If you’re not familiar with the story about Tamir Rice, there’s enough information buzzing on the Internet to start a fire right about now. With the holiday season coming up, this unfortunate situation of a 12-year-old child being killed by a policeman may even get a bit more complicated.
Due to the holiday season, there will be a lot of people giving gifts.
One thing that you know for sure is that some of these gifts will be given to children and teenagers.
Some of these gifts might be handgun replicas, very similar to the toy handgun that Tamir Rice was playing with.
Rice’s toy was replicated to look identical to a real .45. Lately, toy handgun models have been specifically marking these fake weapons to let law enforcement officers know that the replica is a toy.
These markers were created to communicate in a very strong visual way so that no one would be confused and react to a perceived threat.
The markers are there for protection purposes in order to avoid another Tamir Rice incident. By placing a loud orange color on the tip of the muzzle, the toy manufacturers are doing their part to communicate that their products aren’t real guns. However in Rice’s case, the orange part of the toy had been removed, making it harder for police to see the difference.
Author Rick Sapp goes in depth about the dangers of replica guns manufactured to look real and why they could be dangerous in his article “Who Killed Tamir Rice?” on USConcealedcarry.com:
“The audio of that call is available online. ‘There is a guy with a pistol,’ the caller says. ‘It’s probably fake, but he’s pointing it at everybody.’” (Read more at USConcealedCarry.com)
If you do buy a toy handgun for a family member or friend this holiday season, you should be sure to take out time and explain to the children the importance of these additional features and why they shouldn’t be removed.
You should also stress that the toy is something that kids shouldn’t go around pointing at everyone. Teach them to treat the toy as if it were not a toy, and you’re providing a great lesson, maybe one that will lead them to be responsibly armed Americans later on down the line.
Have a face-to-face conversation so that you can be absolutely sure that the child or teenager completely understands what you’re saying. Of course, if you can’t be there in person, it might be smart for you to consult the child’s parents first to see if the gift is really a wise idea in the first place. Many parents don’t want their children to have guns, toy or not.
The important issue is that of using the tragedy of Rice’s situation to make sure that no more children die. Police should never have to encounter a child with what they believe to be a handgun so that they’re forced to respond. Make sure that all safety features remain intact and that kids understand that you should NEVER point a weapon, even a toy, at an officer of the law.