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BB Guns Should Be Illegal for Kids

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They're called toys, but BB guns can be lethal weapons.

BB Guns
Yesterday, an Oregon elementary school was placed on lockdown when a 11-year-old former student was cited for allegedly pointing a toy gun toward students and staff.

That "toy" gun was in fact an Airsoft-style gun, or BB gun, and although you have to be 18 to purchase one of these, there is no minimum age requirement to fire one.

Don't be fooled by the term "BB" gun. They're not as cute as they were in the classic film "A Christmas Story." BB guns these days don't resemble anything from the 50s. In fact, they look more like real guns than ever. And they're way more dangerous.

"Many of us remember having had BB guns and didn't associate them with serious injury and death," says Danielle Laraque, a physician and professor of pediatrics at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York, who lead a study on the dangers of BB guns. But today, she says, "these non-powder guns are not toys. It is important to say that because they are marketed at times as toys and carried in department stores and toy stores."

According to the the American Academy of Pediatrics, these "toys" cause roughly 21,000 injuries annually. Just this week, a 15-year-old Wisconsin boy was taken into custody at a home after he allegedly shot his father several times with a BB gun.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission recommends kids under 16 not use high-velocity BB guns or pellet guns. But when momlogic called a nationally recognized sporting goods store and asked if a BB gun was a good toy for a five-year-old, the clerk flatly responded, "Sure, but you're in charge if anything happens."

Here are some tips if your kid plays with BB guns:

* Non-powder guns, such as ball-bearing (BB) guns, pellet guns, air rifles or paintball guns, can cause serious injuries to children and teens.

* Playing with toy guns could make it easier for your child to mistake a real gun as a toy.

* Pellet and BB guns are high powered and can easily hurt your child. BB guns can also kill.

* Parents may underestimate the potential for injury from BB and pellet guns.

* Police officers may mistake a toy gun in your child's hand for a real gun.

* Make sure the firing sound is not too loud. It could damage your child's hearing. Children should wear hearing protection. Don't let kids fire cap guns closer than one foot from their ears, and only use them outdoors.

• Toy guns with projectiles, Airsoft guns and paintball guns can cause eye injuries, including severe and permanent vision loss. Kids should wear eye protection when using them.

• Don't let kids put caps from toy guns in their pockets. They can ignite and cause burn injuries.

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449 comments so far | Post a comment now
Anonymous January 16, 2009, 10:31 AM

I wish folks would stop panicing over guns and anything related to them. Guns arn’t the issue, irresponsibility is the issue. Teach your kids, respect, proper handling, and above all, watch them. I would rather know that my child was aware and safe around guns and the like, than keeping them ignorant.

rugbymom January 16, 2009, 11:29 AM

No. They should not be illegal. Parents need to take responsibility when giving a toy like this, especially with regards to the age of the child. 5 years old is too young. 11 is not, but I’m wondering how that kid got that gun to school without the parents knowing? I am not judging because I know kids can be sneaky. But if I were the parent I would take responsibility for the consequences and ultimately my child would take responsibility too. Just like anything else, a toy like that is given with careful instruction and rules. When rules are broken, there are consequences and you have to follow through with the punishment.

matt.mmwine January 16, 2009, 11:32 AM

I agree, whole heartedly, with the anonymous comment above. I don’t understand why it was anonymous though.

Frankly, it’s lack of education and supervision, that causes most of these accidents. I grew up around, and using guns. My son, as well as my Fiancee’s niece and nephew have too. They’re 11, 9 and 9. They all understand the rules of holding, using, and even touching guns. They understand the power, and the danger, associated with them. They understand they arent toys, are weapons, and can kill. They also go hunting, so they’ve seen what CAN happen from a gun being fired.

The point of all of this, pretending guns dont exist, not allowing children to learn about guns and understand how they work, what they do, and how to treat them, is akin to an ostrich sticking their head in the sand.

It’s actually no different than sex education. If you dont teach a kid about safe sex, diseases, pregnancy, etc, then dont be upset if they come home with an STD or pregnant. Education, and knowledge is power.

Please, dont preach how they are kids and sholdnt be having sex and you are teaching them to have sex and .. blah .. blah blah. Frankly, that’s merely a comparison and no need for a side tangent. Additionally, I fully understand your views, respect that they’re yours, admire you for being strong in your convictions, and wont chastise you for having dissimilar views on sex, or guns. Please, stay focused.

Guns are dangerous. So is ignorance. Do you really think the gun is to blame with the example of the 15 year old shooting his dad? Or perhaps, just maybe, there were other issues at play, and he just happened to get a hold of a gun or have access to one? Why is the gun the target, and not the knives? Because it’d be silly to say “OH GOD HIDE ALL THE KNIVES”, now wouldnt it? But he could have stabbed his father just as easily as shot, couldnt he?

And do you hide the guns, or treat the problem. Everyone wants a scape goat. Easy to blame a gun. Hard to take ownership of the problem and fix it.

thebeesknees January 16, 2009, 11:34 AM

should not be depends on the type of kid you have..decide for yourself whether you should get him one or 10 yr old has one and all he shoots are squirrels and his little sister.

Joyce January 16, 2009, 11:45 AM

matt.mmwine- Just ask Palin about what sex ed you teach….

Responsibility people! All boys like guns. All boys will pick up a stick and “shoot” someone with it. No matter what your personal belief systems are. Yes, this does translate into actual guns.
Educate yourself, so you can educate your child.

Michelle Byerly January 16, 2009, 11:51 AM

Yes you can still buy the ‘cute’ guns that you see from the 50’s. Daisey BB guns are still around and look the same. Matter of fact, they resemble NOW and did then, any rifle.
Your picture shows the sterotypical picture any anti gun group uses when attemtping to put a scare into someone about the ‘lethal dangers’ of guns. What they need to show is the picture of parents who give their kids NO home training and teach them NO respect. That is where in your problem lies.

And what the clerk said to ML was COrrect. IF YOU are not responsible enough to teach them something, then NO, its not fine for a child. If they are raised properly, then YES, its a fine gift. No gun is a toy, its an honor, and a privledge.

blacx52 January 16, 2009, 4:02 PM

Sticks and stones may break my bones. Should we outlaw them too?

Rock January 17, 2009, 8:32 AM

Sorry but BB guns refer to metal projectile weapons. Airsoft is classified as “toys” by the ATF. BB guns however are classified as weapons. Get your story straight.

Airsoft Sport Player January 17, 2009, 11:14 AM

As a former woman airsoft distributor, I have to correct you on this. A BB gun is totally different than an airsoft gun. An airsoft gun uses a pellet made of plastic. You must be careful if you choose to buy an airsoft gun for your child. Airsoft is a sport based on honor and integrity. There are also differences between airsoft guns. The example of the airsoft gun you show in the far upper left corner is an airsoft plastic gear gun that shoots approx: 210 FPS. If you buy a metal gear gun, which is what they use at airsoft events, they are capable of shooting up to 400 FPS, or slightly more if they upgrade them. If you choose to buy an airsoft gun for your child, you should buy from a regular airsoft distributor, that can give you good safety recommendations. A regular store is not going to be educated on this topic.
Rules that are important.
Never brandish an airsoft gun in public, they do look real, so they could be mistaken by police for a real gun.
Always transport your airsoft gun in the box it came in, or a gun bag.
If you allow your child to have one, supervise them at all times and educate them about gun safety.
ALWAYS wear certified eye protection goggles or paintball masks. Not the cheap plastic ones that come with some mid-priced electric airsoft guns. They are not full seal goggles.
If you know your child is not mature enough to have one, then quite simply do not buy one.
Actual BB guns are FAR more dangerous, they are capable of shooting 1000 FPS or more.
These are the kind of articles that will ruin the sport of airsoft. Most people that play it as a sport are older mature people. Education is the key. I blame the parents for incidents that happen. The parent should be the one that stores the airsoft gun in the house under lock and key. That way, you will know at all times, YOU have control of when they use it.

Jackie January 18, 2009, 12:24 PM

That’s ridiculous you sound like that crazy old lady from the movie “A Christmas Story” saying “Your gonna shoot your eye out.”
Parents need to stop being so over protective. I had a BB gun at a very young age and I’m fine. To this day I still love that BB Gun…

Anonymous February 4, 2009, 4:55 AM

“Playing with toy guns could make it easier for your child to mistake a real gun as a toy.”

What are you - stupid? Real guns are heavier than BB’s, not to mention the fact that real guns don’t have orange plastic on the end of the nozzle!

Anyway any kid that has an IQ of more then their pet dog will know the difference between fake and real guns.

Dakiller493 February 5, 2009, 3:08 PM

What did the gun ever do? It is not the gun but the person who pulls the trigger. If people show a real intreast in guns then support them, but first and always teach them saftey.

matt April 8, 2009, 11:02 PM

i mean its not the gun that injures the person. its the person that injures the person im 13 years old and my mom thinks that a bb gun can kill someone like a real gun could. it’s realy depressing to me that my mother would even have the thought in her head of me actually shooting a person or animal.i dont exactly get it i want her to shoot a BB gun and see what its like i mean you couldnt kill someone unless you really tried to. there are no alleged reports of people killing people with bb guns. but there is alot of reports of people being killed by holding one. and bb gun has a bright orange nozzle on the tip that clearly identifies that “gun” as a toy anyone that takes that orange nozzle of is very stupid. a standard airsoft gun uses a plastic bb and fires about 1/12 the speed of a real gun. a bb gun fires a metal bb at about 1/8 the speed of a real gun. depending on the model. i wont get to have the memories with my dad now because of these unbiased reports. thank you for possibly ruining my only chances of memories with my dad or mother. Be responsible with your child and dont let him go out alone. take him to the local Jr.Rifle club and make them go thourough the safety class about rifles. dont bar your kids off from the fun they can experiance with a bb gun. the endless hours of enjoyment with mom or dad shouldnt be missed out by any child!!!!!!! i wont get those chances now, a part of my child hood that cant be replaced!!!

George May 3, 2009, 8:48 AM

You have got it all wrong, they are harmless. Are your just coming up with
reasons children cant have fun! Really they hurt your ears, it’s like saying i had lunch with the pope! BB guns can teach gun safety, which is important later in life. And come on, BB guns kill, my dog can come up with a better reason, they come with plastic pellets not metal!Don’t let kids put caps from toy guns in their pockets. “They can ignite and cause burn injuries.” Parents
need to start trusting their children.
I bet if your kid got one, he/she would never aim it at anyone! Trust Your children!!!

Pissed Off May 18, 2009, 4:34 PM

My neighbor gave her 8 year old a bb gun and allowed him to run the block with all the other kids ( the ones that you always see around the block and 2 miles from your home with no parent or adult in sight). I have seen the boys aim the gun and shoot one another. Then one day I guess they had that gun pumped up as much as it would go and shoot my freaking car window out. I am now out of 230.00 ( to fix my window) and they parents of the 3 boys that were involved have not paid one dime. I called the cops and the cop just wanted me to sign something so I would not press charges on the kids. I am glad it was my window and the boys did not hurt a human.

Livin in the hood June 9, 2009, 8:16 PM

You say its perfectly safe for children to have these things. How about the kids who bring them to school and get arrested? Do you live in the backwoods? Even suburban life is no place for kids and guns. Yes if you grow up in the mountains or on a farm you probably learn to fire a rifle but don’t have glock or a 9mm hand gun! My friends who are NYC cops say it is extremely dangerous for any one to carry a fake hand gun as if mistaken they will be shot. What do we tell our boys? that guns are fun and toys? These are toys used to simulate real violence. I learned to fire a rifle and my father was a sniper in the Army but hated guns.
They are not toys!!! They are meant to harm people animals and property. Play a video game assholes!!!!

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