We all remember the story from a few months ago where a 9-year-old girl on vacation with her family in Arizona accidentally shot and killed her shooting instructor. It made national news with lots of attention on the fact that children should not be handling guns, especially guns the size she was learning how to shoot. But Shyanne Roberts, a 10-year-old girl from New Jersey is changing that thought perception. She is trying to set the example that children can handle guns safely.
Earlier this year, Shyanne testified before the state Assembly’s Law and Public Safety Committee hearing against a bill reducing the legal limit of rounds in a firearm’s magazine. The bill was vetoed by Governor Chris Christie a few months after that, but there continues to be a great deal of attention on Shyanne’s amateaur competitive shooting career and outspoken opposition to gun control measures.
She has made quite a stir in the media appearing on Fox and Friends twice in three days, was featured in a CNN article that drew more than 4.5 million page views, and most recently she and her family appeared on the national news show Dateline.
All this attention has brought her more than 20 unsolicited sponsors as well as custom-made firearms and supplies. Shyanne’s father, Dan Roberts is a firearms instructor and gun rights advocate. He believes that so much focus is on his daughter because she goes against the typical stereotype of a gun enthusiast. He shares,
“This is actual normal Americana, kids using guns regularly, safely and having fun doing it. For most of the country, it’s like ‘Yeah, this is not a big deal.'”
Of course not all of the attention has been positive. She has also been featured in other articles facing a lot of criticism from gun control advocates. Bryan Miller is the leader of a faith-based, anti-gun violence group called Heeding Gods Call. He believes,
“When you hand a child a firearm, you are forcing them to make a life and death decision that they are incapable of, and never should be responsible for.”
Overall, the family is pleased with the general response from people. Shyanne’s father wants to make it clear to readers that there is a distinction between reminding his young daughter of what she wants to say during interviews and writing a script out of for her. And of course, they are not letting the criticism get to them.
Shyanne recently traveled to Georgia to compete with masters in the sport in Brownell’s Lady 3-Gun Pro Am Challenge. Although she did not place in the competition where she was the youngest competitor, Shyanne still sees it as a victory. She was just excited to be able to meet the women she looks up to. Despite her loss, her father, Dan, said,
“That’s not what we went down there for. We wanted to go down there so she could compete in her first national 3 gun match, learn from the best in the county and prove that kids can use guns safely at a very high level and have a heck of a lot of fun doing it.”