We played 'Army' all the time with toy guns. We later built rubber-band guns in my Grandpop's workshop that were pretty heavy duty. We used to spread snaps all over the basement floor and pretend it was a minefield and shoot Legos at eachother with the rubber-band guns, in the dark! We had a blast.
My kids have a Nerf arsenal and they have running gun battles all through the house. They leave the real guns alone and know that I'll take them to the range anytime.
The problem I see is that most kids are not raised in a true and safe Gun Culture. Their parents try to hide the guns and not talk about them, so of course kids, being curious, will get their hands on them. Seriously, how many of you had already found the Christmas presents well before Christmas? Probably all of you. So all the kids have is the fecal matter picked up off the TV or from street thugs.
I trained all five of my cookie grabbers from when they were able to understand that real guns are not toys and can kill and maim.
That said, they also had toy guns, BB guns, pellet guns, .22's, etc. and I never had a problem with them understanding which end could kill you.
They were all allowed to handle my firearms freely any time they wanted, so long as they asked me first. All long guns back then were chained through the trigger guards in the gun cabinet and all handguns secured in a locking safe at my wife's request.
They were drilled to ask the following questions if they wanted to handle any real gun:
Is it loaded? - The answer was always, "I don't know."
How do we make it safe? - I would then demonstrate how to unload it and check the chamber.
Is it safe now? - I would then demonstrate again how to check the chamber and hand it to them to have them check for themselves.
They could then point at inanimate objects, walls, whatever freely. They usually became bored quickly enough and after seeing all the guns they wanted to see, would go off happily to play with something else.
I also performed the following test on each of them individually at different times in their young lives to see how they would react.
I put an unloaded .22 semi-auto (no magazine and no .22 ammo anywhere that was accessible) on the bed with several toy guns in my bedroom while I was in the living room and left it there while they were in the house. I then sent them into the bedroom to look for something for me. Each of them passed with flying colors. They all came immediately to tell me I had accidentally left a real pistol down. All of them had picked it up, realized it was real by the feel and look, put it down and came to tell me immediately. I call that a graduation ceremony that I was happy to attend.
Some may think that is a dangerous test, but better that with a known unloaded weapon than coming home to find that they had failed the test in a horrible way. At least in my humble opinion.
We like to shoot used plastic 2-liter soda bottles filled with colored water at the range. When my kids saw the bottles explode from my .45 and the SKS, they quickly realized the power of the guns. Just the recoil from my wife's .38 revolver was enough to show them the power of a gun. It was scary to them in a good way.
They're happy with their .22 and no soda bottles are safe around us anymore!
yea it was so bad for us. kids are not that stupid and can tell the difference between real and fake.
My kids were raised around guns and taught to shoot early so no need for toys other than squirt. In our house, guns had a purpose which did not include "play". They had PLENTY of other toys though! :)
I started into what would have been a fairly long explanation of my views. Then I thought about it some more, and decided since my daughter is 18 months, I will hold my tongue and try to learn from some of you. Maybe I will have something to say and repost this topic in a few years.
I ever though I would reach the point I said "back in the day..." weapons have been around of one sort or another since people have been around. Why is it an issue now? Everyone played with toy swords to toy guns.
It s truly ridiculous, the toy guns of today are "call of duty" and such that have every thing from Glocks to grenade launchers. But, I guess that does not count as it a a video game.
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