Hello Kitty! (courtesy outie.net)

“I’m a gun owner.” Oh brother. How many pro-gun control articles start with the author’s declaration that they own guns? Or, in many cases, a gun. It’s a sure sign that the writer supports firearms freedom like Gemma Massey supports Sharia law. “I was in a gun shop and shooting range last week,” toymaker turned Wall Street Journal columnist Rhett Power continues. “A man came in with his daughter who looked no more than 8 years old. She quickly spotted a pink handgun on display. She was convinced that it was a toy and told her father that she wanted to hold it. I asked the sales clerk if this was common, and he said that kids always think the pink guns are toys.” Uh-oh .  . .

That was apparently the case on Feb. 1, when a 3-year-old boy in Greenville, S.C., was killed with a handgun kept in the house by his mother. Police said that Tmorej Smith and his 7-year-old sister had been playing with the handgun. It was pink. The investigators said that the kids thought it was a toy.

As a businessman who makes children’s toys, I am appalled by this aspect of the firearms industry. Toymakers are extremely regulated, and for good reason—no one wants kids to get hurt. In the case of toy guns, manufacturers since the late 1980s have been required by federal law to use distinctive “blaze orange” barrel plugs or markings to ensure that the toys are not mistaken for the real thing. I don’t make toy guns, but I certainly understand the rule: There were too many tragic stories involving young people killed by someone who mistook the child’s toy for a loaded weapon.

Is it me or does that “extremely regulated, and for good reason” bit sound a bit kinky? What business welcomes government regulation, save one that [rightly] views it as a barrier to entry to competition?

Anyway, you can guess the rest. Stop making pink guns! Stop making brightly colored guns! Do it for the children! But don’t get to thinking it’s about gun control . . .

Let me get this straight: Children are not allowed to have toy guns that look like the real thing, but adults are allowed to have the real thing that looks like a toy? That has got to change. This isn’t about “gun control,” it’s about something closer to simple decency.

No it’s about personal responsibility. It’s my job to teach my children gun safety, so they can tell the difference between a toy gun and a real firearm; no matter what the gun’s color.

It’s also about freedom. Not to coin a phrase, but those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.

Liberty? The freedom to buy pink guns? Yes. In the same sense that I don’t want the government regulating where a supermarket places the Cocoa Puffs or what size soft drink a store can sell or what my child should and shouldn’t eat, I don’t want the state regulating gun colors.

First it’s gun colors, then it’s safety features, then it’s safe storage laws, then it’s age limits, then it’s ammo types, then it’s types of targets, etc. It’s not for nothing they’re called Safety Nazis.

Notice I used the word “stop” instead of “ban” above. Mr. Power didn’t have the cojones to come out and say the government should intervene and ban brightly colored guns. But you don’t have to be a gun control advocate to read between the lines.

The website PackingPretty.com recently reported that “pink guns are flying off the shelves at gun stores.” As a business owner, I get it. Pink guns sell, and this is why the manufacturers keep producing them. It makes business sense. But what about responsibility as corporate citizens?

The corporation as a buffer between stupid people and a tyrannical government. Yeah. No. But I do fancy one of those Hello Kitty ARs—for reasons I can’t explain. And shouldn’t have to. To anyone. Ever.

90 Responses to Think Pink! Or Not

  1. Need it in purple or red. Not every ovarian-bearer loves pink, just as not every testicular-bearer loves black. Some of us like FDE or OD.

        • That would be the whole point: if you can’t wrap your thumb over, it’s not a “pistol grip” or “thumbhole grip” and as long as it lacks any other AW features, it’s exempt from the AW ban.

          People do this so they can use legally owned full-capacity magazines in an AR-platform rifle.

        • And thus, we are forced to enter the insane world of the libtard. Non-pistol grip? Wouldnt you like to powder the lower jaw of a libtard with a ball peen hammer?

        • AlphaGreek: “People do this so they can use legally owned full-capacity magazines in an AR-platform rifle.”

          That’s incorrect. Has nothing at all to do with magazine capacity. It allows you to have a detachable magazine, assuming you have no other AW “features” on your gun. It’s about making the gun “featureless.” A pistol grip is an AW feature, which would require that you have a magazine locking device (that is, something that prevents it from being “removable from the gun without the use of a tool”). Doesn’t matter if the mag is 1 round or 2 or 5 or 10 or 30, it would have to be locked if your gun had an AW feature.

    • California compliant MONSTERMAN GRIP.

      * it;s utterly stupid.
      Once the stock is pinned or fixed, and the pistol grip is disabled/modified/swapped out, the shooter/california can then use pre-ban magazines, as well as a hassle free magazine release.

      I think it’s safe to say that not a single gun found at a true* crime scene had the bullet button, or 5/10 round magazines.

      * True – as in gang violence, mass shootings, spree shootings, drug deals, illegal gun seizures** and the like

      ** As in ATF/DOJ/FBI raids on human trafficking, drug labs, etc etc etc.

      As for lesser crimes, like say a friend points a gun at someone drunkenly, other friend calls cops, or guy legally owns guns, follows the laws, but got popped for i dunno… something else….

      Is it possible to differentiate these crimes? I think thats a valuable concept.

      I would be shocked to hear that a bullet button or monsterman grip was found in possession of a “true” criminals possession (most likely not a legal gun owner).

  2. When I ask why a person would want one, it’s an honest question. I never mean that to imply that said person has no right to the item. But sometimes, cutesy characteristics help me explain to my partner why I want a particular gun. My Colt 1903 Pocket Hammerless has a cute horse on the grip medallion. She saw that and had no doubt as to the value of that firearm.

  3. “But I do fancy one of those Hello Kitty ARs—for reasons I can’t explain. And shouldn’t have to. To anyone. Ever.”

    Just beware – the My Little Pony magazines are not compatible.

  4. Plenty of adults I know couldn’t tell me the make or model of a car that they just saw, or say their friend drives. Many times they can’t even tell me how many doors it had. But they damn sure know what color it was.
    Guns should only be used or store responsibily, duh. But until everyone is a gun person and no one uses guns for wrong, painting guns to look like toys puts regular toy owners at risk. Either the kid doesn’t know any better or the cop/CCW holder that see’s the kid pointing the colorful gunshaped thing at them can’t tell the differance.
    As Rhett Power said, it’s something like personal descency. And if I might add, for the children

      • I thought I covered that with, “Guns should only be used or store[d] responsibily(sic)…”

        But, since you seem curious, I think it is personally irresponsible to paint your gun to look like a toy.

        Nowhere near as irresponsible as the aforementioned mom from S.C. (I doubt the gun’s color played much in that case), but somewhere between putting on deodorant if you’re about to ride the bus with stinky pits, and weaving through traffic at 100mph. When you live in society it’s decent (and responsible) to give some thought to how you effect your world.

  5. In 2010 firearms accounted for 41 accidental fatalities among children under 12. Accidental poisoning accounted for 60, drowning 638, and vehicle accidents 1,067.

    The really hilarious part is that people complain that guns are scary looking, then when someone tries to make them less scary, people complain that they’re not scary enough….

    • Which brings us back to the main point: THEY don’t want YOU to have ANY guns…that’s what it boils down to…

  6. I own a small Pink .22 rifle I use to train small girls. It is a very effective way to make young girls feel comfortable shooting a gun for the first time.

    For a long time I have been wanting to get a pink .38 spl from Charter Arms. The women will like it… plus I get to piss off more anti-gunners.

  7. The guy does have a point. Even that obviously full-sized and apparently (on closer look) functional AR in the photo looks like a toy at first glance. Visual cues are important, and all the teaching in the world won’t erase the fact that young children don’t have fully functional logic circuitry and can’t fully grasp the consequences that guns entail — let alone think their way past “looks like a toy, must be a toy.”

    I’m not saying the gov’t should step in and start regulating firearm color schemes. For one thing, government never seems to know when to stop regulating once it starts, and for another thing, putting regulatory power into the hands of people who hate the thing (and the people) they’re regulating is a very bad idea.

    If you’re giving a gun the same color scheme you’d see in a kid’s toy, you’re playing with fire, and you better have darn good safety practices if kids are in the picture. We’ve already seen that in the right circumstances, one bad outcome is all it takes to put everyone’s rights and liberties in jeopardy.

    • I think the whole point of the article is that the color of a gun will not make it more or less lethal. If you have a gun in the house and small kids, will you leave it loaded and accessible to them because it is colored black and scary? Or will you ONLY keep them secured if they are colored pink or yellow or purple or lime green?

      • That seemed to be RF’s point, and I agree. But it doesn’t invalidate the origonal author’s points that guns should probably not look like toys. No one here has asked for regulation dictating such, but it’s worth discussing among ourselves.

    • I remember a few years ago some politician did try to ban unusually colored guns. In New York I think?

      • That was Michael”Mighty Midge” Bloomberg. He said Duracoat had no business in NYC or the 5 Burroughs. Look on Lauer Custom Weapons website(www.duracoat.com), think that is right web address, and they had designed new colors just for the 5 Burroughs and named each one after one of the five.
        Even shows the Bobblehead they made for it. Which I wish was still available!!

  8. Another day, another coward trying to shirk off personal responsibility to the nanny state. If your kid’s stupid enough to mistake a real gun for a toy gun, that’s a failing of you, the parent. Maybe if you had the guts to teach your kids about guns rather than plunk your fat can in front of Idol while public schools warped their minds, this wouldn’t be an issue for you.

    • I’d argue that the kid should not have access to it as a matter of personal responsibility as a firearms owner, regardless of whether or not the kid thinks it’s a toy. The kids don’t know that toy guns have the orange thing on the end.

  9. My daughter is 4. Now we don’t necessarily have ‘toy’ guns at home, since we have two girls, they’re more akin to Barbies and other stuff. My handguns are stored in a GunVault, and my daughter knows that daddy has guns, and they are in the gunvalut by the bed. I discovered this one day when she came and got me and asked whats in the box. I countered with you know whats in there, and she said, “Your gun!”. I think she wants one because I have one. Standard kid psychology. There was a week there where she figured out what it meant to be married, and that mommy was married to daddy so she wanted to marry me. Makes sense I have a gun, I carry it, so she wants to have one and carry it. Needless to say set the example. Properly. In a holster. I take her to the gun store and she bravely says, “Daddy, those guns over there are big. Those are daddy guns. These ones are small, my guns. I want a pink one.” Now obviously I know she wants one to have one like me. I don’t ask her why she wants one, its cuz she wants to shoot it. And I know that she’d probably play with it, she’s 4. Kids are kids, and are bound to play with EVERYTHING. Even their food. So don’t let your kids play with your guns. If you’re gonna have a gun in the house, do it right. Home carry, or GunVault. The under the pillow nonsense is exactly the type of thing which gets kids killed. Thats why we are parents.
    She also wants a red sportbike. I’m gonna be a busy dad when she grows up.

    • Don’t make guns verboten either. I’ve also got two young girls (5 & 8) and if they ask nicely, I’ll gladly go through the unloading process of a firearm *with them*, the verification of an unloaded firearm *with them* and then allow them to handle the firearm *with me*. We verbalize and observe the safety rules while they’re unloaded, and the girls can then handle the firarms- pistol or long gun. When we’re all done, the firearms become a “no touch” item, they get loaded back up and put back into the safe or my IWB holster. We went through this 4-5 times a month at first, after they became aware of the “lumpy” spot on Papa’s side, but it’s since tapered off and the ritual gets observed once every few months.

      We are at the point with the 8yo girl that she’d like to get a .22lr rifle and honestly, the color should be something she likes, pink or not. She’ll know the difference between real and not and she’ll probably have the rifle a good long time so we might as well get one she likes.

      • As a person of an age only above the minimum to smoke, but still under the age to drink I think that my opinion is of fair relevance.

        First off, I’m a fairly good shot. And I can present a handgun from a holster, clear all malfunctions, shoot and move, load, unload, and navigate obstacles with a firearm better than most. I believe this is the case Because I play with the firearms I have access to. These firearms also happen to be stored in a safe that has resided in my room for the past 3 or 4 years. I organized that safe and originally came up with the code. I also home carry as much as is practical.

        As long as anyone (everyone) understands the lethality of a loaded firearm, and that as long as you watch were you point an unloaded (as in NEVER point it at something you cannot replace) firearm you can play do dry practice and become proficient with a firearm.

        In order to use any tool with competence, not to mention mastery, it requires utmost familiarity and knowledge with and of it. Just fondling (unloaded) guns is experience. Get to know it like you would a friend, because besides Jesus, it may be the last friend you have.

    • What is with this hysteria? I may be old school, but this nanny yammering really gets me. Growing up in the 1960s and 1970s, we never heard of gun locks or gun safes. My parents had loaded guns around the house as did most of my friend’s parents. We never thought about touching them because we knew the consequences. Now it seems everybody is in full blown panic mode because parents have abdicated their responsibility and want everyone else to bear the burden of their failures. They look to their masters in government to have this banned or that outlawed. What a nation of immature adolescents we have become. Instead of complaining about manufacturers filling market demand why don’t you bed-wetters grow a spine?

      • Unrelated, rude, and condecending parenting of other people’s children reply of the day award goes to:
        Bill in IL

        • Please explain exactly where I attempted to “parent other people’s children”.

          I didn’t. I simply stated that this constant bleat about safety was unknown when I was growing up. You see, our parents actually believed in being parents and instilling responsibility in their children. Unlike today, hence the calling of folks like you for ever more regulation, laws, rules and edicts to things that are really none of your business. If a younger person or a woman wants pink, chartreuse, hello kitty, my pony AR or pistol or whatever, that is their business. If a manufacturer sees enough demand for that particular product that he can make a profit, that is his business. Not yours, not mine so STFU.

        • I grew up in the 70’s…

          No safety equipment, sporks, padded helments, rubber padded playground equipment. Hell, the monkey bars in grade school had GRAVEL underneath it…taught you not to fall as much!
          We played tackle football, I rode my bicycle in places and in a manner that makes Tony Hawk look like a pu$$.
          My parents smoked, we ate red meat, didn’t use seatbelts, and my dad taught me to shoot when I was around 10 years old, he gave me my first handgun when I was 15 (on our property ONLY).
          When I was in High School, there wasn’t a pickup truck in the parking lot that DIDN’T have a shotgun or a rifle in the back window.
          Not everyone won, not everyone passed, not everyone got a trophy or a blue ribbon.

          I’m alive and well!

          As I see it, we live in a me, me, me…right now…I WIN society for the most part. Some folks may take offense or disagree…but…?

          The problem is that most parents today DONT parent their OWN children…they expect the governemnt or someone else to do it. In raising my own kids, I can’t begin to describe the level of self absorbed apathy some parents have. It doesn’t take a village to raise a kid, it takes one or two hard working responsible parents!

          AND…I’ll have my guns any damn color I want them…or that my wife tells me she wants them!

        • Rude, thoughtless reply to Bill in IL, since what he said was responsibility is sorely lacking in today’s world. How did you miss that?

        • I do not support any aesthetic restriction laws for firearms and apologize if I led you to believe so.
          I further apologize if I misread you when I thought you referred to our friend M Blunt as an hysteric, bed-wetting beggar for a nanny state simply because he takes responsibility for his fouryearold’s safety. I estimated him to be quite the opposite.
          I’ll accept that not everyone uses the “reply” button to actually reply to another poster’s comment, but I don’t understand.

  10. There is absolutely no evidence cited by the author that the color of a gun found by a child unattended in the home has ever or will ever influence the probability that the child will play with the gun. The one incident cited where a pink gun was involved is inconclusive of the hypothesis, as there is nothing to suggest the children would not have played with the gun regardless of its color.

    Seems to me that this is a fairly easy controlled experiment to conduct.

  11. if i owned a gun store i would not sell any toy colored guns, and i would buy them and strip the paint and refinish them to look like real guns.

    • And people would buy what they want…either from you or from somone who has what they wanted. Your choice to sell that way, my choice to buy that way.

  12. I think it’s high time we stop confusing kids by making them think that guns with colors are toys. Stop pitting stupid orange tips on guns.

    I wonder when criminals are ging to start painting orange on their guns to make the cops hesitate.

    • Orange? Nah…

      If you want to have real street gangsta cred, your gun has to made of solid GOLD! Or at least… painted gold. 😉

    • Cops shoot people over holding cell phones, pens, wallets, or just being in the wrong color truck delivering papers, why think they would hesitate over anything that actually looks like a gun? And, no way would I buy a kid anything that looks like what it is not. These days that can be harder than it seems.

  13. Just because something is stupid doesn’t mean it needs to be regulated. A concept which seems to elude our lawmakers.

      • My wife loves the Badtz Maru stuff… and she’s so disappointed that no one “gets it” …

        • Samurai Jack on mine please, or the caricatures of the Animaniacs. Oh and Pinky and the Brain on the slides of all my semi auto pistols!!

  14. I do have concerns about brightly colored firearms being mistaken for toys. That doesn’t mean they should be regulated in any way, but those individuals who choose to own them need to make sure they’re extra vigilant about proper storage and making sure that a young child won’t find it and confuse it for a toy.

  15. Our little one is 11 and has her own pink and stainless .22lr. She is allowed to store it under her bed only after we have both visually an physically cleared it and put it on safe(is a single shot). Her friends come over but do not see her rifle or know about it. She keeps her ammo, glasses and earmuffs in her own ammo can. We teach her constantly as I home carry everyday and where she can see it and is aware I have it on me.
    Be responsible, teach and reinforce the safety rules.

  16. I’ve often thought that guns that look like toys is a truly stupid idea. Should they be banned? No. But they’re still stupid. Who would buy one? Are you never going to have kids? Are your nephews & nieces never going to visit? Darwinism is a bear when it happens to your family.

  17. Guns that look like toys are a bad idea around small people whose brains are works in progress. Humans are visually cued, and like it or not, we have conventions in our society for what a toy looks like. It’s the same reason we don’t package insecticides or rat poison in ways which could be confused with tasty treats.

    Similarly, there is danger in giving kids toys which are not visually distinguishable from real firearms. I have concerns that one of the very realistic looking airsoft rifles in my house could be mistaken for the real thing and get one of my kids shot. I don’t go so far as to require my kids to only have clear or fluorescent colored pellet guns, but I sure do understand why people buy them.

  18. My son (over 4, almost 5) is allowed to have toy guns that don’t look real. They can look like ray guns, but not real guns. He does know about my guns, and has known of them since he was 2, and since 3-and-a-half, is my offsider when I go to my range to compete. He actually looks forward to going to the range.

    I cannot even play first-person-shooting games with him around. The zombies section of Call Of Duty Black Ops II is the only game of this type I can play, and I feel like I shouldn’t be playing the game.

    At the range, he is very well behaved and there is no shortage of volunteers to look after my son while daddy shoots. He usually sits with the scorers or watches movies on the laptop in the car. Then he helps clean my rifle afterwards. And thanks to Mythbusters, he knows what guns can do at the other end so he knows WHY he has to do what he is told at the range.

    We are teaching him that guns are only to be pointed at targets at a range and never at people. So far this is working well.

    • Sounds to me like you are doing fine. An adult, raising a child, what a concept. I hope it will catch on.

  19. If I get a real gun that looks like a bright orange blaster, do you think I could open carry it in Los Angeles without scaring the soccer moms?

  20. Gemma is nice, maybe someone can email feinswine a picture of her, that should be all we ever hear from her, Randy

  21. I’m not a “stock five years’ worth of stuff for the Apocalypse” dude, but when my kids were little shopping was a sufficient pain that we’d usually get a month worth of stuff, save for perishables.

    My son loves Parmesan cheese, as in really, really loves it. We would get the pre-grated in the metallic green can, which I loathe but my kids like.

    We also had a dish-washer, and the granulated detergent for it came in a very similar, metallic green can. Dish-washer detergent is basically solidified chlorine bleach, and so is extremely nasty stuff. I kept it on the top shelf in the garage, 7 feet up.

    One day, the three year old, the four year old and daddy were putting away groceries and something I put up top knocked a can of dish-washer ickyness off the shelf, and it ruptured when it hit the floor. Within a second and a half, just as I looked around the side of the shelf to see what had fallen and long before any shout of “STOP!” could take effect, my four year old lunged at the pile of granules and scooped a handful into his mouth.

    Bad things ensued. Very bad things. Not so very bad as they might’ve been, because I used to be an EMT and have a fair understanding of chemistry, but still bad.

    Was the detergent in a stupid location? No. Should I have locked the kids in their room while stocking my shelves? Probably not. Had that gunk been packaged in a container less like a Kraft cheese can, would he have pounced on the spilled chemical warfare agent? I honestly don’t know, but I suspect not.

    In any event, we subsequently switched brands.

    Bottom line, the unexpected and well neigh impossible-to-prevent can and does occur, so why tempt fate?

    • cf. “Fabuluso” cleaner, which is packaged to look like fruit juice.

      I’m sorry about your experience with your son. As a father of young kids now I want to know, what is the best first aid for ingested bleach until medical help can be obtained?

      • Pepto Bismol (yes, I’m serious) followed by milk. Do not induce vomiting, unless the poison control centre so directs – stomach pumping is better.

        For the mouth, I immediately rinsed his mouth with vinegar to help neutralize the base.

        He didn’t swallow, thank God. Ingested bleach is quite rare, as usually the victim spits it out and the damage is contained to the mouth, lips and possibly sinuses.

        Aspirated can be a problem, though, because a person might gasp when that stuff hits their tongue.

        Be careful, sir.

  22. My daughter has two pink rifles. A bolt action Crickett and a break action Rossi .22LR. She has never thought either of them were toys. Her rifle case has “Shoot Like A Girl. If You Can” printed on it.

  23. Oh man! Let’s use gun grabber logic….

    Label every real gun that’s colored pink with “OMGZ”:

    “Ordnance May Go Zap”

  24. Heard they were coming to your house. They are workin class so too poor to afford a room!!
    “Yes I am a Professional Smartass kids! Please don’t try this at home!!”
    Sorry, this was supposed to be a reply to jwm!!

  25. I’m still not sure how you could possibly hold and/or fire than monsterman monstrosity. My hand hurts just thinking about it.

  26. I have to say that personally, I think a “Hello Kitty” themed rifle is just flat idiotic. Looking, and as a concept. That is my right; it is also the right of whomever disagrees with me and wants to buy one to do so.

    It is also a concern to me that guns be “themed” in ways that makes them taken less seriously than they need to be. Pink guns look stupid to me, but I’m male, and a woman or girl may disagree. Fair enough. But “Hello Kitty”? That really does scream “toy”, and “harmless”. Not the impression I would want any child in my house to get, my child or otherwise.

    Do I think the government should get involved? Hell no. None of their business, and I don’t trust them to think for me or anyone else. They don’t know when to stop.

    So while I think a “Hello Kitty” themed GUN is a bad idea… I will respond by not buying one, not having one, and when I have kids, not allowing one in my house. Pink? Okay, if I have daughters and they want pink. “Hello Kitty”? I think that goes a little too far in the direction of “Look, daddy, I found a toy!”

    Then again, I doubt that it’s anything but a fad, and will be long gone by the time any kids I have are old enough to care.

  27. The problem arises when toy guns are in the home with real ones. Children shouldn’t even know that there is such a thing as a toy gun. They should be responsibly trained on real guns.

    Some females are intimidated by firearms but understand the need to have them. They also want to prevent the men in their life from “adopting” aforementioned firearms.

    Pink coloration can be useful for that.

    No young lady wants to pay for a gun and then have all of the men in the house shoot up all her ammo and act better then she is with it. Of course, they’ll hand it back when it needs cleaning.

  28. Regarding the 3 year old who got killed by his 7 year old sibbling with a pink handgun:

    Why the hell would you leave a pistol with trigger pull and safety features useable by a 7 year old around the house when you’ve got kids that age?

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