They have been a popular toy for generations. But now some parents are choosing to outlaw toy guns in their homes. The ban for many parents was brought on by the mass shooting two months ago in Newtown, Connecticut in which 26 people were killed.
For the Tousimis family of Northwest Washington, now not only do they ban guns, but they don't want their 5-year-old son to play with kids who are allowed to play with guns.
“Maybe that's being over-protective but we feel that's the best was to not desensitize our children to guns,” said Yianni Tousimis.
The shelves at major toy stores in the area are filled with an arsenal of child-sized weapons. But at Child's Play, a local independent toy store in Northwest Washington, there are only a few kinds of soft projectile guns.
Even the store's founder is thinking twice about his attitude toward toy guns.
“Before if you said to me you had a really active 10-year-old, I might've said there's always Nerf weapons. Kids love projectiles, nobody's getting hurt,” said Steven Aarons, toy store owner. “Whereas right now I might not jump to grab one right away.”
Virginia mother Grace Barkovic sees a value to her 7-year-old daughter playing with toy guns. She lets her first-grader shoot her Nerf guns inside and her realistic looking BB gun outside. Barkovic says banning toy guns is extreme and over protective.
“They need to have a good solid background and learn respect and understanding,” explained Barkovic. “So when they are faced with a real gun their curiosity isn't – ‘what is this...I've never seen this before.’"
Toy manufacturers say through the industry organization Toy Industry Association: "Toys themselves do not promote aggressive behavior. In fact, role play and fantasy help children work through and cope with what is happening in the world around them."