Monday, April 20, 2015

Dad Worried About Letting Kids Play With Toy Guns

Kids playing at hostage rescue.

I am a dad who worries about gun violence in the schoolyard, movie theater, shopping mall, yet I let my kids have toy guns at home. Am I contributing to the problem?

Generally I don't think so as I don't own any guns, nor does my wife, so we have a gun-free environment. So often perpetrators of gun violence steal the weapons from others. 

The kids enjoy creative play and I feel that if they didn't have manufactured toy guns they would have other toys represent weapons.

Far more insidious is a culture that tolerates gun violence as "a few bad apples", "bad luck" and "the price to be paid for a free society."

Gun safety issues inevitably are viewed through the lens of individual liberty. I prefer to view gun safety through a public safety lens -- the guns rarely are used for self-defense and the horrendous amount of mayhem they create far outweigh any good a well-armed citizenry might bring.

Sure, the townspeople of Northfield, Minnesota repelled the James Gang's attempted robbery of the bank with their own personal firearms, but a lot has changed since 1876, or maybe not.

In the context of gun safety, the American spirit of rugged individualism looks like one of those Marlborough cowboys riding a horse with an oxygen tank.

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