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4 Bumps

Kids Turning in Toy Guns to be Destroyed in R.I.

(Boston Globe) — Dominic Johnson, a 10-year-old fourth-grader with a fledgling Mohawk, brandished his black, long-nosed toy gun and caressed the muzzle appreciatively.“It’s like a shotgun mixed with a rifle,’’ he said, as his mother, April, told him to stop pointing it at nearby children.

Soon it would be junk.

Dominic joined dozens of children yesterday at the annual Toy Gun Bash in the gymnasium of Pleasant View Elementary School. There, they lined up to toss their toy guns, from dainty purple water guns to camouflage-painted pistols, inside the Bash-O-Matic, a large black, foam creature with churning metal teeth and the shape of a cockroach spliced with a frog.

Prodded by Attorney General Patrick C. Lynch, who wore a fuzzy Santa hat, the children stared curiously as the Bash-O-Matic mashed up their guns and digested them into a plastic bin near its tail. “He ate it,’’ squealed one delighted little girl.

’Tis the season for joy, peace, and grinding up plastic, orange-tipped AK-47s.

For seven years, Providence municipal and law enforcement officials have organized the event around Christmastime as a way to raise awareness of the dangers of playing with guns, real or fake. The event is a mix of the macabre and the playful, a children’s version of the gun buyback program in which adults trade firearms for gift certificates.

Yesterday, younger children ran through a rubber obstacle course while officials told the older children the story of a 14-year-old boy who police nearly shot after they confused his air pistol with a real gun.

In exchange for their toy guns, all the children received wrapped presents that were indisputably not violent — dolls, stuffed animals, and board games like checkers.

Some children were not thrilled with the trade.

Malik Hall, a round-eyed second-grader, looked apprehensive as he stood in line with his favorite toy, a thick, blue gun with plastic sword underneath the muzzle. The 8-year-old was furious when his mother, Amanda, told him he would have to give it up. Yesterday morning, he tried to hide it under his pillow, she said. “I’m worried,’’ she said. “He might cry.’’

But when it was his turn, Malik strode dry-eyed and with quiet dignity to the Bash-O-Matic and fed it the gun. When his mother approached, he said nothing.

“You don’t want to talk to me?’’ Hall asked. He looked at her stonily and left to retrieve his gift .

www. weaselzippers. net

Good idea or stupid?

Answer Question

Asked by SavageGrl at 4:02 PM on Dec. 20, 2010 in Politics & Current Events

Level 18 (6,045 Credits)
Answers (17)
  • Not a bad idea I guess... I have never allowed toy guns anyway though...

    Answer by But_Mommie at 4:06 PM on Dec. 20, 2010

  • Thats so stupid.

    Answer by onemellowmom at 4:09 PM on Dec. 20, 2010

  • Sounds like it works for that community.

    I'd have to pry my child's arsenal from his cold, dead hands so I'm not sure we would participate.

    Answer by UpSheRises at 4:11 PM on Dec. 20, 2010

  • My son has several toy guns and at 8 got his first pellet gun for his birthday. I grew up with them too and have never been shot by the police and surprisingly have never killed anyone. I think this is very stupid and that poor kid had to give up his favorite toy. Craziness.


    Answer by Anonymous at 4:13 PM on Dec. 20, 2010

  • Good lord! :(

    Answer by mom23boys679 at 4:15 PM on Dec. 20, 2010

  • where we live guns mean a whole different thing I guess, so when age appropriate I will have no problem with my son playing with toy guns, but it is probably more likely that he won't have much interest in play guns, he will just want to go shoot real guns with daddy. Hunting is a way of life where we live.

    Answer by AshleyBishop06 at 4:15 PM on Dec. 20, 2010

  • My boys want to go hunting with their dad one day, so toy guns aren't an issue here. I feel safer teaching them were not to point guns when they are handing something plastic and harmless. I wouldn't make my sons do that in a million years.

    However, that's my family. I can't say what's right or wrong for other families.



    Answer by SpaceToast at 4:21 PM on Dec. 20, 2010

  • So the people who BOUGHT the toy guns for their children (or approved the giving of them to their children) are now telling them to destroy them?! Mixed messages much?!

    I personally wouldn't purchase toy guns for my children, nor would I allow someone else to purchase toy guns for them--because they are simply inappropriate for my boys because of their issues.

    Answer by LoriKeet at 4:25 PM on Dec. 20, 2010

  • My husband and I have Nerf guns... It's a blast... Especially when we are stressed. You can't be mad when you have a nerf suction cup stuck your forehead... ;o) We have gotten our whole neighborhood involved in Nerf "wars" with each other.. Our 50 year old UPS driver was even involved... OMG, it was a hoot.. We love Laser Tag, Paint Ball, etc... My daughters asked for nerf guns.. I see no problem with it. The problem is NOT Guns..The problem is people... Kids can learn the difference. Parents have to engage. Too many parents don't take the time to engage/educate. Cops and Robbers was an important game in my childhood... My brother learned from roleplay at an early age he wanted to save people... If my daughter wants to learn from role play, I will support /educate...What's next, take Chem Class away because it can encourage kids on how to make explosives? How about Driving? More kids die in cars than gun

    Answer by grlygrlz2 at 4:58 PM on Dec. 20, 2010

  • Good idea. I will never purchase guns for my son. I do not like them and see no real reason to have one.

    Answer by Mom2Just1 at 5:03 PM on Dec. 20, 2010

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