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BB Guns, Airsoft, Laser & Paintball
Berkeley Parents Network > Advice > Teens, Preteens, & Young Adults > BB Guns, Airsoft, Laser & Paintball
Our 13 year-old son is asking permission to buy an Airsoft gun. They shoot plastic pellets which hurt so adequate cover-up is necessary. He plans to use it with his friends who also plan to purchase the guns. He sent us a link to the product website. My husband feels he should not have this toy as the guns are made to look real and there is a danger that they might be mistaken for real weapons. Ideally, they would be used on private property with adequate supervision. Also, the plastic pellets could injure someone if they aren't appropriately protected. We've discouraged guns but since we have 2 boys, we understand the fascination they can have with all kinds of weapons. I'm interested in others' experience and opinions with Airsoft guns. nervous about Airsoft
If you know that your son's airsoft gun will be supervised 100% of the time, I'd say OK, but if thre is ANY chance he and his friends will be out inthe world shooting, I'd say absolutely not. And if he is caught other then supervised there should be serious consequences.
Recently a woman walking her dog in a field near my house was shot twice by kids with airsoft guns, just out ''playing''. Of course the kids ran away, but the woman was terrified and injured (yes, they REALLY HURT and can do serious damage). The guns look like real guns. It's hard with boys cause many do have a fascination with guns and weapons. I say go for it only if he is mature enough to know how to be responsible. anti gun mom of boys
My 12 year old wants to play paintball, but searching on the web we've not found anywhere closer than Concord or Antioch (which do not seem close to me). Are we missing something? Where do Berkeley/Oakland/Lamorinda kids go to play paintball? Does he need to join a team? Any inside info on this sport would be much appreciated - he's only done it once, out of town while on vacation. Thanks. Paint mom
My 13 year old son has been shooting a small bbgun that shoots plastic BB's for about 5 months. These plastic BB's are harmless. Then about one month ago he began shooting his grandfathers BBgun. We have a large back yard and have reviewed safety rules with him. He is generally a very aware and responsible kid when it comes to using appliances, tools, etc. However he now wants a more powerful BBgun. I am concerned about safety issues and also that he seems to be dropping other interests and hobbies, (bass guitar and skate boarding) in favor of target practice with his BBgun.
Last summer he visited his uncle in Minnesota and all the boys his age already were shooting BB guns and in some cases hunting rifles.
He is pressuring me to let him buy a new (air rifle) that shoots BB's 750 fps. This is about 100 fps faster than his grandfathers BBgun.
Would like to hear from other parents or persons 'in-the-know' about what kind of damage can be done with a BBgun that can shoot at this velocity. I have heard that BBguns can kill if they hit a person in a few vulnerable spots.
Also any suggestions on how to encourage other activities would be greatly appreciated?
Thanks, BB bugged mom Janet
http://www.cdc.gov/MMWR/preview/mmwrhtml/00039773.htm http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2004/11/01/health/main652543.shtml http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/cgi/content/full/114/5/1357 http://www.med.umich.edu/1libr/yourchild/guns.htmthe consumer product safety commission warns that high- velocity BB guns can kill, and that children under 16 should not use them: http://www.cpsc.gov/CPSCPUB/PUBS/5089.pdf
i hate guns, including BB guns. a childhood friend lost an eye when her brother accidentally shot her with a BB gun. a classmate in 9th grade nearly killed his best friend when they were playing around with a gun they thought was unloaded. some teenagers with a BB gun once tried to steal my car [and i gave them the keys; their excellent plan was foiled by the stick shift] -- these boys pointed the BB gun at my infant daughter, who would not have done well being hit at close range. you don't have to look farther than the daily newspaper to see the damage guns can inflict, intentionally or accidentally.
i know a lot of people disagree with me about gun ownership, but for adolescents especially, it seems to me the safety issues outweigh all. the potential for accidents is clearly there -- especially where a BB gun is being used without really close supervision. teens do not yet have the judgment and foresight to anticipate risks and guard against them.
and frankly, there are times during adolescence that are rocky for almost all teens -- even the smartest ones, even the ones with great support, even the ones who are almost always steady emotionally. if a kid in an emotional meltdown has easy access to a weapon like a real high- powered BB gun, that is not a safe situation.
it is really OK to be a mean parent on this issue. in my opinion, it is important. the stupid little plastic- pellet play guns are annoying, but they don't have life- threatening potential. it is hard to backtrack once you've given a child permission to do something, but i'd encourage you to take grandpa's BB gun away and lock it up. you will hear that nobody else has a parent as stupid and mean as you -- those are just words, and they aren't true. anonymom
Our 13-year-old son is very interested in playing Airsoft and is pressuring us to get equipment and let him get started with it. He already has an expensive and time-consuming hobby in Warhammer 40K (which is also of a war and destruction nature) so we're telling him we need to think about this. He wants to get an Airsoft gun just to play with one of his friends, or so he claims at this point. It makes us uncomfortable to get him started with another activity (he also is into fencing and video gaming). We're also not wild about his focus on weapon-based entertainment - we never allowed war toys in the house when he was little, but now we're trying to compromise some in order to defuse the lure of the forbidden. Does anyone have experience with this activity, or advice about it? Gordon
Arguing went on for over a year and finally in reward for showing he could keep his temper for 6 months, we allowed him to buy one. We read web sites, made rules such as use only shooting at a target with eye protection for anyone in the room. After a couple of lapses on our son's part, we took control of the gun and only handed it to him for the brief period that he was going to play.
It has probably been a 8 months since he's played with it (now 13). A father down the block supervised the boys shooting at a target on a tree once last summer. In the middle of an arguement he'll bring up the subject to illustrate how mean we are, but after so much wrangling, it really has lost it's appeal.
I was the parent who thought that giving a taste of forbidden fruit would de-charge it, so I can comfortably feel like I was right, but my partner is still ademantly opposed to airsoft as a dangerous weapon. Kate
1) AirSoft may only be played with an adult's (mom or dad) permission and presence. Mom or Dad must be present to supervise play.
2) AirSoft guns are kept locked up when not in use.
3) AirSoft guns may not be taken out in public. It hasn't been that easy for us to find remote but accessible outdoor venues for this hobby, and the pay-to-play AirSoft parks mostly have a minimum age of 18 or so. This effectively limits us to indoors (target practice only) and the back yard (we have thick hedges around our yard, but forbid play when neighbors are present in adjoining yards).
4) Helmets and protective clothing must be worn for all interactive play. Helmets have built-in eye protection in the form of visors.
5) Friends can play if they have their parents' permission and abide by all the other rules.
We have found that the actual instances of AirSoft play are fairly few and far between, given the restrictive nature of the rules we have established. Our back yard is not very big. Many kids can't get their parents' permission to join in. Some decide they don't like it after being hit by a few AirSoft bb's, which can sting when they hit exposed skin.
One other word of advice: get spring-powered guns with lower muzzle velocity, rather than high-powered gas and electric guns, which can be more painful when they score a hit.)
Let us know if you find any good places to play where there's lots of room to sneak around.... John
My 12 year old son is interested in Airsoft ''guns'' (like bb guns, as far as I can tell). My husband and I are very anti- military and concerned by what we are learning about airsoft culture and safety. My son is anti-military too, but says it is just something fun to do with friends. My questions are whether other parents on this list have kids interested in Airsoft: 1) are they safe? 2) where do kids use them? 3) what do you think about adolescent kids of peace-niks engaging in pseudo-military activities as a form of entertainment? should we impose our values or let our son indulge harmless fantasies? Looking forward to your responses! catha
How comfortable are you with allowing your child to play today's violent video games? Simulated war and combat games are amazingly realistic and disturbingly popular. War is fun! Kill, kill, kill! Consider that airsoft guns are made to mimic real guns. Kids can pretend they're firing their favorite model now, just like the video game. So your child and his peers will be able to emulate their fantasy role models, whoever that may be.
In my childhood, my brothers and I played freely with BB guns on my grandparent's farm. We were very responsible and fully aware that a gun is a weapon (strict parents). But the overwhelming thought that goes through the mind is ''what happens when I shoot at...'' that tree, that apple, that Coke can, that pot, that telephone pole, my brother, etc (harmless experimenting). The whole point is to shoot something which requires the conscious decision to aim at it with intent to hit it. You are fully aware that you have the power to inflict harm upon whatever you are targeting. So every time you pull the trigger, it's training the mind to accept that concept. As a parent, that makes me very uncomfortable.
The danger is in allowing a child to experiment with this power during a time when the line that separates fantasy from reality is still being developed, and when he probably has the least amount of control over impulsiveness and curiosity. Give a kid a hammer, and he's going to hit something. Same goes for a gun; but cause and consequence is not always going to be his foremost thought and there are more dire consequences possible. Bad choices are usually realized in retrospect.
Personally, I thoroughly enjoyed growing up playing with BB guns but I truly consider myself lucky that no permanent harm ever came from it (mostly welts, a couple stitches, one very lucky miss). Needless to say, although I completely understand the fascination and allure of airsoft guns, they will not be a part of my kids' childhood. Parent of 7 and 8 yr olds
My opinion is that this isn't a no, it is a HELL NO! There have been instances where those types of ''not real guns'' have been involved in shootings where a kid draws a gun and since the gun looks real to the police, the kid gets shot & killed. There are so many scenarios that can go wrong with a fake gun that looks like a real gun & the one that I have seen looked very much real to me close up let alone at a distance of 5-10-15-20 feet.
I grew up in the country where kids rode their bikes with bb guns & had real guns for hunting so I'm not a fanatic one way or the other. Unless you live in the country or go to a designated shooting area, there really is no where in this urban sprawl that a group of underage boys (OR anyone) should be having shooting practice. Even if there are designated Airsoft shooting ranges or there is a friend who lives in the country, will you have possession of the gun at all other times except those where he is supervised by another adult.
All I know is that if a kid is stopped by police or seen by gang members with a ''gun'' they wouldn't nicely ask him if the gun were real ~ they would shoot first & ask questions later. Anon
I am very anti-handgun, even though I had a shotgun and rifles as a teenager (for hunting), and played guns and robbers like crazy when I was in 1-3 grades. Handguns are designed for one purpose only, to kill people at any time at close range (target practice is a crock). A child should never have reason to hold one, even one that just looks real. And for any play gun, I believe a gun that shoots anything should never be pointed at anyone, and toy guns should never look like real. Airsoft violates both these principles. When boys feel it's OK to hold real-looking guns, and to aim them at people, accidents happen: too often boys have found the best hidden handgun at a neighbors' house, aimed at their friend and pulled the trigger, and police have too often shot children aiming at them. At the age of 12, in my mind, a boy should be instinctively reluctant to point any gun, including realistic toys, at anyone.
Enabling play with these toys will remove this instinct.
It's tough to develop this instinct. Research shows that one can't just tell children not to touch guns. Guns, especially handguns, hold an undeniable attraction for kids.
But this kind of play can be really fun. For younger children. At the age of 12, however, the interest in this kind of play may be partly driven by an interest in the military. Why are you anti-miltary? Do you mean rather that you are anti- war? Perhaps an alternative to consider for your son is cadets. Kids age 12 and older are eligible to Naval Cadets, Marine Cadets or Army Cadets (www.militarycadets.org). Marksmanship and weapons Safety are offered, but most of the activities are more scout-like: rappelling and mountain climbing; maps, compass, and land navigation; first aid, water survival; scuba diving, small boat handling etc etc. Cadet programs are designed to develop leadership qualities, not groom youngsters for the military. Just my thoughts
My almost 14 year old son came home from a friend's house the other day singing the praises of owning a beebee gun. I know the beebees are tiny and plastic, but I have this gut reaction against any kind of gun. He wants to shoot at coffee cans or other targets, and is totally responsible. I know he wouldn't shoot at anybody, but I m still against it. My husband thinks it is ok as long as he doesn't do it in the house and only shoots in a huge open space. Any ideas or suggestions? concerned mom
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