General Question

peterclark's avatar

Is it reasonable to allow your kids to have toy guns?

Asked by peterclark (8points) 1 week ago

Hey Guys! I just want to know Is it reasonable to not allow your kids to have toy guns?

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22 Answers

ucme's avatar

Yes, it’s unreasonable when they’re in the hands of adults

Patty_Melt's avatar

I did not allow my oldest son to play with toy guns. When I told the neighborhood kids about the rule, they only brought theirs out when he was not out playing with them. They did this voluntarily and I was pleased with their respect for my rules.

When my other kids came along I quit the rule because kids will pick up any household item and pretend it is whatever.

They all three grew up to be good people.

Parents need the freedom to set rules as they choose.

ragingloli's avatar

Depends on how realistic they look.
This one here would make a great gift for your 10 year old.

seawulf575's avatar

I don’t really have a problem with kids having toy guns or learning how to handle real guns safely even. However, there have been issues in the past that ended badly when a kid has a toy gun. It all comes down to rules for the child.

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jca2's avatar

I wouldn’t let my child play with toy guns. As for whether or not it’s reasonable, that’s a matter of opinion. Some parents may say it is, some may say it’s not. No different than any other parenting issue – you’ll find all kinds of opinions about any parenting topic.

janbb's avatar

I didn’t let my boys have toy guns. It didn’t stunt their development into men.

gorillapaws's avatar

Let me answer your question this way: I can imagine a future humanity that would look back at our culture with revulsion at the sight of toy gun artifacts the way we might look back at a 18th century black doll with a slave collar on it.

I can also imagine a future humanity that would look back on questions like these in web archives, thinking our current society is hopelessly naive about the nature of mankind with a grim, post-apocalyptic humor. I know which future I would rather live in.

kritiper's avatar

Best to let your kids play with toy guns when they’re children instead of waiting to let them play with real guns when they are adults. It gets that playfulness out of their systems early in life. But you must always teach your children how to properly handle guns, especially when they are children.

Zaku's avatar

You may have reasons, which may be reasonable, and it may often work out just fine.

On the other hand, I don’t think it’s always helpful or has a positive effect to have such rules. Various negative potential consequences are being regarded as a parent who makes needless restrictions, restricting fun, relating to your child as if they need to be protected from having toy guns or something (which I would say is very likely to be selling them short), and possibly creating a fascination for the forbidden thing.

I notice quite a few children and adults who end up with cravings for the things their parents prohibited them.

E.g. I had a friend who was only allowed candy on “candy day”, one day a week. He spent the rest of the week obsessing about candy and other food he could over-indulge in, and he was very frequently stealing money from his parents and going to the corner store by himself, and/or shoplifting candy from the corner store, stashing troves of candy in hidden places, making popcorn by himself with like half a pound of butter in it, eating cake frosting from the tube, etc.

e.g. I was given many toy guns, even realistic metal ones and a starter pistol, allowed to play war, etc., and enjoyed it a lot. In actual life I’m almost entirely pacifistic, and from reading and hearing accounts of actual injuries from guns, I have never chosen to have or fire a real firearm.

gondwanalon's avatar

I had a lot of fun playing cap guns, squirt guns and home made wood guns as a small kid starting about 3 years old.

It didn’t do me any harm and I never even thought about hurting anyone with a gun. In the US Army I was an expert with the M16. I was on award winning rifle teams. It was a very powerful feeling to know that if I could see the enemy 400 meters away, I could hit/kill him.

Nevertheless guns are not for me. The thought shooting someone (or an animal for sport) with a gun is sickening to me. The only firearm I have at home is my Grandfathers 22 rifle. Never fired it and never will.

JLeslie's avatar

I don’t have kids, but I feel pretty sure I wouldn’t buy my children toy guns. Possibly, squirt guns for the pool I’d be ok with. Even that I’m not so apply about.

If my kid gravitated towards guns I would be thinking—where did this come from? My husband and I don’t think about or talk about guns in our house, except if something is on TV, or if someone visits who wants to go to the gun range, because we happen to have that where I live as a free activity. Neither my husband nor I are inclined towards them, so it would almost feel like a genetic anomaly. Like a mom who barely got through high school math having a kid who can do calculus in 6th grade.

Growing up there was no gun talk in my house, and not among adults around me, and children didn’t talk about it either. Maybe because I was a girl that had something to do with it.

Do young kids still play with toy guns like they did in the past? Aren’t they shooting up things on video instead now? I have a problem with that too.

@gorillapaws I agree. I look back at the horrors that were done in medieval times, or during the Salem Witch trials, and so many other arts of history and think how can this happen? America having all these mass shootings and going back to what feels like the Wild West is shocking, and practically shameful.

LostInParadise's avatar

@JLeslie mentions violent video games, which concern me more than toy guns. It does not make sense to allow children to play these games but not allow them to have squirt guns or cap pistols.

ragingloli's avatar

I have played violent video games all my life, and I have barely killed a handful of people.

seawulf575's avatar

@JLeslie if your kid gravitated towards guns, you’d have to wonder where it came from? Kids are bombarded by scenes of guns pretty much all their lives. Look at the movies and video games that are out there. Most of what kids deal with involve guns, even if they never touch one. They don’t take all their cues in life from their parents. Even if you banned all violent movies and video games, the kids would hear about these things from kids at school. They would play the games at friends’ houses. You’d be better off having honest conversations about guns with your kids.

JLeslie's avatar

@seawulf575 I was thinking about that this morning before I saw your answer. My husband loves action violent movies, and I would blame him for bringing it into the house! I hate when he watches very extreme movies with torture, and torture is worse than the basic gunfire movie in my opinion.

When I was kid we heard about people getting shot, raped, I watched TV shows that the police officer had to fire his weapon, Charlie’s Angels, and some sci-fi. It never occurred to me to have a gun. My girlfriends and I even played Charlie’s Angels, I was Kelly. Still it never occurred to me to ask for a toy gun. I don’t even really remember trying to fire at someone with my fingers pointed like a gun, but maybe I did that. The gun fire wasn’t what captured my attention.

All of that had nothing to do with being safe in my household as a kid. I felt safe with my parents, safe playing outside with other kids. I was told to lock the doors when I’m home, don’t walk alone, that sort of thing. That was it. I lived in a relatively safe place near a city that was often top 3 for gun crime at the time, Washington DC. Guns just weren’t part of our vernacular in my community. It’s like my in-laws who love to watch Dancing with the Stars. They don’t dance, they wouldn’t think to take a lesson on their own, but they enjoy it as entertainment.

Zaku's avatar

Just because a mother doesn’t relate to guns, isn’t a reason to prohibit their children from having toy guns.

Prohibiting toys based on incorrect ideas that they’ll have some bad effect on the child is not only inaccurate, but also very insulting to your child’s ability to play with things without being messed up by them, and children tend to notice that type of assumption and react in various negative ways to them.

I have heard from 10-year-old boys that what not being allowed to play games involving violence towards humans clearly communicates to them, is that their parents crazily think that if they did that, that it would make them into violent killers or something, and the kids knew that that was nonsense and utterly insulting and they were disappointed, bewildered and outraged at their parents’ foolishness and insensitivity to them about that. That seems like an appropriate reaction by the kids, to me.

It seems to me it’s the sort of thing that leads to the frequent gulf in communication, rapport, respect, and healthy relationships between parents and children that tends to grow as the kids become teens. The parents not treating the children as respectable capable human beings, underestimating them, overusing parental authority inappropriately/belittlingly/overprotectively, etc. It often spirals out of control when the kids act out against it and the parents refuse to realize the parents’ behavior was the root cause, etc.

seawulf575's avatar

@JLeslie I grew up in the time of Gunsmoke and Roy Rogers, Combat! and The Man From U.N.C.L.E. Guns were there all the time. We used to play with toy guns, but never had a gun in our house that I knew of at the time. I even had a bb gun. But throughout all that, I never had an urge to go shoot someone. Our home was much like yours, it sounds like, except I remember we didn’t have to lock the doors at night when I was young and there was little crime in the area.
I had an uncle that let me shoot his shotgun once. But before he would let me handle it, he took the time to explain safe handling of it. When I joined the navy I had to qualify on several firearms and that required explanations of how they worked and what safe handling was required. I purchased several guns when I was in the navy and have used them for hunting and target shooting several times. I have never even come close to an accidental discharge, nor have I ever had to shoot someone….never even pointed a gun at anyone. But the key there was that I had had several people in my life that taught me to be responsible with guns.
On the flip-side, I had two examples from my youth where guns were not used correctly. In one case, my brother found a gun my dad had. He was fascinated with it. He knew enough to remove the magazine, but never checked the chamber. He ended up pointing it at the bed and blowing a small hole through a feather pillow and a mattress. He wasn’t taught proper safety, and my dad, who never grew up with guns, didn’t know enough than to keep a loaded gun on hand. The other example ended worse. Two of my schoolmates went over to one of their homes. They found dad’s gun and were looking at it. Never checked it and one child shot and killed the other. The one that shot ended up in an asylum…not sure if he ever got out.
I guess my point is that it wasn’t toy guns that were the problem. It was the natural curiosity of children combined with parents that either didn’t know or didn’t follow basic safety rules that combined to cause the problems. Like it or not, guns are a part of our world. They might be one of those things you wish you could go back and un-invent, but you can’t. Not letting your kids have toy guns is really up to you…you are the parent. But expecting that to mean they will never encounter a toy gun or a real gun is probably a pipe dream. I would recommend everyone takes a hunter safety course, even if they don’t own a gun or go hunting.

Patty_Melt's avatar

I think kid play is a time to explore. Sometimes they explore dark areas, or off limit areas. I see that the same as dreams. It is a chance to what if without actually doing a thing. I remember Barbie and Ken doing some naughty stuff, and then Skipper made a move on Ken. Barbie didn’t speak to her again for a while.
My brother had GI Joe; the one with a real beard. He didn’t have time for any of that. He was too busy killing enemies. He did pull Barbie and Ken out of quicksand and fires a few time with his helicopter. What a hero he was! And, he was the only one with a gun.
During all that play, we looked at grownup things, and worked through what we did and didn’t care about.
I think parents discussing what behaviors and habits they find acceptable and those they don’t is a much better tool than restricting certain toys.

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