Holiday dream toy? Modern-day BB gun is no such thing


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Drizzt
December 12, 2003, 03:36 PM
Rebecca Thoman: Holiday dream toy? Modern-day BB gun is no such thing

Published December 12, 2003 THOMAN1212


A boy's Christmas wish list that includes BB or pellet guns is a parent's worst nightmare. One look at contemporary pellet guns, named and modeled after their grown-up counterparts, the Uzi semiautomatic or the Magnum .44, should convince any parent that these "toys" are not what they used to be.

Modern BB guns are nothing like the wooden-stock rifles of 1938, the kind yearned for by Ralphie in the holiday classic, "A Christmas Story." Eighty percent of BB guns on the market today attain muzzle velocities (the speed at which the projectile leaves the barrel of the gun) high enough to penetrate bone. More than half meet or exceed the muzzle velocity of pistols.

Handing your child a BB gun could be handing him a ticket to disaster. In the year 2000, more than 15,000 children were treated for BB gun injuries in U.S. emergency rooms, with boys ages 10 to 14 recording the highest rates. Minnesota reported more than 400 BB gun injuries between 1998 and 2001. Five percent of those injuries were due to acts of violence.

An estimated 3.2 million BB guns are purchased in the United States each year, many as holiday gifts. While the gun industry has advanced its technology to make more powerful BB guns, parental attitudes have not kept up with the times. Most BB gun injuries occur at children's homes and on weekends. A 1998 Massachusetts survey showed that only one-third of children who possessed BB guns were given any training in the proper use of the gun, and more than 70 percent were allowed to use the guns without supervision.

The newest fad in pellet guns is the airsoft replicas, realistic Glock and Beretta lookalikes. Replicgun.com, a Web site that sells these toys boasts, "the real thing without the danger." But consider these incidents:

• Two Auburn, Wash., 12-year-old snipers were arrested after using BB guns to injure 10 children, including one in a wheelchair, at a day care center next to their home.

• A 14-year-old robbed a New Jersey bank with a realistic-looking air pellet gun.

• A 12-year-old boy was held at gunpoint by a patrolling police officer who mistook his airsoft rifle for the real thing.

Giving a child a toy gun that looks real could be placing him in danger, especially when these contemporary replicas look more like the semiautomatics assault rifles packed by street thugs than the hunting rifles of yesteryear.

According to Dr. Farideh Kioumehr-Dadsetan of the Internaional Health and Epidemiology Research Center, "Giving our kids toy guns and telling them to stay away from the real thing sends a mixed message."

She urges children and parents to swap their toy guns for other nonviolent options.

So, parents, heed the warning of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. BB guns are not toys and are not suitable for children under 16. Make this a traditional Christmas, but put safer gifts under the tree this and every year.

Dr. Rebecca Thoman is executive director of the St. Paul-based Citizens for a Safer Minnesota Education Fund.

http://www.startribune.com/stories/1519/4263206.html

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MicroBalrog
December 12, 2003, 03:39 PM
You could shoot your eye out, too.:neener:

MacPelto
December 12, 2003, 03:56 PM
Modern BB guns are nothing like the wooden-stock rifles of 1938, the kind yearned for by Ralphie in the holiday classic, "A Christmas Story."

Actually, they still sell the 'Red Ryder' BB gun. I bought one for my wife, last christmas. Unfortunately, it did not come with a compass in the stock, nor this thing which tells time.

fiVe
December 12, 2003, 03:59 PM
"Giving our kids toy guns and telling them to stay away from the real thing sends a mixed message."

This is true. When they are "old enough" give them a real gun. When you do it right, it is better to gun-proof your kids anyway.

Regards, fiVe

Dave R
December 12, 2003, 04:00 PM
A particularly bad jumble of facts.

Hi-velocity pellet guns are generally purchased by adults. Adults are a rapidly-growing segment of arigun purchasers.

Airsoft replicas shoot PLASTIC BBs that are safer than standard kinds. (Though you can still put your eye out...)

The good ol' Red Ryder is still available today!

I'll agree with her on one point, though. "...parental attitudes have not kept up with the times."

Supervision and safety instruction are surely down.

Andrew Rothman
December 12, 2003, 04:03 PM
Slight correction:

Dr. Rebecca Thoman is the St. Paul-based Citizens for a Safer Minnesota

(http://www.ellegon.com/features/data/posting/)

patent
December 12, 2003, 04:04 PM
Not much ever changes at the red star.

I think they get more hot and bothered about American 12 year olds with BB guns than they do about 14 year olds fighting with AK47s in afghanistan. Anything to disarm the sheep.

I take it that BB gun sales must be up, can't have that.

patent

killermarmot
December 12, 2003, 04:07 PM
I think one of the major problem with this sort of attitude about things like airsoft is simply, just because you don't give one to your child doesn't mean that jimmy down the street won't have one. Would you rather give your child one and educate them about it or have him learn from jimmy down the street without your knowledge?

As far as I'm concerned attempting to keep children ignorant is like trying to get a hippie to bathe, damn near impossible :D

ElToro
December 12, 2003, 04:14 PM
think my 2 year old nephew is too young ? maybe a nice new Beeman...

i got a nice crossman when i was about 8 or so... pellets and BB still lodged in the wood in my dad's fence...

although if some punk pointed an airsoft at me id shoot back...

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