"Toy" Gun Control

So, a couple of google searches this morning turned up some interesting articles on a new and entertaining kind of gun control, specifically toy guns. When I was a kid, California passed the law that mandated that toy guns (including Airsoft) be marked with the blaze orange tip on the barrel, ostensibly to keep police officers from mistaking them for a real gun and drilling some idiot kid.

This article in the Pasadena Star points to what was almost a tragedy in the San Diego Metro area; again some dumb kids were playing with what were probably airsoft guns in the park, someone called the cops, etc. Luckily, no one ended up dead this time which is a credit to police officer who responded to the call.

Yesterday in Soviet Canuckistan, two schools were locked down as the police responded to calls, both of which ended up involving fake guns. Again, no one was shot, so bravo for the cops. Although, this one had the glimmer of a solution to the “toy gun problem.”

Alyson Edwards of the Saskatoon Police Service said police appreciate being called whenever people think they see a real gun, but she stressed it’s important parents remind their kids not to play with toy guns or pellet guns in public places.

You mean it’s a bad to go waving realistic looking guns around where people can see you? Perish the thought.

Finally, Dallas has passed a law which makes it illegal to brandish a toy gun in city limits, remove the blaze orange tip, or sell a toy gun from an ice cream truck. A note on the last; apparently the “thing” is to sell cheap airsoft guns from ice cream trucks these days. Color me surprised.

Of course, none of this actually addresses the fundamental toy gun “problem”, which actually has nothing to do with toy guns and everything to do with the kids and their parents. As I often do, we’ll take a trip to my childhood to examine the toy gun situation.

I had lots of toy guns. Very few of them had blaze orange tips, and yet neither I nor my friends were ever shot by a cop for having a toy gun. This is of course because we weren’t stupid enough to point guns at cops. Honestly though, we had an empty lot across the street where we’d play cops and robbers or army, and we’d run around with toy guns. But our parents repeatedly reinforced that if you’re ever approached by a cop and you have a toy gun, you do not move, and you certainly don’t grab your toy gun.

So, the first part of the “problem” is that parents aren’t teaching their kids the fundamental rules of gun safety; kids should treat even toy guns (and especially airsoft guns) like real guns. They shouldn’t pack them in public, and I can’t even begin to stress that they shouldn’t point them at cops. So, first to blame are the parents for not teaching their kids to be responsible with their toys.

Of course, you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him be responsible. Parents have to do their jobs and instruct their kids, but it’s up to those kids to make good choices with that instruction. If I have any readers in their teens, allow me to explain something.

I know your Airsoft gun is cool. I know it’s fun to play with. If you’re going somewhere and have your toy gun with you, do not stuff in your pants like some kind of gangbanger wannabe. Not only is it dangerous, but you will also succeed in looking like an idiot. Actually, you know what? Unless you’re going to and from somewhere you’d be using your toy, like an Airsoft match or something, don’t take your toy with you.

So, we can blame kids for being idiots, but we can’t hold them at too much fault because, well, teenagers are usually idiots. Third on my list of people to blame for the toy gun situation are the people that call the cops in hysterics about the kids with the toy guns. This goes back to the general paranoia about guns in the first place; and it’s part of why I seesaw so much on the open carry issue. I wish that people wouldn’t freak out over the mere sight of a gun; on the flip side I also agree that you shouldn’t go waving your airsoft gun around in public and not expect someone to call the fuzz.

However, despite all the evidence, the government has decided that instead of just saying “Parents need to teach their kids better”, they should pass laws to make us all safer. After all, it’s for the children.