There was once a nice post in rec.knives about carrying knives/bbguns while growing up in the good old days of not very long ago.
Basically, it mentioned common practice of Boy Scouts, including the guy who wrote the essay, of wearing sheath knives to school with pride, since the knife itself was a merit award. Also about going everywhere in his rural community carrying bbguns or .22's, plus the sheath knives. Someone else suggested that maybe even back then losers didn't bother such kids for the obvious reasons!
I find this to be a great and fine topic. I recall the Big Phase Shift around here. We used to go hunting/shooting right from our house and on down the dirt road. Then the burbs came and the road was paved, but we kept up our habits. We noticed ever more startled car drivers. I suppose seeing youths with guns was startling...to cityslickers. I recall bringing guns to school during hunting season, sometimes even storing them in my locker, along with hides I was tanning in Biology class! Many of us carried jackknives. Sometimes we'd sleep in our old Blazer in the parking lot coz we'd hunt from one day to the next. Guns galore in that old rig. But no one ever bothered us. Another sign of "the end" came when we were frog-hunting at the old pond---which had new houses being built on its far side. We were always safe-shooters, but a realty lady called the cops and a car came out thru the field, airborne like Starsky & Hutch and the cop slid to a stop by the pond and told us to drop our weapons. I said 'it's just a bbgun' and he yelled again and drew and aimed at me. I put down my Sheridan. He was a newcomer. We weren't.
Many times I got the impression of officers just passing thru our area in their careers. (Bad practice, I say! Transience being one of our greatest social ills.) The newcomers would NEVER know the laws pertaining to hunting, guns, snake/turtle catching. So we had to work around them, not with them, to continue our heritage. The newcomer cityslicker officers obviously grew up with and were trained in different value systems (their value of bureacracy not being respected by many in rural areas, I suspect). Anyway, I think it's odd seeing the media hype about "kids and guns, that's the *worst* thing!" I conclude that it's actually some type of cultural statement: what they mean is *neglected* kids with guns are trouble. But they won't say that coz the neglected kids are often their own!
But you can't discriminate between the *quality* of kids nowadays.
But I know that shooting, hunting, and gun-knife-ownership are safe, popular activities for MILLIONS of U.S. kids! Because many kids are very responsible and many still are vital links in the heritage of their family trade and can be trusted! Scouting, 4H and many other youth shooting and outdoor sport programs are still serving millions every year. The literal 'Million Mom March' could easily be represented by those moms whose kids legally own their own guns. But they will likely always be a silent majority. As well they should. (They have better things to do, so just leave them be.) There are hundreds of full time scholarships in the shooting sports to college. Many Olympic titles have been won by teenage shooters (in archery, riflery, shotgun and pistol, in airgun and firearm). Perhaps teens ought to even have access to proper self-defense tools.
It's also worth noting that modern troubles are creeping into the countryside and giving rise to things like the two recent rural high school shootings.
But you should see the faces of 'anti's' when I take issue with the 'gun-kid-bad' notion, which they completely take for granted.