What happens when kids aren’t allowed to play with toy guns?

BY newsdesk  September 17, 2013 at 11:54 AM EDT

Photo by flickr user woodleywonderworks

When Jonathan Gourlay was a kid, he was jealous of the boy across the alley who had a “toy arsenal” of grenades, machine guns and a western-style cap gun.

But Gourlay wasn’t allowed to play with toy guns, so he had to get creative.

Instead, he and other kids on the block acted out imaginary scenes of serial murder which Gourlay recorded on an 8mm movie camera, as if he were a movie director and his neighborhood friends the villains and victims of gruesome violence.

Now married and a father, Gourlay reflects on how his childhood has shaped the way he thinks about guns, violence and mortality.

“Gun control begins at home, at the backyard gate. It requires no difficult action or debate. It requires no new laws or cultural shifts. Many Americans have a long history of not playing with guns. One simple truth is self-evident: Violent people do less damage with a pair of pliers or a plastic banana than with an AR-15 Bushmaster semi-automatic.”

Gourlay’s essay was published on the website The Morning News.

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