The recent, what seems like countless, tragedies surrounding kids and guns are really making me reconsider my typical rules regarding playing with toy guns.
Just today, Strollerderby’s Meredith wrote about a 4-year-old who was fatally shot by his sibling using a gun found in his own house. Like Meredith, I wonder why guns still are legally allowed in so many reckless households?
I admit I have mixed feelings on the subject of toy guns. I let my son play with water guns all the time. They’re fun and they keep him entertained for hours on end. I loved them when I was little. Last week as the weather warmed up, he wanted to take them to the playground but I felt uneasy about it, particularly because of an incident on my neighborhood a few months ago.
A teen who was said to have had personal, possibly mental or drug issues, took a toy gun to pick up a sibling from school. Police were called and when he pointed it at them, he was shot and killed by cops who believed the gun was real.
I didn’t want my son to take a fake gun to play at the park, although I do let him play with it in our yard. Today’s world is too risky to even pretend when it comes to guns. Yet, I still understand the attraction that toy guns, especially water guns hold for kids. They provide fantasy, good guy vs. bad guy play, and a chance to be a superhero. With water guns, it’s simply just loads of fun to shoot water in the hot weather and see how far it goes. And what about dart guns? More fun for kids to practice shooting the darts onto those felt targets. Is it so wrong?
Still, I don’t feel comfortable with having my son play with these except at home because of the many ramifications that might come from it. He knows his water and dart guns are meant for play. And I’ve told him time and time again how he should never, ever touch any guns that are not his toys. After last week’s story about the third grader who brought a loaded gun to school and sold it to a classmate, I talked to him again about it, and added that if he ever sees a gun in school to immediately tell the teacher. Even at age 8, he said, “Mom, I know, I know” and couldn’t be bothered hearing me say it again. But I feel like I have to because these tragic stories happen. We just always think they’ll never happen to us.
So I continue to ponder where to draw the line regarding toy guns. Kids have been playing with them for ages, but kids haven’t always been bringing real guns to school like they do now in such high numbers and shooting people. The problem is not the toy gun; it’s the gun laws.
Do you let your kids play with toy guns? Water guns? Dart guns? Did you always or have you changed your mind about toy gunplay? Did you play with them as a child?
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