2600 Virginia Avenue, NW, Suite 100
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World Wide Web: http://www.LP.org
For release: April 28, 2000
For additional information:
George Getz, Press Secretary
Phone: (202) 333-0008 Ext. 222
E-Mail: 76214.3676@Compuserve.com
Politician proposes toy gun buy-back
to prevent kids' "violent behavior"

WASHINGTON, DC -- A politician in Maryland wants to start a buy-back program for toy guns -- yes, toy guns -- and it's got Libertarians baffled: They don't know whether to support the program or snicker at it.

"This is a real dilemma," said Steve Dasbach, the party's national director. "Do we praise this politician for going after toy guns instead of Constitutionally protected real guns? Or do we point out that buying back toy guns will no more keep our streets safe than buying back non-alcoholic beer will keep Ted Kennedy sober?

"Or should we just give this politician an award for coming up with the most entertainingly goofy idea of the year?"

This week, Annapolis alderwoman Cynthia A. Carter proposed that the city start a program to buy back water pistols, cap guns, and other toy weapons to curb "violent behavior" among children.

The first-term Democrat argued that children "can't distinguish between a real gun or a play gun," and said she would eventually like to make all toy guns illegal.

But until that happens, Carter said she will seek city funds or private contributions to start the toy gun buy-back program.

Libertarians have a hard time taking the proposal seriously, admitted Dasbach.

"Our first concern was whether this program would lead to the creation of a new federal agency; the BATTF -- Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, & Toy Firearms. But our second concern was -- where will this end?"

For example, if politicians decide this program is successful, will they then...

  • Prevent the next Microsoft by buying back Monopoly games?

  • Prevent traffic accidents by buying back Hot Wheels toy cars?

  • Prevent burglaries by buying back Barbie's Dream House?

  • Prevent deforestation by buying back Lincoln Logs?

  • Prevent gambling by buying back Pokemon cards?

  • Prevent urban sprawl by buying back Lego bricks?

  • Prevent war by buying back G.I. Joes?

    Yes, those suggestions are ridiculous -- but no more ridiculous than the idea that buying toy guns will prevent children from engaging in make-believe "violence," said Dasbach.

    "This month, a school in New Jersey suspended two kindergarten students after they played cops-and-robbers on the playground, pointed their fingers at each other like guns, and shouted 'bang bang!'," he noted. "Which brave politician will be the first to propose a finger buy-back program?"

    But before politicians head in that ludicrous direction -- or suggest some kind of "compromise," like a seven-day waiting period before purchasing a toy gun, or toy gun trigger locks -- Libertarians have a better idea, said Dasbach.

    "Here's a suggestion for Alderwoman Carter: Instead of buying toy guns, buy a clue," he said. "Disarming toy gun-toting tots is a childish reaction to a serious public problem. A six-year-old with a water pistol doesn't cause crime; criminals cause crime. And the sooner politicians figure that out, the safer we will all be."

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