Raising children with guns vs. toy guns...

Raising children with guns vs. toy guns...

This is a discussion on Raising children with guns vs. toy guns... within the Concealed Carry Issues & Discussions forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; Here's where I need advise. I plan on raising my two boys with full knowledge of my carrying and complete gun safety. Where do toys ...

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Thread: Raising children with guns vs. toy guns...

  1. #1
    Member Array Vegas's Avatar
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    Raising children with guns vs. toy guns...

    Here's where I need advise. I plan on raising my two boys with full knowledge of my carrying and complete gun safety. Where do toys fall into this equation? How do you differentiate, if at all, how to handle a real firearm versus playing with toys? Or do you allow toys at all? Toy guns were a fun part of my childhood and I think I would look at guns very different if I weren't allowed to have them, probably in a bad way. What do you guys think and/or what have you done?
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  2. #2
    Member Array fuclosure's Avatar
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    so far, my wife and i are of the opinion that toy guns are not allowed so as not to confuse them with real ones. that may change as he gets older. he is only 20 months so we have some time...

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    Senior Member Array elrey718's Avatar
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    That is a great question and I was thinking that the other day. My daughter will be playing with guns because she is always with my nephew and he has a couple. I would like to see what people have to say on this one too.
    “Do you have any idea how hard it would be to live with yourself if your loved ones were attacked and killed, and you had to stand there helplessly because you were unprepared for that day?”

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  4. #4
    Member Array denverd0n's Avatar
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    I grew up in a house where there were real guns, and there were toy guns. I never had a problem differentiating between the two. The real guns were hanging in a gun rack on the wall. The ammunition was in a locked cabinet and my father "hid" the key. I'm sure he always thought that the key was well hidden, and that I didn't know were it was, but from the time I was about 8 I always knew where he hid it. If you think you've hidden something well enough that your kids cannot possibly find it, you are only fooling yourself!

    To me, one of the keys is a child's natural curiosity. You can't suppress that, so you have to work with it. From the time they were very little our kids knew that we had guns in the house. I always made it clear to them that they could look at the guns, handle the guns, and even shoot the guns absolutely anytime that they wanted, BUT!!! only when I or my wife was supervising. Along with any session of looking at the guns went subtle lessons in gun safety. Before the first time handling the guns went a formal lesson in gun safety.

    My kids don't really "like" guns the way that I do, but they understand them, they know how to handle them safely, and they are not afraid of them. I figure that puts them in the minority among modern American young adults.

  5. #5
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    All I can speak about was how I was raised and how I raised mine, right, wrong or indifferent. We had lots of weapons in the house while I was being raised, but the only one I remember having easy access to until I was about 9 was the rifle in my Dad's pickup (grew up on a sheep ranch out West). We got early and often training explaining the difference between toys and real. One training that made a big impression on me was when my Dad let me take my toy guns and his BB gun out and let me "Shoot" a 2x4 with it, then gave me a hammer and told me to beat it into two pieces. After I had worn my self out, he got his 12 guage bird gun out and blew it into two pieces with two shots. The he told me to put it back together like it had never been shot. After a while he then he told me, "This is real, it can destroy and kill and that it what it is made for. And once you kill, you can never make it better. The toy guns can't destroy or kill, they are made for play. The BB gun is also made so that it can kill. You have seen me shoot and kill birds in the garden. Do you understand the difference? Now explain it to me."

    I did the same with my son and he says it was a big light bulb for him also.

    But I do remember there was no easy access to them and I never left a gun unattended or unsecured in the house with my kids until they were old enough to use them and had demonstrated to me that they could use them safely. I did carry the whole time and had them in lock boxes in rooms in the house. I never "hid" them from them and none were ever hid from us. Cleaned, cared for and properly handled in our presence and my kids presence all the time. They were treated like tools more than anything else.

    I can't begin to tell you how I adored my toy guns....I grew up in the 60's and as for a BB gun, I swear to God "A Christmas Story" was written about me.

    Hope this provides some fuel for thought.
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  6. #6
    VIP Member Array Rob72's Avatar
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    I wouldn't buy a $400 Airsoft, and expect them to know the difference (practically, of course, those are pellet guns, with the attendant rules, but...) but for the usual WallyWorld pistol/rifle/etc, unless your child is severely developmentally disabled- they can tell the difference. I was shooting my dad's .30 carbine, .22s, and .357 (with .38 Spl loads) from about 8yoa on. Now, being able to tell the difference, and knowing how to appropriately handle an "unsupervised" exposure to the real thing are completely seperate issues. That is very much a matter of judging your child's maturity/self-confidence, and your having spent time with appropriate teaching.

    +1, Choirizo!

  7. #7
    Member Array Vegas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chorizo View Post
    All I can speak about was how I was raised and how I raised mine, right, wrong or indifferent. We had lots of weapons in the house while I was being raised, but the only one I remember having easy access to until I was about 9 was the rifle in my Dad's pickup (grew up on a sheep ranch out West). We got early and often training explaining the difference between toys and real. One training that made a big impression on me was when my Dad let me take my toy guns and his BB gun out and let me "Shoot" a 2x4 with it, then gave me a hammer and told me to beat it into two pieces. After I had worn my self out, he got his 12 guage bird gun out and blew it into two pieces with two shots. The he told me to put it back together like it had never been shot. After a while he then he told me, "This is real, it can destroy and kill and that it what it is made for. And once you kill, you can never make it better. The toy guns can't destroy or kill, they are made for play. The BB gun is also made so that it can kill. You have seen me shoot and kill birds in the garden. Do you understand the difference? Now explain it to me."

    I did the same with my son and he says it was a big light bulb for him also.

    But I do remember there was no easy access to them and I never left a gun unattended or unsecured in the house with my kids until they were old enough to use them and had demonstrated to me that they could use them safely. I did carry the whole time and had them in lock boxes in rooms in the house. I never "hid" them from them and none were ever hid from us. Cleaned, cared for and properly handled in our presence and my kids presence all the time. They were treated like tools more than anything else.

    I can't begin to tell you how I adored my toy guns....I grew up in the 60's and as for a BB gun, I swear to God "A Christmas Story" was written about me.

    Hope this provides some fuel for thought.
    Absolutely does! Thank you so much!!
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  8. #8
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    I think children should learn the difference between fantasy and reality. They may play video games where people get shot and blown up, but they should also be taught that reality is much different and should not be confused with fantasy. Kids should have a healthy balance. I thinking keeping toy guns away from kids is opting out of a good opportunity to teach kids about fantasy and reality.

    When I have children, they will get toy guns. For safety reasons, they'll be those brightly-colored ones. I don't want kids accidentally getting shot or in trouble with the police because they're out in the yard waving around what looks like real guns.

    By the time they're old enough to start playing with toy guns, they're old enough to learn Eddie Eagle's "stop, don't touch, tell an adult." My three-year old niece is old enough to know she can play with her squirt guns but not the strange ones. But that also doesn't mean you leave real ones within reach. Real guns will be secured, and when they are old enough to competantly handle them, will learn how.

    Meanwhile, they'll learn that if squirt guns and rubberband guns hit their targets and they are toys, real guns can also hit their targets, but...

    I also think toy guns would be a great stepping stone to learning about real ones. Learning good muzzle and trigger finger discipline are good things to learn, even if they shoot their playmates with water.
    "Americans have the will to resist because you have weapons. If you don't have a gun, freedom of speech has no power." - Yoshimi Ishikawa

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    I agree with Don and Chorizo on this one but every parent has to decide for themselves. There is no one method that works for all kids. I will promise you this, if the gun is a strange oddity to your children they will be curious and trust me curiousity has killed more than a cat!!! Guns have always been part of my life and my kids grew up with them. My son had a BB gun at 4 and his first 22 at 7, from 4 years old he was taught proper gun saftey, and new he could handle and shoot the guns anytime as long as I was with him. My daughter is not really interested but she will plink with me now and then. My son is now 15 and he is safer with a firearm than most adults I have shot with. I tell in just a couple min how safe somebody is and how much training they have just by observing how they handle the weapon. I too showed both my kids what kind of damage a gun can do, I deer hunt and they have seen the right side of a deer head blown off from a 44 mag. Trust me they understand guns are not toys!! I don't see anything wrong with toy guns, my son had several before he could crawl (dad thing!!) as a matter of fact a toy gun is a perfect ooportunity to start teaching proper gun saftey. Only you know when the right time is to introduce your child to a real gun, my son was ready at 7, but I have seen many 17 year olds that shouldn't ever be allowed near a gun. A lot depends on where you grow up as well. We can shoot on our property, and we hunt so guns are always around. Again I can't stress enough that if you never allow them to handle the gun or shoot they will become curious and experiment on their own, maybe not at your house, maybe at a friends house. I locked my guns up when my kids were toddlers but since my son was 12 and my daughter 10 the guns have remained out in the open, but it is not a strange thing to them, and they understand they are welcome to them as long as the rules are met. Not all kids are the same, so it is your job as a parent to decide, I am not encouraging unlocked weapons in a house with children, just explaining my situation. Thank God he has given you children to raise, it is a awesome responsibility but I can tell you this, some of the best times my son and I have had together was out in the woods plinking or squirrel hunting.
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  10. #10
    Distinguished Member Array SixBravo's Avatar
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    I think these are all great answers. One more thing I would like to add:

    This was a topic not too long ago by someone else. In the same topic, one person mentioned that the real guns stayed locked-up and the kids only had VERY limited access to them while under strict supervision. That is, until one day... The child is given the choice. You give up your toy guns perminently and you will be trusted after a little bit of time with the responsibility of real firearms. BUT, all the toy guns are broken and thrown into the trash.

    I wish I could remember who that was but I thought that was absolutely brilliant. Not only does the kid still get to play with guns (which can be used as tools of early gun safety), but when it comes time for that choice, you are giving your child the choice to make a very adult decision. Subconciously, I htink this does amazing things because it shows the child that you have respect and trust for them AND it would be an excellent way to continue solid family bonding. Granted - I'm not psychologist (heh - not even close), but it would make sense.

    Again - not my idea. Just my .20cal.
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    Sounds good, but what do you do with the supersoakers, squirt guns, and the like? It seemed to me they quit playing with the toy guns as soon as they could shoot the real things with supervision, all except the squirt guns. Hell, I even have picked up a supersoaker and had a running water battle with the kids when the things first can out.
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    Member Array MD_Willington's Avatar
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    My children have toy guns that shoot suction cups, my son (4 1/2) has one that looks like a small beretta, anytime he forgets and points it at any of us the pistol gets put up on a high shelf and he is not allowed to use it for the rest of the day.

    We also do the rules of firearms with him, he is catching on even though it is a toy.

    My daughter (17 months) carries a small toy revolver (looks like a J-frame), in her purse, she is too young to understand the rules, but she really never takes the pistol from the purse.

    Anytime my firearms are out (they are out on the counter or workbench under my direct supervision otherwise they are "put away") my son will remind me that my guns are out and that he can only see them if mom or dad first check to see if they are unloaded.

    My daughter, since she's only 17 months old will point and say "gun", then clap her hands and grin at me...

  13. #13
    Senior Member Array Mtbiker's Avatar
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    Thats beautiful Chorizo. Kinda brought a teat to my eye. I will have to remember that lesson for my unborn child. My wife's due in July.
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    Member Array jmiked's Avatar
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    I raised two kids in a house with both real guns and toy guns. When they were old enough to understand I took them to the range and sacrificed a couple of watermelons. They understood. House rule was if you point anything other than a water pistol at a person, you lose it!
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    Well, my father had his own ideas. I had cap guns as a kid and had to treat them as the real McCoy or else. The or else was serious enough that I remembered for sure. His attitude was if it looks like a gun it's treated as a gun, no exceptions, well except squirt guns which didn't look real back then. I then went through the usual pellet gun, .22, shotgun, high powered rifle progression.

    My son, now adult, really didn't show a lot of interest in toy guns but lots in the real so we treated all "guns" the same way. Of course he was handling an off shore sailboat at 11 and watch standing solo by 14 so his interests were different. He does a little shooting now but not as much as his dad!
    If you stand up and be counted, from time to time you may get yourself knocked down. But remember this: A man flattened by an opponent can get up again. A man flattened by conformity stays down for good. ~ Thomas J. Watson, Jr.

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