Guns are not toys

Yesterday morning we woke to read of ANOTHER MASS SHOOTING in the US. At midday, we read President Obama’s praise of Australia’s gun laws. By evening, two people were shot and killed in a Sydney street by a teenager. I won’t pretend to know about gun law but here is my suggestion to help keep guns off our streets: take them out of children’s hands.

Sure, we can pat ourselves on the back for Obama’s recognition of our laws but we have more work to do in curbing Australian gun culture, starting with the youngest in our society. We need to minimise killing as a form of play. We need to stop giving replica guns as toys.

Guns are not toys.     Guns are not toys.    Guns are not toys.

I know this is difficult. I get it. I currently have two boys in the backyard using a toy vacuum cleaner nozzle for a blaster. I’ve taken them to laser tag, got drenched with water pistols in summer and recently purchased bow and arrows (with plastic sticky heads) from a sword wielding medieval faire. But there is a normalisation in killing for play that really bothers me. It’s such a mixed message.

How can we be horrified by real life shootings then hand a toy replica of the very same killing machine to play with? It just doesn’t make sense. Colourful and plastic, romanticised and character aspiring – they are still guns and guns, the real ones, are not toys.

A quick search of the word ‘gun’ in the toy section of our major chains produced over 130 results. Admittedly, most were tiny pieces in Lego packs but then there was the Nerf collection of gender/colour based guns and cross bows, and other toys like the ones above.

I wonder what results we would see if, like education of our planet and environment or education of abuse and domestic violence, we were to collectively shift the norm in children’s play with killing machines?

Author: Sharon Quill

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