Bang, Bang, My Baby Shot Me Down…

July 30, 2003

By Tom DeWeese

What would you do if a seven-year-old kid walked into a store where you were working or shopping and brandished a gun and said he was robbing the place? I’d slap his rear and take him home to his mother. Liberals shake in their shoes and misplace their backbones with legislation to ban toy guns.

It’s all true. A seven-year-old child in Annapolis, Maryland, walked into a video store holding a toy gun and announced he was holding up the place. Now, Alderman Cynthia Carter has introduced legislation in the Annapolis City Council to, not only ban all toy guns, but also to fine parents of any children caught playing with them – even in their own yards. What a senseless abuse of government power!

When I was kid my heroes were Roy Rogers and Hopalong Cassidy. They carried guns and so did I. I had a large arsenal of pistols, shot guns, derringers and air rifles. All toys, of course. I spent many an evening after school with my friends playing cowboys and Indians or cops and robbers. We formed armies and built forts. We shouted, “bang, you’re dead.” Then, when our mothers called us, we went home and had supper.

Let me also explain that I didn’t live a utopian “Leave it To Beaver” lifestyle. I was the original latchkey kid as both of my parents worked and no one was home when I got out of school. And my possession and use of toy guns didn’t groom me to be a gun fanatic or violent predator. Though I am a member of the NRA and fully advocate gun ownership, as an adult I have never owned a real one.

My play was about good and evil. As my friends and I wore our gun belts we were after the bad guys; people who stole other people’s property or threatened lives. Very few of us ever wanted to be the crooks. That’s how we played it because that’s how Roy and Hoppy played it. Guns were an extension of morality. They helped equalize the weaker over the bully. The cowboy shows of the day called guns “peace makers” because being able to defend yourself was almost a guarantee that nobody would mess with you.

Skip to today in a world where guns are always depicted as an evil, something to fear. A world where kids learn that guns are only for violence. Where “zero tolerance” laws make a school suspend children simply for pointing their fingers at someone and saying “bang.” With such fear of guns drilled into our society is it a surprise that a store full of adults would simply freeze as a seven year old held up the place?

Nothing today is beyond the reach of those who would control all aspects of our society by banning anything they don’t agree with. No idea is too far-fetched or outrageous to be considered. No invasion of personal family choice is unreasonable.

There is no need to ban toy guns. There are already laws on the books making it illegal to rob stores, and if a gun is used, even a toy gun, it’s still armed robbery for which there are very severe penalties.

Of course, perhaps the bystanders in the store can’t be faulted for taking no action against this brat. Had they taken my recommended course and spanked him they would have been arrested for child abuse. No wonder liberals want to ban guns. Their real fear is that the rest of us will gleefully shoot them. Bang, bang, you’re dead!

Tom DeWeese
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Tom DeWeese is President of the American Policy Center and National Grassroots Coordinator for CFACT (Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow) working to help local activists organize into Freedom Pods ( He is also the author of three books, including Now Tell Me I Was Wrong, ERASE, and Sustainable: the WAR on Free Enterprise, Private Property, and Individuals.