The "Scourge" of Toy Guns

The "Scourge" of Toy Guns

Toy_Guns_FWhen I was on a visit home recently, my 86-year-old mother asked that I bring down the old 8mm movie projector and films so we could watch them and decide if they were worth transferring to CDs. We spent quite a while watching movies that dated from 1956 through the middle 1960s.

Christmastime was the big opportunity for my dad to bring out the Bell & Howell and its retina-burning light bar, so we watched the family squint through several years of festive package opening. What held all the years together in my case was that every Christmas included at least one toy gun.


There was the Hubley Ric-O-Shay, and the Mattel Fanner .45 with the Greenie Stick-Em Caps. There was a Thompson and an M3 Grease gun, the latter with hand crank for a realistic sound. The Man From Uncle Gun combined a Walther P.38 with a buttstock, long barrel and scope. There was a foot-long scale likeness of a Winchester Model 94 I glued together like an airplane model. Finally there was that matchless day when I received my first real gun, a bolt-action .410 shotgun, and toys were no more.



All that was, I guess, preparation for almost 39 years in the gun industry. And, like much else that was shown in those flickering images, anathema to right-thinking members of today's academia.

Take, for example, Jonathan Zimmerman, a professor of history and education at New York University. In two widely publicized recent incidents, police officers shot a Walmart shopper holding a BB gun and a 12-year-old boy with an airsoft pistol. Since both victims were black, they fit right into the current narrative of trigger-happy cops promiscuously killing black men, though perhaps they should also fit into a narrative of busybodies calling the police with insufficient or erroneous information.


Prof. Zimmerman didn't draw the conclusion that many SGN readers might have: that maybe cops need better training to spot the difference between real and toy guns. Nope, his solution is to get rid of toy guns. I will give him one small sliver of praise; he doesn't suggest government action to outlaw them; he wants shoppers to boycott stores that sell them.  That's good. If he wants to engage in a fair contest of ideas, not go running to the nanny state, we can handle that.


His explanation for my experiences, and many of yours, with toy guns is that they are artifacts of a less enlightened time:

"The guns would prevent boys from becoming 'sissies,' advocates said, amid worries that postwar suburban affluence--and overprotective mothers had eroded American masculinity. 'It is perfectly natural for young boys to be fascinated by guns,' wrote one approving physician. 'They represent an extension of power and strength.'"

Should've known it: homophobia!

"The fake guns would also steel American youth for the all-too-real struggle against Soviet Russia. 'Peace depends on all of us being rugged and ready,' declared the caption of a Saturday Evening Post cover, which showed young American boys dressed as pistol-toting cowboys."

And anti-Communism, too! A whole catalog of retrograde thinking here.

I don't doubt Prof. Zimmerman's line of argument will have its effect in urban areas: It's probably hard right now to find a toy gun in Berkeley, Calif., or Cambridge, Mass. But a quick look at the toy department shelves at the Farm & Fleet or Big R near me shows an impressive profusion of toy guns, most of them a lot more realistic than the ones I found under the tree. Little boys want toy guns just as much as I did more than 50 years ago, and that will never change, thank God.

What should change is that parents need to be judicious about where they let children handle toy guns, police need to be careful about distinguishing toy and real guns, and bystanders need to know what they are really seeing before calling 911 to report "man with a gun."

Merry Christmas!

Recommended for You

Many of the concepts pioneered by Hobart are seen in modern armies across the world and the AVRE platform is alive and well. Historical

Hobarts Funnies and the Battle for the Scheldt

Neal S Shera - July 15, 2019

Many of the concepts pioneered by Hobart are seen in modern armies across the world and the...

Ontario Chief Firearms Officer, Dwight Peer, spoke with TheGunBlog.ca about the Canada-wide surge in buying AR-15 target rifles. 2nd Amendment

Ontario, Canada Chief Firearms Officer Comments on AR-15 Buying Surge and Gun Licensing

TheGunBlog.ca - July 16, 2019

Ontario Chief Firearms Officer, Dwight Peer, spoke with TheGunBlog.ca about the Canada-wide...

Berger Bullets is now shipping the new 6.5mm 156gr EOL Elite Hunter projectiles to exclusive retailers. Ammo

Berger 6.5mm 156gr EOL Elite Hunter Bullets Available Now

Berger Bullets - July 10, 2019

Berger Bullets is now shipping the new 6.5mm 156gr EOL Elite Hunter projectiles to exclusive...

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Kyle Lamb and Eric Poole talk SIG pistols

Kyle Lamb and Eric Poole talk SIG pistols

G&A Editor Eric Poole and Viking Tacticals's Kyle Lamb talks about 2 new pistols from SIG Sauer and a Lipsey's Special of the P365.

New handguns from Smith & Wesson

New handguns from Smith & Wesson

The Performance Center's M&P380 Shield EZ pistol features ported barrel, flat face trigger and tuned action.

New Bushnell Prime 1700 and Nitro 1800 Rangefinders

New Bushnell Prime 1700 and Nitro 1800 Rangefinders

Jake Edson of Bushnell Optics tells OSG's Lynn Burkhead about the brand new Prime 1700 and Nitro 1800 rangefinders.

See more Popular Videos

Trending Stories

If you want to keep the peace, keep and bear arms. Don't give up your guns. Any other choice would be ridiculous. 2nd Amendment

Is Red Dawn Really Just Ridiculous? If Not, Who Would Citizen Disarmament Help?

David Codrea - May 29, 2019

If you want to keep the peace, keep and bear arms. Don't give up your guns. Any other choice...

The last of Germany's infamous Elefant tank destroyers. Historical

World War II German Elefant Tank Destroyers

Neal S Shera - July 12, 2019

The last of Germany's infamous Elefant tank destroyers.

A $50 Ring Loc-Kit gives AirForce Condor airgunners unparalleled power and accuracy. Air Guns

AirForce Airguns Condor Ring-Loc Kit Review

Tom Gaylord - May 29, 2019

A $50 Ring Loc-Kit gives AirForce Condor airgunners unparalleled power and accuracy.

See More Stories

More 2nd Amendment

Red Flag Laws Put Your Life and Your Family's Lives in Extreme Danger and Risk of Death 2nd Amendment

Red Flag Laws Endanger You and Your Family

Mark Chesnut - August 27, 2019

Red Flag Laws Put Your Life and Your Family's Lives in Extreme Danger and Risk of Death

This is the second installment in a series of investigative reports about the NRA by Firearms News. 2nd Amendment

Firearms News Investigates the NRA: Part 2

Nedd Scott - August 13, 2019

This is the second installment in a series of investigative reports about the NRA by Firearms...

This will be the first of many investigative reports about the NRA by Firearms News. 2nd Amendment

Firearms News Investigates the NRA: Part 1

Nedd Scott - July 18, 2019

This will be the first of many investigative reports about the NRA by Firearms News.

See More 2nd Amendment

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Temporary Price Reduction.

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW OUR CURRENT ISSUE

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

×