For generations of young boys, the ultimate Christmas gift meant one thing: a BB gun.
But mom wasn't easily convinced. "You'll shoot your eye out!" she famously told young Ralphie in the classic holiday movie A Christmas Story.
Or worse. BB guns can kill, too.
Walton County authorities say it was a Daisy Roger .177 caliber BB gun that critically injured a four year old Freeport boy late Saturday afternoon, after his older cousin accidentally shot him in the chest. The victim was rushed to Bay Medical Sacred Heart and later taken to Shands Hospital in Gainesville for continuing treatment.
Modern air rifles that shoot BBs or pellets aren't as powerful as other firearms but can generate the same velocity as a .22 caliber rifle. "They should be treated just like what everybody considers a firearm," Billy Lake, manager of Jay's Guns & Accessories in Panama City, said. "They're still guns, they're capable of taking a life [and] they should be treated with the same safety precautions as any other firearm is treated."
Basic safety rules apply to all firearms:
Lake said parents should take responsibility for keeping kids safe around firearms. "Parents should think about how they're going to control access to the firearm and make sure the child is old enough and responsible enough to comprehend the safety issues," he said.
Click here to view the National Rifle Association Parents' Guide to Gun Safety.