While most 3-year-olds might hope to get toys for their birthday, Elaih Wagan of Austin, Texas, got a more unusual gift this past weekend in the form of a lifetime membership to the National Rifle Association.
At the NRA's annual convention in Houston, Wagan's grandfather made her the group's youngest lifetime member when he paid her dues as a birthday gift, NBC News reported. A lifetime membership costs $1000.
Wagan later appeared on stage with her family to be honored by NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre.
(See the photo above)
On Sunday, the NRA followed up by holding "Youth Day," a series of exhibits catering toward younger shooters.
“I like guns because guns are fun,” 9-year-old attendee Kaykay Mace said, according to the New York Daily News.
The NRA's "Youth Day" and its decision to proudly tout its youngest member comes as the debate over gun safety has expanded to include questions about marketing guns and gun ownership to children.
Dan Baum, author of the book "Gun Guys," argued on Thursday that "teaching young children to shoot" is a "good thing," just days after a 5-year-old fatally shot his 2-year-old sister with a .22-caliber Crickett rifle he'd received as a gift. The incident led to widespread criticism of parent company Keystone Sporting Arms. Over the weekend, it removed a variety of online content that was specifically targeted to the youngest potential gun owners.
The issue also arose during some of the NRA's other events. Gun safety advocate and firearms instructor Rob Pincus raised eyebrows by suggesting to members that they keep a gun safe in their children's bedroom.
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