Gun buybacks are a controversial topic. Many feel like the effort is a waste, as most of the guns that are picked up in the programs are broken, old, or some combination of the two. They are rarely the type of guns used in street crime. But this gun “buyback” is a bit different. It is not focused on stolen or dangerous weapons, but on toys.
The buyback was held in Hempstead, New York. Authorities there feel like it is good to get a head start on the anti-gun message, and are hoping to take these dangerous toys off the streets.
“Officials encouraged children who received toy guns for Christmas to bring the toys into a local park to swap them out for other, clearly less dangerous toys, ” The Blaze writes.
The toys below are some of the dangerous weapons taken off the streets.
Hempstead Village Trustee LaMont Jackson told reporters that Hempstead officials don’t like that kids are “playing with guns.”
“The purpose is to offer safe alternatives to toy guns,” Jackson said. “We don’t want the kids playing with guns. Guns are dangerous.”
“Saying no to guns is important,” Hempstead Village Mayor Don Ryan. “Even toy guns.”
Hempstead Village Police Department Lt. Derek Warner suggested that buying toy guns for kids was negligent. It was, he implied, bad parenting. His rational is based on cases of police mistaking toy guns for real ones, something that can end tragically.
“Toy guns can be a dangerous item to give your children,” Warner explained.
The guns were exchanged for other toys purchased by Sean Acosta, a former New York Police Department officer. He told the kids that he wanted “to make sure when you grow up, nothing happens to you.”
The program, which is now gaining national attention, has been ongoing since 2015. The exchange seemed popular with some of the kids, and it seems other toy weapons were collected, too.