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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
Two boys, ages 12 and 14, were told to drop their weapons and handcuffed earlier this week in Massachusetts. The youths were allegedly firing at cars with BB guns. The police, however, couldn't distinguish between the boys' "toy" weapons and the real deal

This potentially lethal confusion happens all the time.  

Last January, an Oregon elementary school was placed on lockdown when an 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 than they used to be.

"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 is leading 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 American Academy of Pediatrics, these "toys" cause roughly 21,000 injuries annually.

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 for 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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22 comments so far | Post a comment now
StevenH October 2, 2009, 9:25 AM

BB guns of any type are considered firearms, even though they do not use a powder charge. So, as with all firearms, they should only be used under close, responsible, adult supervision.

Also, one must be a legal adult to purchase them. This means the person who made the purchase is responsible for what happens after they have bought the rifle, even if it is for a child.

proudmommy October 2, 2009, 9:43 AM

my son got his first bb gun when he was three, im soo proud of him, hes now four and can shoot a tiny target from far away, next year we are going to go a little more powerful and move up from there.

Surgere October 2, 2009, 10:04 AM

Another article that blames inanimate objects for humans’ inadequacies…
Of course if you just give a kid a weapon and send him on his/her way, they’re going to use it improperly. The problem isn’t the tool, it’s the parents who don’t teach the child that it is just a tool, and not a toy.

Parents: As you educate your child in something, it becomes less mysterious and more mundane. This is a fact of life, and can be a good thing or a bad thing; but when it comes to firearms, it’s a good thing. You want the child to be as bored with firearms as possible so that if they see one they think “Ya, whatever” and move on. This does a few things:
1. Keeps the child from developing an irrational fear of inanimate objects.
2. Ensures that the child won’t handle firearms out of curiosity (since they already know what they are and how they work).
Combine that with keeping them locked up, and you should be good to go. (There are a variety of ways to keep a gun safe, but still have it readily available. GunVault makes a great product, for instance.)

Firearms are not magic devices that hurt people, and they are also not magic devices that keep people safe. They are chunks of metal and plastic that humans use to enact their will.
You are not condemned for owning one; and conversely, you should still be able to protect your family without one.

michelle October 2, 2009, 11:12 AM

The previous 2 commenters should have their kids taken away from them.

Jill October 2, 2009, 12:52 PM

Michelle, just because you own a gun doesn’t mean you should take their kids away. This is a pathetic, gross assumption.

Margaret Mariani October 3, 2009, 9:43 AM

That’s the beauty living in the USA, we have the liberty to purchase firearms; including, bb guns that our children may use. If children use bb guns: they need to be fully supervised, mentally capable of taking on the responsibilities associated with using a gun, and parents need to also educate their children on basic bb guy safety (see the below list of some of the most important BB gun safety rules from www.bb-guns.org):

• Treat all guns as though they are loaded. Never assume that a gun is not loaded.
• Never point your BB gun at anyone. It does not matter if it is not loaded!
• Check out both local and federal laws and regulations. Different states have different BB gun safety laws and rules. Certain guns are not allowed in certain places.
• Do not fire at a target unless you know everything surrounding the target. Do not shoot if there is a potential that someone is behind or on the sides of the target… you might miss!
• Keep your finger off of the trigger until you are ready to fire.
• As stated above, in the “A Christmas Story” incident, always where protective eyewear. Also wear a protective mask.
• Realize that BBs can ricochet. Be aware of the type of surface you are shooting at. BBs ricochet more easily off of certain surfaces. Flat surfaces, hard surfaces, and the water all surfaces that BBs may ricochet off of. Also make sure that the target is not at an angle.
• Start out shooting at a shooting range. It is a good and much safer place to learn how to shoot.
• Do not allow minors (persons under 18 years of age) to shoot any type of gun (not even a BB gun) with out active adult supervision.
• Now that BB guns are made to look more and more realistic, some people can mistake them for real guns. This makes them potentially dangerous! If someone (including and especially a policeman) thinks you have a real gun, he or she may act differently around you. You could be putting yourself and others in danger. Do not carry your BB gun in a public place. Doing so may actually be illegal in your state.
• Do not alter the color of your BB gun. If it has a fluorescent orange tip, that is for a reason! Policeman have been known to shoot and fire upon children who have removed the safety orange color form their guns, because the policemen could no longer recognize the guns as anything but real guns.
• It is not recommended that children under the age of 16 are allowed to operate a high velocity BB gun. Take a look at the velocity type of your BB gun or air rifle before using. The warning will likely say, “May be dangerous up to 350 yards,” as well as other warnings. Be sure to follow all warnings.
• Always check to make sure the gun is not loaded. Point the gun away from people and animals and squeeze the trigger (again, avoid pointing it at things that it might ricochet off of.
• Do not carry a loaded BB gun when climbing over fences or up trees or even when jumping. Doing so could cause the gun to go off.
• Keep care of your gun. A damaged or dirty gun is more likely to cause injury.
• One rule of BB gun safety that is too often overlooked is that you should always use new ammo in your BB gun. It does not matter if it is expensive. Not doing so is dangerous and can degrade your gun more quickly.

Anonymous October 5, 2009, 12:40 PM

Yo, these “firearms” was part of the senseless childhood that has already passed us by. When these kids get such a “weapon” its purely growing up. let them have fun!! yes, accidents will happen but it will be a story to tell in the future. they will learn their lesson after the first one or two times. I didnt turn out too bad. and im sure you didnt either.

Tammy October 6, 2009, 8:00 AM

to the poster named michelle, do we all forget how this country started out?? Hunters with GUNS fed their families that way! There were no supermarkets to go buy meat, they had to hunt to feed their children. You my dear are ignorant! We don’t need to take anyones’ chilfren away if they own a gun. We need to back to the old way of doing things, TEACH our children the proper way to handle these guns and to use them for what they were originally created for. Children nowdays are no longer being taught respect!They don’t respect their parents, they don’t respect authority-teachers, police officers etc. My husband and I both are veterans, my husband works for our local sheriffs department and my children- 3 sons and a daughter have all been taught firearms safety and RESPECT!

Can Am November 7, 2009, 9:09 AM

We are raising a nation of wimps and idiots! In Afghanistan I saw a 8 year old being taught herding by a 5 year old. These boys shared a canteen of dirty water and found what food they had to eat. Left out for days on end to tend the herd. They had sticks to fend off wild dogs and other predators. And they were happily playing in the dark with a war going on around them. Our kids cannot be trusted with toys… and you ‘Michelle’ types want to remove even that! Wake up people! We better start teaching our children to be tougher and more responsible because one day soon they will no longer be safe as the wimps and pussies we are raising. They will be rolled over top of by a harder world.

mcflubber November 23, 2009, 9:12 AM

My son was shot at close range yesterday with a CO2 pistol. He was unprotected when he was shot. His face was bleeding when he came home, and the bleeding was difficult to stop. These guns are not safe and shouldn’t be in the hands of children under the age of 18 unless an adult is actively with them.

NGH January 28, 2010, 3:01 PM

Today, I let my dogs outside. I later came out only to find 2 kids with BB guns trying to get one of my dogs to come over so they could shoot her. These kids were probably late elementary schoolers, and I knew they had an intent to shoot, because when I came out one of them yelled “RUN!” and they both ran away as fast as they can. THIS is the reason BB guns should become Illegal for children under 18. I am only in middle school and, frankly, THERE IS NO REASON WHY A CHILD WOULD NEED TO OWN A GUN. Hunting is one thing, but you need a real gun to do that, which was provided by your experienced parent or guardian that will be watching you at all times.

Hillary May 5, 2010, 6:36 PM

I agree that although the chances of a BB gun seriously injuring someone is slim, it is still the first step in teaching a child proper discipline when it comes to firearms.
I grew up in a house with 5 children, 2 of them wild boys, and our parents had guns. We NEVER dared tocuh them without an adult present. However, our parents taught us at a very young age that they were NOT toys.

I hate it when people get their children BB guns or airsoft guns and think that it will curb their child’s curiosity.
My sons are 2y/o and -7 weeks right now…but when they are old enough to comprehend how to RESPECT a firearm, I sure won’t be treating “toy guns” any different than “real guns.”

Mike D June 11, 2010, 1:56 PM

This article is written from an ignorant point of view.

Here is the title: “BB Guns Should Be Illegal for Kids”

Reality: They ARE illegal for kids, in the same capacity as firearms.

Quote “although you have to be 18 to purchase one of these, there is no minimum age requirement to fire one.”

Reality: This is also true with firearms!

WE DON’T NEED MORE LAWS, WE NEED MORE PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY!
http://mikedurland-reallife.blogspot.com/

Anonymous June 18, 2010, 10:35 AM

Follow the damn rules and you won’t get shot.
Google gun safety tips or just read what Margaret Mariani posted.

elisa July 1, 2010, 8:05 AM

kids should have guns

Anonymous December 11, 2010, 10:28 AM

meh my mum gave me a bb gun last week iv already killed 19 people and seriously maimed a fetus lol

Anonymous December 11, 2010, 10:29 AM

meh my mum gave me a bb gun last week iv already killed 19 people and seriously maimed a fetus lol

Anonymous December 26, 2010, 8:36 PM

whos goning to pay for shot out windows’ shot up cars’ my neighbors want.

alex January 15, 2011, 12:23 PM

Guns dont hurt thing, people do. a kid is usualy alot safer with a bb gun that a teenager.

Anonymous January 24, 2011, 4:20 PM

that is really retarted how they want to ban bb guns if your 13 and up u should be able to use one


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