Deep Thoughts,  Inventions, Creations, Experiments,  Southern Comfort

Go Outside And Play With Guns

I lost the battle over having toy guns in the house way back when Finn was a toddler, and then I handed the whole firearm issue over to Bill.

So while we are notorious hard asses about media, you might describe us as incredibly lax in another area (besides haircuts). Each boy owns an air soft gun, a product I’d never heard of until recently.

It’s like a paint ball gun without the paint. The boys put on protective goggles and run around the yard SHOOTING EACH OTHER ON PURPOSE, which is exactly what I don’t want them doing in video games.

Bill says, “Lighten up, Frances,” and I guess he’s right. We can’t ban everything. At least there’s no blood, flying body parts or scantily clad women involved.

But I bet the neighbors across the street worry when they see this:



Is this a Southern thing, a boy thing, or what?

A year ago in My Tiny Kingdom: Drew Discovers Santa’s Limits


  • childsplay

    Ha! I have one boy, two girls, and they all enjoy gun play. Must. Find. Airguns. As homeschoolers, we already get weird looks from our neighbors. What’s there to lose!

    I was totally anti-gun and then realized my kids were using empty toilet paper rolls/uncooked spaghetti/fingers/legos/whatever-else-they-could-find, to fashion firearms out of them. I relented.

    Then I read a study that showed that virtually all serial killers had no experiences with or were allowed to do the rough housing, imaginative play that’s associated with kids pretend violence. Strange, huh?

    So when your neighbors give you disapproving looks, you can tell them that the pretend shooters of today grow up to be the well adjusted adults of tomorrow. (At least, I hope so!)

    childsplay’s last blog post..Santa?s Helper is?.a Devil?

  • Charro

    I, too, did not want my boys playing with guns but they just used sticks etc. so I also relented. They are now grown men, both gun collectors, and passionate outdoorsmen! They respect guns and what they are capable of doing if in the wrong hands. This is a legitimate case of “boys will be boys!”

  • Tina

    We had a neighbot with a boy who was so gun obsessed he would cut pictures of them out of magazines – paste them on cardboard and carry them around with him everywhere – at the age of 5!!! He is currently a well respected ballistics expert with two kids and no criminal record of any sort. I think it is a boy thing.

  • Mary Frances

    My brother, who just got back from a deployment in Iraq, says that he was always happy to end up with a group of fellow Southerners since their sniper skills had been honed from years of hunting. Evidently he did not find the same skill set in those from beyond the Mason Dixon =)

    Mary Frances’s last blog post..How to Cream Butter & Sugar

  • Kathy

    I, too, relented when after living on this street for about a year, I realized my boys were the only ones NOT shooting each other with airsoft guns. Jeff also said I needed to lighten up on this and let them play. So, we now own all that stuff, complete with safety goggles. Bring your three on down here…that’s the #1 activity in our neighborhood! I do, however, ask mine to please put the guns in their coat or something when walking up to get one of the other kids. I just hate for the neighbors to see them walking around holding that, not looking like they ARE playing. LOL

    The eldest is all on about deer hunting this year. Guess it just comes with the territory.

  • Charlie on the PA Tpk

    Now that’s something I would buy for two boys and myself!

    And I think my much-better-half would enjoy it, also! At least I can easily justify getting it!

    And in NE PA, the Monday after Thanksgiving is no-school in honor of the first day of deer season.

    Charlie on the PA Tpk’s last blog post..Making My Mark

  • alala

    Waugh. I’m going to guess that the desire to run around shooting eachother is a boy thing, and the parents saying okay and supplying them with guns is a Southern thing, because my fellow yankee moms and I just keep playing the “He wants a SQUIRT GUN! HOW HAVE I FAILED AS A MOTHER?” record over and over again. Thanks to your other commenters, I’m beginning to see that it’s probably better if they know what they’re doing when they get hold of a real gun. Of course, this is Germany, so how likely is that to happen?

    Hmm… a dilemma.

    alala’s last blog post..Kitty?s first Christmas

  • Edi

    My dh was NOT allowed to have guns as a kid, so he was determined that his son WOULD have guns 🙂

    Actually my poor boy would be crazy by now if he could not have any toy weapons. From about the age of 3 he has been OBSESSED with anything to do with: soldiers, guns, Patriotism, army, fighting, frontiersman – you get the picture.

    This was not something we foisted upon him – he just naturally loves those things. George Washington is his hero! Daniel Boone is his hero!

    It all started w/me reading a book to the kids called “The Kitchen Knight”.

    It’s a boy thing! It’s a man thing!

    I usually make my son keep his weaponry in the car if we go to the park and there are other kids around…but one day I wasn’t thinking and he was playing with it around the other kids and a grouchy old lady (ok maybe she wasn’t grouchy, but she wasn’t minding her business) told him to go and put away his gun.

    As Johnny Cash said “”Don’t take your guns to town, son …Leave your guns at home, Bill …Don’t take your guns to town.”

    Edi’s last blog post..Keeping Track of Medical Information – Works for me Wednesday

  • Waidmann

    I think it’s a person thing. I did as a youth, only we had BB guns, since there were no paintball or AirSoft guns in the ’50s. My daughter does it as well. She’s a cowgirl.

    As far as Alala’s post is concerned, I spent almost 9 years in Germany with the Armed Forces, and had access to firearms the whole time. I hunted all over–from duck hunting in Holland to chamois hunting in the Alps. If one wants firearms in Germany, AND HAS A VALID NEED, they are available. (By the way, self-defense isn’t a valid need.)


  • Cassie

    Boo was about 3 I think, gotta been. We were in the front yard with his toy pellet gun, someone called the cops on us saying he had a real gun. I’ll never forget standing in the grass barefoot, and that police car squealing down our street. And the cop broke into hysterics when he saw it was a toy. He didn’t pull over that day, thank god.

    Boo is getting his first BB gun for Christmas, I can’t wait.

  • Karin

    I had very mixed feelings about this toy gun issue. About ten years ago I heard that a policeman had shut at a young boy somewhere in an inner city because his toy gun looked too real. I made sure that my son’s toy guns looked like toys. Playing with toy guns does not improve one’s hunting skills.

  • Ashley

    I remember my uncle (who is from the north) swearing that “his son” wouldn’t ever play with toy guns or GI Joe, or anything that had to do with violence in any way. By the time he was three or four, my cousin had resorted to eating a piece of bread into the shape of a gun, making lego guns and knives, and of course using the sticks he picked up in the yard as guns. I think it’s inevitable that boys gravitate toward guns; I’ve only lived in the south, so I’m not sure if it’s just a southern thing or not.

    Ashley’s last blog post..Joshua Beck

  • jo

    It’s interesting. I have a friend who is probably as anti-media as you are. I don’t think his son watches TV at all when he’s with daddy. When he’s at mommy’s house, though, it is a whole other story and he watches every inappropriate for a 4 year old show possible. My friend bemoans the fact that the son always wants to kill things and blames the mom (which I’m sure is part of it), but your post kind of indicates to me that it definitely is a boy thing.

    jo’s last blog post..Am I psychic?

  • zoe

    i lost this battle too. they would just chew their toast into a gun. they also have air soft guns…which can leave some nasty welts but that is about it. oh and if you drop an entire container of the pellets on your floor you will be finding them for the next year. also they will leave a dent in drywall. nice.

    zoe’s last blog post..Six and one to grow on

  • jenny uk

    Maybe its a uk thing as we dont have much hunting but Dumpling has never asked for any sort of gun. Personally I see it as a weapon of war so I’m agianst it, but I can see how boys who have dads who have guns and hunt would want one!

  • Waidmann


    You said, “Playing with toy guns does not improve one’s hunting skills.”

    Not necessarily true. Most people who can’t shoot straight are that way because they fear the recoil and have a flinch. They got that by learning to shoot on real guns with a kick. Boys who learn to shoot toy guns without a recoil learn to simply aim and pull the trigger without flinching. That becomes their habit, and it carries over to the shooting of real guns. They become better shots, hence, better hunters.


  • Gretchen

    My husband has 4 airsoft guns. Him and his college roommates all got them together and when they left the dorms and got a house together, they turned the basement into an airsoft-only zone. They would race around the house shooting eachother to see who would get the biggest welt. Now he uses them to shoot bugs (as we moved from WA to AZ where none of our college friends live) and the dog runs away whenever he gets the guns out. It’s pretty funny actually. When there is a stink bug or a cockroach or another large-ish bug, he gets really excited and runs to get his gun and tries to kill them in the least amount of shots possible from the furthest point possible. It’s actually quite the spectacle. Ain’t husbands great sometimes?!?! 🙂

    Gretchen’s last blog post..Happy Thanksgiving!!

  • Sommer

    I’m a teacher and this is a huge issue for early childhood educators. I went to a conference once and a speaker was talking about this topic and said that we might not like it but we can’t take away a kids fingers. The easiest thing for them to make into a gun! Think about it. So you just have to have rules and explain what guns are for and why people have them.


  • andrea

    My father grew up with guns, hunted when he was a boy, and always kept guns in the house (and brought them with us if we took one of those 2-week car vacations), and he never, ever allowed us to even pretend to shoot each other. His point was that you only aim at someone if you intend to shoot them, and you were never, ever allowed to shoot someone else–so therefore, we were not allowed to aim at someone, even with our fingers. But guns themselves were never verboten.

  • K

    All the above: southern, boys, etc. But my daughter also loved the laser-tag gun game they used to have. I think anything can be safe and fun if you’ve got intelligent parents teaching them the difference between fun and games and obsession and hurting other people. Unfortunately, too many kids don’t have that.

  • baseballmom

    My SIL specifically instructed everyone not to get her 3 yr. old anything with weapons this year, but she gave permission for a Transformer. Do you know how hard it is to find a Transformer with no weapon? My brother, as we were laughing on the phone about her being so against it, said he did talk her into getting him a bow and arrow set. Husband and I just laugh and remember when we had the illusion that our boys would NEVER play with toy guns, knives, swords, etc. When my brother told me about the bow and arrow, I said, “Ohhh, Bri, before you know it, you’ll have an ARSENAL at your house!”

    baseballmom’s last blog post..UPDATE…

  • twinkie

    I think it is boys but we are from the south so who knows. My father had nothing but girls so when he gets a boy grandchild they get a BB gun for christmas. Of course, the kids haven’t gotten big enough to use them and they stay locked up at grandpa’s house. The kids do have play guns, swords (Pirates and Peter Pan), bow and arrows and all sorts of things. We just teach them not to shoot at each other as best we can. My husband grew up with guns and my dad grew up with guns. Both are perfectly fine and have harmed nothing more than some deer or other woodland animal.

  • Jodi

    I’m about ready to throw my hands up on this one, too. Just like a previous poster, even though we are a gun free house, he’s started turning his finger into a gun. But I was fighting an uphill battle anyway. My mama could outshoot daddy on a bad day, and she passed it all down to her little girl. I’m actually looking forward to getting my hands on a BB gun again. Thank God I had boys! 🙂

    Jodi’s last blog post..They’ve Got What You Need

  • Susu

    We’ve had airsoft guns now for a couple of years and occasionally the neighbors complain about all of those plastic colored balls in their yards!! My 12 year old also has a paintball gun and has just received a “better” one that he found on ebay. He goes with a group out to McCalla to PaintQuest, which you can check out on their web site and look at pictures of the kids playing. You’ve never lived yourself until you’re in a paintball store in V. Hills and get shot with a practice paintball by an employee showing your son a gun!! Talk about screaming out loud.

  • Loren

    I think it is just a boy thing. My 14 year old brother-in-law and all his friends have Airsoft guns too. They run all over the place shooting at each other… and squirrels.

  • Jeni

    Don’t think it’s just a boy thing, since my mom taught me to use her little .38 six shooter as a teen, and it’s what I asked for on my 18th bday. Wound up not getting one, but I definitely will once we’re out of the UK. Us kids were under the same rules as andrea (above), except for water guns. But we learned how to use and respect guns safely. I think my rule for Hosea will be that he does not get to play shooter video games until he knows how to use and shoot a real gun and knows that in real life, guns kill people and they don’t come back to life.

    Jeni’s last blog post..Kayla’s Here!

  • Jess

    Must be a southern thing because my northern boys have not shown any interest in a gun that does not shoot anything but water. They both know what guns are and that they are not toys and they are not to touch them. SD has guns but they are locked up and the ammo is stored in a different place under lock and key.

    Jess’s last blog post..She’s just so sensitive.

  • Marine Wife

    I think it’s a boy thing. But maybe it’s good they are getting it out of their systems. My MIL banned toy guns (and violent shows of any kind, incl. “Bonanza” and “The Incredible Hulk” from my husband and BIL when they were kids. Stretch grew up to find the biggest guns he could to play with (he’s an artillery officer) and made a career out of it. I find this incredibly ironic.