Association News: August 2000
By Larry Pratt
Maryland Alderman Wants Federal Law Banning Toy Guns!
When I first read the story in the Washington Times newspaper I thought it was a joke, a spoof. I double-checked the date of the paper. No, it was April 20th not April 1st. The headline read: “Buyback Of Toy, Water Pistols Sought.”
The story told how Cynthia A. Carter, a Democrat alderman in the city of Annapolis, Maryland, wants police to buy back cap guns, water pistols and other toy weapons to curb violent behavior in children. She’s quoted as saying: “Children can’t distinguish between a real gun and or a play gun, nor do they understand the difference between life and death.”
She wants people to weigh the possibilities, asking: “What good does a toy gun do and what harm does it do?”
Still not sure that this story was for real, we contacted Alderman Carter, interviewed her and here’s the way it went:
Q: So, what’s wrong with kids playing with toy guns, cap guns, water pistols?
A: Well, if you follow me, when they were making toys guns which, first of all, should never have been, to take something that could be so detrimental, something so deadly, and turn it into a toy, and capitalize on it at the cost of children and the risk of their lives, and just bodily harm.
So, they got away with it over the years. But, with time change, like with the seatbelts and the metal detectors at school and other precautionary measures taken to protect the children, I think we better look at what we have here — to do the same thing. Times have changed.
I don’t know if you’ve ever seen some of those video games. There is some pretty nasty stuff on there — shooting and killing and destroying each other. Children need at this point in time, with thing being as they are, to be taught to respect, to care and to love.
And when they get older and if they decide they want to get a gun and do hunting or collect them as a hobby or whatever. But the same laws they have restricting children from tobacco, driving and alcohol need to be put on any form of a gun....
Q: You think police should buy back these violent video games, too?
A: Absolutely! Absolutely! If we could get some of those things —these kids get together in these rooms, turn on these videos and freak out. I can’t stand to look at them. Can you imagine what’s going through these young minds? But, we had better take note and check ourselves.
Q: Should it be illegal to make these toy guns?
A: Absolutely! And if I had my way it would be.
Q: Making toy guns should be a crime?
Q: And what should be the punishment?
A: The same as it would be if you made a real gun.
Q: But, it is not illegal to manufacture most guns. What specific punishment would you support for those who make toy guns?
A: I’m sure the Federal Government could find a fine — I guess the same fine that there would be if a kid was sold a real gun.
Q: So, there should be a Federal law against selling toy guns?
A: Absolutely. Absolutely.
Q: You seem to think that all guns and all uses of guns are bad.
A: Understand what I am saying. What it’s doing mentally to the children. What you do with a gun when you become of age — some fathers think it is right to take these boys out and show them how to kill an animal. These children cannot distinguish a difference —their minds absorb — and, again, and my backup on the whole thing is that if you train up a child in the way he should go, when he gets older he will not stray from it.
Q: Right. That’s from the Old Testament book of Proverbs.
A: Exactly, Proverbs 22:6.
Q: So, if you train up a child to know the difference between a toy gun and a real gun then...
A: You can’t.
Q: Sure you can.
A: No, you can’t. The idea that it is a very destructive piece of equipment that was made to look like, and to be played with to kill, is the whole direction this whole thing has gone.
Q: But is all killing bad?
A: Yes. If you teach a child to kill...
Q: What about self-defense?
A: There is a difference. A child does not have the ability, to my knowledge — and I’m talking about little children — to kill somebody to defend themselves.
Q: But, I’m alluding to that Proverb you quoted. It’s true. So, if you trained up a child, with toy guns, to teach them to respect real guns, and use them for self-defense, when necessary, then —
Q: Sure you could.
A: You know, there’s one thing about anything that happens in this world. There’s no correct way of doing it. I want to initiate something that needs to be initiated, and that right now is to let children know that guns are not toys. And we start by eliminating them as toys.
Q: But toy guns are toys.
A: We’re adults and we know. But we should know better by now that we need to stop manufacturing them and giving them to kids and stop letting it be a toy.
Q: But what’s wrong with training kids to know about and respect real guns and to know how to use them in self-defense?
A: We can teach the children about a lot of things. But to teach them about using a firearm to kill, they have to first learn to respect life before they can learn the rest of it. We as parents are supposed to protect these children. They should not have to have a firearm to protect themselves or to get a meal (?).
Q: No, I’m not talking about kids having real guns. I’m talking about training them, when they are kids, to learn to use a real gun later, possibly in self-defense — which, incidentally, shows a respect for human life!
A: No. I don’t agree with that. We have other things to teach our kids. We need to teach them to respect life.
Q: But, it’s not either/or. You can do both. You can demonstrate a respect for human life by using a gun to defend your life or somebody else’s life.
A: This is something the Lord (?) has laid on my heart. I find it necessary, just like we need to put prayer back in school. This is what I want to do for my community. The kids cannot watch TV all day long. They cannot watch certain movies and things on there. They cannot do those videos. We need to put a book in their hands, or they should learn to ride horseback, go to the arts, dancing. This is what we need to do. But there are not too many parents in the homes taking care of kids nowadays.
Q: We’re not going to disagree on that. Are you aware that hundreds of thousands of people in this country — some studies says millions — of Americans use guns in self-defense every year?
A: Should a five or six-year-old kid be put to that? I’m not talking about someone who is 19, 20 or 21. I’m talking about the youth. We gotta start somewhere.
Q: I’m sorry. I’m not getting my point across. I’m saying that one valid reason for allowing kids to have toy guns is to show them how to use real guns responsibly when they grow up for, among other things, self-defense.
A: Then take them to a whorehouse and show them how to have sex! You might as well do the whole nine yards.
Q: Really?! So, you think teaching kids how to responsibly use firearms is like teaching them to fornicate?!
A: No, baby. Self-defense didn’t mainly start in the home. That is where most children are harmed where they are molested by those who are supposed to love and care for them. We gotta teach these kids that that is not the thing to play with.
Q: I’m not talking about teaching kids to play with real guns!
A: Not every child can distinguish between a real and a toy. Their minds are not developed that way. We are the parents, the care-takers. And we must direct these children the right way.
Amazing, no? — and truly lunatic — which is why Cynthia A. Carter is our “Anti-Gun Nut-Of-The-Month.”
Larry Pratt is Executive Director of Gun Owners of America located at 8001 Forbes Place, Springfield, VA 22151 and at http://www.gunowners.org on the web.
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