It’s been nearly a week after Kentucky 5-year-old Kristian Sparks killed his 2-year-old sister Caroline with a “Crickett” rifle, sparking a national controversy.
Visitors to www.crickett.com see a “Red Hat Enterprise Linux Test Page”.
Mark Follman of Mother Jones was referred to Crickett attorney John Renzulli, who said that the site had been “inundated and corrupted” by a surge of visitors and had been shut down by the hosting service.
However, no mention was made of how the same “corruption” had spread to Facebook and Twitter.
Renzulli acknowledged that the accidental death of the two-year-old girl in Kentucky has stirred strong emotions, but said that it was not an appropriate time to continue the debate about gun control.
“This is not about Crickett Firearms,” he said. “We need to respect the privacy of these people, this family is going through a lot. We’re not going to analyze and evaluate what happened here until a full investigation has been conducted by law enforcement. At that point we’ll comment.”
“Now Is Not The TIme”, of course, comes straight from the NRA playbook; the standard “delay and let emotions die down” response given after every major shooting event.
The Pennsylvania-based maker of Crickett rifles, Keystone Sporting Arms, markets its guns with the slogan “My First Rifle.” They are available with different barrel and stock designs, including some made in hot pink to appeal to young girls.
The Crickett website may have been closed, but the parent website is still running, as is Chipmunk Rifles, another KSA brand made specifically for children.
No Minimum Age?
Crickett.com’s About Page stated that its goal is “to instill gun safety in the minds of youth shooters and encourage them to gain the knowledge and respect that hunting and shooting activities require and deserve.”
No minimum or suggested age requirements for Crickett firearms is given on the site, though text taken from the Crickett.com home page indicates that, “The Crickett rifle is ideally sized for children four to ten years old and comes in a variety of stocks including wood stocks…”
In addition to rifles and accessories, KSA’s Crickett website sold “Davey Crickett” kids clothes and hats, and offered gun safety and “Little Jake” adventure books for kids “Grades 2-3 and up.
The site also had a “Kid’s Corner” which showed customer-provided images of children whose ages ranged mostly from five to twelve holding rifles. One even showed a Crickett rifle in the hands of a toddler.
Proud parents could also provide testimonials:
“I recently purchased one of your Davey Crickett rifles (My First Rifle) from my 7 yr. old daughter and I would like to say that i have nothing but positive things to say about it.”
“Thank you for supporting the next generation of recreational shooters. My 4 1/2 year old daughter thought the “pink one” was far superior to a black synthetic stock,who am i to argue?”
“Instead we bought a pink Crickett from my six year old daughter and wanted to say thanks for making quality affordable firearms for new shooters.”
Gone, But Not Forgotten
Anything to do with firearms is a polarizing topic, and people will no doubt debate the proper age to begin training kids, or even if kids should be trained. We do, after all, have minimum age requirements for operating vehicles and for working with dangerous equipment.
There’s also the “gun” double-standard. Would people be so protective of the company if, say, they’d been marketing “My First Chainsaw” to 5-year-old boys? Kids hoping to be grown up lumberjacks like dad, and instead ending up losing limbs?
Finally, there’s the point that a great deal of the fault lies with the parents of Kristin Sparks, who left a loaded weapon where both the 5-year-old and the 2-year-old could access it.
But that still begs the question as to whether or not the gun should have been there in the first place?
And should guns should be marketed to parents and kids like toys?
All of these things are topics for further debate and discussion.
Unless, of course, you’re afraid to do so.
Crickett.com may be conveniently “down” at the moment, but people who wish to see how KSA marketed its “Davey Crickett” weapons can still do so, as the site has been archived on the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine.
Crickett relaunched their website this afternoon, having removed all references to the “Kid’s Corner” photos featured earlier on the site’s home page. Here’s the relevant section so you can compare it to the earlier version shown above.
There’s also no reference to the Kentucky shooting, nor as to why the site was down for the past week.
- GUNFAQ: 5-Year Old Kills 2-Year Old With ‘My First Rifle’
- GUNFAQ: Kids, Guns, Negligent Homicides… And Double Standards
- Ad for My First Rifle, Used to Kill 2-Year-Old, Is Way Too Much Like Any Other Toy Commercial (adweek.com)
- Company That Sold Rifle That Killed 2-Year-Old Yanks Its Kids Advertising (businessinsider.com)
- Maker of ‘My First Rifle’ for kids disappears after toddler killed (cbc.ca)
- Anyone for Cricketts? The rifles made especially for children (independent.co.uk)