Toy guns are a gateway to violent crime

Melvin Jonkers, Grassy Park Community Police Forum

Imitation toy guns are still being used to commit crimes and scare people, especially elderly women in the community.

Reports have been received of women being robbed at gunpoint with an imitation gun. These guns look real, and most people can’t tell the difference between a real gun and an imitation gun.

These guns are also made out of metal and are quite heavy. They are also used to hit people if they resist.

The Grassy Park CPF embarked on a campaign to stop the sale of imitation toy guns and to discourage parents from buying them as gifts for their children. Some parents oppose this call, and retailers claim that since there is a demand they will continue to stock them.

We are grateful to those big chain stores who took decisions not to sell them, fully realising the dangerous impact of these toy guns. In the context of gun violence in our community, we should heed the words of a mother who said: “What are we feeding our children, in the metaphorical sense, when we hand them toy guys to play with? A toy gun is no longer an innocent toy.”

As part of the campaign, awareness is being created by pamphlets being handed out at stop streets especially during the Christmas and festive season buying spree. CPF volunteers will be at main intersections out of Grassy Park every Friday morning. Motorists will be handed a pamphlet cautioning about the dangers of this toy.

It is worrying that criminals continue to use fake guns to rob people and even businesses. Children and youth are initiated into the culture of gun violence and gangsterism through the use of these fake guns. It really isn’t cool to give a child an imitation weapon. We believe that it’s an easy gateway to violent crime. Just like parents don’t want children to play with fire, so they should be alert to the potential danger of an imitation gun.

The CPF calls on parents to do responsible gifting this festive season. We call on our Parliament to pass laws prohibiting the sale of these fake guns. As a community, we need to lessen the tendency for violence by not encouraging children to play with these fake weapons.