I hold a special place in my heart for lawmakers who step in to do a parent's job. They're so cute! And by cute I mean like a stupid puppy chasing its own tail round and round. Not doing much of anything, but really, it's worth a laugh.
That's how I feel about Hawaii lawmakers who are trying to enact a ban on toy gun sales to anyone under the age of 18. The way they see it, this will end all those annoying toy guns brought into schools, disrupting classes, encouraging violence, and resulting in kids suspended from instruction time. Heck, while they're shooting for the moon, they might as well bet it will affect peace on earth and goodwill to men.
At its heart, the law is aimed at making the toy guns comparable to cigarettes and alcohol. If a kid can't buy them, they'll be less likely to use them. To which I say, how cute of you for thinking that!
Let's start from the beginning, oh lawmakers, and we'll use little words so you can understand this. Most little kids don't have their own money. So the people who are currently buying the toy guns? The ones that are being brought into your schools? Will still be the ones buying them after this ban goes into place.
And if the kids do have money, it's a parent's responsibility to track that money, keeping them from buying something like a toy gun -- or at the very least having a talk with their child about where and when the gun is appropriate for use. And here's where I'm willing to go out on a very big, solid limb. If a parent is lazy enough not to pay one wit of attention to what their little kid is buying (we're talking little kids, not teenagers here), they're probably the same sort of parent who says, "What, you want a realistic-looking toy gun and you want to bring it to school? SURE, I'll buy it for you!"
Now let's suppose you have good, solid, caring parents, who pay attention to what their kids are doing and forbid gun play, or at least forbid their child from taking their toy guns to school. You still have two problems: the little kid who just really wanted to show off their new toy and brought it anyway because kids are actually pretty darn innocent when it comes to this stuff, and the kid who leaves it home and ends up playing cops and robbers on the playground with his buds anyway. Only he uses his fingers instead of a toy gun.
Yes, lawmakers, you have just discovered what parents have known for years. Kids like gun play. And we, as parents, can discuss it until we're blue in the face and lay down all the laws we want, but as long as kids are born with a thumb and an index finger, there will be gun play. Scientists even say it's good for them.
Do you see a point to this proposal? What should lawmakers be doing instead?
Image via wwworks/Flickr