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Outdoors Outpost
Toys from Tots
Wednesday, September 4, 2013 • Posted September 5, 2013

A friend sent me an email recently and asked me, “Kendal, why are schools all over the country holding gun buyback programs for toy guns in elementary schools? Are they stupid, or what?”

Honestly, I thought the guy was just being whiney. I’d heard of one or two toy gun buybacks, but not a lot of them. And then another friend, Patrick Wentworth, sent me a whole list of articles about toy gun buybacks at schools across America. So I realized the situation is epidemic, if not actually pandalerium.

All the stories sound pretty much the same, except for the names of the schools and towns, and the rewards offered the kids for turning in their toy guns. Some schools are giving the kids books, some are offering other toys, and some are even holding drawings for bicycles and Corvettes. Well, maybe not Corvettes. None are offering any common sense.

So I wanted to reply to my friend that the people in charge of the school gun buyback programs are, indeed, stupid. But that’s not correct. They’re actually pretty smart.

These people have an agenda. What they’re doing is implanting the idea in our children’s minds that guns are bad, or else adults wouldn’t want to banish them. Even toy guns must be evil, if it’s a good idea to take them away from kids, and give them something else. And it works. The kids aren’t stupid, either, and they get the message.

What these people are doing is setting the stage for more and stricter gun control laws down the road, when these kids grow up. And that’s what we’ll end up with, unless we combat the toy gun buybacks with something else. I propose BB gun competitions all over the U.S. And I propose programs in which schools that aren’t run by fraidy-cats give away free BB guns to kids on the honor roll, or something. Corvettes, too. Why not?

What this is all about, after all, is fear. The people who want to disarm America, and indoctinate our children against guns are afraid. People are always afraid of things they don’t understand, and there’s no other explanation for this paranoia about guns, when all the evidence points to the necessity of guns. Without firearms in the hands of honest citizens, there is no civilization, only oppression.

After the December tragedy at the elementary school in Sandy Hook, president Obama issued a bunch of executive orders. One of those was to the Centers for Disease Control. The CDC was given $10 million of your money for a study of gun violence. I think they spent most of it on pizza, but I don’t have any proof. Yet.

Unfortunately, the research didn’t exactly go the way Obama wanted it to. Once the results were in, they offered more ammo for the pro-gunners than for the antis. Don’t you hate it when truth gets in the way of perfectly good totalitarianism?

The CDC found that people use guns for self defense at least as often as guns are used for crime, and that armed citizens are less likely to be harmed by an attacker than unarmed ones. It found that mass shootings and accidental deaths are on the decline, and that they account for a very small percentage of gun-related deaths. It found that the vast majority of gun-related deaths are suicides instead of homicides, and that there is no evidence that gun-free zones, background checks, and gun bans do anything to reduce crime. And criminals, according to the CDC, get most of their guns (70%) from family members, friends, drug dealers, and underground dealers, they don’t steal them or get them at gun shows or from retail gun stores. And these are the people who were supposed to find what Obama wanted them to find. Bummer.

One of the CDC’s results was that gun buybacks, the real kind, are ineffective in reducing crime. Of course, that’s not news. Anyone with any sense knows that participating in a gun buyback program because you think there’s too much crime is the same thing as having yourself sterilized because you think your neighbor has too many kids. It’s like drawing a bucket of water from the Pacific Ocean twice a year to prevent drownings. It might make you feel good, but it doesn’t work.

But toy gun buyback programs do work. They’re ingenius. They send the clear message that kids shouldn’t have guns, and that guns are the problem. The toy gun buyback program does an end run around all the evidence, all the proof, all the common sense in the world. It defeats the Constitution of the United States of America without a shot fired, or a law passed, or a door kicked in. Every toy gun buyback program held at every elementary school in the country destroys a little more of the freedom our nation was founded on.

The toy gun buyback program may be the most cowardly, sneaky, underhanded, despicable gun control method ever devised, but in the long run it will be the most effective . . .

Kendal Hemphill is an outdoor humor columnist, public speaker, and Life Member of the NRA. Write to him at PO Box 1600, Mason, Tx 76856 or

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