Uh…Outlawing SQUIRT GUNS?

Hi Readers — Am I reading this proposed law correctly? It’s from Hawaii. Could it actually seek to outlaw… selling squirt guns to minors?

I’m reading it wrong, right?  Or it’s early and I’m still asleep? Or someone stole our planet and replaced it with the wacky one made out of Silly Putty? Help! — L.

Not the kind of gun Hawaii is considering outlawing.

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51 Responses to Uh…Outlawing SQUIRT GUNS?

  1. oncefallendotcom January 31, 2011 at 9:13 pm #

    I recall a push for ban on realistic toy guns a few years back, I believe it was after that cop shot that kid who was playing laser tag, confusing it for a real gun. Do you think this might be for the same reason.

  2. oncefallendotcom January 31, 2011 at 9:16 pm #

    As an aside, the so-called “Camera Phone Predator Alert Act” is even dumber. It requires all camera phones to make noise when you take pictures because someone can use it to take pictures up some little girl’s skirt or something.


  3. Yorick January 31, 2011 at 9:46 pm #

    Yep, I read it as banning the sale of all toy guns to anybody under the age of 18, with no definition of what a “toy gun” is or any reason (rational or otherwise) as to what the bill is trying to achieve.

    Go figure, I sure can’t. Seems to be crazy controlling to me.

  4. Tara January 31, 2011 at 10:10 pm #

    I’d say they need to define “toy gun” a little better. Neon green squirt guns? The little cap guns you buy at the dollar store which are broken by the time they get to the car? Nerf dart guns? What is the meaning behind this???

  5. Andy January 31, 2011 at 10:11 pm #

    Some years back there was a case of a boy who squirted water at a man who then took appropriate action: He shot and killed the boy with his automatic weapon. Local authorities jumped to the rescue and outlawed water pistols. This is what passes for thinking nowadays.

  6. Yo-yo Mama January 31, 2011 at 10:14 pm #

    So what happens if *I* buy the squirt gun for the sole purpose of handing it over to my 9 year old? Am I contributing to a minor??

  7. Lisa January 31, 2011 at 10:25 pm #

    You’re reading it right. Children (anyone under 18) won’t be able to buy ANY toy guns.

    This is a sad day for Hawaii and the country in general. What a joke.

  8. Sky January 31, 2011 at 10:30 pm #

    I’m guessing it’s just part of a general moral crusade against guns. Sort of like outlawing those gum/candy cigarettes because you don’t have the power to do what you really want – outlaw real cigarettes. So you make your point that you are morally outraged that anyone would choose to smoke or own a gun by making it illegal for children to do the pretend version.

    Well, it’s illegal for minors to buy them – presumably parents could still buy them and give them to the kids. I’m not sure what the thinking behind this is; probably they just could not make it illegal to sell and buy them period, because of pesky constitutional issues that ensure the rights of adults.

  9. Lafe January 31, 2011 at 10:31 pm #

    Someone has to say it:

    When toy guns are outlawed, only outlaws will play with toy guns.

    And . . .

    They can have my kids’ squirt guns when they come and pry them from their cold, wet, pool-shriveled hands!

  10. Nicole January 31, 2011 at 10:33 pm #

    I agree, they need to work on the definition.

    We have “shooters”, not guns (in order to prevent any misunderstandings). Our “shooters” range from plastic mini cannons that launch pieces of plastic, to neon squirt guns, to some water syringes the vet gave them. I’m sure a nerf something or other and a supersoaker will soon be added.

    I don’t, personally, believe in having realistic toy guns around kids- either the scale needs to be off (like really small guns cowboys carry) or they need to be obviously fake. Even the obviously fake kind can lead to expulsion from school, I’d imagine the realistic type would only make that more probable, so I would prefer for there to be restrictions so a 12 year old doesn’t buy one and sneak it into school. But aside from that, I really don’t understand what the big deal is.

  11. Nicole January 31, 2011 at 10:35 pm #

    I meant *like really small guns plastic cowboy miniatures carry


  12. Linda Wightman January 31, 2011 at 10:53 pm #

    I’m sure this is one of those “for show” proposed laws that will be duly laughed down. Politicians are always putting forth this kind of nonsense.

    It could also be a bad reaction to a real problem: Toy guns that look so much like the real, dangerous thing that police can’t tell they’re toys, especially in the heat of the moment. Not long ago, at a nearby At a school near here, a child was shot and killed by a policeman. There was plenty of blame and second-guessing to go around, but a major factor in his death was the exceedingly realistic toy gun he was brandishing. The toy had been made with special orange markers to distinguish it from the real gun it was imitating, but the child had covered the orange with black tape, to make it look real.

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  14. Mr. Shreck January 31, 2011 at 11:09 pm #


    Not sure the “really small gun” clause would get you out of trouble. Couldn’t help but be reminded of this recent tidbit:


  15. Sera January 31, 2011 at 11:10 pm #

    I must make a note here:

    This law only bans the direct sale of toy guns to minors.

    This law does not ban minors from possessing or playing with toy guns.

    Perhaps think about it in terms of an M or greater rated video game. It is a toy that allows children to play by simulating violence. How many parents would prefer that this sort of thing is kept under their control? Is this, then, reasonable?

    Hm. I’m not sure.


  16. Cheryl W January 31, 2011 at 11:16 pm #

    All the stores that sell Legos are going to be upset at this! Every tiny Star Wars set that my son gets has a gun, or has parts that he converts to guns.

    What about the water guns that my kids have that are shaped like sharks, dolphins and lobsters?

    What if I give a toy gun to a child?

    What if I help a child make a toy gun out of wood, pipe or such – like the marshmallow shooters a bunch of us moms got together to make one year?

    What about if a child picks up a stick?

    What if a child uses their fingers? I provided those fingers to my child!

    This proposal has so many holes that it makes Swiss Cheese look like a solid wall!

  17. Mike January 31, 2011 at 11:21 pm #

    What’s almost worst are the “affirmative defenses” listed, such as a fake ID. That means the merchant can only use them in a trial, which has huge time and cost. Why not make them exceptions to the law, rather than affirmative defenses?

    Simple. Lawmakers know merchants don’t want, need, or have the resources to fight trivial lawsuits, so it’s social engineering to have them voluntarily stop selling toy guns.

    So, it’s evil as well as stupid.

  18. Diane January 31, 2011 at 11:46 pm #

    Well this is just silly, but no matter how many laws they make, boys will still make their own guns out of legos, sticks,their hands etc…

  19. Jen Connelly February 1, 2011 at 12:38 am #

    This is just dumb…don’t they have something better to spend their time and money on?

    Now the ban on realistic guns was a good thing. When I was in college I spent a Christmas with a friend of mine and her family (couldn’t get back home because of work). Her 13 and 11 year old sons both got these dart guns for Christmas and they scared the crap out of me. I knew they weren’t real but they looked real and felt real. I’ve never held a real gun but these things looked like 9mm and were heavy as hell, made of metal. The only tell was the silly colored feather on the darts that you put in it.
    The one kid pointed it right at me and I about jumped out of my skin. I started yelling at him (his dad was sitting right there watching this) and grabbed the thing away from him. He’s like, “it’s not real”. I was just flabbergasted. I hoped the dad explained it later because I was to dumbstruck to think straight and told the kid to go put it away when I was around. He just shrugged and put it back in the case.
    I found the whole thing really odd because the dad was an avid hunter. They had like 10 hunting dogs outside and there were guns all over the house. I assumed the kids were taught gun safety.
    And the really crazy part was they didn’t shoot bullets but little metal, sharp-pointed darts that would do almost as much damage as a bullet, especially at the range he was when he aimed the thing at me.
    I can only imagine if he had held that up in public. There is no way a cop could have told the difference even up close.
    Now a neon green plastic gun that obviously holds liquid of some kind…not a threat.

  20. BMS February 1, 2011 at 12:57 am #

    If you ban squirt guns, they will just resort to hoses…

  21. Arianne February 1, 2011 at 1:14 am #

    @ Mr. Shreck,

    Are you KIDDING me?? Wow!

  22. EricS February 1, 2011 at 1:42 am #

    Ok. I’m guessing this is a joke of some kind. Because if it isn’t, whoever put in this bill for approval needs to get his/her examined.

    A toy squirt gun?! Well for one, most people who purchase this are under the age of 18, for actual fun, fun. Anyone older than 18 that uses a squirt gun is strictly for adult novelty. ie. Wet t-shirt, alcohol filled, or simple college prank/games. Second, they would actually fine a 7 year old or even a 4 year old $2000?

    This is a cash cow if every I heard of one. Pathetic.

  23. View Point February 1, 2011 at 2:36 am #

    The Rule of Law has taken on a new meaning in these politically correct times. A hundred years ago, who would have dreamed that “silly laws” would dominate our society?

    And yet, it’s not really new to history.

    But it seems like our vocabulary is deficient on this topic. Shouldn’t we have a very specific word to define such laws instead of “politically correct?”

    Any suggestions?

  24. MamaMay February 1, 2011 at 2:46 am #

    I live in Hawaii and will all the other backwards laws about guns, it looks like the next “logical” step.

    Did you know in Hawaii if you allow your child holds a real gun you are breaking the law?In Florida or Kansas you can take your child to the range and let them fire the gun at 4 and 5 years old…. but Hawaii thinks parents are dumb or something and can’t teach a child firearm safety to our kids.

  25. Marie February 1, 2011 at 2:58 am #

    Not just the boys will do that, Diane. I know plenty of little girls who will make toy guns from Legos and such.

    And BMS, I like the idea of hoses! Water gun arms race!

  26. a February 1, 2011 at 3:03 am #

    Having seen some of the very real looking toy guns, I can see a ban on making/selling those items…but an undefined ban on selling any toy guns to minors is essentially a ban on selling any toy guns. Really? Nothing better to do with your legislative time there in Hawaii?

  27. Kelsey February 1, 2011 at 4:16 am #

    I agree with Marie and Cheryl. Honestly, I think our society tends to over react about toy weapons. In first grade, my teacher yelled at me for making a FREEZE gun- not even a REAL pretend gun- out of legos. Keeping with the trend, this year (I’m in the 11th grade) on Halloween I went as a squire, and so I brought a glow-in-the-dark plastic sword which I could bend with my hands. This was confiscated as weaponry.
    I find it funny that the people who fret over whether kids are losing the ability to tell pretend violence from real violence seem to have already lost it themselves.

  28. spacefall February 1, 2011 at 4:29 am #

    I don’t even really think of water “guns” in the same category as proper guns. Being in Canada, we never had any realistic gun toys and most of us didn’t want them (and you’d usually stay well clear of the kids that did). But water guns aren’t realistic at all! They fit right into the summer-y category of slip-and-slides, splash pools and sandboxes.

    There really does need to be some sensible grey area in laws. This seems along the lines of zero tolerance laws, which we know are nonsense.

  29. Marcy February 1, 2011 at 4:35 am #

    Good one Kelsey:
    “the people who fret over whether kids are losing the ability to tell pretend violence from real violence seem to have already lost it themselves”

  30. EricS February 1, 2011 at 5:07 am #

    @Kelsey: as a younger person, I’m glad to hear more sensibility from you than some “grown-ups” I know. lol.

    “the people who fret over whether kids are losing the ability to tell pretend violence from real violence seem to have already lost it themselves”. That also applies to those that think there’s a pedophile lurking in every corner and waiting to take their kids. A perverted mind feeds perverted thoughts. And constantly thinking about perversion happening to your kids, falls under the same category as having perverted thoughts.

  31. EricS February 1, 2011 at 5:08 am #

    * YOU as the younger person. Not me. I’m old…er. lol

  32. Zozimus February 1, 2011 at 6:14 am #

    There’s some fine print down at the bottom…it claims that it’s not evidence of any legislative intent. Does this mean it’s a mock-up bill for demonstration purposes or something?
    That said, I’m a teacher in Canada, and the first year I taught in a high school, we had a huge lock-down situation with a SWAT team and everything, for what turned out to be a kid with a toy gun. Sheesh. The school was filled with tense people armed with REAL guns; I walked back into the school from lunch before it was properly cordoned off — I could have been shot! Glad I avoided that irony.

  33. lonedattyof3 February 1, 2011 at 6:18 am #


    I’m from Hawaii. I don’t know anything about this bill. Who introduced it? Will it even get a hearing? Actually, I’d prefer controlling my psycho neighbor’s lethal guns rather than controlling my kids’ toy ones.

  34. Cheryl W February 1, 2011 at 8:03 am #

    Kelsey, I am doing that palm slap to the forehead thing! Taking away your plastic sword – good gosh, does your school put on plays? Because golly, I can’t think of one play that my high school did back in the 80s that didn’t have a “gun” or other weapon in it! “Oliver”, “Sound of Music”, golly, don’t try to do any Shakespeare!

    Jen, as a kid, my brothers had the toy cap guns. (Long before any kid got shot by a cop for having a toy gun.) My mother told them if they ever pointed it at a person, it was gone. We totally believed her – it was for play “hunting” only. We had a family that did hunt, and we took guns seriously, even play guns. I am with you on your experience – I don’t get why the parents were not making the kids behave.

  35. Mike February 1, 2011 at 8:54 am #

    Actually it’s proposed legistlation. It is not legilation. Most often 99% of proposed bills never make it into law… many of which should be made law.

    What is behind it is Hawaii attempting to divorce itself from America’s psychotic love of guns. The original reason for toy guns was so children could have a gun just like their wilderness “Davey Crockett” dad. Operational guns such as the BeBe gun and .22 caliber rifle were given to 12 year olds so they would have experience in using and handling a deadly weapon. Rats, rabbits and squirrels gave their lives for the “right of passage” into American manhood.

    The history of America and Hawaii is totally different. Hawaii has never had cowboys and outlaws, so the kill or be killed survival factor has never come into play. Besides, Hawaii still uses English Law and applies the Westminster system to their parliament.

  36. Floyd Stearns February 1, 2011 at 9:32 am #

    Does the NRA know about this?
    Can you get a permit to carry one as long as it contains no more that 2 cc of water?
    Good Grief!!

  37. Silver Fang February 1, 2011 at 10:10 am #

    Hawaii may use a parliament based on Westminster, but it is still subject to the Constitution of the USA.

  38. Mike February 1, 2011 at 10:30 am #

    Silver Fang, actually it’s not.

    The amendments of the Constitution were made to align with the 30 precepts of the Declaration of Human Rights. This means the militia has the right to carry weapons. (All others have the right to carry arms… which generally hang from both their shoulders, and bend at the elbow).

  39. North of 49 February 1, 2011 at 12:59 pm #

    I don’t happen to like guns, not even squirt guns. But I don’t advocate ever to the banning of them.

    If they outlaw squirt guns, better outlaw pellet guns, nerf guns, slingshots, cross bows, bows…

  40. Floyd Stearns February 1, 2011 at 1:22 pm #

    While they’re at, how about adding water balloons!

  41. Gary February 1, 2011 at 2:04 pm #

    Lenore, Squirt guns are DANGEROUS. Hundreds of people are injured each year trying to duck or dodge to get out of the way of that irritating stream of H20. Then there is the electrical shock hazard. If you hold a squirt gun against an electrical outlet while standing barefoot on a piece of tinfoil you are a GONER.

    I am playing it safe and buying my kids Tasers

  42. Christopher Byrne February 1, 2011 at 9:07 pm #

    Heaven forbid we should actually find a REAL solution, like, oh I don’t know, banning 30-bullet cartridges or making it easier to buy an AK-47 than a Nerf blaster.

    The problem is that as long as we have a culture that fetishizes the gun as a totem of power, children, who are inherently powerless, are going to want to play with them.

    Play is how children locate themselves in a culture, and play reflects that culture. As long as there are politicians, celebrities and some reality show actors who use guns as a way of showing their toughness, children will want to play with them.

    But changing a culture is too tough and has no political currency so easy laws with marquee value will proliferate while nut jobs can buy real assault rifles without a background check.

    Add to that that aggressive play is natural and healthy (Look how we lionize sports stars who beat the tar out of one another.) when presented in a cultural context, and the stupidity and shortsightedness of this law is as galling as it is inevitable.

    BTW–There are more drastic injuries from kids playing with balloons than with blasters (The currently in-vogue euphemism for toy guns.)

  43. JP February 2, 2011 at 4:21 pm #

    fer gawd’s sake – of course, outlaw the little plastic shooters that soak yer pants with water, but allow all the other ones that will soak yer pants with real blood (yours) from all the holes leaking out.
    Oh my.
    Maybe one day, the only guns found anywhere in the nation will be just the ones that shoot real bullets.
    But a simple question: If that were the case, then how would all those wee tykes be systematically conditioned and trained (through play) to naturally step into military roles and save the nation?
    Answer: by then, nobody will be doin’ nothin’ ‘cept pushin’ buttons.
    (assuming they don’t outlaw plastic toy buttons…)

    I’ll retire to bedlam –

  44. threekim3 February 2, 2011 at 6:16 pm #

    I’d actually rather teach my child how to use a real gun thank you. I was maybe 9 or 10 and was taught how to shoot… and how to hold a gun and how to clean a gun and how to store a gun, and all the reponsibilities that come with gun use/ownership.
    It was made very clear to me that while gun ownership is a right it is also a privlege, and one to take very seriously. That something as small as a .22 could kill a man. And to never aim a gun at another being (even while unloaded or in a joking manner) unless you are willing to kill; and if you are going to kill someone aim for the head, but that’s another story.
    Also, dumbnut stuff like never look down the barrel of gun, don’t continue pulling the trigger if the bullet doesn’t shoot, always assume a gun is loaded, don’t tell friends where the guns are.
    The “coolness” and forbidden fruit aspect of guns dissapeared after that lesson. Especially after having to clean the gun after every shooting session. Eugh. Bored now.

  45. Rachel February 3, 2011 at 4:10 am #

    This legislation is RIDICULOUS. Kids can’t buy TOYS? The nanny state has a serious complex.

    To all the posters who think fake looking toy guns are okay, but not realistic ones, you should be aware that real guns come in some very fake looking colors. You can have handguns anodized any color you want and painted in any pattern you can imagine. If I wanted a neon green hangun I could go buy one off the rack. If I want a pink hello kitty machine gun, I can have it in 7-10 business days. I could even paint an orange tip on it. So just because you think it is fake looking doesn’t mean it is not a gun. This seriously complicates the issue of teaching kids about gun safety.

    These fashion guns are a bit of a fad in my community. As a result I will have to teach my kids that every single time they come across any guns that are not CLEARLY Nerf or filled with water, they will have to ask an adult to make sure it is a toy. I also plan on taking them, when they are 7 to the gun range so that we can all be instructed on how to properly handle a gun when we find one – because I know where we live it is a matter of when, not if.

  46. Taradlion February 4, 2011 at 9:12 pm #

    I think the law is dumb.

    That said, I have never bought my children guns, even squirt guns. (They have excellent squirters with the same range as super soakers and water balloons -rule being they have to bring back all the balloon carcasses to get more ballons/before we leave the park). My son builds toy guns with legos, has used a stick as a gun, and has even made a gun from his toast. I know it is all play.

    The reason I don’t BUY toy guns is because a toy gun will only be used as a gun (for playing gun games – which I wont ban, but which I also don’t encourage). I think Lenore made a similar point about the difference between buying a Harry Potter replica wand (that has to be a wand and limits play to an extent) and a child using a stick or a straw or fashioning a wand from recycled stuff…the stick/straw/recycled thingy can be a wand, a microphone, a walking stick, or…a gun…

    Still glad that as a parent, I can make my own decisions about these things…

  47. lonedattyof3 February 14, 2011 at 4:30 pm #


    Just keepin’ y’alls apprised. And check out the amazing lead line: Elementary school students toting fake guns to campus made up the largest group of public school children in each of the last two school years expelled for firearms violations.

    I mean, would we want kids toting REAL guns to be the larger group expelled?

  48. fwidfj April 12, 2011 at 3:22 am #

    p15Ub8 tsgjfidrhizk


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