In Defense of Toy Guns
Toy gun, or not to toy gun?
Earlier this week, I presented a pro-gun argument against purchasing toy guns…but given that TMC hasn’t started their A Christmas Story marathon yet, I’m shelving the “you’ll shoot your eye out” argument for now. Today, I’d like to present the pro-gun case for purchasing toy guns for the kiddos on your Christmas list, and I’d like to start with…A Christmas Story.
If you haven’t seen the 1983 classic, then I just don’t know you anymore (sob). In it, young Ralphie longs for nothing more for Christmas than “an official Red Ryder, carbine action, two-hundred shot range model air rifle.” Of course, everyone he tells about his obsession replies that he’ll shoot his eye out. What’s ironic about this is that Daisy Outdoor Products has, over its 125+ years in business, probably done more to promote firearms safety than any other company out there, simply by virtue of being the first introduction that most of us get in how to handle a real firearm. Now, Daisy has never wavered from their stance that BB guns are not toys, nor should they. But the idea that letting a child own and handle something that looks–however superficially–like a gun is detrimental to that kid’s safety is given the lie by the Daisy BB guns we all grew up on.
Back to real, actual toy guns–ones that don’t shoot a projectile more serious than water or foam-rubber. The first thing to remember about any toy is that they’re really just props. Toys are placeholders for a child’s imagination, a physical object onto which they can overlay their fantasy play. And by that definition, very few things cannot be repurposed into a toy by a determined child. And when said determined child wishes to play a game that involves guns, it really doesn’t matter much if their parents won’t let them have a plastic gun. They’ll just break off a stick into an L, or chew a breakfast pastry into a gun shape. (By the way, if you’re up to date with your blood-pressure medications and you delight in getting really angry, you should check out that link.) So, unless you enjoy finding bits of bark or stale crumbs all over your house, you might as well shell out the $10 and get the toy gun anyway.
Finally, my favorite reason to purchase toy guns for the kids in our lives, if they want one: It’s a terrific first lesson in critical thinking. After all, the school has them for 6-8 hours a day, and during that time, they’re forbidden to so much as draw a stick figure holding a gun. And yet, they come home, look at their toy gun and realize that its presence hasn’t turned them into a murderer…just like a real gun won’t.
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