Gunning For Books

If you live in Maine, you should be familiar with guns, because you are very likely to encounter them. Most Mainers have guns in their homes. If you are not among them, it would be wise to educate yourself about guns. And if you do have guns in your home, it’s even more important to understand how to care for, use, and store them safely. 

Two books were published last fall that provide an excellent and thorough introduction and guide to firearms. These books ought to be under every Christmas tree this year in every Maine home – including those with guns.

The two books are: The Gun Book for Boys and The Gun Book for Parents, published by Shooting Sportsman Books – a subsidiary of Down East Magazine. Both are written by Silvio Calabi, Steve Helsley, and Roger Sanger. And yes, a Gun Book for Girls is coming soon.

These books are very good, non-threatening, comprehensive, well-written plain-language explanations of everything you should know about guns. The books include very interesting sections on the history of guns, hunting, and wildlife conservation.

I took the two books with me a couple of weeks ago when I spoke at the annual banquet of the Maine Citizens Against Handgun Violence, telling those who attended that it is especially important for them to understand our language, if they are going to talk guns with us.

I’ve posted that speech in the Outdoor News blog on my website:

While The Gun Book for Boys is written for children, I thoroughly enjoyed it and learned a lot. And you don’t have to wait for The Gun Book for Girls, because the boys book covers the topics well and is certainly appropriate for girls as well as boys.

The Gun Book for Parents adds important information such as how to provide a youngster with proper shooting instruction if there is no one in the family who shoots, and a lot more, from safety to legal issues to costs. No matter what your concerns about kids and guns, this book addresses them all in a thoughtful, non-judgmental way.

So, fire up the car or computer and buy these books today for your kids, your grandkids, and yourself. And have a safe and happy Christmas!

George Smith

About George Smith

George stepped down at the end of 2010 after 18 years as the executive director of the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine to write full time. He writes a weekly editorial page column in the Kennebec Journal and Waterville Morning Sentinel, a weekly travel column in those same newspapers (with his wife Linda), monthly columns in The Maine Sportsman magazine, two outdoor news blogs (one on his website,, and one on the website of the Bangor Daily News), and special columns for many publications and newsletters. Islandport Press published a book of George's favorite columns, "A Life Lived Outdoors" in 2014. In 2014, George also won a Maine Press Association award for writing the state's bet sports blog. In 2016, Down East Books published George's book, Maine Sporting Camps, and Islandport Press published George and his wife Linda's travel book, Take It From ME, about their favorite Maine inns and restaurants.