In the wake of the shooting of 13-year-old Andy Lopez, who was killed by a sheriff’s deputy while carrying an airsoft gun designed to look like an AK-47 assault rifle, readers shared mixed opinions on realistic-looking toy guns. A majority argued that parents should not allow their children to play with such toys and felt that they should be banned entirely.

Here were some of the comments from those who took part in the online poll.

––

“As a child in the ‘60s, I had realistic looking, cap-firing handguns and rifles with absolutely no problems. We don’t need today’s nanny-government passing more laws banning realistic airsoft guns.”

––

“Since you can’t see the difference between real and toy, yes, they should be banned. Parents need to monitor and educate their children.”

––

“These toys leave nothing to the imagination, what is to be gained by playing with them? We know too well what can be lost.”

––

“It’s up to the parents to properly parent their children about appropriate and inappropriate behavior. I used to play with cap guns as a kid and it never occurred to me to point them at other people or a cop.”

––

“Maybe we need to give our police force airsoft guns.”

––

“If you are going to ban something, you should ban all real guns. Barring that improbablity, airsoft guns are usually very safe when handled properly. Airsoft guns usually have red tips. They also come with instructions not to brandish them in public. They are useful in teaching youth the basics of handling a  weapons and help develope shooting skills without the danger of real bullets.”

––

“Since you can’t see the difference between real and toy, yes, they should be banned. Parents need to monitor and educate their children.”

––

“Doesn’t much matter. Anything can be mistaken in poor conditions and low light. Teach your kids to play safely.”

––

“Everyone — child or adult — should be smarter than to walk down the street with any kind of gun unless they plan on killing someone or plan to be killed by the police. It’s a very dangerous thing to do. Too bad we have to make laws to try to prevent people from doing stupid things.”

––

“The police and their military attitude are the problem, not the color of the kids’ toy.”

––

“Is there any reason that realistic-looking guns cannot be painted in bright orange or some other color that can be distinguished? Is there any reason that parents cannot take an active interest in their children from a young age and engage them in discussions about what could happen if one carries a realistic-looking weapon?”

––

“Parents, don’t let your kids run around in public with guns of any type except water guns. Parents, teach your kids not to disobey the police, as they have real guns. You may not get a second chance.”

––

“Burn them all.”

––

“I learned very young that guns, whether they are real or a toy, are never be pointed at anything you don’t intend to shoot. Because the other person doesn’t know if what you have is real and if they feel threatened, they will shoot you first with what they have.”

––

“If you are going to play with one, use some sense and don’t walk around the neighborhood carrying it like a weapon. If it is a toy, then play with it, don’t prowl with it. ”

––

“In this day and age, only an idiot would carry such a weapon. It’s right up there with owning a pit bull. ”

––

“Come on Argus-Courier, you’re avoiding the real issue. Problem #1 is the shoot first, ask questions later attitude of law enforcement. Problem #2 is that charges are never filed against law enforcement officers who kill suspects, yet they are found guilty far too often in civil suits.”