A Pennsylvania-based family business is under assault from the left following a tragedy that never should have been allowed to happen.
A 5-year-old Kentucky boy was playing with a rifle he had been given last year in his home as his mother cleaned the kitchen. When she stepped outside to dump grease from a frying pan, the firearm the boy was playing with went off, fatally striking his 2-year-old sister in the chest.
According to a report from The Associated Press, the small rifle — which is manufactured by Keystone Sporting Arms, LLC specifically for smaller-statured and beginner marksmen — was kept in the corner of the family’s rural mobile home. They were allegedly unaware that the rifle was still loaded.
An investigation is underway about the events that led up to the rifle being left lying around, loaded within the reach of two small children — and duly so. Unfortunately, the national media reaction to the tragic event hasn’t covered the investigation, which could reveal the possibility of negligence or mistake or stupidity that might have contributed to the sad result. Instead, pundits have rushed to indict Keystone as a company that profits from child murder, because it produces small, single shot .22 caliber rifles.
This author is a literal lifelong gun owner and, incidentally, I was given a .22 caliber Chipmunk rifle — a product similar to the .22 Crickett rifle central to tragic Kentucky happenings — by my grandfather in the days after my birth. Chipmunk Rifles has since been bought by Bill (father) and Steve (son) McNeal, the founders of Keystone Sporting Arms, and the guns are sold alongside a growing line of small-stature .22s.
I remember long, fun-filled afternoons shooting that rifle with my dad and younger brother (who was later also the proud owner of a Chipmunk) from a young age, always adhering to strict safety rules. My brother and I learned to respect the rifle for what it is, a deadly machine capable of taking life but also a tool that could be used to protect life, sustain life if need be or add a little joy to life on a Saturday afternoon shooting old cans and bottles for sport or hunting squirrels.
We learned the process of properly loading, handling, firing and checking the rifle, which sports a manually cocking single-shot bolt action. And when Dad felt comfortable that my brother and I had reached the age where we understood what an extreme responsibility that firearm was (around the age of 8 or so), he would leave us to practice all afternoon on the small range fashioned near the house. It was not unusual for my brother and me to plink through a 500 round box of .22 cartridges on a nice weekend afternoon, one carefully aimed shot after the next.
There was never an accident, never a bolt closed when someone was down range or when we headed back to the house to clean the rifles. And even with those bolts open, the Chipmunks were never pointed in the direction of anything that wasn’t intended to be shot.
I carry that same respect today for every firearm that I come into contact with.
In the wake of the story of the tragedy that recently occurred in Kentucky, mainstream media has had a great deal to say about Keystone Firearms and the products they sell.
MSNBC pundit Lawrence O’Donnell lashed out at the McNeals during a segment on “Last Word” late last week, claiming that the Keystone Sporting Arms owners were bad people for marketing and selling firearms that are perfectly suited for children getting into shooting.
“The McNeals hit their marketing target when a family living in a mobile home on Lawson’s Bottom Road in Cumberland County, Kentucky, bought a Crickett for their five-year-old boy,” O’Donnell said.
The bloviating talk show host went on to describe pictures of children with small rifles on the Keystone website, saying, “because the toddler obviously isn’t strong enough to lift it up. That picture is legal child pornography.”
“Because we think fastball pitching is too dangerous for 5-year-olds,” he said. “If you are concerned with child safety, you don’t give children guns, you don’t give 5-year-olds the keys to the car.”
He concluded, “You live in a country where Bill and Steve McNeal legally sell guns for 5-year-olds. Tonight, you live in a country where they make and sell guns for little kids. Because they can.”
O’Donnell’s bit was joined by a flurry of editorial- and opinion-page condemnation of the youth firearms by print and online media throughout the Nation.
As the left vehemently exploits the tragedy, Keystone Firearms has opted to remain silent until a proper investigation of the Kentucky tragedy is complete. Even so, the hateful comments by the likes of O’Donnell and his ilk has caused the company to be inundated with hate-filled emails and phone calls, some even including death threats against employees.
In an interview with Personal Liberty Digest, Keystone representative Attorney John Renzulli said: “We’re not going to comment on this tragic event at this time. That family is going through a really tough time; and out of respect for them, we have no comment regarding the incident until the investigation has been completed.”
Asked about allegations that the company was marketing a dangerous product directly to children, Renzulli pointed out the obvious: “The whole idea of saying something like that is to excite the anti-gun base. It’s a ridiculous thing to suggest that these rifles are being marketed directly to children. Can a child walk into a gun store anywhere in the Nation and buy a firearm?”
The only one who should really be called out for doing something dangerous, it seems, are the likes of O’Donnell and his army of anti-gun exaggerators; they’ve taken a tragic event, exaggerated and encouraged violent threats by toying with the emotions of their — obviously ill-informed — fans.
The left is unwilling to admit that a combination of gun education, responsibility and respect is the only real answer to lessening firearm accidents; and the people at Keystone Firearms are doing their part to foster new generations of gun owners who are more likely to grow up with those traits.
Purchase a Keystone Rifle for a budding marksman here.