Changing Gun Culture: Toy Gun Buyback Programs Hit the Streets
Children in New York who received what local officials believe to be “dangerous” toy guns for Christmas were encouraged to swap them out in the 3rd annual toy gun buyback program this year. “What’s that for?” you ask. “The purpose is to offer safe alternatives to toy guns. We don’t want the kids playing with guns. Guns are dangerous,” Hempstead Village Trustee LaMont Jackson would respond.
“Saying no to guns is important,” Hempstead Village Mayor Don Ryan said, echoing Jackson’s sentiments. “Even toy guns.”
Village of Hempstead children are invited to turn in their firearms – including water pistols, replica firearms and other imitation weapons – in exchange for sporting goods, educational items and other toys at the Long Island Toy Gun Exchange Program announced earlier this month.
The new toys are being donated by Sean Acosta of Oyster Bay, a former New York City Police Department officer who now helps people grieve their taxes.
“It has to start at a young age,” Acosta says. “If we can get them to say, ‘It’s not cool to carry these toy guns,’ then maybe when they get older, they won’t ever carry a real gun.” Earlier in December he reportedly told children that he wants “to make sure when you grow up, nothing happens to you.”
The buyback program began in 2015, according to a report in the Washington Times, and was designed to keep toy guns off the streets — specifically because of shootings related to children in the Hempstead area. In 2016, about 100 children traded toy guns for footballs, dolls and games.
Lieutenant Derek Warner with the Hempstead Village Police Department said that parents could be putting their kids’ lives at risk by gifting them toy guns for the holidays.
“Toy guns can be a dangerous item to give your children and it’s something that the police have encountered on the street. The situations can be horrifically negative if there’s a mistaken identification of a weapon.”
Political commentator, talk radio host, and spokesperson for the National Rifle Association, Dana Loesch blasted the move on Twitter.
They’re TOYS. Let kids be kids, it’s also a good opportunity to teach responsibility. https://t.co/Ts03ScuYBT— Dana Loesch (@DLoesch) December 21, 2018
Twitter users also blasted the program aimed at indoctrinating the young.
They had a toy gun give back in Hempstead, NY. What is a pink water gun going to do to someone? Welcome to Communist New York. https://t.co/jz5d25GnIv— Deplorable Chuck ???????? (@NYGfan4ever) December 21, 2018
The Christmas season, a time to celebrate the birth of Jesus, singing familiar carols, gifts under the tree ... AND A WATER PISTOL AND NERF GUN TURN-IN PROGRAM?— Dennis Robbins (@TheNewsGuy) December 23, 2018
Μολὼν Λαβέ ????????
Imagine being a parent, buying your child a toy and then making them give it away for your virtue signal.— Rod Rescueman (@RodRescueman) December 24, 2018
More liberal-progressive mind-control indoctrination. Should they also turn in baseball bats and their fists -- which are used more often in assaults than firearms? https://t.co/vuzFQPRd6K— James Canby Landerkin, Nationalist, ⭐⭐⭐ (@JamesCanby) December 24, 2018
What will happen with things like toy gun turn-in is that when boys stop playing like boys and are taught to be afraid of guns. Our military and law enforcement will greatly suffer as young males will grow up afraid to carry a gun. More propaganda to weaken and bring America down— Mark Hippel (@Mark_hpl82) December 23, 2018
You can take my Nerf from me when you pry it from my cold dead fingers— Terry Newberry (@tnewberry51) December 24, 2018
If you live in the Village of Hempstead you can exchange a toy gun by calling LaMont Johnson at 516-647-7862.