A photo of a 2-year-old holding a broken BB gun has sparked outrage among social media users.
Cindy O'Hara of Airdrie, Canada, said her 2-year-old son, Jaxson, wanted to hunt gophers with the older boys, so she gave him a broken BB gun to play with, Global News reported.
“He was having a blast,” O’Hara told Global News. “He didn’t really think anything of it, except the pew noises.”
O’Hara posted a photo of Jaxson holding the gun on Facebook. The caption read: “Wow we taught our two and a half year old how to shoot today. He did great.”
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The photo quickly went viral, with reactions split down the middle.
“Children should learn how to use a gun if there are guns in the household. They should be taught gun safety,” wrote one user.
“I think at this age starting to instill the importance of gun safety is important,” wrote another.
While some users saw the benefit of teaching children about gun safety, others thought the child was far too young.
“I think this is so wrong,” wrote one concerned user. “I think 2.5 is way too young to have such a dangerous weapon. This age they cannot grasp what is right and wrong… an accident waiting to happen.”
O’Hara admitted that Jaxson is too young to understand the dangers of guns, but insisted that she and her husband will teach the boy how to use one.
“He doesn’t get the reality that a gun can kill somebody,” O’Hara said. “But it was in fun and it was an experience for him because we will teach him how to shoot, absolutely.”
President of the Calgary Shooting [Center] James Bachynsky told the news station that children should be taught that guns are dangerous at an early age.
“Personally, I had my daughter shooting a .22 [caliber] rifle when she was four years old,” Bachynsky said. “She could shoot it very well and she knew all the rules.
“That doesn’t mean, though, that I allowed her to handle firearms unsupervised.”
Authorities have received a complaint about the photo and are investigating. However, they say there is nothing illegal about the pictures.