Do Your Kids Play With Guns?

Do Your Kids Play With Guns?

Why are we always one season or holiday ahead of ourselves?  I can barely find a summery dress when all the stores are displaying sweaters, jackets and boots.  I'm far from ready to look at the Back to School displays, although my daughter will be devastated if I don't buy the Hello Kitty backpack she is insisting for Preschool.

Then in yesterday's mail arrived the coveted first of the Halloween catalogs.   I always envisioned myself making my kids' costumes by hand, as my mom did for me. It is a sad reality that not one kid in the my son's class last October wore a handmade costume.   My son immediately picked The Green Lantern costume.  I don't even think he has seen a Green Lantern movie or show, but somehow media works on a 5 year old.

The problem with Green Lantern is it comes with a gun, and we have a no gun policy in our house. Sounds like it would be an easy rule to follow, but for a superhero loving kid entering Kindergarten, it seems every single boy's toy has a gun, pistol or revolver.  Then there are bubble guns, squirt guns and paint guns.

I understand the debate, that although my child doesn't have any toy guns in the house he can make a gun out of a baseball bat, a plastic hammer, a part of his Toy Story play house and his hands. Really I think the blame goes back to the toy companies who make these.  Are they necessary?  Can't they sell Han Solo without his pistol?

Just when my husband begins to convince me that maybe I should loosen up, a man shoots a 29 year old in the head in broad day light on the State Street bridge.  Clearly, there is no reason for more guns in our world.

Do you allow your kid's to play with guns?

I apologize for bringing up the autumn holiday as it is still two months away.  Go outside and resume summer.

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    I do not have children but I have a good example of how proper gun safety can be passed along to children. My best friend has two boys ages 5 and 7. Obviously the boys like to play with toy guns and that is allowed in their home. However, there is one rule. Guns are NEVER to be pointed at people even people on the television. Being that the boys come from a long line of hunters, my friend and her husband introduced the boys to the idea that guns can only be used to shoot animals not people.

  • In reply to Meatatarian:

    I like that idea. It seems like a good compromise. Thanks for your comment.

  • Do you allow your kid's to play with guns?

    Yes. My 5 year old daughter has a toy side-by-side shotgun that I bought for her. She also has an old school cap gun the she got from her grandfather. She has been a junior member of the NRA since she was 6 months old. My wife and I are both concealed carry permit holders in Minnesota, Florida and a handful of other states. Our intention is raise to our daughter with a full knowledge of firearms. When she is 18 she can make her own decision as to what to do with that knowledge, but she will know how to defend herself in a worst case scenario.

  • No, we do not allow guns in our homes but I'm starting to rethink that. Because, my almost 4 year old makes everything else a gun. He can be playing with leggos, sticks, or anything else and he makes it into the shape of a gun. I'm beginning to think he plays guns anyway that I may as well let him have a play gun because he is going to play guns no matter what. I do try to enforce the 'no-pointing at people' rule but it hasn't totally sunk in yet.

  • We allow guns. Let's face it, as soon as the kids are out of our sight, they make guns out of Legos, their fingers, a stick, or anything else that is straight. Our big rules, though, with any gun is that the kids cannot shoot any innocent civilians or captives. So, if people don't have guns or have surrendered, no shooting. It's a fun, friendly way to lay down the rules and kids tend to comply when it's just a set rule of the game.

  • Being involved in the outdoors and an avid hunter and a retired police officer, guns have been in my house for a long time and they have been seen.

    When I was in law enforcement, I work a gun going and out of my home so my daughter saw it all the time. But she was educated and that's our responsibility. We’ve never had a problem.

    I say that it's wrong to make a firearm of any kind a mystery to the kids. If they have no education about them when the do see one, it's only natural that they will be curious. They'll want to get a closer look. They'll want to touch it. And even in make believe they'll want to pull the trigger. How many times have we heard of tragic accidents that happen like this?

    Kids must learn that guns are not toys.

    Just last Sunday I took my 13 year old nephew to the Frankfort Sportsman Club to learn how to shoot a shotgun. He never shot one, never handled one before. Two NRA certified shotgun instructors who belong to the club taught my nephew all about shooting stressing safety comes first. I suggest taking a look at this YouTube video that I have on my blog. AND, talk with your kids about firearms. Keep the "no gun" policy if that's what you want, but don't shelter your children from them.

    Most simply said, "Curiosity killed the cat."

    See ....
    http://www.chicagonow.com/illinois-outdoors/2011/08/13-year-old-learns-to-shoot-a-shotgun/

  • In reply to Don Dziedzina:

    I think that is a very interesting point. It is very important to educate your kids and not keep guns a mystery.

  • Maybe we should ban all toys. Take all the joy out of childhood. No baseball bats, because they are used as weapons. No toy dinner sets because they contain forks and knives that are used as weapons. Cars or trucks. They can teach kids to flee the police and wind up in fiery crashes.

    While we are at it we should ban parks. They just teach our kids to be professional corner hangers-on. We should ban all recreation for children so there is no potential they can use their imaginations to create and live out evil scenarios. Every toy and all recreation has the potential to turn our children into future serial killers and mass murderers.

    We should ban books too. Anyone who has been hit in the head with a book knows the painful damage it does.

    Let's just ban everything. Protect our children by locking them into a dark closet until they reach adulthood.

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    A man was shot on State Street because someone, for some reason, wanted him dead. Look down at other animals and you will see intra-species violence. It happens even there, where one animal, for whatever reason, wishes to see another one of it's species dead for some reason. The act and the desire long predated the existence of guns; why believe guns are anyway the root cause of the issue?

  • My question for you is- what do you know about the gun-toting characters your kids idolize? I noticed you say "Hans Solo without his sword," when the character's name is Han and he carries a blaster pistol. Kids are going to see these characters no matter what, and I think it's a good idea for us to really KNOW the heroes instead of just assuming what they're about... and if they are positive role models.

    For example, you said the 5-year-old hasn't seen Green Lantern, but is affected by the media. Maybe you could watch the Green Lantern movie, or read a Green Lantern comic? That way, you'll know not only why that character has a gun, but what the hero stands for in general. "Gun or no gun" isn't the only thing to judge an idol on. Is he smart? Moral? Kind to children, women, and animals?

    After exposing yourself to a bit of Green Lantern, Han Solo, etc., you'll have more firepower (no pun intended) to deeply talk to your kid about the hero, the gun, and Halloween. Mama still knows best! :)

  • In reply to Lauren:

    Thanks for letting me know it is Han Solo, not Hans Solo. I will make the change. That is a valid suggestion to learn more about who the characters really are.

  • Absolutely not, my kids were only allowed to play with guns when in a room full of liberals, and then I made sure that the guns were real

  • How about you be a parent instead of a media watchdog? It's everyone else's fault but your own, right? Must be video games or the Power Rangers. Kids will do what kids will do. You as a parent must speak to them and understand why they like what they like. Be involved. Teach them. They will listen to you. Trust me.

    Or, you know, just blog it out and complain that toy companies are to blame for your child's erratic behavior. Whatever.

  • Dear Yogamom, I applaud your no toy gun home and the fact that you have been able to keep toy guns out up to this point. I, too was a no toy gun mom some fifteen years ago when my oldest kids were young. I realized it was not working when my 18 month old son, the youngest of three with two older sisters, chewed his toast into a gun and shot me at the breakfast table. I lost my mind, where had I gone wrong, what kind of monster was I creating and who shoots their mom with a piece of toast?! I calmed down and became proactive. Allowing guns that didn't look like "real" guns and eventually we acquired some that did. My steadfast rule was no pointing at heads or faces. I know, seems a little wimpy for a "no gun" mom, but it worked for us. Now my battles have moved on to violent video games. Good luck to you.

  • It doesn't work for me, but I'm not one for intervening too heavily in the way others raise their kids. However, I don't think the "no guns" approach makes sense. Before I get too far into it, though, I'll confess my checkered past: I'm a former military officer and retired law enforcement officer. I have a healthy respect for guns, but I'm not wigged out by them.

    First, I think that in taking the "no toy guns" approach, parents seriously underestimate the ability of children to differentiate between play and reality. If a child becomes a sociopathic killer, it's most assuredly not because of the toys he had access to as a kid. Something else has gone very wrong. So, first, I'd ask what a parent is trying to accomplish through a "no toy guns" rule . . . absolutely none of the kids with whom I grew up, pretty much all of whom played with toy weapons, ever went off their rocker and committed acts of violence. By way of analogy, I see a lot of kids playing with toy cars and smashing them into each other, but I don't think that translates into an adult propensity to intentionally drive a real car into another.

    Here's another confession: since I'm a retired law enforcement officer, I'm permitted to carry a firearm. I do so frequently and I'm obsessive about safety. I fear that making toy guns off-limits may make them fascinating and irresistable to kids, potentially resulting in tragedy if they ever do come across a real one. A couple of folks have already suggested this, but I think the better approach to this question is to let your kids have all the toy guns they want, but to talk to them about the rules for real guns and how the notion of what's permissible with a plastic squirt gun is not permissible with a real gun. This is the perfect "teachable moment" for telling a child how to deal with discovering a real gun.

  • Toy guns were OK back in the day, but in this day of heavy glorification of gun violence in the media, I feel kids can do without it. Besides, there are many other toys and activities for children to do. Guns, real or not, DO NOT belong in a child's hands.

  • Interesting post. When my youngest was a child, he loved guns. I wouldn't allow them in my house unless it was a bright orange water gun. That didn't stop him. Being the artist that he is, he took my tampons out of the linen closet, pushed out the cotton and made a lifelike pistol with tape. I was PO'd. not only because he made the gun but, Tampons are expensive! He went on to become a member of NRA - a long story. But he is a nice mild mannered guy. Go figure. No matter what I said, he grew up loving guns and the military. Almost joined but I encouraged his art side. He takes classes in art but, he plans to become a cop to pay for art school. What can you do? Accept it and hope they grow up to be decent citizens.

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