Where do other mum's stand on the issue of toy guns?

Samantha - posted on 09/18/2009 ( 24 moms have responded )




When my son was younger, his father and I decided that we didn't want him playing with toy guns. He received one for his 1st birthday! which we immediately threw out! We believe that this era is much less innocent then our own childhood. Guns seem to hold a different meaning these days.

My son has an Aunt (a child psychologist and school principal with a strong belief that she is 'right') and an Uncle who believe otherwise. They say that little boys playing with guns is a natural stage and no harm is done. They have purchased my son an arsenal which he plays with at their house. Recently they have started buying guns for him to play with at our home. Just yesterday they arrived with a cap gun! My son is just 4! I have heard stories about the dangers of cap guns. I don't think this is an appropriate toy for a 4 year old!

I have asked that all the guns simply disappear and that I believe my wishes on this subject should not have been undermined. Still they undermine me. Sure my son loves them and his eyes light up - but they make his play angry and aggressive. It upsets me. I was recently asked to meet with my son's pre-school teacher in regards to his aggressive play. I believe his gun and super hero obsession is directly related to this.

Am I over-reacting and making a mountain out of a mole hill? Or do other mum's think along the same lines? Our kids are subjected to so much aggressive stimuli as it is. 'Ben10' I believe, is an example of this. Until I became aware, my son was typing 'gun' into google and exposing himself to things he shouldn't. Aunt and Uncle thought this was 'clever'.

I dont' think we should encourage this kind of play. What do other mum's think?


Stina - posted on 09/21/2009




I believe guns are not toys. Therefore, toy guns are not something my children have or will have. We do have water guns- big neon things that don't look like the real thing at all but if I ever were to hear my kids playing like they were real "bang your dead!" They'd be in the garbage. It's not an ok way to play. With the water guns, I teach my kids to only get people wet who want to be wet- and to stop when they say.

While I am against toy guns, I am not against guns. I don't own any myself, but I am fine with people who are responsible with the handling of their guns- keep them locked up and unloaded when not in use. Part of my reasoning against toy guns is that they send a mixed message to kids. We need to teach our children that guns are dangerous. They are not for playing with and your should never ever point a gun at a person- even a toy gun in play because some toy guns look very real and you can't be sure that you don't have a real one. I think it's important to teach our children not to touch a gun if they find one but to tell an adult.

If you don't want your kid playing with guns- that's your decision and your family needs to respect that. So no I don't think you are overreacting.

This conversation has been closed to further comments


View replies by

Kaylea - posted on 02/26/2013




way overacting toy guns real guns and finger guns are good if you hand a kid a Nerf gun it does not mean he will grow up and kill people because he wants to. if you give your child a real gun it does not mean he will end up killing people guns are good the people who use them are not always so good.

Amii - posted on 09/22/2009




I also would be really worrried about the Aunty and Uncle undermining your position here because this inturn will provide an example for your son that your wishes are not to be respected, and this can lead to big trouble. When my kids came home from care playing the "pow pow your dead" game I asked them If they would be happy if they really hurt or killed me and obviusly they said no, so then I asked why they would want to pretend that and didn't they think that was a bit silly. I was suprised at how mature they were about it after that, my eldest is only four but I do think we underestimate their intelligence sometimes! good luck :+)

Theresa - posted on 09/22/2009




I'm a divorced mother of one. I have a 4 and a half year old boy. He like's playing with guns everyone at school plays with guns. I dont like it because when my son was 2 years old his father told him that he must shoot me dead, stab me to death & kick me (all with the actions). My son know that he is not alowed to play with guns, only policeman can have guns.

[deleted account]

Your family should have respected your wishes.

I remember when I was younger we used to get dropped off at a babysitters house during the week, and on one occaision my brother took a toy gun there to play with. It was taken off him the minuet he entered the house as the lady who looked after us, didn't like her son playing with toy guns. That I can understand.

When my son is of age, i'll let him play with toy guns, I used to play cop's n robbers/cowboys and Indians when I was younger.

Deidre - posted on 09/21/2009




Seriously, I would be going BALLISTIC right now! They need to be cut off to show that you mean business! I just can't beleive they are sooo disrespectful to your wishes!!! I am raising 3 boys on my own and find it to be very eventful to say the least. I'm making sure to mold them by exposing them to lots of things... This of course is always age appropriate. When the time comes they will be taught self defence as well as safety and gang awareness. We have a cousin who has brain damage due to a drive by shooting. I have EXTREME reasons why we do not have ANY type of gun in our house! Anyone who doesn't listen to my wishes won't be a part of our aquaintence. Good luck!

Teaque - posted on 09/21/2009




I feel he is to young for a toy gun.WHO BUYS A 1 YEAR OLD A TOY GUN!!!!!! I think they should respect your house rules and he shouldn't even play with a gun at there house.I know there all over the T.V. and in video games but there are so many other toys out there.If they were going to buy a gun why a cap gun.A water gun would be better.I dont believe in guns, but if you are going to buy one, buy one that is colorful.Be safe.

Dawn - posted on 09/21/2009




i remember playing with guns as a child and have turned out just fine!
however, i think a bigger issue here is that after you had made the decision to not let ur child have a gun someone goes and gives him one anyway - they should respect your wishes, he is YOUR son after all and not theirs!

Lisa - posted on 09/21/2009




My 4 year old daughter plays with her boy cousins (ages 5 and 2) who don't have toy guns, but will make their own toy guns out of a remote control or their hands or whatever they can imagine one into. I remember doing the exact same thing when I was a kid and playing 'war' on the playground, we didn't play aggressively back then (just basically rolled around on the playground with our hands as guns and shot each other by making a bang noise and falling to the ground to be out until their was only one team left standing) and my daughter who does have toy guns, doesn't play aggressively with them ever.
We do teach her the difference about toy guns and real guns (which we do not own, but want to educate her about in case she ever visits a friend’s house that does own one) and safety and what to do if she ever found one. Well, my husband owns a BB gun that looks and feels very real (no orange tip or anything, very heavy, made of metal) and we left it out one day on purpose (unloaded still, of course); we watched her the whole time and when she noticed it (she didn’t even touch it to see if it was a toy or real), she ran right to us and told us what she had found and that it needed to be put somewhere safe.
I think by teaching her how to play with toy guns, while educating her about real ones, she gets to become more familiar and less curious about them.

Lisamarie81m - posted on 09/18/2009




Wow I just briefly read what everyone has to say and I am opposite. My boys 6 and 3 1/2 play with guns all the time. If its not a toy gun they use small hockey sticks for guns, I used to play army when I was little I see no harm. I remeber walking on college campus after 9-11-01 with army recuits and they asked if I was interested I said no it was fum to play as a kid but real life is different. I teach my kids not to point guns at people, they also shoot paintball guns at trees with dad helping and we shoot bb guns at pop cans all the while teaching saftey. I gew up shooting guns upnorth in the country with my step dad.

I also remeber a few years ago my english professor was talking about how his parents didnt let him play with guns and he made a joke about them not being able to take away "these guns" which were his hands, pointed like a gun like a cowboy.

On another note if you are against it your family should respect you and your wishes.

Stephanie - posted on 09/18/2009




I am in agreement with you. I don't think that young children should get toy guns. Already in our troubled society that we have, with all the killings and the easy access to the guns; I don't think that we should be encouraging the kids to play with them. Guns now a days are shown as a normal thing that there is nothing wrong with, they are placed in movies in T.V. shows and games, in these visuals they are encouraging death. I have had numerous arguments with my partner when it comes to this issue. He grew up with it and i have been taught to be cautious about guns. At this point we are a a stand still with the issue, but in the mean time I think that if parents show their kids the importance and the dangers of guns, I think that when those kids get older they understand and will stay away from them

[deleted account]

I think other family members should respect your wishes on the issue, but you have to understand that your aunt and uncle are from a generation where kids just played without having to think about all that stuff. The bigger deal you make of it, the more your kids will want to do it. My son has toy guns that he rarely palys with. This could be due to the fact that we have never said anything (good or bad) about guns. They are just like any other toy that he is over now.

Krista - posted on 09/18/2009




I don't like guns for my son, but I think it's a different thing for people who live in country areas. I live in a very large metropolis city. There is no use for guns aside from illegal use (or sport, but no one in my family shoots for sport) so there's really no way to teach him to respect guns. I just think it's one of those things that kids can do without. I'd rather him play something else. That being said, if someone DID get him a gun, I would put it away until he's a bit older and can understand that a gun is ONLY supposed to be used by good guys like police officers or people in the army and that he is only supposed to shoot invisible bad guys and never his friends, family or siblings.
Personally, I would never buy my child a gun and I've told my husband that our son is to be at LEAST 12 before he starts playing any of the shoot 'em up PS3 games.

Michelle - posted on 09/18/2009




It's a personal choice that every parent should make for themself. If you don't want them in the house then people should respect that choice!

Amanda - posted on 09/18/2009




it depends on the trype of gun i would let my son play with water guns and bubble guns but nother that even remotely looks like the real thing even nerf is ok

Ashley - posted on 09/18/2009




I really have a problem with your son's Aunt and Uncle. They have NO BUSINESS in going over your wishes of parenting. If you don't want him to have guns as toys, then that is how it should be. It looks like a family meeting is in order.
I myself grew up with guns, and our family taught my brother and I very early on about respecting guns. I was raised that the only toy guns are Super Soaker water guns...
Personally I think all children should be taught about guns so that they don't end up finding one at a friend's house and accidently setting it off because they don't know better.
It seems to me that your son isn't being told by his Aunt and Uncle about guns in reality. He doesn't seem to grasp what they are all about. Boys sometimes play aggressively anyways, but if he seems to be a little obsessed with the thought of shooting people, I would say you need to talk to him about it, and in the meantime, take away his toy guns. Gun safety is very important, and they are not toys, nor should they ever be portrayed as such. I have actually seen a Hello Kitty pink rifle, that is a real gun. That really bothers me because it looks like a toy. I think all children should be taught that they are not toys.
I seem to be ranting... Good luck in whatever you decide to do!

Helen - posted on 09/18/2009




You can still teach children to respect guns and gun safety without allowing them to play with toy guns!!

Kelli Jo - posted on 09/18/2009




I don't think cap guns are a age appropriate toy for a 4 year old. I do believe that playing with toy guns is normal and perfectly harmless thing if the child is educated on guns, gun safety and for the younger ones that you never touch a gun if it is not one of your own toys... come on folks, really, have some faith in your children. Give them the proper "tools" and info and they can make intelligent decisions. My children are well educated in the use and dangers of guns. My kids are 13, 7, &5. All of them have been around guns before, for hunting and target shooting. They know the proper protocols for dealing with any gun. They know they if they are ever to stumble across one, never to touch it and get an adult. As for the parents, people we should know better then to leave guns lying around, you should be punished appropriately if your child or someone elses is hurt by your carelessness. I believe whole heartedly that by sheltering your child and keeping them from the reality of somethings you really do more harm then good. I've seen it happen a few times and it angers me to see some parents "baby" and shelter their children. I hope that some folks have more faith and common sense and explain things to them, they aren't dumb. Like I said before give them the "tools" and they will make the right decisions!

Sherry - posted on 09/18/2009




I've never allowed our boys (10) and (8) to play with toy guns. They have water guns which are used only at the water park, pool or lake. They do not have any other play guns except for the water ones. I noticed an increase in both boys aggressiveness after the guns were bought and played with.

On the other side, I have worked in a daycare environment and have seen that most kids will find a way to make a gun when playing. Legos, sticks or good ole finger and thumb. I think the creative outlet is a good thing for them and have told my boys if they want to run around the yard "shooting" at each other with thier thumb and finger they can. They don't because it "looks silly". I also have let my 10 year see online how many handgun deaths there are in the US alone vs other countries where guns are never considered toys and are cared for more carefully. You are fortunate he only typed the word "gun" in google bar. I was looking for a cartoon shower pic to put on chore chart and put in shower while my 8 yr old was standing by the PC. Boy did he get an eyefull!

Don't feel like you are over-reacting. These are the values with which you have decided to raise your children-your family should support you. Or they should be getting the toys back with either a comment or note that the toy in not appropriate and if the gun play at their home continues then your children cannot go over to play there.

Helen - posted on 09/18/2009




My nephew was visiting this summer and we took him to the dollar store to get "stuff" for DD's B-day party and all he kept asking for was a toy gun. While I know his mother lets him play with these I am just no comfortable with it. I will not buy him or any of my children toy guns and I grew up in a very pro-gun household and even went hunting when I was younger. Its one thing for them to be exposed to it by other children and t.v its a totally different thing to have it condoned by one's parents. If your kids know your feelings on "toy guns" and you stick to it and explan to them why you feel the way you do they are more likely to respect your decisions and to abide by your rules when not in your direct care.

Your Aunt and Uncle should respect your decision as a parent and abide by your rules. You may have to be forceful with them and tell them straight out that if they can not follow your rules they will not be allowed to spend time with your son. Because by them undermining your rules they are setting up a bad example for your little one. What if he comes across a real gun at a friends house and has the "its ok cause its not at my house" attitude that your Aunt and Uncle are instilling in him by allowing him to play with guns at their house.

As to letting my kids play paintball....that will never happen either because i know first hand the dangers of that. I am blind in my right eye for going on 12 years now due to a paintball.

Jodi - posted on 09/18/2009




First off, regardless of what I, or anyone else thinks, it's your son, raise how you see fit and "Aunt" and 'Uncle" have no right to push their views on your son. Secondly, I'm from the midwest and we do a lot of hunting, so we have real guns in the house ranging from pistols to shot guns, but no toy guns! Guns are not toys and we dont' want our kids thinking so. Guns are not for playing games or pretend shooting and every hunting season, all the kids of all my sisters and mine get together and have "gun" safety, regardless if they're 2 or 12. Good luck!

[deleted account]

I don't like guns at all. We haven't guns in our home (toy or real) but I guess the time will come when my boy wants to play shoot 'em up games.
I think your big problem is the Aunt and Uncle who won't respect your wishes. In the end he is your son and you have the right to decide how you bring him up. So I guess what I am trying to say is that I don't think you are over reacting and you should stand by what you believe.

Sharon - posted on 09/18/2009




Toys are toys.

you can't teach a 2 yr old to respect a real gun. We taught our kids respect for guns around 6 yrs of age, but they never saw us treat our real guns like toys.

Kids see guns in the strangest things. Other kids, movies, tv shows, commercials.... My best friend was anti gun. no toy guns and definitely no real guns. first thing her 2 yr old did was pick up a dolls hairdryer aim it at her and yell "POW POW!!" I thought I was going to pee myself laughing. She didn't know to laugh or freak out.

Be realistic, they're going to see it, set rules. Walking up to someone and putting a gun up to their head, real or fake is NOT tolerated. Running through the yard playing laser tag...?? Paintball guns? Teach them the respect now.

Join Circle of Moms

Sign up for Circle of Moms and be a part of this community! Membership is just one click away.

Join Circle of Moms