Arming children with the facts about guns

by Robert Gavin, Times Union  |  published on November 28, 2012

Should children be allowed to handle guns?

In Rensselaer County, two probation officers say yes — although it is unclear if the practice is legal.

Court papers obtained by the Times Union show that two of the county’s probation officers said under oath that they allowed their young children to handle their unloaded service weapons as a way to satisfy the children’s curiosity about guns.

The accounts surfaced in an Albany County Family Court battle between one of the officers and her estranged husband, who questioned his wife’s decision. In court papers, the probation officer, Kelly Miazga, said she allowed her sons — ages 9 and 10 at the time — to handle her weapon on Oct. 26, 2011.

“I first unloaded the gun outside of their presence, then showed the children that it was unloaded and allowed them to handle the gun under my supervision,” she said in a statement. “I did not allow them to pull the trigger or point the gun in any direction. I explained how a gun works and how dangerous it is to touch a gun under any circumstances.”

Miazga, an officer since 2007, was required to carry a firearm after she joined the department’s response team, which works with other law enforcement agencies to handle often dangerous situations.

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