Duluth, MN (NNCNOW.com) - 10-year-old Nick Adkins isn't old enough to have a hunting permit yet, but he's well on his way.
“We had him out here last Fall for his first 22 and he did really good,” said Nick’s Grandpa, Skip Lovold.
In a cell phone video, Lovold is heard providing his grandson with some safety tips prior to firing off the gun.
"It's been in our family for generations, before I even started hunting. It’s a culture,” Lovold said.
Hunting and gun safety go hand in hand in this family affair, typical of what you'll find in the Northland.
It's a culture that's growing up around guns, and for the newest generation of hunters, like Nick, growing up in a heated debate over gun control.
The debate took center stage at the Minnesota Capitol on the heels of recent shooting tragedies in Newtown, Connecticut and Accent Signage in Minneapolis.
One side pushed for tougher laws that would beef up background checks and ban certain guns while others argued for their constitutional right to bear arms.
Despite stiff opposition to gun control regulations in the state of Minnesota, those who say it infringes on their second amendment rights say there are ways to curb gun violence. One of those ways? Gun Safety Education.
"Once that trigger is pulled, a bullet cannot be taken back,” explained Tim Jezierski, a gun safety instructor.
Jezierski recently spent some time with us at the Agate Bay Gun Club in Two Harbors explaining the importance of proper gun use.
“If you treat is as if it's loaded, you never point at anything unless you intend to shoot it, you do not put your finger on the trigger until you intend to pull that trigger, and you know what you're target is and what's beyond it,” he said.
Another component of gun safety is safely storing firearms and proper upkeep.
"If a mechanic doesn't take care of his tools, it's not going to perform well and it's not going to perform right,” Jezierski said.
If you ask the Adkins, everyone should take a gun safety class even if you don't ever plan to own a gun.
They say, unlike gun control talks, safety isn't debatable. It's a must.
“You're learning, Lovold told his grandson. “A couple of more years and you'll be ready.”
According to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, you have to be 11-years-old to take a gun safety instruction course.