I Could Shoot the Person Who Gave My Child A Toy Gun

NERF UnOfficial event "NERFest" EX-2...
NERF UnOfficial event “NERFest” EX-2 in Japan (Photo credit: HK-DMZ)

I could just shoot the person who gave my kindergardener a toy gun for Christmas. Okay, calm down. I’m not really going to shoot them. But I am pretty mad that someone thought it was appropriate to give my kid a gun of any kind as a gift.

When we opened it, I was shocked to say the least. The mother apologized and said they had purchased it before recent incidents — most notably Sandy Hook. However, even before these tragic events, giving another person’s kid a gun of any kind — squirt gun, Nerf gun, air gun rifle, bebe gun — simply isn’t appropriate. Please understand, I’m not anti-gun. But I do believe gun safety starts at home, which also means teaching children guns of any kind are not toys to be trifled with.

Let’s not kid ourselves. Boys will make guns out of anything, including sticks, Legos and even stuffed animals. It’s a different story when some realistic weapon is handed to them. And to a six year old no less. The Nerf gun Vman received for the holidays is fluorescent green and orange. Nothing real about that, right? Wrong! This is a double barrel shotgun you have to load by cocking open and clicking closed — not unlike what you would see in many Arnold Schwazenegger movies. Suddenly, the Terminator is in my house.

Check out a video of someone reviewing this item to see how it works:

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eom-2UKKPLc?rel=0&w=560&h=315]

By the end of the first day, I couldn’t take it anymore. I had successfully sheltered my six year old from the horrors of Sandy Hook, but I needed him to understand the damage real guns could do. I told him I needed to have an “adult conversation” with him — something I had never done before. That really got his attention! I explained to him although his gun wasn’t real, it was designed like guns that could and do hurt people. We talked about the fact there are real bad guys in the world and we have a responsibility to act with caution with any type of gun (real or not).

To my surprise, Vman soaked in what I said, and we came to an agreement. I would pin targets onto the backyard trees, and he could aim for those targets only. No indoor use would be permitted. And, even when outside, he could never point the gun at a person.

For now, Vman will be more than happy with his light sabers and video games. He will learn how to handle basic guns when he’s old enough to properly handle them with adult supervision. And I’ll probably reconsider my stance on toy guns when he’s older. Until then, only mama decides if and when my child will play with anything that has a trigger.


  1. Weirdly, I felt the same way when someone gave our 4 year old daughter a Barbie doll!

    1. I get that! I had to buy a “girl” present for a birthday party. There’s a big difference between Tinkerbell and Barbi. I was surprised. And my 4yo son informed me that Barbi was too old… Glad we were on the same wavelength.

  2. I agree, it’s a fine line. We had some teenagers messing around with fake (but realisitic looking) guns last week. Just seeing it out of the corner of my eye out the window scared me. But my next thought was of someone in our quiet Tx neighborhood (I’m sure one of them must be a gun owner) freaking out more than I did. I know these were older kids but you would think someone might have suggested it wasn’t the greatest idea. A neighbor had a quiet word with them and they stopped

  3. I’d never given the topic much thought, but my husband is a former Marine and feels very strongly that our kids will never have toy guns either. I find myself torn sometimes on the grey areas (I know a lot of the current Nerf and water guns are super realistic looking, but the old school Super Soakers were a blast and didn’t look like actual weapons … to me at least!) but in general I am on board and it has made me rethink some of the toys I would previously have bought for little kids.

    1. My father grew up in Oklahoma and Calgary where guns were second nature… I guess knowing that my kids will probably learn how to shoot real guns someday I want them to have a healthy respect for them and not think of them as toys on any level.

  4. Jowyn Jenson says:

    Well done. I shall take a mental note of your approach for when/if I have to have this conversation with any of my future offspring. My brother had a toy ‘cowboy’ pistol with exploding caps in the 70s/80s. I never liked it. The sound of those caps exploding frightened me. My mother, as far as I know, did not talk to him about the issue of guns. Maybe it was a different time…. But we now live in THIS time and it needs to be discussed.

  5. I bought my boys K’nex since they played with nerf guns so frequently. They decided to make toy guns from the k’nex. They really do love toy guns.

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