A member of the shadow cabinet has attacked the ban on handguns introduced after the Dunblane massacre.
Mr Mercer believes in closer contact with guns
Conservative homeland security spokesman Patrick Mercer described the move as "nonsense".
Instead, Mr Mercer said some children in rural areas should be trained to handle and therefore respect dangerous firearms.
In March 1996, 16 children and their teacher were shot dead in the Dunblane primary school gym.
The MP for Newark told a fringe meeting of his party's spring conference that gun crimes were like "joy riding".
He said people were killed by cars, but cars were not banned.
"It is so much more sensible in my view to train children to handle and have a respect for weapons than simply to ban them," he told the meeting.
But speaking to BBC Radio's Good Morning Scotland programme, Mr Mercer said his views had to be taken in a rural context.
He said: "I said that there was an argument to say that if children, youngsters, are to be able to handle proper firearms safely, later on in life, particularly on the farm, then they should be able to handle them and be taught how to use them safely."
His comments have already provoked outrage in some quarters.
Politicians from other parties have called for Mr Mercer to be sacked and members of the campaign which argued for the handgun ban said he had come up with a guaranteed vote loser.
Mick North, who lost his daughter Sophie in the Dunblane shooting, said he had been worried the Conservatives were changing policy on a handgun ban.
But he added: "As far as his other comments are concerned, I think he's pushing a line that the gun lobby are always pushing and that is introduce guns to children at an early age and you've got future shooters and customers there.
"We don't introduce children to other kinds of lethal equipment until they're really old enough and I don't really see why guns are any different."
Mr North said that since the mid 1990s firearms offences in Scotland had fallen significantly.
Mr Mercer, a former colonel who served in Bosnia and Northern Ireland, was
elected to the House of Commons in 2001.