Heated debate – Should kids play with guns?
Those that say ‘yes’ believe that it is safe enough for children to be exposed to toy guns. Many experts say that there is no link between children that play with toy guns at a young age and those who go on to be convicted of violent crimes later on in life. People on this side of the argument also believe that toy guns such as water pistols or Nerf guns present minimum danger in terms of injuries from games involving them.
On the other side of the story some people firmly believe that children should not be allowed to play with toy guns under any circumstances. The risks of authorities accidentally mistaking a toy gun for a real gun are sadly well documented. Not only that, but many parents feel that playing with a toy gun can cause injuries to children and promote violent behaviour. The internet is filled with accounts of parents that are mortified to have seen their children point a toy gun in their siblings face.
So where does the law actually stand on toy guns?
Due to the unfortunate rise in gun crime in young people, the police and authorities in many areas are understandably concerned about the appearance of toy guns. The worry is that a police officer or similar might mistake a toy gun for a real one. There have been accounts where people have been shot because they are mistakenly thought to have a real firearm on their person, when in fact it is a fake one. Due to this, there are regulations in place when it comes to toy guns to minimise this risk.
In America, it is necessary that all toy guns have a bright orange tip around the end of the pistol. This is thought to be enough to signify to any observer the fact that the gun is a fake one.
However, in some countries, such as Australia, the orange tip is not necessary. To pass the legal requirements in this region, the toy weapon must simply have the word ‘toy’ printed on it somewhere, even if it is not very visible. It is understandable to see the concerns that some people may have with this regulation.
It is recommended for all parents to check the local laws in their area regarding toy gun use and ensure that the children are well aware of the risks and consequences of irresponsible play regarding toy weapons.
Realistically, playing in a responsible way with toy guns such as water pistols or even Nerf guns is pretty safe. The only dangers come along when parts of the gun or pellets are modified in some way. In particular, people often weight pellets to make them go further. This is potentially dangerous as the weighted pellets can be painful if they are to hit someone. Apart from that the some toy guns can be modified to give them more power as they fire. Both of these, and any other, modifications should always be avoided. You can pick up some more safety tips for using and playing with toy guns (such as Nerf guns) here.