My youngest son, Gabriel, is quite the gun nut lately. It's not just guns either- swords, knives, axes, scythes, light sabers and anything else that can cause bodily harm in the pretend world is what really grabs his attention. He's even based his Halloween costume on what weapon compliments the outfit. As a result he's the grim reaper because he got a kick ass axe/scythe like weapon. It's on a long stick so he has greater range to decimate his foes. Good choice, IMO.
I'm about the furthest thing from being a proud NRA card carrying member. While I have softened my stance a bit due to my inclination to becoming more libertarian in my politics, I feel that guns rights may be fine for others but it's certainly not something I'm clamoring to have in my house. I think that the chances of an accidental or impulsive shooting are much higher risks than ever using a gun to defend me and my family. Perhaps, I'll feel differently if congress doesn't get their shit together and save us from the next world depression and there is mass chaos and looting in the streets.
Last night, Gabe laid out all of his action figure's guns on the table. he proceeded to ask me what type of gun each one was. To be honest, he knew more about the names than I did. I couldn't recall the name of a bazooka as he did, so why he was asking me, I have no idea- was he looking for tacit approval of his fascination? I did know what an Uzi was and he now has Israeli weaponry in his scope of knowledge. I try not to be judgmental, he is a 7 year old boy after all. Guns and weapons are cool, neato, rad, awesome, etc... It's something that I hope he'll eventually outgrow as he comes to the realization that death and destruction aren't things to be lauded.
When Lynn and I set out to be the best of parents, we tried to keep toy guns out of their hands. Gradually, over the years, we let in water guns, Nerf guns, space pistols and other such opaquely toyish guns. Their action figures come with tiny version of realistic guns and so far we have yet to get anything realistic looking like I had as a child. It wouldn't surprise me if realistic toy guns have gone the way of lawn darts as being too irresposible for children to have. I can imagine that some kids have been shot holding a toy gun that was mistaken as real. My kids have missed out on candy cigarettes too. I guess anything the ATF agency has jurisdiction over isn't something that should be marketed towards children.
The fact that Jonathan and Gabriel have friends that constantly wish to pretend that they are battling each other adds to my son's fascination with weapons. It leaves me as being torn between thinking that "boys will be boys" and genuine concern that Gabe isn't learning proper values that I hold about violence. I hope that my lack of major intervention is the best course of action at this point. In 11 years, I don't wish to see my son join up with army so he can shoot things with cool weapons.