Portraits of little kids with their own real guns

We don’t know what to say about the tragic shooting in Troutdale, Oregon, or the tragic shooting in Vegas, or the tragic shooting in this town or that town or this state or that state. Perhaps there’s no point in words at a time like this, a time when we’re so gun-weary as a nation that these sorts of incidents are beginning to seem commonplace to some of us. The brilliant site FotoMofo was kind enough to let us know about this stunning series of portraits by Belgian photographer An-Sofie Kesteleyn, who is based in the Netherlands but traveled to the United States to photograph children with real guns marketed to them. She was moved to do so after learning of the death of a two-year-old child, shot by her five-year-old brother, in Kentucky.

These are just a few examples; Kesteleyn did not just photograph children, but also their notes about their greatest fears (you’ll see one example below).

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The company that makes these rifles (including the one in the aforementioned Kentucky shooting) is called Keystone Sporting Arms. They call their children’s line Crickett Firearms: My First Rifle. Below each photograph, you’ll find some positive reviews we discovered on the website for Crickett Firearms.

Portraits of Little Kids With Their Own Real Guns

“I recently purchased one of your Davey Crickett rifles (My First Rifle) from my 7 yr. old daughter and I would like to say that I have nothing but positive things to say about it. To put it simply, she loves it and looks forward to going shooting with me at every opportunity. It is obvious that a good deal of time was spent in the development of this product as it is perfectly designed for kids in regards to length and weight.” —Jessie, from Ohio

Girl with gun 2

“My 4 1/2 year old daughter thought the “pink one” was far superior to a black synthetic stock, who am I to argue? I never would have thought that a pink rifle would be sitting in the rack in the gun room.”

Girl with gun 3

“My wife told me to do something with my daughter after gymnastics today, she recommended going for hot chocolate or a donut. I thought, that’s not special, plus once you’ve consumed the item where does that leave you. Instead we bought a pink Crickett from my six year old daughter and wanted to say thanks for making quality affordable firearms for new shooters. The ‘girls’ option is especially appreciated because as scary as it sounds the color really helped get her excitet [sic] about it.”

Boy with GUn 1

“I just wanted to thank your company for providing a quality rimfire rifle with the younger and/or smaller shooters in mind. I have struggled for years looking to outfit my kids with a .22 rimfire rifle that fits a smaller bodied shooter and your Crickett rifle has most certainly filled that void that other gun makers seem to have overlooked. I mean to tell you that these rifles are perfectly suited for this job. Everything is scalled [sic] down proportionatly [sic] down to the last little details. Right on!!!!”

Boy with gun 2

“Greetings! I saw one of your rifles in the local WalMart store and asked the clerk if I could examine it. I am extremely impressed with the firearm! (Especially the barrel lock in the receiver!) It will be prefect [sic] for my Grandkids…”

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  • Alex Ruthrauff

    I’m very much on the liberal gun-grabber side of the political spectrum, and I’d love to see the Second Amendment repealed so we could finally get some sensible gun laws. But–my dad used to take me shooting all the time when I was that age. And to this day I “appreciate” guns as engineering marvels and, in limited contexts, useful tools. Personally, my experience with guns has made me a lot less likely than your average person to ever harm anyone with a gun. First, because I know how to handle them safely, and second, because I remember how remorseful I was after I killed a small bird with a bb gun as a young teenager. I could deal with catching and cooking a fish, but the impulse that made me shoot the bird, and the outcome, revolted me. I didn’t like hurting things. In retrospect, it’s probably better that I learned this from a bird.I’m a little squeamish about marketing a gun directly to kids, but the gun itself is arguably a safer alternative to teaching a kid to shoot with a larger gun that they can’t handle, which is what’s happening in the status quo. So again, yes, repeal the Second Amendment, and yes sensible gun laws, but as someone who knows people in the target market for this kiddie gun, I’m not especially disturbed. At worst it’s a symptom, not a cause.

    • Socialist Cubone

      What bugs me is that the reason these accidents keep happening is because people are treating .22s as if they were BB guns, and adorning these guns with brightly colored plastic pretty much encourages that kind of behavior.

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      • mtn_philosoph

        I spent many happy hours as a young boy in the late ’50s and ’60s playing “war,” “sheriffs and outlaws,” “secret agent” etc., with my little friends up and down the street, sometimes with toy guns, sometimes with sticks and sometimes with just cocked fingers. The gun itself, whether “real” (toy) or virtual, wasn’t important, it was just a prop, and this was all make-believe anyway. The fun was all in using our imaginations to turn our block into the right setting, to create the roles and the scenarios on the fly, making it all up as we went along and playing it all out. It was all about what we could collectively think up and act out. (And we didn’t need anyone to give us “structure” because we took care of that on our own, reaching agreements on what was right and what was wrong in an amazingly fair and equitable way and making sure that everyone was included, which is how kids do it.) We also never let anyone get hurt.Real guns? Feh, who needs ’em?

    • elvigy

      My problem with this is that we don’t let kids drive, or drink, or vote, or ANYTHING that requires adult reasoning and reflexes. This is for a good reason. They are kids. They are emotional, their brains aren’t fully developed, blah blah. And yet, “Here you go! Your own little death machine in a pretty color!” is OK?

      • $73376667

        Back when I was that age, I occasionally had the opportunity to use power tools, steer the lawn mower, shift gears in the car and the like. I was also occasionally offered a sip of wine during formal occasions (and not just as a sacrament).But these instances were all very much supervised (parent’s hands over mine, etc.) with the explicit understanding that these things were not toys. Just being in the same room as the power tools without adult supervision (nevermind that they were all unplugged and the electrical sockets were in the ceiling) was enough to get me a “stern talking-to.”So my problem isn’t that these kids have “their own gun” per se, but that our beloved American Gun Culture is such that these kids are allowed to fondle their guns in the home, with less care than I as an adult would show a dull knife. But this is to be expected when we have a society where, again, even the adults think it’s OK to leave their firearms leaning against a china cabinet in a dining room, and no government is allowed to step forward and say “Maybe you shouldn’t…”

  • Jon Hendry

    The first girl and the first boy have shitty parents who haven’t taught their kids correctly. They both have their finger on the trigger, which shouldn’t happen unless the gun is pointed at a safe target.

  • Fitzgerald Chesterfield

    Aren’t there any boys who chose the pink one?

    • NoNotThatOne

      Not for long.

    • DeSwiss

      Yes, but what they get is a black one instead.

  • Rabbi Finster McCabe
  • Mayor_Quimby

    A couple of those kids have shitty trigger discipline, which means they probably learned that from their parents. Or it could mean that they’re all under 8 years old, either way. I’m just going to show this to people and just ask ‘is this OK?’

  • Andrew Coleman

    These people are all [sic].

  • $73376667

    Yes, leaning against the china cabinet is totally the right way to store your firearms.I also find it interesting that this just happens to be the part of the country where All Girls Must Like Pink.

  • Paul J

    Natural selection will take care of this.

    • MrCanoehead

      Unfortunately, the guns tend to shoot *other* people.

  • justamakanik

    What I really like is there [sic] cammant [sic] of the englesh [sic] languge [sic]. Wonder how many of them are home schooled?

    • chazmanr

      I am going with “all”.

  • Lazy Media

    I would say something snarky, but I bought a ’70s-era .22 “boy’s rifle” nine years ago just to take my nephew out to the range when he was 8. He had a blast, safety was observed, and the rifle has sat quietly rusting in my gun safe since.

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  • JohnBull

    Maybe a couple of them could get some much-needed exercise carrying them around.

  • Huero222

    I just vomited looking at those photos and reading the ignorance of these parents. Lets arm our kids so they can shoot somebody at school! Thats all I can see coming from this..

  • I grew up in a house full of guns, but at the age of these kids, I wouldn’t have touched one of my father’s gun, if my life depended on it. He did take me out shooting when I was 10 or 11, but I hated it, so that was the end of my shooting career.

  • mtn_philosoph

    “Nowww… about that increase in my allowance…”

  • Robert Farr

    I killed, cleaned and ate my first rabbit when I was 8 with a Winchester ,22 varmint rifle my grandpa gave me similar to these shown in the photos. I still have it too and still hunt rabbits from time to time.

  • Conor Gladstone

    The parents of those kiddos who have their fingers on the trigger should be arrested and taken to “gunn skool’ . First rule of gun handling, and these twinkies can’t get it right. Very, very scary.