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“Why the rule? A Scouter once told me this explanation I liked quite a bit: A Scout is kind. What part of pointing a firearm [simulated or otherwise] at someone is kind?” – Bryan Wendell in Boy Scouts of America bans water gun fights [at]


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  1. I guess to help people at all times couldn’t possibly involve a firearm.

  2. Yeah, because, you know, otherwise you are training them to use weapons of war and to be mass killers. /sarcasm

    • Yep. Kind of hard to get your marksmanship merit badge without one.

      It’s high time for people to pull their kids out of those organizations and start new ones.

    • Marlin or somebody made a .22 specifically for the Scouts in the early part of the last century–with a bayonet, no less.

    • There’s a tiny remnant of the old school left.

      Current boy scouts can shoot a .22LR bolt action rifle. No other firearms are permitted at any scout activities. No lever guns, semi-autos, centerfire rifles, or pistols of any caliber. Kind of sad.

      I am an NRA pistol instructor and thought about volunteering with the BSA but when I found out I’d be teaching air pistols I pretty much lost interest.

      • Not true. Venture Scouts can use a much wider variety of firearms, and any scout can shoot black powder of any caliber.
        Philmont Scount Ranch in NM has a .30-06 range, several .50 and .58 cal BP ranges, shotgun ranges, and I believe recently added a cowboy action shooting range with revolvers, but I didn’t get a chance to pass through that camp on my last visit.

      • BSA Venture scouts can shoot center fire rifles and pistols. Some councils have started allowing their Boy Scouts to shoot pistols as well. Most though only allow shotgun and rim fire rifle. Depending on how the program goes with the councils trying it out, pistols may be extended nationally. The scout basically require two sets of eyes on a kid with a shotgun. With some of the younger squirrels in scouting, two sets of eyes aren’t enough, can be exhausting enforcing muzzle discipline on a long gun, a pistol is even more work.


    • They still do shoot…but at TARGETS….that never did anything to anybody! They were just innocent trees thinking that they might be a Shakespeare pl;ay someday, but NO, they became bullet-magnets.

      Oh, and don;t get me started on shotgunning…at clay PIGEONS. Poor things.

      It’s this kind of merde coming out of HQ in TX that has me only peripherally involved in Scouting now. I wish that they would climb of the PC wagon and push it into a lake (or better yet, into a bonfire).

    • Not only what others have mentioned, but even Boy Scouts of 14 years of age or older can shoot bolt-action centerfire rifle (.223 and .308) and pistol. The 2013 National Jamboree in West Virginia had a pile of BSA-edition P250s in 9mm.

      My troop will have absolutely no problem ignoring the guidelines. We still do occasional nerf nights indoors, and “off the record” I host airsoft games on private land.

  3. Ugh. Throwing water balloons at other children when I was a kid did not make me want to throw hand grenades at people as an adult.

    • On the Today Show, “don’t run across lawn sprinklers, they are like machine guns.” And they were being very sarcastic.

      • Hey, BSA: When HuffPo AND The Today Show laugh at you for being sissies, guess what, you ARE a sissy among sissies.

    • If you read the linked article, there is actually a rule on water balloons, too. They can be filled up to the size of a ping pong ball. That’s tiny. The balloons I used as a kid wouldn’t pop if you filled them with such a small amount of water. Maybe the BSA has a special supply of tiny balloons.

  4. A water gun is not a firearm.
    A water gun is not a simulated firearm.
    It is a water gun.

  5. What part about tackling a person in football is kind? Ban football.

    What part about stealing a basketball is kind? Ban basketball.

    What part about losing a game is kind? Ban losing.

    I could go on all day..

    • Actually, many places have banned losing. Thats why no one keeps s ore at kids’ sports events and everyone gets a trophy. God, I truly fear for the future of this country…

  6. From an Eagle Scout- Screw him. His pansy feelings have resulted in a complete mischaracterization of a water gun fight. To believe a water gun fight is an act of violence/unkindness is asinine. It is nothing of the sort. In fact, bonding through activities such as these that we guys do enjoy at that age is extremely important to making it to Eagle scout. He is doing nothing but making himself look like a fool.

    • And I’m another Eagle Scout. This is just stupid. Wonder if he has any idea of the History of Scouting, or Lord Baden Powell?

    • I am another eagle scout. I also agree that this is ridiculous. My scoutmaster was a former Army Ranger who served in Vietnam and would let us shoot his class 3 m-16 (he also had a working browning m2 mounted on the back of an old army jeep in his garage in his gated neighborhood). We were taught not only safe firearms handling and marksmanship, but also were encouraged to learn tactics through games such as capture the flag or water gun fights. I am 23 now, so this attitude around scouting must be fairly new.

    • Another Eagle scout here. We used to go out on the lake during summer camp with super soaker and spray the crap out of each other. None of those kids turned it to be murderous criminals. Most of them have done well for themselves and for their communities. This rule is junK. Whats next? Ban dodge ball? (If it isn’t already banned.)

      • I know a lady that has often stated Dodge Ball is evil and should never be allowed to be played.

    • Another Eagle here: Modern society has wrecked Scouting, by design. 105-year legacy forming character and principles in young men doesn’t matter. Just makes you a bigger target. A good lesson for other groups on the other side of the fence…like POTG.

  7. What part of “kids play” do the Boy Scouts not understand? Sure, go ahead and teach them to be kind. I fully support that value. But let’s not be stupid about how we teach it.

    • This reminds me of the concept of rough housing. You should rough house with your kids so they know what play aggression is versus what inappropriate aggression is. I equate this to the mischaracterization of the water gun fight as a kid who never rough housed with his Dad or Mom and learned the difference. Cats, Dogs, Lions, and lots of other animals playfight. Actually the higher on the food chain you are, the more apt you are to playfight. Water guns are just rough housing with some chums or playfighting for predators.

    • Spot on. EVERY Cub Scout campout I’ve been on culminates in some sort of inter-pack warfare that is the highlight of the trip. Total strangers form alliances and work together on strategy and team-building completely unguided by the adults. Just a few weeks ago, one of the dads handed out (banned, unbeknownst to us) marshmallow guns and the Scouts had a blast. On another trip, the kids constructed bows out of PVC pipes, then went into the woods to find sticks they could notch for arrows (knife skills!). None of them thought of sharpening the sticks — they all had the good sense to know that would have killed the fun. My first-class Boy Scout is excited to learn tomahawk throwing and black powder shooting this summer. Never in any of this mayhem was their real aggression or unkindness.

  8. Scouting, like most every other group, is splintered beyond recognition. The only thing a local troop has in common with the national body is the name of the org.

    Masonic lodges, scouting, political movements, churches, they all pick and choose what rules to follow and what activities to participate in at their local level wholly independent of any national structure. It gets to the point where you wonder why they still bother feigning national solidarity. Money? Influence? Who knows. Who cares.

    So the greater body bans water gun fights. How many local troops will change their behavior? My money is on none.

    • Exactly. I guess a troop can lose their charter if somebody finds out or complains, but I don’t know if that would really happen.

      I am an Eagle, and I know my troop disregarded certain rules. To give an applicable example, we were supposed to only be allowed to shoot .22 rifles and 12-20 ga shotguns at the range, however our scoutmasters treated the merit badges like a firearms safety courses. Every boy over the age of 14 was taught how to handle a revolver, semi-auto pistol , rifle, and shotgun, and we used to shoot just about anything. .223, .357 mag, 9mm, etc. There was a zero tolerance policy for bullshit and every kid had to get their parent’s signed permission.

      We used to attend summer camp with other troops each year. Guess which troop was best behaved at the camp’s rifle range?

    • I’m sorry, did you say something about a ban? Our troop couldn’t hear you over the sound of the muzzleloaders.

    • I don’t know how many local orgs will change this based on what the national org declares, but I’d expect it follow a similar pattern as to which local orgs followed the national organization’s lead on gay scoutmasters.

  9. What part of a watergun fight is “kind?” The part where you’re both laughing, you know, HAVING FUN. All childsplay is an expression of God’s kindness! Really, how jaded do you have to be to watch a pool party or a pillow fight and think “you know, this must be the root cause of criminal violence, we should put an end to it!” ?

  10. Lord Baden Powell would over in his grave! He started the Boy Scouts as a paramilitary organization to help boys prepare for military service.

  11. The Scouts are trying to appease a group that will only be appeased by their dissolution…apparently the Leadership of the Scouts isn’t that smart. There is a lot of that going around these days.

  12. I think lumping water guns in with all the other types of toy guys (potato guns, nerf guns, etc) is over the top, I understand where they are coming from.

    I have a 7 year old who has several nerf guns. To prepare him on how to handle real guns, I am teaching him to treat these just like real guns and not to point or shoot at anyone.

    • I have Nerf gun wars with my grandson. A Nerf gun is no closer to a real gun than a water gun.

    • And I am teaching my sons with their Nerf guns to set up ambushes and fire from cover. Because the whole point of Nerf guns is to have a safe, soft projectile to reach out and safely smack someone upside the head at 70 feet with.

        • The current updated line will get you there. Which means you can also get pelted by a foam dart when you least expect it. And my kids can be devious…

  13. Boy Scouts indoctrinate submissive, obedient, and compliant (although skilled) victims.

    • Not really; Scouting is about teaching leadership, not blind following.

      At least that’s what it’s been; who knows what it is being turned into.

  14. Yep, cause the Boy Scouts have never bowed to leftist political pressure. I suggest they change their name to the Person Tribe to give them a more gender neutral and less war mongering title. They should also review that pledge thing since it looks to be suspiciously full of neo-religious dogma and moralizing.
    /sarcasm off

  15. I purposely quit Boy Scouts just before becoming an Eagle Scout because of bullshit like this. The organization is completely watered down, or at least it was…until they banned water guns…

    • Yeah. My first thought reading this is “Oh, great…yet another example of the pansification of boys and young men.”

      It’s also another example of “take everything that works in a tradition and throw it out.” I think this is BECAUSE it works, it must be changed. The world is a strange place.

  16. When did the Boy Scouts turn into the Sheldon Cooper Troopers? These are not the Scouts of long ago where we shot guns, did survival challenges, ate bugs, chopped down trees, and did lots of boy stuff.

    • You do remember Sheldon plays Paint Ball often. So he doesn’t seem adverse to simulated combat, plus he is constantly playing war on his computer.

  17. Does Bryan Wendell not understand that the Boy Scouts are training to be “a member of an elite paramilitary group, the eagle scouts?” (RED DAWN – 1984)

  18. Nothing in the Scout Law about being intelligent. Maybe need to add a thirteenth point.

  19. Oh, effing good grief. If you’re so wussified that a watergun fight is unkind, you deserve what you get.

    Some of the most fun I ever had as a kid was in watergun fights.

    This is beyond stupid.

  20. …but, but, what if somebody was on fire?

    Seriously. a water-gun, is NOT a fire-arm – it is the opposite of fire-arm. Context matters!! You can’t arbitrarily equate to vaguely similar gestures with vastly different outcomes and not acknowledge the stupidity of doing so.

  21. I’m going to propose my sons’ troop watergun ambush the district office in the parking lot. I’m curious how this even came up.

  22. If you view the original blog post in Scouting Magazine, there is a picture accompanying the post.

    They show a young boy, smiling ear to ear, with a super soaker in his hand.

    The paragraphs that follow say that such joy as that boy is having is not allowed because rules are rules. And on top of that, because a scout is ‘Kind’ and ‘Obedient’ he would never think to ever have a water gun fight while attending scouts.

    I am despaired at what the BSA has become. The blog post alone says: “All that fun you want to have, can’t do it here”. When membership declines, will they look back at the small things like this and realize it was the cause?

  23. being a person of the gun & a scouter (adult) the real reason no squirt guns? imagine if you will 15+ boys ages 12 to 17 running around like mad, in an attempt to ‘get’ one another………insurance, plain & simple. Football has been banned for almost a decade by Scouting for the same reason. Having taking many a boy to the hospital AFTER such an event………yes we spent some time BEFORE learning practical first aid………….i understand. BTW, Boy Scouts still teach shotgun & rifle merit badges………..i know i am a merit badge counselor . So all you whiners, go to your local District/Council/Troop & offer to be a counselor . NO you dont need to be in scouting but you do gotta pass a background check… may be able to help grow our passion, not just complain how things are not like the ‘old days’.

    • So you sit there, watching the years long assault on the Scouts’ traditions, and it doesn’t occur to you that firearms are being targeted, too? You think that because they still have such merit badges now, that they always will and no one has designs to end them? Wow. The erosion of the Scouting experience is revealed in the puniness of its local leaders’ wisdom.

  24. “A Scouter once told me this explanation I liked quite a bit: A Scout is kind.”

    But above all a Scout is PREPARED… We’re really seeing just how much of a destructive force all this “Progressive” Political Correctness is… Enough with the guilt already, as a culture we need to start getting real again… I don’t think this will stand; I’m counting on there still being enough good Leadership in the Scouts to right this wrong… At the end of the day… Squirt Guns is just a game but what isn’t a game is all this Orwellian BS they’re warping our youth with…

  25. Laser tag is out, too. So when my son’s patrol wanted to do an outing to the local laser tag arena, it was technically a bowling outing. One game of bowling, and the outing was over. Then we headed to the laser tag arena, just a bunch of guys hanging out.

    Another “outing that wasn’t an outing” that technically didn’t happen was when I took the patrol up on the mountain, and everyone who had their own (or their parents’) firearms brought ’em, and I loaned out my AR-15, and we destroyed (and cleaned up) many a soda can and milk jug. Had a first timer shooter there, one of the mothers, who thoroughly enjoyed herself, and is now picking my brain on firearms, CHP, and whatnot.

  26. Gee I shot rifles(22) and 20ga, shotguns in the boy scouts. That was in the 60’s. My grown kids with me now never wanted to be scouts-my older sons were scouts. One joined the military,went to war and works for DoD-the other is a drugged out guy who lives with his grandma. I can’t see ANY lasting benefit one way or another. They seem determined to be the gender neutral/gay scouts now. I see a ban on water balloons as an antibully BS liability issue. Don’t wanna’ damage our future twinks…

  27. I was an Eagle Scout nearly 2 decades ago. I cut ties with them when it was clear they were falling in line with all the other liberal organizations. This is exactly how I expected them to “progress.”

    They’ll be gone by the next decade, or merged with the Girls Scouts.

  28. A lot of parents participate in the American Heritage Girls, as an alternative to the Girl Scouts. I don’t know of such a direct substitute out there for Boy Scouts, though.

    • The Girl Scouts alternative was sorely needed — Girl Scouts have become a full-on feminist, pro-choice, pro-lesbian, progressive indoctrination program. Boy Scouts, until recently, was pretty much holding the line.

      Sounds like we’ll need “American Heritage Scouts” or something real soon.

  29. Sometimes being kind to those who deserve kindness requires being violent to those who threaten the former.

    And seriously, watergun fights are FUN, and a great bonding experience.

  30. Next, the Scouts should completely ban pedophiles. Because getting buggered by the Scoutmaster is also not kind.

    • I wouldn’t mind restricting open homosexuality again, at least in the Boy Scouts organization. I have nothing against homosexuals, but alternate gender identities aren’t conducive to the program as a whole.

  31. The Wussification of American men continues. It continues with all the little things.

  32. Philmont Scout Ranch still has the following programs: Black Powder Shooting, Shotgun Shooting, Shotgun Reloading 30.06 Shooting, Spear Throwing and Tomahawk Throwing and they too will disappear.

    An old Eagle.

  33. The first gun that I shot was at Camp Yawgoog in Rockville, RI in 1963 or 64. The guns were all .22 bolt action rifles. It got me interested in target shooting. What a great camp.

  34. What part of pointing a firearm [simulated or otherwise] at someone is kind?”

    The laughing, playing, bonding, nobody is getting hurt and squirted water has never harmed anyone part is kind. It’s not that hard.

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