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Saturday, April 27, 2019

Toy Guns

Toy Guns
Princess Kate and young Prince George
I was just reading an article about children who play with toy guns. Several experts had studied whether or not toy gun play leads to later violence.  The answer depends on which expert was asked.

When I was a young crank, I played with toy guns all the time.  I had cap guns that fired rolls as fast as you could pull the trigger.  I had toy pistols and rifles.  My friends and I played cops and robbers and cowboys and Native Americans almost every day.  I watched westerns with tons of gun fights, and police shows where the bad guy was told to “Stop or I’ll shoot” and if he did not stop, he got shot.

There was lots of violence on TV and lots of play violence in my yard.

I have never fired a real gun in my life…never wanted to, probably never will.

My older brothers had a Red Rider bee-bee gun.  They shot toy soldiers and targets.  I think one of them may have shot a bird once.  That event cured both of ever wanting to shoot at anything except inanimate objects.  I don’t believe either of my brothers ever shot a real gun. 

Wait…My mom got a 22 rifle because she was afraid the ground hogs were destroying her property and her house was going to fall into her creek.  Jim did fire that gun at the ground hogs.  He only fired to scare them and make mom happy.

I have three sons.  They all had toy guns, but not, as I remember, as many as I had.  They probably had more water pistols, and nerf bullet guns than cap guns.  To my knowledge none of them have ever actually fired a real gun.

My daughter never played with toy guns.  She is married to a retired Army Ranger.  She has fired a real gun, but only at targets and skeets.

I learned Latin in school.  I have never spoken Latin since.  I learned algebra, geometry and some calculus in school.  Except for A2+B2 = C2, I have never used those math skills.

I am not an expert, but I do have opinions. 

In my opinion playing with a baseball does not make a child grow up to play for the Yankees, learning to ride a bike does not lead to the Tour de France, and playing with toy guns is not a gateway to mass murder.

Personally, I do not like guns but I do not believe there is anything wrong with children playing with toy guns

I will admit that in todays anti-gun climate, I would probably discourage my children from playing with anything other than a water pistol.  It is not worth getting neighborhood lectures or drive-by stink-eyes!


  1. In our house, most of the TV shows we watched had guns, they were usually westerns and the double movie feature at the local cinema every Thursday was "Western Night". My brother and I both played with his toy guns as children and eventually he got a BB gun, which he used to shoot tin cans along the back fence, I tried but always missed so I gave up. He got the gun taken away when he shot at a bird on a neighbour's windowsill and smashed the window. My grandchildren only ever had water pistols.

  2. There are more guns in use in the UK now but once upon a time, during my growing up years, guns weren't allowed. Not ever! Now it's knives that seem to be the weapon favoured by most!!

  3. Your second-to-last sentence mirrors my attitude perfectly. And, reading about your brother's reaction after shooting a bird recalls something my dad said once, one of the very, very few comments he made about arriving Normandy Beach on the day after D-Day. "The reason I will never go deer hunting is because I know what it feels like to be hunted."

  4. Those of us of a certain age had cap guns. We didn’t think anything about it until a finger or two got slightly burned when we used a rock to to snap a cap off. The world wasn’t as violent then and disputes were settled by fistfights and not AK15s. I grew up in NYC and the only person we knew who had a gun was Sargent Sexton who lived down the street and we were all in awe of him. We didn’t fear going to school except for being admonished by a nun with a ruler. Now, guns in homes seem to be the norm and children are curious. Bad things happen. Best just to have water pistols.

  5. My son never played with toy guns because I didn't see any point to it. It seemed disturbing to think about him pointing it at his two sisters. But I understand how it was different for past generations. I do find it ironic that people who make a big deal about not allowing toy guns seem to be fine with atrocious video games.

  6. Sad to admit that I did once use a gun against a human. When I was about 9, I had a BB gun and a neighbor boy dared me to shoot him so I did, in the leg. Boy did it leave a mark. Even though I told my parents that Jimmy double dog dared me--have no idea what he was thinking--I never got the gun back.
    I think the biggest fear of giving children even toy guns today is that they look too real and several children have been shot by the police over toy pistols.

  7. But of course, since you and I were kids, even water-pistols have gone nuclear. I can only imagine the Last Day of School with Super-Soakers. . .

    Meh. . . as long as little boys have index fingers, there will be toy guns. . .

  8. I carried a gun for 25 years. I've shot many during qualifications. I never shot anyone. I never wanted to draw that gun and I never did except for qualifying at the range. I'm thankful for that. I'm retired now, and rarely carry. I'm good with that.

    Have a fabulous day, Joe. ☺

  9. Actual studies barely exist and those that do have fundamental flaws introduce by those with an agenda. Playing with toy guns is no more an indicator than using a steak knife or whittling causes a slasher or playing with dolls creates a rapist. The problem is choice, not anecdotal silliness fostered by (sorry, it grates my gills) brain damaged control freaks. Wait, did I say that?

    Anyhow, the problem is choice.

  10. I grew up in a family that fished and hunted. Before I was old enough to handle a gun I was used as a "beater" to scare up pheasants or prairie chickens (grouse) for the men to shoot. I went hunting with my dad only once as a young man and was a pretty good shot. And I shot lots of rabbits with a 22 rifle because a local man would pay money for the skins. I fired a 357 magnum once and it so scared me I've never fired a gun since.

  11. Agreeing with you, and just as Craig pointed out, boys will play with toy guns even if they have to make their own and few of them grow up to be violent. One friend of mine banned toy guns and her son would nibble his toast into the shape of a pistol.

  12. Hick's two older boys had their BB guns taken away for having a 3-way shooting battle with a friend. No, they didn't shoot an eye out, but a BB was lodged under the skin of a forearm. They know how to take guns apart (and even put them back together). They each have a couple, for hunting.

    The two younger boys never showed much interest, except in NERF guns, which of course they used to shoot each other. I don't think they could take a gun apart. They show no interest in inheriting any of Hick's collection.

  13. I tried not to have son play with toy guns but he found other things to mimic as guns, sticks, etc. Hubby has guns and taught son "proper" respect for them, safe handling, etc. If hubby passes before me, I'm getting rid of the guns (not sure yet if I'll give them to son). There was major contention in the household when son bought a gun and his wife didn't favor his decision but her opinion of them changed after they went to a shooting range. I respect them, I realize they are "needed" at times but it wouldn't have been my idea to have them or to have son express a "desire" to play with them.


  14. "In my opinion playing with a baseball does not make a child grow up to play for the Yankees, learning to ride a bike does not lead to the Tour de France, and playing with toy guns is not a gateway to mass murder." It's hard to argue with any of that from my perspective, but it makes common sense so I know some will come up with arguments.

    I have fired guns but it's been far more often that I have attended peace rallies and anti-war demonstrations.

  15. The trouble is that nowadays the toy guns look realistic enough to be mistaken for the real thing. THAT would worry me...not the toy guns that we used to play with.