in law are in the middle of a divorce… they have 2 boys 6yr. old is telling his first grade friends he can go shooting any time he wants to at birds … ” It’s fun” the 9 yr. old was pointing his fingers in a shooting position at church last night.. how do we convince DAD is not father of the year…in court…

  • Hank R, says:

    That was a very rare case that is not often reported. Many children that have learned to be hunters have actually gained from it in many other ways. They have become more alert and have been taught of the real dangers of firearms. There on occasion the tragedies of deaths caused from children playing with guns but that is the parents fault a major rule in keeping a firearm in your house is that it must ALWAYS be unloaded anyone who doesn’t is their own fault for not following the rules. It is also common sense.

  • George M. says:

    Sir Police carry guns precisely because they maim and kill. Next time a brutal home invasion armed robbery or shooting occurs in a public place please feel free to approach the perpetrator with flowers feathers or something else that is not harmful to them. Do you understand now why police carry guns? Mass murderers rapists drug dealers and muggers cannot be reasoned with by unarmed defenseless victims. Think about it.

  • Sir says:

    If guns are only used to maim and kill then why do police officers carry them?

  • Adam says:

    I grew up with guns in the house and easily accessible to any of us. But we were taught very early on about the safe care and use of them and we were not allowed to fire a gun until after we were 12. I think it is important for children to learn firearm safety as early as possible. Always treat a gun as if it were loaded and never point it at something you don’t want to shoot. Even if you never go hunting and won’t have your kids hunting either you should enroll them in a Hunter Safety course in fact take the class with them. There you will learn how to properly handle a firearm and you will learn that ALL life is precious. You learn that if you can’t kill an animal with the first shot you shouldn’t shoot. You learn to respect animals and their habitat. Now if a child does not have a respect for human life that is a different matter altogether and has nothing whatsoever to do with guns or hunting. I wholeheartedly believe that violent video games are teaching our youth that they can kill without fear of reprocussion after all it’s just a game right? Parents need to spend more time with their kids instead of turning their kids over to the xBox babysitter. It is your job to make sure your child has a proper respect for other people and you can’t do that if you’re not spending any time with them.

  • George M. says:

    You’re right when you say that nature worked fine before humans started altering it but the reality is that we do not live in an Eden anymore. Nature has been altered by humans and in many places deer no longer have natural predators i.e. Southern New England. There is also not enough habitat to support large predators like wolves which kill deer. Therefore the deer population would be out of control ruining habitat for other wildlife while starving themselves to death if deer weren’t hunted. At the University of Connecticut Storrs campus hunting is not allowed in the UConn forest but you can walk into the woods and see for hundreds of feet in any direction because the deer have destroyed the undergrowth leaving no habitat for small mammals such as the New England cottontail rabbit which is suffering a severe decline. In addition hunters have funded countless habitat restoration projects and prevented millions of acres from being developed with conservation easements. Let’s not forget that wildlife can’t exist without habitat to exist in. In addition it’s also important to note that according to recent surveys most hunters define a “successful hunt” NOT as one where they kill an animal but one where they can spend time enjoying the outdoors. It’s great that you are all concerned about animal welfare but please understand the facts before you spout off about hunters being bloodthirsty gunnuts who just want to kill and destroy nature.

  • M. Bryant says:

    Yet again a swing and a miss by PETA. Hunting by US citizens under the age of 18 is regulated they are required to take a course in firearm safety and must be licensed and accompanied by a responsible adult. This child was not hunting when he killed those two men therefore hunting isn’t related to this argument. Hunting has been part of the human experience since we walked on two legs. It is how we have survived for thousands upon thousands of years. While this child obviously knew how to use a firearm the “why” to use one seems to have been lost. Using one to feed ones family or defend ones life or the lives of others are acceptable reasons. This unbalanced child clearly was not fit to handle a firearm. Blaming hunting and firearms for this child murdering two adults is like blaming pencils for failing SATs and spoons for making Rosie O’Donnell fat. A firearm is merely a tool to launch a small piece of metal at high velocity. It is inert without human interaction. Frankly I would rather children be taught to safely handle and respect the capabilities of firearms than to be mindlessly told they are “bad” by the hoplophbic public. This child was disturbed he elected to procure a firearm and murder two adults and he alone is responsible for his actions. Stop passing blame start holding people accountable for their own actions. It wasn’t hunting and guns it was more likely bad parenting.

  • G. Murphy says:

    To Mike Quinoa I would like to ask when was the advent of hunters? Are you implying that there was a time when mankind did not hunt animals? You MUST read your anthropological history before you attempt to propogate this type of idiocy. To the many who have shared the opinion that a child or adult must be taught to use a firearm properly to eliminate the violence in our society I must disagree. Unfortunately some of these killers have been taught very well HOW TO USE a firearm what they lack is the moral priciple of WHY TO USE a firearm. The problem with kids and adults shooting others is not the firearms it is the apathy or hatred of others. We are all depraved from birth. The responsibility of us all is to train all human beingings in the morality of WHEN WHY and HOW to take the life of an animal or a person. Only when we have an appropriate view of the sanctity of life human or animal can we then be taught to appropriately wield a firearm or knife or stick or car. Being a hunter does not make you right or wrong it is how you handle the life you are taking. I will take a life if necessary to protect the safety of others. I will take the life of an animal to provide for myself and my family. The young boy in Arizona and Colorado and California and West Virginia would use whatever means available to him to produce the violence that was in his head and heart.

  • steve says:

    Crazy Hunting is not the problum. Todays life stlye is. look at the games they play movies they watch. It’s the parents fault this happened. The 8 yr old should not have ever been able to get to the gun in the first place. So to say that hunting is the causeand that banning hunting until 18 will help it. The parents were over 18 didn’t help much.

  • Tina Gates says:

    I wish every hunter would stop passing the BUCK about hunting and see it for what it really is killing….The first monday after Thanksgiving “BLACK MONDAY” as I call it schools shut down garbage collection stops it’s a regional and national holiday in western PA where I reside. What a great way to indoctorinate young childern to the joys of killing than with a day off from school. When I called my school board to protest this I was told that the 1st monday after thanksgiving was an extended day to celebrate thanksgiving. I suggested to the board member to stop passing the buck and exploit it for what it is…. a day to celebrate killing. If childern aren’t taught to respect the life of Gods’s animals how are they expected to respect human life???? I suggest an annual hay drop in Pa with a birth control substance injected into each bale???

  • Jonathan says:

    I think that for people who have never hunted it is hart to understand the value in it. It provides great bonding experiences in a family. I’m sure many of you will think this is awful. HUnting is also a great time to commune with nature. Sitting in the woods and appreciating the sights sounds and smells is truly wonderfull. And for Brad the first poster I think you should seek some attendion. I am a Mental Health Professional and blood lust shouldn’t come from hunting a couple times. I think ou might need to be evaluated by a professional to discover you problems for your safety and others. I understand that many Peta people mean well but don’t truly understand Newkirk’s ideals. There is no difference to her to step on a cockroach or step on a human baby. I personally hold human life to be more sacred then say a rats.

  • Chris says:

    I’m 14 and if hunting was banned for me I think I would go crazy it’s not sport for me its.. kind of an instinct… like I have to provide for people you know?

  • shottysniperz says:

    Before ANYONE under 18 can hunt with a license they must be trained in the use of firearms in a hunter safety course believe it or not. Anyone who does not hunt without taking this course is breaking the law. Banning guns to all minors is insane. Accidents happen because of inadequate supervision and teaching of gun handling. Any responsible adult hunter will teach hisher children to treat guns with caution and respect. Obviously you have not seen a hunter safety course of gun safety pamphlet in your life. Besides only 3 of hunting accidents were committed by youth in 2002. httpfindarticles.comparticlesmim3197isain9488402 Calling youth unable to control a firearm is irrelevant since 97 of accidents are committed by adults. Besides any minor who has been taught by a responsible adult hunter and has taken a hunter safety course knows hisher responsibility as a hunter and the action heshe has committed.

  • Amanda says:

    I completely agree with banning children 18 years and younger from humting. I grew up in Arkansas with my dad and 2 brothers hunting. Even as a young child I protested my opinion about killing animals to them. I never ate anything they killed although I did grow up a meat eater. I eventually came to my senses and ban all meat completely. I have a nephew who grew up hunting with his dad as a young child. Now a teenager a few years ago was caught spotlighting and hunting out of season needless to say his hunting license was revoked for 3 years. Also I have a niece who hunts with her country boy dad. She is 9. Her dad teaches her to go shoot innocent animals such as squirrels and rabbits to target practice. I have told her that is wrong I try to explain how wrong it is to kill and hurt animals. One day she told her dad who is my brother in law what I told her. He told her that it was ok because she needed to target practice. He was planning on eating what ever she killed though. Thank God she hasn’t killed anything! If laws like this were set in every state it would keep things like this from happening. I feel kids of any age should not be taught how to use a gun. I have also heard the statistics regarding murderers and serial killers abusing and killing animals when they were kids. I am willing to fight for laws to be put in place!

  • Sean says:

    Hunting is an outdated activity by today’s standards. I have a degree in wildlife management and I am disgusted when agencies claim that “culling” is needed for the better of the species. I have researched the topic of hunting and have read many scientific papers on the subject. A major conclusion of the papers I read was that there was no evidence of hunting being beneficial for a population. Truth is natural predators are killed to raise the game’s population so that licenses can be sold to “control” the game’s “out of control” numbers. If hunting is needed it’s only because man has messed with the balance of nature. A few books to consider reading would be The Endangered Kingdom The Struggle to Save America’s Wildlife by Roger P. DiSilvestro A Voice for Wildlife by Victor B. Scheffer Man Kind? Our Incredible War on Wildlife by Cleveland Amory and Animals in Peril by John A. Hoyt.

  • Debra says:

    I have no intention in offending anyone I am just simply stating my opinion. I have hunted since I was five years old and now I am 22 years old and to this day I still hunt. In my experience of hunting no one has ever been injured or harmed in anyway. I was properly trained on the usage of any firearm pistol or rifle. In this tragic accident it seems the child was not drilled in the safe use of a firearm. Please understand blaming other organizations like the NRA does not bring justice to the unattentiveness of the parents.

  • joseph says:

    I have no intentions of offending anyone but I do have an opinion. You have every right to your beliefs as do I. I feel that i have the right to own firearms and and use them in a safe manner you have the right to not own or use one. I have the right to hunt legal game animals in the manner controlled by law You have the right to speak out against my actions. What happened was a tragic accident which no one will ever know all of the details about.

  • Mike Quinoa says:

    RBraman Animals and ecosystems thrived quite nicely before the advent of hunters and fishermen. If anything man screws up Mother Nature’s handiwork. The passenger pigeon numbered 5000000000 when Europeans settlers arrived in North America but we still managed by our mismanagement to cause their extinction. Youth are “banned” from many activities. If they really want to hunt or fly a plane et cetera they can wait.

  • Michelle says:

    Bubba Thank you for being respectful but…… The fact is that this was not an accidental shooting. The boy intended and premeditated to shoot the two men. Had he not had access to a firearm we would not be talking about this. The deeper issue here is gun control. The only reason we still have legal guns is the powerful lobby of the NRA which cloaks themselves in the clothing of “hunters and sportsmen”. There is no other use for a firearm than to kill or maim. What is the point? Teaching children that it is ok and doesn’t damage your psyche and soul to kill innocent beings is shameful. I don’t condone the death of anyone but I’ll say it the father asked for it by teaching his son to kill.

  • RBraman says:

    Let’s be honest. PETA wants to ban hunting for youth so that current youth dont grow up to be future hunters. You are reprobate in your beliefs. You ignore the facts that hunting makes for healthy animals. Even if everyone were to go vegan you would have t hunt because you would be competing with animals for access to vegetables and grains. Wake up! You live in an ideological vaccuum.

  • AntiSean says:

    Cody I think most reasonable people would take issue with allowing young peoplenot yet recognized as mature enough to hold contracts care for bank accounts without a guardian nor drink alcohol and buy cigarettesto use deadly weapons. I agree that this is partly because of a child not being properly trained to use a gun but the issue is that it’s significantly harder to impress upon a child the deadly consequences of gun toting than it is for an adult. And even if we choose to blame the parents for not teaching the child correctly will that save the lives lost in this case or any case of a gunskilled youth claiming innocent lives? If it takes all underage children being denied the privilege of yielding a deadly weapon to prevent just the occasional accident I certainly think it’s a worthy sacrifice. Young people can find pastimes other than killing whereas these two poor men can never again draw breath.

  • cody perbix says:

    I know this message wont make it to the comment board but please read this. I am not writing this in frustration only on my beliefs Please talk with me about this so we can share our views. The only reason this accident happened was because the parents did not take the proper time and procedures to train a kid to use a gun the parents are at fault. If they would have taken the proper procedures I guarantee this wouldn’t have happened. I feel this organization just doesn’t understand. Im only 17 and have had the opprutunity to learn how to correctly use a firearm. I follow rules and am involved in the North Dakota game and fish. I plan on becoming a wildlife biologist. The crimes you see and the accidents you see are just people that haven’t had the proper training. I know you think that I don’t understand but I do. You see bad examples of people that use firearms. If you take a look at the good people that use firearms you might see that we are human beings too and not heartless beings. I apologize if I make anyone of this organization angry but these are my beliefs. One more comment i want to say is that the conservation being done for wildlife is not by your organization. It is majorly funded by hunters sorry but it is. If not for hunters animals would be overpopulated such as deer. In fact North Dakota needs 100000 deer harvested to maintain a healthy ecosystem as do many other states. If I have become confusing in this I may have jumped around if so and you want to talk about this I would gladly have conversation with you or your organization about this.

  • Bubba says:

    if we don’t shoot the deer they will over populate and the Fish Game will shoot them by the hundreds.

  • SASHA says:

    Great point! Now let’s hope they are listening.

  • WOods Dwelling Gnome says:

    I personally thinkit’s the video games making these kids think it is ok to shoot humans not the hunting..

  • King of Fiji says:

    As long as the logic isn’t applied to violent video game I could care less as I get paranoid while holding an unloaded gun. xD

  • Pete says:

    Why only those under 18? That’s ageist. Everyone should be banned from hunting.

  • Brad says:

    Way to go! I was taken hunting as a child and it gave me a literal lust for blood. Thank God I grew up before I did something horrible. Teaching kids to kill sometimes comes full circle….