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Real-Looking Guns Being Used as Children's Toys

May 03, 1986

Fifteen lines on Page 2 of the April 17 Times caused my blood to run cold, as I remembered a similar, but less confrontational incident of 10 years ago. The few lines told of Manual Rodriguez's toy water gun, so realistic that 10 policemen answered a neighbor's call of "armed man." But for the 14-year-old's presence of mind to "freeze," those 15 lines could have been his obituary!

My own son, 15 at the time, proudly showing off his new high-powered BB gun with attached telescopic sight, was similarly warned by two patrolling officers of the dangers in displaying or carrying so realistic a toy or replica of a real gun.

We never allowed him to take it from its case thereafter unless practicing with tin cans or paper targets in the country.

Another possible scenario comes to mind--Manual playfully pointing his "gun" at some other armed citizen; or Manual pointing his "weapon" at some unsuspecting senior citizen, and the senior citizen dropping not from a "bullet," but a heart attack.)

How about the National Rifle Assn., which vows to protect the gun-toting rights of the "civilized" people, using some of the millions it spends on lobbying state and national lawmakers, to fight toy makers, domestic and international, and pass laws to keep them from making replicas of the real thing for children to play with.

I recently witnessed the sight of a toy Uzi (with sound effects) being tried out in my local supermarket by a 5-year-old whose mother was contemplating purchasing it for him. She was evidently dissuaded by the comments in the line concerning the realism of the toy, and the disgust being expressed by many.

If the Manuals, and the Jacks, and even the Jills are to live to enjoy the childhood games of spraying each other with water, let's at least keep the "guns" see-though green, and fuchsia, and yellow, and full of fun for all!


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