Hot Take: Guns That Look Like Toys

By now you’ve seen this floating around the internet… Drug raid uncovered a Glock 19 with a carbine conversion kit that were painted to look like Nerf guns… Nerf logo and all. Catch up on the story here.

I posted this on Facebook and Instagram looking for opinions. I would say about 90-95% of the feedback was posed in harsh opposition to ever doing this to your firearm. There were a few “who cares, do whatever you want” type comments, and only a handful that broke it down in terms of common sense gun safety and storage.

I promised my opinion.

I’m with the last chunk of folks that I mentioned. The ones who considered safety and storage before leaping to outrage.

My original (and current) thoughts on this made brief are that it SHOULD BE a non-issue, provided that it is stored safely and used safely.

Many points were made by you all online. I will use this space to respond to them all at once with, again, my opinions on how I see these matters.

For starters, everyone’s first thought, kids. If a child gets their hand on this, it could be devastating. There were lots of “my kids know never to touch a gun” and also “it looks just like a toy, how would they know any better”. I think these are actually moot points if you’re doing as you’re supposed to do in the first place, in keeping them away from children when they are not in use.

If a child comes across this, and is put in the position where they have to determine whether or not it’s a toy, or decide whether or not to pick it up or not, you have a bigger problem than the cerakote. You left your gun within reach of a child.

Of course, accidents happen, people forget. Where there are humans, there is room for error. But at that point, again, if a firearm is left in sight or within reach of a child, it’s not going to much matter what color it is or if they think it’s a toy or not. It doesn’t matter if they’re trained to recognize or respond to firearms or not. At that moment in time, it is not their responsibility for what happens. It is the responsibility of the gun owner who left it there in the first place. It is not the color of the gun that innately makes this a dangerous situation. Sure, maybe it would be less likely that this would end badly if a child picked it up thinking it was a real gun and they sensed not to touch it. But that’s extremely lucky if you get that outcome having made such a crucial mistake in the first place.

I will also briefly insert that the same goes for adults. If a friend comes over and finds it thinking it’s a Nerf gun, that is also the responsibility of the owner. Call it being overprotective, call it my inbred Massachusetts safety law mindset, but I’m very much pro-safe storage.

Next point in question. Law enforcement won’t be able to determine whether this gun is a threat or not.

I understand where that thought is coming from, for sure. But let’s be real — what situation are you going to be putting yourself into, where a member of law enforcement needs to analyze whether or not you’ve got a lethal weapon and are endangering them? If you’ve got your gun drawn, or pointed at them, are they going to give you a grace period where they speculate over the color of your firearm before responding? My instincts and their training would probably give that a solid no.

The bottom line in my thinking is that no, there is nothing wrong with coloring a gun any way you want. I’m not so sure Nerf would appreciate their branding being used, but there is nothing innately dangerous in cerakoting your firearm even to look like a toy. It definitely calls for discretion and responsibility from the owner of the weapon, but then again the same responsibility and discretion is required of any gun owner no matter the color. If your decisions and actions in using your firearm are impacting children or law enforcement or are potentially endangering other members of the public, there is a much greater issue at hand.

In my personal life, I would probably not do this with any of my guns. I trust myself and my storage methods, but when it comes to my own children I like to leave 0.00% chance for error. I know they won’t get ahold of my guns, but the thought of “what if” is enough by itself to prevent me from going the extra mile to make something look child-friendly. So for those of you that are still staunchly opposed to this even after reading this article, I can say that personally, I agree, I wouldn’t actually do this. But that doesn’t mean that it should be made illegal for others to do so. Not everyone has kids, either.

I think this actually serves as a good opportunity to double check our own mindsets as pertaining to gun safety and storage. If you’re worried about a child finding a gun… are yours 100% safe from your children at home? Are they out of reach from unwitting company? Is your method of carrying, or the way you conduct yourself at the range perhaps something that could ever cause a second look as far as safety in public? My guess and my hopes would be that everyone reading this can check these boxes off in their head no problem. But if this sort of introspection can potentially save a life, I’ll be glad you gave it a thought!

I would love to hear your thoughts on this after reading. Leave a comment on the Facebook post, or my newest Instagram post.

Thank you for reading!

Leave a Reply