Boys and Gun Love: Should We Ban Gunplay?

A few months ago, my sons met their 96-year-old great-grandfather, Vice Admiral Ralph Weymouth, a World War II naval aviator and decorated war “hero.” They asked him if he had killed people, dropped bombs, handled real weapons—and he said yes. Yet, my grandfather is also one of the founding members of Veterans for Peace. When asked what he thought about toy guns he told my boys what he did when my father (his oldest son) asked for a toy pop gun from the store. “Instead, I took him to the garage and we carved one out of wood.” As they worked together, my grandfather explained the workings of real guns and warned about the harm they can do. The talked, they made art, they played, and my father grew up to become an architect.

When I hear that once more Congress has failed to enact any significant gun control measures I wonder if this is not the real reason that schools and educators and parents have cracked down so hard on gunplay—because it’s easier to tell our kids what to do than it is to tell our politicians. Should we not be directing all this" target="_blank" class="collapsed">adult rage toward the real source of change—the NRA and our Congress? Ironically, the Florida legislature found the time and energy to protect the safety of their children’s play, passing the infamous , but they were not able to get behind the concept of banning real weapons from spaces in which children eat, play, and frequent. This is not a Republican issue or a Democratic one, this is a parental issue—all of us deserve for our kids to be safe. Let’s let the children play and ask the grown-ups to get to work giving a time-out to the real bullies on the playground.

*For the sake of this article I’m focusing more on boys’ relationship with guns and warplay, because research shows it has historically been more of an issue for boys. 









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