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With the Christmas shopping orgy well under way, never forget that the ultimate gifts that keep on giving throughout life for young and old are guns.

For the young boys and girls, cap guns and holsters, nerf guns, toy bows and arrows with the suction cup arrows and other assorted toy guns and associated accessories are the obvious choice.

Whatever you do, don’t forget to teach your rootin’ tootin’ boys and girls how to quick draw their cap guns and how to twirl them on one finger Roy Rogers style.

For the pre-teen boys and girls, air-soft guns are a great gift to help develop hand-eye coordination and stealth. Make sure Santa brings plenty of ammo and safety glasses.

Getting the kids outdoors to play “army” is a great way for otherwise housebound children to get some much needed exercise and to begin to learn the basics of predator/prey cause and effect and the thought-provoking, intellect-expanding creativity of setting up the ultimate ambush.

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For the 10 to 12-year-olds, BB guns will hit the bull’s-eye. The Daisy Red Ryder BB gun is arguably the most important gun in the history of modern firearms. A Red Ryder is a great way to begin teaching basic marksmanship and instilling fundamental gun safety rules.

In addition to Red Ryder BB guns, I also recommend putting a bow and arrows under the tree. From easy to pull Bear recurve bows to wonderful Genesis compound bows, kids will instantly gravitate to the mystical flight of the arrow and embrace the inescapable joys and lessons of the never-ending “aim small miss small” discipline.

For the teenagers, Santa will bring a huge smile to the faces of these young people by wrapping up a single-shot .22 rifle or a .410 or .20 gauge shotgun. Single-shot guns teach discipline and marksmanship. With continued proper gun safety instruction, a single-shot .22 rifle or shotgun will open the door for a lifetime of ballistic fun.

For those young people interested in hunting, Santa should also sign them up for a hunter safety course and a gun safety course. Mom and dad should also plan to attend the courses with their sons and daughters.

Everyone knows that when we take our kids hunting, we don’t have to hunt for our kids.

As the young people well into their teenage years and who have attended hunter safety courses and gun safety courses, I recommend a pump shotgun or a lever or bolt action rifle with a little more of a bang factor, or a compound bow – or both! Santa could leave a gift certificate for a great hunting trip under the tree if the kids have been especially good this year.

For the young hunter in the family, warm camouflage, ammunition and new arrows are great Christmas presents that will be deeply appreciated.

Santa should also consider buying young people a membership in the National Rifle Association. The NRA offers a tremendous amount of bullet-proof information for young people to learn from and programs to advance their gun and freedom knowledge.

Guns and bows and arrows are great gifts for Santa Claus to leave under the Christmas tree. Believe me, I know. The inescapable disciplines of the exciting shooting sports played a huge role in keeping me clean and sober my entire life.

The gift of firepower is the gift that never stops giving. Merry Christmas, happy shooting and happy hunting to everyone.

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