My experience with firearms as a kid was limited, but at least I had some.
I did some shooting through the Boy Scouts. I remember shooting black powder rifles at Scout camp a few times and thinking it was neat, although they have a heck of a kick. I remember shooting a shotgun once or twice at skeet, and that was cool. And I have hazy recollections of what must have been a .22 range.
Additionally, at my grandmother's house, my dad had some shooting paraphernalia left over from his youth. During the summer, I spent afternoons in the big backyard with a bow and arrow and lever-action BB gun. I know that as a young man he enjoyed handgun shooting, and there was actually what I think was a handgun range in the basement of the house that always seemed kind of mysterious but intriguing.
On the downside, until I started shooting in the military, I could not name the primary safety rules. I didn't see the problem with pretending to use realistic fake guns or air guns when playing army as a kid. As a high school age student, I knew about muzzle control (i.e., don't point the gun at stuff you don't want to shoot), and I knew that horseplay was stupid, but that's about it. I couldn't tell you if an auto handgun had a round chambered (or how to clear it if there was one chambered!). I didn't know how safeties, or hammers, or other mechanical actions worked. In short, I had some common sense, but I wasn't a "gun proofed" kid by any means.
We never had a gun in the house that I know of when I was growing up. My father was in the service and until recently, its been a huge pain to move with firearms because some states are highly restrictive, which might play a role in that. He says that if he ever felt that he needed a gun to stay safe, then it'd be time to move; so if he didn't enjoy it as a hobby as much anymore, why keep it around?
So, while, my experience was limited, at least guns were not stigmatized and held up as idols of fear and senseless violence. They just weren't for our house.
30 minutes ago