It was reported in the Orange County Register this week that Disneyland has resumed selling toy guns after a nine-year hiatus. Though the toy guns are green and orange to prevent confusion with real guns, some parents still don't allow their children to play with toy guns.
I learned to shoot real guns at paper targets when I was about 1o years old, but marksmanship was only a small part of the lesson. I learned to handle guns safely and I learned that I was never to touch the gun cabinet, where guns and ammunition were kept separate under lock and key, unless my dad was supervising. My husband and I have even gone target shooting on date night. It's really fun when it's done safely.
I don't allow my sons (ages 2 and 5) to play with toy guns, but I do plan to teach them to shoot (again, at paper targets in a shooting range) when they are older. We don't have real guns (or even NERF blasters) in the house and I silently confiscated the tiny toy gun from the Playmobil Puppet Theater toy I recently reviewed. I don't allow them to see TV or video games that represent any violence at all, let alone gun play. Still, I can't give my older child a banana for his snack without him pretending it's a gun. Is it a boy thing? It seems to be in his DNA.
Where are you on the toy-gun issue? Are we a bunch of overprotective ninnies who should loosen our grip, educate kids about gun safety and let them play with their toys in peace? Maybe parents today are just adjusting their standards to protect their children in an increasingly dangerous world.
I'd love to hear what you think.