Are Toy Guns Bad? After Newtown, Parents Are Still Split On Toy Gun Control

In recent months, mass shooting have become far too frequent: West Webster firefighters, the Aurora movie theater, and Sandy Hook Elementary have left dozens dead and thousands wondering what is to be done. As the nation grieves the various compounding tragedies, gun control has been a topic of passionate debate.

But what about toy gun control?

Parents seem to be split on the issue of toy guns. While some parents are taking guns away from their kids in lights of recent mass shootings, other believes that it is the child — not to toy — that needs to be the focus of concern.

The Inquisitr reported earlier that a previous California gun ban is back in full swing, and other parents are taking matters into their own hands.

According to Today, some mothers are taking away guns from their kids. Anupy Singla, mother of two daughters, reportedly has been debating for months whether or not to confiscate the toy guns in her active household. Singla’s daughters, ages 7 and 10, enjoy playing with Nerf revolver-style blasters, but when Singla watched the December 14 news footage of the Sandy Hook shooting, her “indecision ended abruptly.”

“It was just something that inside me really snapped,” Singla, 44, told Today.

“It’s me making a decision that this is not something that’s right in our house,” she added. “We don’t believe in playing with something that represents something that could be potentially so dangerous.”

Eileen Zyko Wolter took about a dozen toy guns belonging to her 4- and 7-year-old sons and stored them on a high closet shelf, noting, “I felt like they needed to understand that play guns could lead to real-life consequences.” The 41-year-old mother added, “If you’re aiming a play gun and shooting it, you’re practicing shooting at people.”

But experts say that toy guns — generally favored by boys — don’t make a child violent. Constance Katz, co-founder of the child and adolescent psychotherapy training program at the William Alanson White Institute of Psychiatry, Psychoanalysis Psychology in New York, notes: “Playing with a toy gun is not necessarily a worrisome sign. The focus should not be on playing with guns, it should be on the total emotional life of the child.”

If a child plays only with toy guns, or “becomes obsessed with gun play,” or “shows signs of alienation, withdrawal, depression or a loss of control over aggression,” then there is reason for concern, Katz tells Today. “Those are the real risk factors,” Katz adds.

Daniel Stauber, who specializes in treating children and adolescents at Community Psychological Consultants in Indianapolis, IN, agrees.

“There is nothing inherently good or bad about kids playing with toy guns,” Stauber tells USA Today.

“It all depends on the child.”

“Guns aren’t the problem, people are,” said mom Anne Lewis, who has 10 children with her husband, Jon. “If you teach your children a respect for life and others, then guns are only toys to kids at this age.”

Lewis admits that her 3-year-old twin boys shoot Lego guns they construct themselves. The couple also takes their 9- and 10-year-old sons to shoot paintball guns.

“But our sons will come running at the drop of a hat if they see a friend hurt or in pain,” said Lewis. The mother adds that she “strives to instill Christian values” in all her children. “It’s not a gun that objectifies a human life. It’s the person whose needs come in front of the life and needs of others.”

What do you think about kids playing with guns?