California School Launches Buy Back Program For Toy Guns

250px-Spud_GunStrobridge Elementary Principal Charles Hill has implemented what he considers a key public safety effort: a toy gun buy back program. A child who turns in “their guns” will be given a book and a raffle ticket to win one of four bicycles. I fail to see why such programs are worthy of such effort. Not only will it have no likely impact on the natural tendency of children to play such games, I fail to see the the value of such programs.

For full disclosure, I have previously written columns on the campaign against toy guns (here and here). I fail to see the alarm over such play and, as noted in the prior columns, the obsession of some parents is often based on inaccurate accounts of academic research.

We have made an effort to force manufacturers to clearly mark toy guns to distinguish them from real guns. Tragedies certainly occur where police mistake a toy gun. However, they remain relatively rare given the number of toys and children in this country. We also have mistaken shootings with other objects.

Hill clearly subscribes to the view that playing with toy guns produces violent, criminally inclined children — ignoring the hundreds of millions of adults in his country who were raised on such games and never hurt a soul. Yet, “Playing with toy guns, saying ‘I’m going to shoot you,’ desensitizes them, so as they get older, it’s easier for them to use a real gun.” That is quite a stretch for any academic in cause and effect.

What do you think?

Source: Mercury

78 thoughts on “California School Launches Buy Back Program For Toy Guns”

  1. Mike S, there were 6 kids total and two cap guns and it was a farm so we did the cowboys and indians thing and the guns got handed off and shared in a generally unfair way. We made bows and arrows when out of sight of the house- sharpened those bendy-switch arrows to good points now and then. We managed to keep all of our eyes but did come up with little round bruises. LOL, good times. Starting in the mid late 60’s though I felt kind of bad about the whole ‘indian’ role playing thing but I did like shooting the cousins that had the guns with a well aimed arrow. It was the south, we got moon pies as treats on occasion. Those really were good times.

    1. LK,

      Though a NYC boy we had our parks too where we could play. I was very shy as a boy until my teens. I would play with my toy guns and rifles by myself living in a world of fantasy as I walked through wooded areas. When the neighborhood kids got together though we would play erzatz war games like “Capture the White Flag” snd “Ringolevio” over large swaths of parks. At home I had my toy Cowboys and a metal replica of a western town and I would lose myself in fantasy play making up stories with me as the btrave hero saving the day. My role models were Gary Cooper as Sherriff Will Kane in “High Noon” and Alan Ladd in “Shane”. They were men who were loners fighting for people who didn’t support them. Not surprisingly with my shyness, I was somewhat backward socially and struggled with it. Also less surprising was that I took alienated men as my role models. It wasn’t until my Junior year in H.S. that I caught up to my peers socially. Nevertheless, whether it’s time dimming my memory, or really so, I remember those days of gunplay and fantasy fondly.

  2. Blouise, My wife’s family is really into curling. Instead of going to watch their “bonspiels”[The winning word in the National Spelling Bee last week] I sit home scratching my nuts and watching the paint dry. Much more exciting and pleasurable.

  3. Mike A.,

    I want you to know some of us carried on your proud tradition into the early 70’s to help ensure we weren’t all speaking Vietnamese today as well although we alternated between candy cigarettes and Jolly Ranchers (green apple for combat missions, watermelon for R&R).

  4. Once the educational system has conditioned (read: indoctrinated) children, including boys, to be terrified of anything even resembling a firearm, where are our politicians (read: rulers) going to find recruits (read: cannon fodder) to fight their anti-terrorist police actions (read: colonial wars)? Do they think a few weeks of BT are going to reverse a lifetime of conditioning?

  5. Mike Appleton:

    “Growing up in the ’50s, I personally eliminated several companies of German infantrymen, a candy cigarette dangling from my grim lips. If it weren’t for those efforts in my formative years, we might all be speaking German today.”

    Don’t take all the credit for yourself, Mike. Lots of us helped with that in the ’50s.

  6. anonymously posted:

    I forgot to mention my Hopalong Cassidy lunchbox.

  7. There is only one thing wrong with those “no firearms” signs. Bad guys pay absolutely no attention to them. There have been any number of shootings and armed robberies at places with those rules, including malls, theaters, schools, and even courthouses. Bad guys have a habit of ignoring laws of all kinds. That is why they are criminals. If bad guys ignore the signs, and persons who are trained and licensed to carry firearms are not allowed, that means there is no one to stop a bad guy on a shooting rampage.

    Such a sign did not deter Connie Ray Evans or his buddy Alfonso Artis at that Jackson, MS convenience store. Connie Ray Evans made store clerk Arun Pahwa get down on his knees and beg for his life before coolly executing him with a single shot to the back of Pahwa’s head. It is chilling. The security camera video is not online for obvious reasons. Evans and his accomplice got $140 in that armed robbery. You can Google the names or find the case at this citation:
    809 F.2d 239

    I read that after the big gun confiscation drive in Australia, home invasions went up. The figures may be somewhat misleading, because there is no uniform definition of “home invasion” by the Australian authorities. The various definitions of the term as used in Australia depend on whether it is the media, local police, the Australian Bureau of Criminal Intelligence, or the Victim Support Service (VSS) of South Australia. This White Paper put out by the Australian Office of Crime Statistics and Research is informative.

    http://www.ocsar.sa.gov.au/docs/information_bulletins/IB11.pdf

    However, this blogger (link below) has gathered most of the information out there from various sources and summed it up in a simple chart.

    http://stevengoddard.wordpress.com/2012/12/16/australian-gun-ban-led-to-massive-crime-increase/

  8. SWM, Lol! A biz has the right to not allow guns in their establishment. My unofficial estimate is ~80% have those signs. Go just out of town and the % plunges. As you probably know, Illinois became the 50th state to all CCW. They’ll put about 359 hoops to jump in order to get a license.

  9. “More than 200 people attended Saturday’s safety fair at Strobridge. Students turned in an estimated 50 to 75 toy guns in exchange for a chance to win one of four bicycles, and everyone who attended received a book.

    As students arrived at the campus, they found a table set up with books. They dropped their toy guns into a bucket, in exchange for raffle tickets for the bike drawing, and were allowed to pick

    out a book.

    “Whether they had a gun or not, they could pick out a book for the summer. Any siblings with them could take a book, too,” Hill said.

    Parents accompanying the children thanked the principal. “They told me, ‘This is great. We’re all for it. We’re glad you’re doing it,'” he said. One mother told him she had felt pressured to buy a toy gun for her child because other children in the neighborhood had them.

    The toy gun exchange was just one part of the fair, which also included fire safety, CPR demonstrations and gun safety, Hill said. “The whole intent was child safety as we head into the summer.”

    Hayward police Officer Bradon Wilson gave a talk on gun safety, telling students to never pick up a gun, because it could be loaded. Wilson also talked about how adults should store weapons.

    “He showed some of the guns that were collected and compared them to real guns and how, in his judgment, if he saw that, he would assume it was a real gun,” Hill said.” San Jose Mercury News

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