I just returned from a trip to my local bank, in my small town of about 4 to 5 thousand residents. At the bank, I was surprised to see a pre-adolescent kid, maybe 10 years old or so (I can’t gauge kids ages very well), with a quasi-realistic looking toy gun. It had an orange tip, but nothing else to indicate, at first glance, that it was a toy. It seemed to be a toy version of a 1911 with wood grips and blued steel.
The kid was waving it around the bank, pretending to shoot it in different directions, making gun noises (“pew pew”). At times he held the gun in such a way that the orange tip was not visible. At one point, he put the muzzle of the gun into the cup holder on the stroller of his sibling. At another point, he held it under his arm. He had poor trigger discipline and poor muzzle discipline. His mother just ignored him while she did her banking.
None of the adults in the bank over-reacted, or reacted at all. The teller gave him a lollipop. He held the gun, clearly visible in one hand, while accepting the pop in the other hand. Hmmm. I’m not sure the same lack of reaction would have help up in other banks, especially in cities. Since our present-day culture tends to over-react to guns, I was happy to see that was not the case today.
On the other hand, if you give a child a toy gun, maybe it’s a good opportunity to teach him gun safety. Have your child treat the toy gun like a real gun, before graduating him or her to their first actual firearm.