(courtesy smythstoys.com)

My kids are good with guns. They all know the safety rules; my 11-year-old son outshoots most grown men. The younger ones know not to touch a gun and to walk away from it if Papa isn’t around. They know guns are powerful tools, not toys. So I have strict rule: no playing with guns. Not even toy guns.

desantis blue logo no back 4 smallYoung kids get easily confused on what is OK and what isn’t. So for my kids, it’s just never OK without me.

A while back, a mother refused to allow her kids to play with my kids because she knew I owned guns. She just didn’t think it was safe for them to be even in an area with guns present, even if they were hidden, even if they were locked away.

When my kids went to her house, they were immediately confused. All her kids did was run around at shoot each other with their toy guns. When they went to a restaurant, the kids kept the gun with them.

I was proud that my kids just didn’t play that game, and went to another room and didn’t play with them. Their mother thought it was ridiculous for me to not allow my kids to pretend to kill other children with toy guns.

Me, I think she’s playing with fire, teaching her kids that it’s ok to shoot each other for fun. She thinks it’s hypocritical of me to teach them about guns, but not let them play with toy guns.

For those of you who have, or have had, kids and guns, do you let your kids play with toy guns?

82 Responses to DeSantis Gunhide Question of the Day: Do You Let Your Kids Play with Toy Guns?

    • I have actual film from a pre-70s Christmas morning with my 2 older brothers getting these crazy realistic toy M16s with flashing lights and sound. They had one each and they were hosing the camera and everyone and everything in the room, including an infant me in a heap on the couch. Everyone seemed to think it was hilarious and thought nothing of it. One floor below this event was a veritable militia’s arsenal of WW2 weapons in my Dad’s den. The two older brothers were no stranger to a gun range and made regular visits. Within 6 years I was at that range out shooting them with an M1 Garand on a bench rest. We had toy guns, we made toy guns. We had running gun battles with neighborhood kids equipped first with water guns, rubber band guns and eventually low-powered BB guns. (three pairs of jeans, winter jackets and full face moto helmets were required for those.) No one thought anything about it, no neighbors complained, the cops never showed up. It was normal deep south kid play. As long as we didn’t break anything, no one gave a hoot. Not once in my life, way back then or all the way up until now, have I ever confused a toy gun with a real one and I don’t remember ever getting any particular instruction about the difference. The real ones looked, felt and smelled very differently from the toys, which were just so fake. You could tell, it was obvious. It was a different time, though and the ANTIs have done a lot of damage since then. They’ve made guns and gun play NOT NORMAL in our society and that effect multiplies through time. I had kids late in life and they’re too young right now, but needless to say… there will be some serious NERF gun battles in the YaDaddy household in a few years.

  1. I’d let my daughter play with toy guns if she wanted to, but having used the real thing, she can’t bring herself to point a toy gun at anyone. She won’t even shoot a cat scratching a screen with a water gun

    • Ditto this…. My kids are safer with their toy guns because of our “real guns rules”. I notice they keep their fingers off the triggers when they arent shooting. They dont point their toy guns at anyone/thing that isnt onvolved in the game. They are aware of their play space and stop if anyone comes in who isnt in the game. Etc etc etc……. It helps that I extended our gun rules to toy guns and punish them for violations though. Its good training for practical habbits when they are adults and want to exercise their 2A rights.

  2. I’ve taught my son since he could walk not to touch Dad’s guns without Dad. He asks sometimes, and loves my SIRT pistol (he’s four). These were the same rules I followed as a kid, and I played with toy guns, bb guns, pellet guns, and airsoft guns as a kid, no one was ever harmed. Children aren’t vegetables, they know the difference between toys and real guns

  3. Actually, yes, I do let my kids play with toy guns. Let’s give kids some credit: when they’re too young to know the difference between a toy gun and a real gun, that’s when you do everything you can to make sure they can’t get their hands on a real gun, and having access to a toy gun isn’t going to make a lick of difference to their “confusion” on what a gun is capable of.

    Once they have enough presence of mind to understand the difference between the toy and the real thing, THAT’S when you start teaching them the four rules. If they can understand the difference between toy and real thing, they can understand basic firearm safety. And you should *still* be restricting their access to a real gun, so that they’re only around it with parental supervision, and a sober understanding that any gun found outside the presence of a responsible adult necessitates fetching said responsible adult.

    Kids aren’t idiots. The ones that can tell the difference between real and fake shouldn’t be taught that somehow even the toy ones are a “bad thing,” or that they can’t be trusted with one kind of toy but all others are okay. Shall we take away the bikes that are dressed up like motorcycles? In the off-chance someone climbs onto a mini dirt bike unsupervised and recklessly endangers themselves, because they’re somehow too stupid to know the difference?

    • This^^^^^^ a million times over, good grief this constant nanny state is what is ruining this country and it starts with parents and their constant coddling of kids. Teach kids right from wrong, do your part and give them some credit

    • Good luck! I’ve seen my kids play with a number of items as guns: sticks, legos, princess rings that shoot, a boomarang, etc…

  4. I would let them. But then it’s like the only thing they do ever. Annoying. I do let them play with my nerf gun with me. We have little range sessions. I get helpers so I don’t have to get off my butt. They get to play with the nerf. Win-win. 🙂

  5. Growing up in the Soviet Bloc, we boys played “war” and “cowboys & indians” regularly.
    We used branches and all gun-shaped objects to “shoot” each other.
    My 5 year old boy loves to run around and shoot imaginary bad guys and all other things with his foam dart guns.
    It’s what boys love to do.
    We take it as an opportunity to teach muzzle discipline. We’re on him like [insert folksy simile here].
    He’s a *young* 5 so the consequences of failure with a foam dart are minimal.

    • We grew up poor and didn’t have toy guns, we had to make do with dirt clods and rocks, a little more “duck!” than “pew, pew!”.

  6. My sons are 6 and 3, the toy gun arsenal they have amassed is impressive! Playing war and cops and robbers was the shit when I was a kid, I’m not going to be the asshole that denies them that all American pastime!

  7. Yes, I let my sons play with toy guns and they know the difference between “Daddy’s Guns” and their guns. They even have a BB gun for squirrels and know not to point it at anyone or anything they don’t want to break/hurt.

    Kids have vivid imaginations that need to be satisfied and toy guns let them play Bad Guys vs. Good Guys or go Dinosaur Hunting and bag a T-Rex. Also kids are not stupid/dumb…just sit down and talk to them about guns and safety and they’ll listen to you.

  8. Yes, I do. Or did (they’re past the toy-gun stage now). They had a lot of fun, and no one was harmed in the making of this film.

    Anything that’s vaguely gun-shaped can become a gun in a child’s imagination, and it won’t be any more harmful than any other random object you could think of.

    Demonizing toys is fascistic, fetishist nonsense.

  9. A few decades ago, I was a military cop stationed in Germany. At the time, we frequently hosted tours of our facilities to local schools, both American and German schools. One part of the tour included a demonstration of all the firearms we carried. We invited people to handle the properly cleared firearms with clear instructions not to point them at anyone or pull the trigger. The American students would follow our instructions to the letter. Sometimes, we had to explicitly tell them it was safe before they would touch them. When we conducted that demonstration with German students, it was absolute chaos. They would grab the guns, point them at people, and then pull the triggers…regardless of the instructions we gave them. It was like they could not comprehend that these firearms were not toys. Eventually, we stopped doing that part of the tour for German students.

    • Interesting. I’m reminded of the little experiment conducted recently wherein kids who had grown up around guns were less likely to handle them in an unsafe manner.

        • I would submit that it’s not the presence of alcohol that makes the difference, but the adult examples set before them on its responsible use. Kids of drunks often grow up to be drunks.

        • Yes. But it’s not so much the example as the genetic predisposition. Addiction and behavioral profiles are heritable.

  10. Kids have wonderful imaginations. If you remove toy weapons, they will pick up sticks and have a sword fight. That very same stick will then become a rifle, or better yet, a BAZOOKA! Instinct is a powerful thing and this is not simply play. It’s the start of their training. They may one day need to take up arms and fight to save all our old asses.

    • Yup, and I’m good with these improvised stick guns. But I’ve asked my kids, who see a lot of guns, which are real and which are toys. The younger ones, 3 and 4, get it wrong quite often.

      • Fair enough. Either way it makes a great case for responsible storage. My methods seem responsible enough in a household of only 2 adults. With young’uns running around there’d need to be some changes.

    • Or as frequently a Light Saber. A big difference from my childhood. Now every thing long/thin is a light saber. Smaller is a gun. Not so much blasters though which is interesting.

  11. I grew up emulating my heroes… Roy Rogers, Gene Autry, Marshall Dillon, The Rat Patrol, etc. I did not grow up to commit criminal acts, nor have any “accidents”. In fact, I enlisted in the USAF on 1 June 1967 and spent 21+ years in law enforcement and retired with honors. My brother, who became a 1960 conscientious objector, was one of my playmates who didn’t go bad. Of course, we grew up as military brats, and our grandfather taught us about “real” guns and gun safety.

    I see nothing wrong with kids being kids and letting their imaginations run free with some supervision and guidance.

  12. I let them play with toy guns, but teach them to not point them at other people. Basically, trying to train them for the real thing someday.

      • We struggle with this! Our personal policy is to allow play with toy guns but we teach muzzle discipline and that it is not ok to ever shoot someone UNLESS it’s a water gun, and you ask first. I’m so proud when my 3 year old walks around the house holding a nerf gun out and pointing it at the ground very deliberately in front of him.

        He sees our carry guns and honestly, he’s no longer even curious about them. He knows they are “mamma and dadda’s guns” but he won’t lift a finger to touch or explore them unless invited. We don’t test fate, obviously, but he Makes me very proud.

  13. I let my kids play with toy guns. With nerf, we all shoot each other. I do encourage trigger finger discipline with even their nerf guns.

    Many of us played with toy guns as kids. I don’t see it as detrimental in anyway.

  14. Absolutely I do! I grew up playing with toy guns and I turned out pretty well. I even play airsoft with my son and nephew on occasion. My son is also fully aware of what to do if another adult or a cop shows up and demands that he drop his gun…he complies immediately. He does not run around the neighborhood or even the front yard with guns. I understand how stupid people can be today so there are restrictions on where he can play, for his own protection. How many people that are 40 or older played with toy guns as kids and turned out to be fine upstanding citizens? Probably most of us…

  15. So the ones that say they will not allow their kids play with guns probably allow play with bloody bang bang video games. Which is worse. Toy guns in the yard or bloody visual shooting in video games? Toy gun is opertunity for teaching and bonding.

  16. Do I let my children play with toy guns? Absolutely!

    And I let them “play” with real guns, too.*

    * Under close adult supervision with proper safety protocols.

  17. My Father’s Day highlight was a Nerf gun battle with my 9yo, who I also take shooting with me (he prefers archery).

    He and his brother learned the four rules before kindergarten. They have always known the difference and have never used real guns in unsafe ways.

  18. Not only do i let them, i spray painted the orange tip, put a sling on it, an old red dot i dont use, and a real ar mag in it. Come on now, u cant have a play war with bright orange guns! This is americas problem. Let kids play, climb trees, look for animals in the creek, throw rocks at each other. Better than inside, couped up playing video games.
    Kids are smarter than we give them credit for. My kids know the difference between real and fake, and know the power and responsibilities owning guns takes.

    • Agree for the most part, but my concern would be police mistaking your child’s toy gun for a real one, since you painted the orange tip and have a real mag and red-dot on it.

  19. Honestly as a guy who has been in combat, the thought of seeing children point guns at each other – even toy guns – repulses me.

    Both of my children shoot and have their own .22 rifles. There are so many more things to do in this world – paint, throw a ball, build something – to even consider pretending to take someone’s life.

    When kids pretend to get shot they grab their chest and fall down. In real life, you hear somebody screaming as they bleed to death for 20 minutes.

    It may be alright for your children, but I just can’t. War is not a game.

  20. Don’t have kids, but I was raised by two unusually sane parents by 1990’s NJ standards, so I had a whole bunch of toy guns growing up. The old Lone Star Luger that took paper caps was my favorite and I still have it. I was very much into airsoft in high school. On becoming a legit gun owner senior year, I couldn’t stand having plastic bb shooters pointed at me anymore. I’ll admit, today’s kids have it made with the Nerf lineup. The ones we had as kids, mostly handmedowns from the late 80’s, were lame.

  21. I’ve played with toy guns and I own a few very realistic BB guns. I have played with them extensively. I have never confused toy with real and never will. I am so sorry that you think your kids are total morons so you dont let them play with toys.

  22. Absolutely, but they don’t yet have access to the real thing, and it will be some more years until they do.

    Once they do, then I think it will be time to get rid of the toys – except for waterguns of course.

  23. When they were younger I had only one rifle – a Ruger 10/22 – and it was broken. Lived in NJ and it was just not a gun friendly place and we were broke as hell all the time. Toy guns were just fine then.

    When they were 11-12, somewhere around there, I started getting into shooting again (we were in NM by then) and I started getting hyper-conscious if they played with guns or shooting games (like “let’s slaughter Dad with Nerf guns”). I didn’t do much about it, but once I started taking them to the range, it all basically stopped.

    I just didn’t feel comfortable with them “playing” with one thing when I’d have failed completely if they “played” with the other. Not sure I handled it well, but I said guns are serious – no more plan guns. My wife agreed and then purposely made sure Nerf guns were included in every Christmas after that. I grumbled a bit, but damn it was fun (still his and they are both in their 20s). When I grumbled my wife would usually say the kids aren’t stupid and know the difference between a toy and a weapon.

    Not sure what the right answer is, and like most things involving kiddos, there is rarely anything that is strictly black or white in every circumstance.

  24. My childhood would’ve been quite dreary had my father forbade me from playing with toy guns, playing along with war movies, or having NERF duels with my friends. Children can distinguish between toys and the real thing. It’s sad some adults think they can’t.

  25. Yes – my boys (8 & 11) play with Nerf guns. The 4 rules still apply. They just “intend to shoot” a lot more things with Nerf guns. They both also shoot real guns (well, a Crickett .22) and know the difference.

  26. I’m just repeating what most folks have said, but here goes.

    My son is three and a half, and we let him play with toy guns. We always specify that this is a “pretend gun” or a “bubble gun.” I do the Eddie Eagle song with him every few days. (Stop, don’t touch, run away, tell a grown-up!) In fact, just this morning, he asked if he could see Mommy’s and Daddy’s guns. When I get home this evening, we will look at them together. He’s three, and he understands the difference.

    That being said, I’m certainly not 100% confident that he will always be able to correctly tell the difference between real and fake guns. That’s why my wife and I are supremely diligent in keeping our guns inaccessible to him. I think it’s more of a “both, and” rather than an “either, or” situation.

  27. I once had a pastor who was anti-gun and wouldn’t let his son have a toy gun. He later witnessed his son playing “cops-n-robbers” with an improvised weapon made from a couple sticks.

    Trying to “protect” children by denying them toy guns is every bit as effective as trying to protect adults by denying them real guns.

  28. I don’t have young kids, but if I did, I would not let them play with toy guns around cops, and I wouldn’t allow them to eat Pop Tarts around teachers.

  29. My dad taught me about guns young. So i felt pretty uncomfortable “ignoring” the safety rule when playing with toy guns.

  30. While I don’t share the author’s concerns, I have a couple of my own.
    1) I never allow my kids to play with a toy gun that could easily be mistaken for the real thing by an outside observer, e.g. a neighbor, roving CPS worker, or cop. (The reasons should be obvious).
    2) I have faith that they can tell the difference between a toy and the real thing (but lock up the real ones anyway), but I don’t want to teach them that pointing a gun at a person is something to be taken lightly. That’s important for more reasons than are immediately obvious, I think … for example, if my kids every see me pointing a gun at a person, they will know that they are in danger, and that it’s about to get real … no chance that Daddy’s “playing”.

    Now – “toy guns” that don’t resemble or emulate the real thing, e.g. Nerf guns, are a different matter altogether. They don’t emulate the real thing in the same way. I wonder if my reasoning is sound on this one, to be honest.

    I should also point out that I think that air rifles (pellet only), airsoft, and paintball guns are useful to teach skills and respect with a safety margin, and can be a great deal of fun – and consider none of those “toys”. I very much look forward to playing paintball with my son when he’s old enough 😉

  31. I let them play with toy guns. I also go out of my way to tell them that they should never play with a real gun, or point a toy gun at a police officer.

  32. When i was a kid my Pa said if i wanted to shoot real firearms i couldnt play with toy ones, passed my first NRA safety course in 1964 and never looked back. When he wasnt looking, i made toy guns out of sticks and played war with them instead…LOL

  33. I had lots of toy guns. We were allowed to play with them however we wanted. But around the age of 6 or 7 my dad took a real rifle of his own into the workshop with me and we traced the stock on a piece of wood. We cut it out, routed a barrel grove in it, and he screwed in a piece of pipe to form the barrel. Then he drilled a hole to serve as as a “trigger”.

    This toy gun had some extra rules.

    This specific toy gun I was to:
    1. treat as if it was a real loaded gun
    2. keep it pointed in a safe direction
    3. keep my finger out of the trigger guard (hole) unless I was pretending to shoot at a legitimate target (like a squirrel or an imaginary bad guy, no real people).
    4. never pretend to shoot at a legitimate target if there was something that would be bad to shoot behind it.
    5. not let any other kids touch this gun unless I taught them and enforced that they abide by the rules
    6. return this toy gun to a specific place in a cabinet when I wasn’t playing with it.

    I will do the same with my kids some day.

  34. I once came home to a Nerf assault launched from a full-auto Vulcan set up in a pillow-fortified machine gun nest at the top of our stairs. Walked right into a kill box. We have had some epic Nerf battles, but like water guns the stakes are low. My kids “get it” and besides… it’s fun!

  35. Yes. They know the difference. There is no confusion between an orange nerf gun and ‘real’ firearms in my house.

    There is a parent in my neighborhood that does not want their kids playing with mine. Good. I don’t want my boys around their lib/prog mind control either. Its already hard enough keeping the indoctrination at bay.

    • Most people of any age can figure out the difference between a toy gun and a real gun, except for the police. Sort of says something there doesn’t it?

  36. While I played with toy guns as a kid only one of my 4 sons(all grown) ever did much. He grew up to be a soldier. Not like us kids who came of age in the 50’s and 60’s. With all the lunatic cops, nosy neighbors and gangscum I would give pause at it now. YMMV…

  37. In my early teens, I got into airsoft, and I’ve loved the absolute crap out of the sport ever since, constantly amassing an ever-growing collection of guns and gear (being a single, 21 year old concrete worker with no kids/dependents gives one a fair amount of disposable income). Now, I learned to shoot when I was 6, but firearms were never a large part of my life growing up, not until I was well into my late teens. However, despite having spent relatively little time behind a firearm, my handling and safety skills are impeccable, precisely because I always followed them when playing. And for those who decry the sport as reinforcing poor muzzle control, I say BS. The point of that rule is NOT that it’s never OK to point a gun at anyone, it’s to always be aware of the direction your muzzle is pointing. And yes, with the proper attitude, airsoft can be an excellent way to build up that habit.

  38. Not only did my boys play with toy guns, they made their own rubber band and ping pong ball guns. I also taught them on .22RF at the age of six(ish. might have been 5). After they could hit a target, which didn’t take long, we shot gophers and prairie dogs.
    That’s the key. Children need to learn to shoot on real firearms, and THEN actually kill something real with them. And go over and see that gopher turned inside out by a .22 HP, all because of a few pounds of pressure that their finger put on a trigger. Never did they “confuse” a toy with a real firearm. Never was it “playing with fire”.
    Playing with fire is teaching them to shoot at paper targets, and then someday they will see their parent ‘training’ with a firearm(perhaps even a blue plastic simugun, which will look to them like ‘playing’. How could they not then be confused by the parent doing what he told them NOT to do?
    My children played with toy guns throughout their childhood and never once confused a toy one with a real firearm. What child is going to confuse a rubber band gun with a real one, once they have seen with their own two eyes what real firearms do? The reason children get confused so easily is because the adults in their lives feed them with conflicting information.
    For my money, children are far more intelligent, consistent, and reasonable than most adults I can think of.

  39. My kids do play with toy guns BUT they also are taught safety and mindset. Especially if it is a toy that launches anything. My oldest, 10, has a stupid amount of nerf toys. But the rules are always the same. Finger off the trigger unless you are about to fire. And by “about”, we mean right this moment. Then it comes off. Safeties are NEVER used. And even my youngest can tell you the mantra “A safety is a mechanical device that can and will fail”. The muzzle never is pointed at anything you do not plan to shoot, it is kept in a “safe” direction at all other times. They are not to shoot anyone else without prior consent. They also all have safety glasses that they wear. Is it needed? I doubt it but I’m teaching habits here. They do not “Fire” “Bullets”, they “launch” “Darts”. Why is that important? It’s the separation between toy and tool. And that is the other half. They are being taught the line between real and make believe. They can cross back and forth like going through a door and you can SEE the change when they do. Playing make believe battles and such is something kids have been doing for thousands of years. It’s 100% normal. But use it as an opportunity to teach them more than just how to have fun.

  40. Absolutely YES!

    My kids knew the difference between “their!” Guns and their fathers.

    My biggest concern WAS ALWAYS That my kids were safe at “your house”. I shot cap guns and water pistols with the most fiersome of them but we also did almost daily gun safety for seems like ten years (four kids)

    I must have taken pistols, pulled the mag and showed them it was still loaded ten thousand times. Now playing with the grand kids and when it comes to insuring 2 A it doesn’t get any better.

    I trusted my kids at anyone’s house and trusted and influenced them to do the same. Watching the next gen take on the foundation of non compliance and on how to be an AMERICAN is the reward at the end of putting up with teenagers

  41. For those of you who have, or have had, kids and guns, do you let your kids play with toy guns?
    Worse, when the kids were young they played with a toy Medieval Castle Set with combative knights, swordsmen, catapults, siege engines, and archers. The kids had real bows and arrows to play with.
    Of course the the kids had a Dinosaur play set featuring ferocious predatory carnivores.

  42. I don’t let him play with toy guns. We do have one of those Walmart toy rifles but he doesn’t go around shooting darts at people, we shoot his little action figures.

  43. My son doesn’t have toy guns at my house, but he does have a few at his mother’s house.

    Instead we play first-person shooting games on the two old PCs set up on a standalone network. Battlefield 1942, Day Of Defeat, Unreal Tournament, and UT2004 are our favourites. We work together as a team. BF1942 has my son interested in WW2 tanks and planes. DoD has my son interested in WW2 firearms. He can now identify a number of tanks, planes, and guns purely by sight.

  44. Of course. Why wouldn’t I? I played with them as a kid and I haven’t gone out and committed any atrocities, why would I be worried they would. I served in the military and spent over two years in Iraq. The US military is an honorable institution and career and I have no hesitation about helping them understand how to defend themselves and their country.

    My sons and daughter were trained to never be the victims Liberal society would like them to be.

  45. Yes. Or at least I did. They’re adults now.

    I did and had a ball. If kids can’t differentiate between toy guns and real guns, you have a bigger problem.

    What about paintball and video games? Kids kill each other as part of a game format all the time. The vast majority don’t shoot people with real guns.

    I worry much more about people who drink like fish at home. Their kids see them slosh drunk and get the idea that it’s normal.

    Funny to see the finger pointing among “serious” gun people.

  46. I played with toy guns my whole childhood and enjoyed the crap out of them. I was taught very early that Dad’s guns were very off limits without him there. I got into airsoft a few years ago and still play every now and again. I don’t have any kids but if/when I do they can play with toy guns all they want.

  47. oh yeah, sure. we pretty much explored everything they expressed an interest in. some of that wanes, but guns, real and toy, remain an interest all around.
    bottle rockets and dirt bikes eclipsed the toys.

  48. I have no problem with toy guns so long as they look like obvious toys, even from a distance. I don’t like realistic looking toys guns for the same reason I don’t like the colored real guns some manufacturers are putting out these days. If you can’t tell real or toy from a distance, it is a safety issue. A kid with a toy could get shot by a cop, as we’ve seen happen, and a kid with a real pink/red/blue pistol he’ s not supposed to have might be ignored right up until a tragedy happens.

  49. My youngest sister NEVER came over or let her kids come to my house in 22 years because we have guns and a range “and such people are known to be killers of innocent women and children”. (from Josey Wales for the unschooled)

    None of my kids or their friends ever died here

  50. My kids played with Nerf guns and water pistols and we still have some. We also have some real guns now, and a clear understanding of the difference between plastic toys that shoot foam and metal tools that shoot lead.

  51. What about paintball guns? Paintball is a fun competitive game that simulates combat to one degree or another. Would you not let your kids play that because they would be confused?

    Is there a point at which you know your kids can obviously tell the difference between playing and reality?

    My son is just over a year right now. And I fully intend to teach him about real guns and have nerf gun battles. I also expect to go play paintball.

  52. I don’t let them “play” with them, but I do let them shoot nerf guns in the basement while supervised. I make them follow the four rules more or less. The “know your target and what’s behind it” is a little tricky since they are shooting at dry fire targets on the basement wall. The 5yo gets it. The 3yo is still unsafe.

  53. I agree with your article. My dad and my grandfather both served in the Navy. My dad was a scuba diver and submarine tech. I was never allowed to play with guns or pretend that I was shooting someone. I think this is the way to do it for safety reasons. However, it is certainly not the more common thought process among parents.

  54. Of course I do. My 11 year old has always been able to play with them. I did as a kid, so why wouldn’t I let him. He does know the difference between real guns and toys. He also knows that he is never to touch a gun without me present and tell him it is ok. If at a friends he is to leave the room if he sees an unsecured gun and to inform an adult ASAP.

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