A Rifle Designed for Kids: What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

You know, I was just thinking the other day, wouldn’t it be great if someone manufactured firearms specifically designed for children? After all, it’s the constitutional right of every American to own a firearm without restriction, and the inability of children to adequately handle an adult-sized firearm due to their smaller stature and poor upper-body strength is an unforgivable trespass against the Second Amendment. To prevent a child from owning a gun because they’re weaker, shorter and possess underdeveloped motor and cognitive skills than most normal adults is indeed unconstitutional — at least according to gun zealots who will settle for nothing other than universal gun ownership.

Well, problem solved. Introducing the Crickett Youth Rifle.

No, that’s not a spoof video by The Onion, however much I wish it had been. A gun manufacturer has actually produced a real-life rifle that’s the perfect size for children (or dwarfs), and, based on the fun family-friendly tone of the commercial, not to mention the zany cricket cartoon mascot, they appear to be marketing these guns directly to kids, describing the Crickett with the first person possessive: “My First Rifle.”

Retail price: $119 at Cabela’s — less than the cost of a video game console which is clearly more dangerous for children according to the NRA. (Wayne LaPierre thinks video game violence is more damaging than firearms but I’m sure he’s all in favor of every red-blooded American kid owning a rifle.) And yes, girls, they seriously make a pink one so you won’t have to shoot a gun that’s covered with icky-icky boy germs. And the commercial tells us that it’s “affordable, soft-shooting and accurate.” The “accurate” part could’ve been bad news for the Mom and especially the boy in the commercial because she’s pointing the goddamn rifle directly at his skull:

Hell, she’s not even paying attention to the boy and where he’s standing in relation to her fashionable yellow death machine. Oh but I’m sure she’s totally a responsible gun owner who will teach her kids never to aim firearms at the heads of other people.

Ah hell.

We’re not talking about a B-B gun here, which more than a few kids have owned in spite of the potential to, you know, shoot your eye out. The Crickett is an actual rifle than fires actual .22 caliber rounds. Just to give you a point of reference in case you’re not familiar with what a .22 caliber round is capable of: Bobby Kennedy was assassinated by a gunman firing a .22 caliber bullet. Ronald Reagan and James Brady, along with a Secret Service Agent and a police officer, were also shot by .22 caliber bullets fired by assassin John Hinckley. Brady, for his part, nearly died from his head wound and never walked again. So yeah, the Crickett considerably more powerful than a B-B gun. Why? I have no blessed idea. But somewhere there’s a board room full of sociopaths, not to mention parents, who honestly believe that children need to be packing deadly fire power.

I mean, what could possibly go wrong?

This week in Burkesville, Kentucky, a mother of two small children stepped outside for a moment while doing some household chores. It was just enough time for her five-year-old boy to shoot and kill his two-year-old sister, Caroline Stark, with, you guessed it, a Crickett, which was given to him as a gift — “His First Rifle.” It turns out the boy’s parents forgot to remove a round that was left in the rifle. Another in a long list of children who’ve shot other children, accidentally or otherwise, in households run by alleged “good guys with guns.”

In a broader sense, Caroline is another casualty of the poisonous American gun culture — a culture that’s so ridiculously out of control that gun-manufacturers are allowed to market firearms to children without regulation or oversight, and in spite of Sandy Hook and a lengthening roster of daily firearm tragedies, too many of which involving kids. Sadly, any regulation or oversight will be absolutely and categorically labeled as unconstitutional and, following a multi-million dollar propaganda campaign by the NRA, filibustered by the Republican Party.

And as we all know, when God and the Constitution bestow liberty upon us, then anything goes. The sky’s the limit, and we’re entitled to it. The gun culture demands that Americans can own everything and anything that fires deadly projectiles regardless of age, status or background, and without any new regulations to keep up with technology or shifting societal problems. After all, liberty, etc.

UPDATE: The NRA is actively marketing firearms to kids at their convention. What? No cigarettes?

Bob Cesca is the host of the Bob Cesca Show podcast, a twice weekly political talk show. He’s also a contributor to Salon.com. Follow him on Twitter and on Facebook.