A toy gun exchange is being offered by a California elementary school. The buyback program offered students the chance to turn in their toy guns in exchange for other items.
The program was proposed by Charles Hill, principal of Strobridge Elementary School in Hayward, California. Hill is concerned that toy guns may lead to bigger, more real, problems.
As reported by Huffington Post, Hill worries that children who play with toy guns will eventually end up using real guns. He explains some of his concerns:
“Playing with toys 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 … Some of the guns I’ve confiscated, if they’re stuck down in a waistband, the average person would think it’s a real gun.”
The toy gun exchange offered students books for their toy guns. Additionally, the students received an entry into a drawing for a bicycle. The idea for the exchange was based on real gun exchange programs.
Real gun buyback programs continue to gain popularity nationwide. Churches, law enforcement agencies, local governments, and even attorneys have offered cash or gift cards in exchange for firearms.
Critics of the program contend that the programs are most often utilized by people who would never use their guns to commit crime. Furthermore, they doubt that criminals would turn over their guns for cash or goods.
As reported by Yahoo News, the toy gun exchange has critics as well.
Responsible Citizens of California representative Yih-Chau Chang criticizes the toy gun exchange, explaining that the program does not address any safety concerns. Chang points out that playing with toy guns are a “normal part of growing up.”
Principal Hill disagrees. He states that he offered the toy gun exchange in an effort to prevent the children from glorifying the use of guns. Real or fake.
[Image via Flickr]