I grew up in a house with three brothers all relatively close in age. With that many boys running around violence, whether simulated or real was a constant factor. In my youth I recall that my mother tried to experiment with toy gun control. My dad was a cop, and while we had guns in the house mom was initially opposed to us having toy guns for reasons that remain clouded to me. Anyway, mom forbade the use of toy guns, which lasted just about as long as it took us to figure out that you could fabricate a toy gun from LEGO and Construx (if your childhood did not include Construx, I weep for you). Realizing that toy gun control was futile, she then relented and allowed toy guns in the house.
Playing with toy guns, running around yelling “bang” and “I got you” in the So. Cal desert was an integral part of my childhood. Cops and robbers wasn’t nearly as popular as Army vs. Iraqis; with the Gulf War going off while I was 8 in similar terrain to my home town, it was a natural expansion of the traditional childhood shoot ’em up.
Eventually I started playing video games, first person shooters like Wolfenstein 3D, Dark Forces, and space games such as Wing Commander and TIE Fighter. The common thread that ties all that together is that people are constantly getting shot with pretend guns. An 8 year old kid yelling “bang, I got you” is functionally the same as shooting a pixelated Nazi with an equally pixelated SMG.
But even with all that simulated shooting I did as a kid, when I received my first real firearm, I never once pointed it at another person. The point of all of this is twofold: first that gun control doesn’t work. The LEGO analogy is apt; we have thousands of skilled machinists and the tools to manufacture firearms in this country. Even a total ban on guns wouldn’t be able to stop people that needed the weaponry for nefarious purposes from fabricating it.
The 2nd point is more for current gunnies – education is important. I didn’t get my first firearm until I was 15 or 16, but before that I had gone shooting with my dad, and learned the 4 rules, learned gun safety. By the time I was12, I understood the difference between my pretend guns and a real gun, and I lived in mortal terror of touching a real gun without and adult around. I do need to add the caveat that I don’t have kids, so my advice about raising kids around guns is worth precisely what you paid for it!