Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Should toy guns be illegal?

Man with toy gun killed by Baltimore cop. Should toy guns be illegal? ( video) -
An off-duty Baltimore policeman on Saturday shot and killed a man he says appeared to be holding him at gunpoint in the suburbs of Linthicum Heights. But when Anne Arudnel County detectives surveyed the crime scene, they realized the would-be robber was wielding a toy gun.
Amid national debate over US gun laws, some think banning fake guns is a no-brainer.
By Story Hinckley, Staff DECEMBER 21, 2015  

I agree, I think banning fake guns is is a no-brainer.
As in: anyone who thinks banning fake guns has no brain cells worth preserving.

Don't blame the "gun"; blame the actors who precipitate the tragedy.  (Often the person who gave a kid a realistic-looking toy gun.  See below.)

We read a couple of stories a year about someone getting shot (usually by a police officer) because they are brandishing a toy gun.   Sometimes that is a tool which a person is using to commit a crime, as in this case.

Sometimes it is a toy which a child waves at a policeman, thinking it a harmless joke; it never is.  
It's too often a tragedy:

See: Tamir Rice
See: Andy Lopez

In the child's case, they needed to be taught by their parent, guardian, responsible adult or that weird 'uncle' who shows up to talk to mamma .... that it is never a good idea to threaten someone with a toy, even as a joke.   That's Lesson Number One in Responsible Gun Ownership (and if you don't think kids learn how to be responsible when they get their first toy gun, you are part of the problem.)

In the case of a hold-up, life is like a box of chawk-uh-lahts; you never know what you're going to get when you're trying to strong-arm an armed cop ... or citizen.

Why would a hold-up man (or boy) try to rob a stranger using a toy gun?  

  • he's very new to the game and can't afford a real gun; 
  • or because he keeps buying dope with the money he's stolen before and forgets to buy a gun;
  • or because he's trying to avoid being charged with Armed Robbery in case he gets busted;
  • or because he is desperate;
  • or because he doesn't REALLY want to shoot someone, and figures the worst that can happen is he gets the crap beat out of him:
  • or because he is stupid.  (Well, that much is reliably assumable, right from the get-go!)
He probably doesn't expect to get shot.
(Which right there, in four words, is the best argument for Concealed Carry Laws As An Aid To Social Respect.)

The thing is, the cop doesn't know it's a toy.  He has to assume it's a real gun, and he's about to get shot.  It's that thing about decision-making, judgement, confusion, Situational Awareness and Rule Number One (see below).

My understanding about police-persons (in all their various manifestations) is that they have three rules:

Rule Number Three:  To Protect and To Serve
Rule Number Two: To enforce the law
Rule Number One: to go home to your family at the end of the shift

Personal Disclaimer:  I have a son who is a Master-At-Arms in the Navy.   He is a lifer.  He loves his job, and hates it that he has got enough rank that he spends more time behind a desk, now, than out doing "grunt stuff".  The Navy has put him through a lot of interesting training, including Sniper School and Defensive Driving (not the real term for the course, but he does know how to do "The Bootlegger U-Turn").

I've been given the impression that he has a firm understanding of Rule Number One, and I hope that he never forgets it.

I have a vested interest in defending the right of a law-enforcement officer to defend himself.   Not just because my son is one of 'em, and I love him; but because it's a difficult job and he is good at it.  His 'community' is better off because he has his priorities straight.

Oh, there are more laws every day, and one of the silliest is that 'toy guns' are suppose to have an orange cap at the muzzle and .... some other obvious 'tells', just to prevent this sort of thing from happening.  I agree that these are reasonable, and perhaps necessary.

Boys love toys, and kids love guns, and I had a lot of guns as a child and I managed to not get shot or to rob anyone.  So it can be done.
Give the kids their toy guns; it's a learning tool.

But if you point a gun .. a toy, a replica, or a 'Niner' at my son, he has only one recourse.
That is, to draw his firearm and resolve the threat.  Immediately. If he stops to think about it, he may be dead.  I wouldn't like that; truly I wouldn't

Most people with a Concealed Carry License probably should have the same priorities, but many of us haven't been trained ... or 'hardened' ... to expect the worst when someone points a gun at us.  There are a finite number of seconds to make the difficult decision to defend yourself.

Still ... if you are not prepared to defend yourself when threatened, you probably should not be carrying a gun.

And if you threaten someone with a gun of any reasonable description, you should be prepared to accept the consequences.

Don't forget that box of chocolates; there's a reason why God gave us choices.


Anonymous said...

Toy guns and look alike fakes are OK, just don't brandish them and you will be safe.

Anonymous said...

In many school systems it appears that even imaginary weapons are illegal, examples are finger pistols and air grenades.