Is anyone surprised that a rifle marketed to young children is the weapon used by a five-year old boy in the tragic accidental shooting death of his two year old sister?
The rifle is made by Pennsylvania-based Keystone Sporting Arms which sell it under the brand name Crickett Firearms, and is called, “My First Rifle,” which is marketed to children, and even comes available in a bright pink used in advertising designed to be attractive to girls.
Image: a Crickett brand “Padded Pink Gun Case”:
“A 5-year-old boy who was playing with a .22-caliber rifle accidentally shot and killed his 2-year-old sister in Cumberland County on Tuesday afternoon, according to a news release from the state police,” the Lexington Herald-Leader reports:
[Cumberland County Coroner Gary White] said the children’s mother was at home when the shooting occurred, and the gun was a gift the boy received last year.
“It’s a Crickett,” he said. “It’s a little rifle for a kid. …The little boy’s used to shooting the little gun.”
White said the gun was kept in a corner, and the family did not realize a shell had been left in it.
He said the shooting will be ruled accidental.
“Just one of those crazy accidents,” White said.
In a follow-up report, the Lexington Herald-Leader adds:
Trooper Billy Gregory, spokesman for the Columbia post, initially said Wednesday that he didn’t anticipate charges.
“We don’t see that there was neglect on anyone’s part,” Gregory said.
Later Wednesday, Gregory said, “It’s too early to know.”
Following the typical pattern of the NRA, the Crickett Facebook page apparently has been taken down.
“Clearly the issue of parental responsibility is at the center of this tragedy. But against the backdrop of the Newtown massacre and ongoing national debate over regulating firearms, it also points back to the big business of guns—including how the industry profits from products aimed at children,” Mark Follman at Mother Jones writes:
Business has boomed since the company’s inception in 1996, according to its website. In its first year, it had four employees and produced 4,000 rifles for kids; by 2008 it had greatly expanded its operations, with 70 employees and an output of 60,000 rifles a year. KSA’s site states that its goal is “to instill gun safety in the minds of youth shooters and encourage them to gain the knowledge and respect that hunting and shooting activities require and deserve.”
Follman also notes the Crickett website has a “Kids Corner” with images like these:
Yes, now is not the time to talk about gun control. Now is not the time to talk about gun control. Now is not the time to talk about gun control.
At some point, if we keep repeating that right-wing mantra, there won’t be many people left to disagree.
A note to the family who lost their daughter. We are truly saddened by your loss, and despite the fact that there is and will continue to be media attention surrounding this tragedy, we have purposely removed any reference to your family’s name out of respect.
The marketing of instruments of death — that is the sole purpose of guns, to shoot and to kill — to young children, is unconscionable. There’s a reason we no longer see ad campaigns — like Joe Camel — for cigarettes marketed to youngsters.
However, that said, I cannot help but state that I can think of few greater examples of child abuse than to create a situation that puts a child in the position of — for the rest of his or her life — knowing that they killed their sibling. That is a burden no child should ever have to bear.
But given the frequency of this, no one should be surprised when it happens, and no one can possibly say, “I never imagined this could happen.”
Image, top, via Crickett Rifles’ YouTube channel
We invite you to sign up for our new mailing list, and subscribe to The New Civil Rights Movement via email or RSS.