Innocent eyes.

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As a boy in Northern Ireland during the 80s I seen many things that the average child elsewhere wouldn’t have. Firearms were a normality to me, we had soldiers patrolling the streets with SA-80s for example, our police always carried a firearm, both on duty and off duty and one of my earliest memories is of looking down the sights of a friendly squaddies, rifle that stopped for a rest on patrol past my house.

Firearms were never something to be feared in my house, they were something to be respected. That being said toy firearms featured heavily in our games. We used to play army with our black plastic toy ARs which laughably would be counted as Realistic Imitation Firearms (RIFs) these days.

Yes UK legislation really is that far fetched. Parents wouldn’t instantly phone SWAT teams back then you see, a child imitating their heroes in the A-Team for fun and using their imaginations to stop bad guys in their playtime with toys was not something that was worthy of panic or scorn.

My own father’s childhood was similar in regards to toy guns only when he was growing up Westerns were the big thing and he would spend his days playing “cowboys and Indians” with his trusty cap gun, six shooters before reading the Beano. So why am I taking this ramble down memory lane with you? Well now I have 2 boys of my own, and they both love firearms.

My eldest is a very active 5 years old and he loves nothing more than taking a few of his cap guns and playing with them, his friends love them but he is the only one in his class that has any. His little buddies love playing with them too however it did make me wonder why they are such a rarity to see in the UK. I even had one mother tell me it was wrong to introduce kids to any type of Firearm. I disagree, I think it’s very important to prepare your kids for the world and guns are a part of that world.

Yes do-gooders think if you don’t talk about uncomfortable truths they just magically go away however I’d much rather teach my kids to respect real firearms at all times and view cheap plastic replicas as what they are ………toys. Not RIFs, but toys. It all stems back to Dunblane in the UK, a mass shooting perpetuated by a known peadophile Thomas Hamilton that wanted to take out his anger on defenseless and unarmed school children. Many lost their lives that day and the government did what they always do here, they banned inanimate objects that could be used for crime.

They took every handgun registered to law abiding people, forced them to hand them in and pretended it would make a difference to crime and stop anymore shootings. As we all know this was as valid as buying beachfront property in Arizona, our gun crime has been high ever since and is only getting worse. The RIF legislation was brought in to try to stop people using realistic looking replicas to rob people with. You need to have your replicas painted in bright garish colours these days if you don’t want to skirmish in airsoft.

The problem is they look for want of a better description……crap. I was in a toy store a while back with my son and he wanted to buy a gun with his pocket money. So we went in for a look, there were a few cowboys looking guns those are legal here, but he wanted a 1911 and an AR15. There were examples of both however they were bright blue, he looked at them with disappointment and said, “Dad where are the black ones?” , I had to explain that the government don’t trust people to have black ones and it’s law to sell the in bright colours. His reply said it all, “but badmen will just paint them or get real ones from other bad men, so why can’t I have a black one?”

When so done so young can see the truth through the bull you know our laws are broken. Taking toy guns from kids hasn’t stopped gun crime. Banning handguns on the mainland hasn’t stopped handgun crime in fact it’s made it worse. (Insert pic) Banning semi auto above 22 didn’t stop crime either. What I’m asking is when will be the right time to admit government isn’t our parent, we don’t need these people telling us how to live every facet of our lives.

If I want to buy my child a toy black 1911 that fires caps then I should be able to do just that without incessant nannying from people I wouldn’t trust to take the bins out. The UK needs to take back personal responsibility from the government, and the laws regarding replicas, toys and Airsoft is another bit of red tape that isn’t required and merely exists to alienate people from firearms even further when the opposite should be happening. Education and training should be the premise not pretending they don’t exist and chastising those that disagree for virtue signal points.