Toy Guns: to Play or Not to Play

Topics: Gun politics, Play, Play therapy Pages: 6 (2381 words) Published: June 10, 2013
Essay 3
Toy guns: To Play or Not to Play
Jennifer Thompson
Baker College Online Division

Children all over the world have been playing with toy guns for generations. There are some toy guns that shoot darts, some that shoot BB’s, and some that make a loud blast or noise. Some toy guns look very cartoonish and are bright colored, but some look very much like real guns, and are hard to tell that they are toys. Lately there has been so much gun violence affecting our world there has begun a heated debate of whether or not children should be allowed to own and play with toy guns at all. Toy guns are so controversial that children have been expelled from school for bringing them; parents have kept their children home from play dates because they would be there, and children have even been shot for playing with toy guns. With so much controversy surrounding toy guns, parents, researchers and activists are wondering, should children be allowed to play with toy guns?

Toy guns date back all the way to the 1860’s. According to Marzena Kmiecik, in her article, “History of the Toy Gun,” after the Civil War, gun factories used to supply guns to the soldiers were no longer needed, so to stay in business they began to create toy guns. The first toy guns created looked very much like the real thing, and usually contained a small amount of gun powder in a cap to pop and sound like a real gun as well. They have evolved a lot through the years, and become many different versions of this original cap gun. When they were first introduced it seemed toy guns were a great way to keep companies in business and children loved playing with the little toy guns that resembled their father’s real guns; however, in the present day it has become more and more dangerous for children to play with these controversial toys. There have been many incidents, in which children have been expelled and suspended from school for using and carrying toy guns with them. In 2008, in Southaven Mississippi, five elementary school students were suspended for bringing two realistic looking toy guns to school. They had painted the orange tips of the guns, which are used to ensure they are toys, black. (Dadsetan, 2008) In 2002 a seven year old boy from Michigan faced three counts of felony assault charges for pointing a toy gun at three other children and threatening to shoot them in school.( Dadsetan, 2008) Events like these have been happening all over the world. Toy guns can be so realistic that they are often mistaken for real guns. The children getting in trouble are effected psychologically because they are getting in trouble for playing with a toy that they are normally allowed to play with. They do not understand the punishment being inflicted for simply playing with their toys. Children also don’t understand the repercussions of their actions when they shoot a real gun if they are used to playing with toy guns because they shoot the pretend guns at their friends when playing, and their friends don’t die. Children mistaking toy guns for real ones have caused several accidental tragedies; such as, Isaac Alvarez from California who was shot and killed by his own gun when his four year old neighbor, who thought the gun was a toy, picked it up and shot him (Dadsetan, 2008). Also, a nine year old girl from California found a gun mounted under a desk at an office and shot her six year old sister in the head and killed her (Dadsetan, 2008). According to Heather Whaley, a mother of an eight year old girl and a ten year old boy, ''If a child has grown up comfortable around guns, and has experienced picking up a gun and shooting it, then they will have that muscle memory. And it will be easier for them to shoot a real gun, if they find one'' (Whaley, 2013).Based on the tragedies that have occurred, Heather Whaley’s statement is factual. If children play with toy guns then they will know how to use one and the possibility of them shooting one if they find one is...
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