Views on teaching weapons safety when kids are playing with toy guns?

Yesterday afternoon, I was busy chopping up some wood in the garden and, after the obligatory 5 minutes of effort, poked my head around the patio door to demand a cuppa. I saw my 9-year old, watching the TV, with his new Nerf gun (fires soft plastic rounds) placed against temple. I went ape and told him not to be so silly. He then said it was OK because he had the magazine in the other hand. I then went to Teddy Bear State Red and gave him a lecture on never trusting a weapon to be unloaded. My wife joined in with the true story of a friend's neighbour whose teenage son was messing around with the shotgun he used for rabbits and, thinking it was unloaded, pulled the trigger. We know about it because one of our friend's sons was there at the time and now knows what somebody else's brain looks like. However, my 9-yr old was clearly thinking "it's only a toy". My view is that of always training to do the right thing so it becomes habit when the pressure is on, toy gun or not. Am I just a humourless curmudgeon with no sense of proportion? Or do good drills start at home? Or ...?
Shoot the boy with something* and say, "See, I though it was unloaded!"

*Perhaps a rubber band gun...
Does he have a pet? i suggest you put a firearm in your son's hand, have him point it at the animals head, ask him whether or not he thinks it's loaded, and make him pull the trigger. (top tip: make sure it's loaded). Then force him to look at the resultant mess, and to hold the dead thing in his arms, and ask him how he feels about the situation. Then ask him if he ever wants Daddy to feel like he feels now. As an afteraction, a (gentle) clip around the ear, a quick talk about weapons clearing (broken into squads for ease of instruction) and off for teethbrushing and bed. With no dinner. Wager he won't tempt fate with Nerf guns again after that.
It's perfectly natural for a nine year old to shoot at his mates with a nerf gun. Mind you, their parents may have a word if he pisses on them afterwards.
Good drills do indeed start at home.

What were you thinking when you bought him a Nerf gun? Guns have only one purpose - to kill - either people or animals. Both are inhumane, not to mention anti-social. Too much exposure to violence at that tender age and who knows where he might end up. He might join one of those gangs, battalions, I think they're called, and bring eternal shame to your family.

Actually, think what would happen if such a situation occurred in the Army. Would he be the one getting a bollocking? Or would it be his instructor, who failed to give him adequate instruction and let him play around with a weapon unsupervised? It's a bit tongue in cheek, but if you'd told him when he got it that he mustn't aim it at people, animals or ornaments, then he deserves a clip round the ear (out of sight of the domestic general, of course). If he hadn't been so instructed, then it's you who should should receive the punishment - no sneaky visits to your girlfriend for a fortnight, for example.
Serious Answer,
I think you need to stress the difference between a TOY gun and an actual weapon..
Don't let him near a real firearm until you are convinced he knows the difference and has enough sense to handle it safely.

Arrse Answer.
My three year old is currently adequate at rifle drill but his sword drill is very idle. Therefore, I am insisting on nightly show parades until he improves.

His weapons handling skills are also a bit lack lustre but my program of doubling him round the backyard with his toy M16(Wooden SLR is still not finished) at the high port seems to be improving his performance. However, I can't find a toy gun with actual working parts or a magazine. I have however obtained a toy revolver with a removable cylinder.We are therefore forced to use "shorts" for CQB drills.

I am also concerned that the other members of our brick, Buzz Lightyear and Action man, are not pulling their weight on our nighly monster patrol. I think I may have to AGAI both of them. Not sure if I should go for CPMD or a more specific charge.

My advice with respect to your young idle soldier is as follows,march him in (to his mum) charge him with an ND and award him 14 days in the Guard House (Bedroom) with loss of pocket money.
I started my kids on firearms safety when they were six. My guns are all under lock and key, but I remember my own ability to find keys and combinations as a kid. Instead of forbiding them from ever touching the guns I decided to involve them and let them handle the guns, help with cleaning etc. with the accent always on safety. They get to shoot smallbore from time to time in our family championship, my daughter, (13) is the current holder of the trophy. The only taboo is the pistols which are completely off limits, they understand that these are particularly dangerous and that they will be taught pistol safety and shooting when they are old enough.

Now if I handle a gun with the breech closed I get a bollocking from them.
since it's just a nerf gun, your son was probably thinking you and his mother are completely overreacting and won't take any future cautioning from you seriously.
You must be a walt parent giving your sprog a toy gun. I bet you give the poor little bastard herbal ecstasy and alcohol free beer as well.
We had [toy] SLRs and M16s as kids in the late 60s/early 70s. We shot krauts, square heads, nips, and slant eyes (smaller kids who smelled worse than we did) all the time. We'd use French Bangers as hand grenades. WW2 lasted from 1969 until 1976, normally during the summer. In winter it was slugged out indoors with "big" soldiers and small tanks, with cease-fires breaking out over term-time.

No child was physically harmed during the 9 years of the bitterest fighting seen the other side of Primary School, although there may have been some PTSD following the atrocities of The Battle of Broadway; some adults have been known to be seen gazing into the middle distance, mulling over the events in their minds. Modern science labels this as "old fart reminiscing syndrome".

On a more serious note, as kids we knew they were toys and we were not lectured on weapons handling, IA drills, or stripping and cleaning. We never grew up killing each other or anyone else. Its a toy, let your child grow up. They do worse things: wiring multiple transformers in serial to see what happens; breaking "unbreakable" Black & Decker workmates; chasing each other with dogshit on lollypop sticks; raping your facebook account...
When it comes to weapon safety you can't start too early. Yes it is only a toy gun, but you can very gently install ideas of weapon safety.
My lad has a Nerf Gun with what is best described as a drum magazine. I have taken him through what you might call NSPs, (ensuring the chamber is clear, not leaving it cocked, etc etc). Amusingly his civvy pals were mightly impressed with all this hook, cock and look and readily emulate all of it, at one point all they needed was a loading/unloading bay.
As for safety, plant the seeds nice and early.

A Fathers Advice

If a sportsman true you’d be
Listen carefully to me. . .

Never, never let your gun
Pointed be at anyone.
That it may unloaded be
Matters not the least to me.

When a hedge or fence you cross
Though of time it cause a loss
From your gun the cartridge take
For the greater safety’s sake.

If twixt you and neighbouring gun
Bird shall fly or beast may run
Let this maxim ere be thine
“Follow not across the line.”

Stops and beaters oft unseen
Lurk behind some leafy screen.
Calm and steady always be
“Never shoot where you can’t see.”

You may kill or you may miss
But at all times think this:
“All the pheasants ever bred
Won’t repay for one man dead.”

Keep your place and silent be;
Game can hear, and game can see;
Don’t be greedy, better spared
Is a pheasant, than one shared.
Miss Flaggie (10) has been firmly instructed to treat her toy (yellow-plastic-ball-firing) pistol as a real one and never to point it at anyone. And to always assume it's loaded.

She certainly takes it seriously, but it doesn't seem to be spoiling her fun.

Immediately thought of this question of habits a few days ago when someone posted the story about the Seal who shot himself in the head with an "unloaded" pistol.

If they develop the right habits now, they're likely to retain them later.


They're children, they should be having fun.

If they're given toys that can harm people by parents, then they have bad parents.

If they are in a position, unsupervised, where they can get hold of a loaded weapon, then they have bad parents.

If they grow up not having the common sense to treat things like weapons, with the respect that they deserve, then they have bad parents (or are stupid, and deserve to shoot themselves)
Tought Mine WH fairly early on and was impressed with his maturity on a visit to a Range day in Florida using an M4, Glock and Shottie.

However I am occasionally embarrased when I remember NDing the Grenade Launcher on the Johnny 7OMA into my own head!
No child was physically harmed during the 9 years of the bitterest fighting seen the other side of Primary School, although there may have been some PTSD following the atrocities of The Battle of Broadway; some adults have been known to be seen gazing into the middle distance, mulling over the events in their minds.
Never mind all that. Was there a medal?
When I was a mite my dad did indeed teach me basic firearm safety through the medium of toy guns and pissy little BB guns; don't point them at people, treat them as if they're loaded. I think it's a good idea, personally. Unless you have a firearm yourself you do not know, nor can you exert much control over, when exactly your offspring will first come in to contact with weapons and if they've had the fundamentals implanted at an early age then so much the better.

On a related note, a new trend in stag weekends seems to be groups of men going to Baltic states and, having imbibed, going to shooting ranges and trying out powerful guns with little or no supervision or instruction. Very often these people have never before picked up a real gun. I've seen several photo albums on Facebook now of people arrsing about with pump-action shotguns and assault rifles, posing for pictures with guns pointed at the cameraman, at mates' heads etc. The very idea makes me ******* sweat; it is virtually inevitable that some day soon a groom is going to have his head blown off by one of his friends a week before his wedding.

Similar threads

Latest Threads