Toy guns are not toys

Shabbir Ahmad

The best-selling toys were toy guns, pistols, tanks and plastic missiles during Eid. It is not surprising as every year sale of toy guns increases during these days. Millions of toy guns are imported via Karachi and silk route every year but guns are not toys. The sight of children playing with guns is not new to Pakistan. What has now become astounding is their sheer number, the movie stunts enacted by young boys and the monstrous size of their weapons. Psychologists are of the view that toy guns promote the acceptability of violence and exposure at a young age and normalises their use. As young adolescents, these kids can be more drawn and attracted to real weapons.
The primary responsibility in this regard lies on parents. Parenting has to be strong enough to cut the demand chain of such toys from the market. School teachers can play a vital role in addressing this issue. Government also needs to discourage business of toy guns. The traders need to be convinced and persuaded to stop the sale of toy guns. Unless the state bans them entirely, the trend cannot be curbed.
Social activist Nangyal Yousafzai launched the anti-toy gun campaign four years ago in Swat to end gun culture in Pukhtun society; he distributes educational toy kits to children to teach them weapons are not playthings. He collects money from volunteers and uses the funds to purchase educational toys, which are then passed out to children in remote villages. We need to support Mr. Yousafzai’s cause and other NGOs should follow his footsteps.
— Freising, Germany

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