Walk into a gun shop and you’ll find at least one of the new “pink guns.” They’re cute, almost cuddly. I have nothing against this weird phenomena. I’m all for personal preference. I’ve chuckled at images of the “Hello-Kitty AR” and some of the other whimsical firearms paint/Duracoat jobs that have risen to Internet stardom. I read TTAG’s review of Charter Arms Chic Lady and RF’s post on pink holsters without gagging once. I drive a powder-blue car. I’ve even given consideration to a (not so) extreme visual makeover for some of my own firearms. And then I had an experience that changed the way I think pink . . .
I was standing in a gun-shop in middle Pennsylvania trying to get ANYONE behind the desk to answer a few questions. A man walked in with two kids, maybe seven and eight-years-old. The underage browsers hovered at the counter while Dad bought ammo and talked with the clerk.
They were identifying guns in the display case when they got into an argument over a “pink gun.” They were utterly convinced it was a toy. The girl thought it was cool because it “looked so real.”
Dad asked them several times what his rule was for guns. “We always ask you first if we want to see a gun,” they said in bored unison. They had a grasp on firearms safety; they knew never to touch a gun without permission. BUT neither of them thought the “pink gun” met the criteria of being a “gun” they had to ask Dad about.
The clerk behind the counter [eventually] told me it wasn’t uncommon for him to hear kids talking about the “toy” guns in the display case. He mentioned it so matter-of-factly that it about sat me down.
So here’s the issue: are pink guns blurring the lines between toy and tool? Are they defeating our efforts at firearms safety education? Are paint jobs a safety hazard? I remember having toy guns out the wazzoo as a kid, but I also remember my first real firearm.
There was a clear difference for me; I could go out and play soldier with my buddies all day long in the yard with our toys. But even touching the real gun meant talking with Dad first. If a paint job on a toy is meant to make it obvious that it’s a toy and not real (ie: strange colors, orange tips etc.), are we setting ourselves up for failure by painting real guns to look like toys?