I had lunch yesterday with my mother, and we talked about my 10 year old nephew, Skyler. Recently, I've had the idea that I want to get him his first firearm. It would be in my name until he turns 18, and I would keep it locked up at my place. But....I don't know if it would be worth it to get him a gun, based on a very long conversation that my mother had with me about him. The details of which I didn't know. Let me explain.... He's my sister's only child. She does not have custody of him because she has a history with drugs and alcohol. Despite my trying to talk about it with my mother, she's animate that my sister is not fit to raise a child. She currently lives with a boyfriend...who she met in rehab, and who has a family of his own (from what I understand). So I guess my mother has a point there. My sister still visits her son regularly (from what I understand), but she's not fit to raise a child. I personally have not seen my sister in a few years, nor do I want anything to do with her until she can be trusted. The father isn't in the picture AT ALL. He moved on with his life and met another girl who has a family. That's his life now. He wants absolutely nothing to do with his son. There's major tension between him, my family, and his own family (he has issues with his own mother). This seems to be a recycled pattern, since his own father did pretty much the exact same thing to him. He was 16 when he knocked my sister up (she was in her 20s), and for a while they made it work. They lived together in a beautiful apartment, had very good jobs, and both had their own cars. He stayed in high school and graduated. Then my sister relapsed back into drugs; specifically Heroine. They both developed a $5,000/day habit with sales and personal use before my sister lost her job, was evicted from her apartment, and lost her car. She hit rock-bottom and spent a couple months in rehab. He tried (I guess) making it work, but my sister is not exactly the most stable person in the world. For that, I can't fault him for moving on. But he's a bastard for not being there for his own son. So now Skyler lives at his grandparent's house here in town (his father's parent's house, not mine). But they are both uneducated Washingtonians who are disconnected from reality. They're also of the belief that "God will put things right" (whereas I'm of the belief that Religion is great...as long as you have a healthy dose of common sense in your daily life as well). So, on top of both of them working low-wage retail jobs 10 hours a day, they also raise 3 children: Skyler (who they have primary custody of), Skyler's cousin (their child), and Skyler's best-friend (who they also have custody over because of home problems of his own). As a result, discipline is not high in this house. And as a result, my nephew is HUGE. Absolutely morbidly obese. He eats what he wants, and doesn't get any exercise. They don't make him eat healthy, and are more concerned about being his friend than being a responsible guardian. I can't raise Skyler myself. I've got personal issues of my own, and I live in a one-bedroom apartment that is not suited for anyone more than I. My mother is furious and frustrated about the situation Skyler is in, but there is little that she can do about any of this. My father works full time traveling, so there's also not much he can do about this either. That, and they're both old (my mother is 60, and my father will be there soon as well), and they can't raise a child full time. My mother does what she can, but she also works. So my mother is trying to get him to go to "Lego Camp", which I guess is some kind of babysitting job for kids or something where they learn about building things. But Skyler is bailing out and deciding that he doesn't want to go. I'm not sure why, but if I had to guess I'd say it's because he can't keep up with the other kids because of his weight. And he's depressed. There is absolutely NO question in my mind that he's depressed. As someone who's dealt with depression, I know what he's going through. He wants his father (who doesn't want him), and he wants his mother (who can't take him). He's going to be bullied by others when school starts up because of his weight, and my fear is that he'll become a bully himself. These people who are his legal guardians (the people I mentioned) don't raise him properly, and my mother is afraid to just confront them and give them a piece of her mind (which I support....hell, I'd even do it myself). He was going to counseling a few years back until that Doctor retired. Now I'm looking around for a shrink that he can see, who specializes in kids. My mother knows he has depression as well, and she's trying to get him into counseling too. I also want to get him into Boy Scouts (former Boy Scout and Explorer Scout myself), but if he's bailing on a simple day camp, I don't know how he's going to keep up a weekly scout-meeting schedule; never-mind camping trips. So.....having said all of this.....do you think a gun is the right gift to give him? Here's my reasoning (and by the way, I've JUST found out how bad all of this is, I didn't know when I thought up this gift): -I could take him to the range (not sure if there's one close by that allows kids...it's not looking promising). -I could get him involved in shooting sports as a child, which I hope would develop into responsibility and become something fun for him to be active in. -It would get him out of the house, and I could develop a relationship with him. We could both become active, which is something both of us seriously need. -He could meet new people, and hopefully kids his own age. I'm thinking a Ruger .22 pistol, or a Ruger .22 Rifle. But...with all that's going on in his life, where do you think the priorities should be? Counseling first? We all only want what's best for this kid. When football season starts up, my father and I are taking him with us each weekend to a new 49er Club that we found recently (before that, we were going to a 49er Club at a bar that didn't allow children). But that's not enough. He needs more than that. Thanks folks. I'm open to suggestions.